Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sullivan FTW

Sully-Pooh on the rampage!

This piece is getting a lot of attention, and rightfully so.

Sullivan combines the natural pugnaciousness of the internet ("Why are Obama's critics so dumb?") and great talent as a writer.

He admits his bias, and I admit mine.  I think pretty much all of what he says Obama is true and very closely mirrors my own thinking.  Obama's record of achievement legislatively and diplomatically rank near the top of any modern President, with the exception of FDR.  Give him 8 years, as Sullivan argues, and you can cement some notable reforms.  To wit:

- A sane, responsible budget that both cuts spending and raises taxes on the wealthy.
- A sane, responsible foreign policy that makes America first among equals rather than a domineering hegemon and allows for America to influence the world, not be in constant conflict with it.
- A retreat from the divisive culture wars over LGBT rights.
- Universal health care for all Americans, with the hope that - as a pragmatist - Obama will tinker where it needs tinkering, change where it needs change and preserve where it needs protection.
- A rejection of the nihilism of the current GOP, for whom political calculus is more important than the common weal.
- Entitlement reform premised on maintaining a vital social safety net in the age of globalization rather than gutting and ending that safety net in the pursuit of free market ideology.
- Hopefully, immigration reform that sanely and calmly addresses the issues of legal and illegal immigration in a way that protects immigrants and citizens alike.

I keep comparing Obama to Woodrow Wilson.  Eloquent, professorial, reform minded.  But also pragmatic and result oriented.  And like Wilson, Obama is a reformer who comes at reform from a fundamentally conservative point of view (as Sullivan notes).  Change, under Obama, comes slowly and methodically.  Teddy Roosevelt was the second most radical candidate in the race in 1912 (obviously Eugene V. Debs on the Socialist ticket was the most radical).  Wilson's slow moving reform infuriated the impatient Roosevelt, but Wilson wrote a reform record that dwarfs Roosevelt's own performance as President.

Obama is quietly writing a tremendous record for himself, one that will hopefully be validated this November.

Because I would hate to think what loosing those vandals on the halls of power again would do to our country.

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