Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Presidency -- One Year Later


One year ago America was dancing in the streets (at least some were), knowing that we had made history. A person of color had broken a glass ceiling, and had taken the highest office in the land. Of course, he took office inheriting two wars and a financial crisis of significant proportions. He also had some major programs he wanted to enact -- including health care reform (which at the time was very popular) He came in to office with a promise to change things in Washington. Of course, we all know that this is easier to say than to do.

I think we all wonder, did he know things would be this difficult? Would "No Drama Obama" (as he was known on the campaign trail) remain unflappable in the White House? What kind of President would he be? Would he be the Socialist that the opposition painted him to be? Or would he take a centrist position?

In his inauguration speech he called for America to join together, but it became quickly clear that the opposition party would have nothing to do with that  -- nor for that matter many in his own party. 

So, here we are, a year later, slowly climbing out of the financial crisis, the stock market up but job growth remaining low.  The war in one country is winding down, but the war effort in the other is increasing, and there's that once popular and historic health care reform proposal just a congressional set of votes away from passage (or so we thought).  Yes, last night, on the eve of the President's anniversary, the voters of Massachusetts put health care reform and other Democratic priorities in jeopardy.  That's not because the GOP now have a majority in Congress -- far from it.  No, they simply broke the Democrats filibuster proof majority.  And since they have vowed to bring down the President, no matter what, they want to make sure that no vote gets taken.  But all is not lost.  There are ways of getting around this log jam.  The GOP will cry foul and say that any such action will flout the votes of the people of Massachusetts, as if the voters of one state have the final say, and a state that has near universal health care due to the actions of former GOP governor Mitt Romney.  But, as far as I can tell, at least until January 2011, the Democrats have control of Congress. 

So, one year later, the glow may have dimmed a bit, but hey that's politics.  It happens.  President Bush had an approval rating over 75% after 9-11.  But that didn't last.  Politics is fickle.  But right now maybe we need to put politics aside and get some things done for the nation and the world.

5 comments:

pastormack said...

"And since they have vowed to bring down the President, no matter what, they want to make sure that no vote gets taken."

What republican has "vowed" to "bring down" Obama? What does that even mean. This sounds much more like the hyperbole of the left during Bush's 2 terms (and those who still push for impeachment a year later). Bring down Obama? No. His agenda, especially health care? Definitely.

You call health-care both "historic" and "reform." It's not reform if it is wholly new. The vastly increased intervention by the gov't will be a major departure for us as a country. You say "historic," but you say that assuming it is a positive thing. A better word might be "unprecedented" or "rushed" or "untested."

By the by - why was no one speaking of all the glass ceiings 'W' broke with his cabinet appointments? Oh wait - I recall - we can only celebrate the political achievements of minority politicians who have a (D) behind their name.

It is also highly suspicious whether or not Obama's policies are helping or prolonging the recent economic downturn. As with the New Deal, there is a good deal of literature (granted, it is free-market oriented) which suggests that heavy gov't intervention makes depressions longer and more severe. Bubbles and busts are natural in an economy, and it is at least debatable whether or not gov't intervention can make a better, quicker correction than the market.

Country Parson said...

Pastormack,
Who has vowed to bring down Obama? Just take an objective look/listen at what the GOP leadership has said in public, and what their agents say daily through certain media outlets. It's pretty clear that health care reform a major departure? Yes, a departure from the single most expensive, least efficient and most discriminatory system in the industrialized world - a system in which "intervention" between patients and their health care providers is ruled by corporate interests. As for the economic downturn/recovery, just look at the data showing where we were, where we were headed, when the turnaround began and where are are now headed.
CP

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

I believe that is the sentiment of Jim Demint's statement early on that health care would be Obama's waterloo. And while Rush isn't the Republican party, he reflects much of its sentiment. No one really denied that sentiment.

Do all want him to fail? No, but they don't seem to be in any mood to cross the aisles and work on something.

Will that happen now? I don't know. I'd love to see Olympia Snowe offer a solution that she and a couple of other Republicans can agree to.

As for Bush's breaking glass ceilings -- what ways? He had one Democrat in his cabinet -- Norman Mineta at transportation. Yes, he had Colin Powell and Condi Rice, but they were stymied by Rumsfeld and Cheney.

Anonymous said...

Why can't Obama take a bold stand on Gay marriage? Why can't he balance the Tea-baggers with Tea-growers/smokers?

Hope for change has been unrealized and this us vs. them mentality is turning the country off. David Mc

Anonymous said...

This guy can't spell, but he sums up a lot of my feelings. Obama's looking like he'll be a 2yr lame duck if he doesn't get on the ball. David Mc

http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/21323.asp