Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Making non-ideological headway

I recently read an article in the NY Times Opinion section by Frank Rich, a regular in that section.
It's entitled "The Up-or-Down Vote on Obama's Presidency."
Now, I think we can all agree that Obama hasn't proven to be the magical knight of change and hope that he promised to be in his campaign. Unfortunately, he hasn't even been much of an ordinary foot soldier for hope and change.
Rich makes some really great points about Obama and how he has thus far failed to make any difficult choices in the face of partisan attacks and serious issues. He has a great ability to talk to people, tell them that he understands key issues and the need to solve them but he doesn't act. He has yet to outline a clear-cut plan of action, a path to fixing a broken America, on anything from health care to finances. He seems deathly afraid to be called out as partisan. His fear is a great contributor to the stalling. I believe he confuses his ability to act with the appearance of extremism. Acting on key issues is not about choosing sides, it's about getting things done, regardless of who believes what.

Rich mentions FDR and Reagan, two people, who throughout their political careers, made decisions based on their own knowledge and convictions for what they felt was right. The New Deal was seen as extreme by both parties. FDR said "fuck it." In 1967, after Reagan had just been elected governor of California, he submitted one of the largest state budgets in California history, much to the dismay of his conservative pals. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying either one of these characters is infallible. I'm merely bringing up examples of partisan leaders who acted on issues regardless of what their party would bitch and moan about later.

Obama hands off key issues like finances to Congress that will in all likelihood just banter back and forth until they take their next vacation. He apparently didn't want to go up against the same people who filled his campaign piggy-bank. I say bullshit. You're commander-in-chief. It is your job to act on the behalf of the people, not pundits or partisan bullies who claim you're too right or left. Your people are depending on you to act. Like Rich says, Obama doesn't have another year to dance around issues throwing well written speeches our way. A firm stance is necessary to move forward. And, in the end, as commander-in-chief, he has to close his ears to both bickering sides, and go off his own mind. And as his constituents, we should do the same. Work to move forward, not left and right.

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