Hi all. I have amazing photos from the Blue Hill Fair from Maine. Alas, my laptop bit the dust and of course, this occurred AFTER I had downloaded the photos to my computer and erased them from my camera. Don’t fret. The pictures are still intact on my laptop, but I cannot access them until my computer wizard is done fixing up my computer. Hopefully I can post that wonderful event later this weekend.
In the meantime, I have some weekend reading for you. For every issue there are two sides of the story. I present to you two articles tackling the Obama administration. The first, an Op-Ed by Michael Gerson in today’s Washington Post, portrays our President as a leader who has lost his communication talents, and thus, his mission. Is Gerson delusional? His observations are way off course. Yes: President Obama’s message is not being understood by the people, as his popularity ratings continue to fall. Gerson accuses the President of losing, or actually never embodying, his political skills. Bulldoody. Barack Obama has been true to himself, his ideals and his mission for change. During his first eighteen months in office though, he has come up against an opposition, consisting of the GOP, jealous and ambitious members of his own party and progressive purists who expect miracles, that has erected just enough barriers to President Obama’s agenda to stop it in its tracks. However, we should not underestimate the items of that agenda that have been enacted: health care, financial reform and two very good appointments to the Supreme Court. Additionally, we are on the cusp of instituting immigration reform and climate control policy.
Gerson is dead wrong. President Obama has been absolutely clear in his rhetoric, agenda and persona. Perhaps that is really what has got Gerson in such a frenzy. I have no idea as to his party affiliation, but it would not be a bad guess to say he probably leans right. It is precisely the President’s sticktoitiveness, his tenacity, that infuriates the opposition. Then they think that they can label him “lost” . President Obama, the man and the leader, is in no way lost. He is the same deliberate, smart, unemotional man, with a consistent long-term outlook, that he has always been. Perhaps Gerson is just pissed as hell that our President has actually had so much SUCCESS in office so far.
With that analysis on the table, second article I want you to read is by Andrew Sullivan. Even though a conservative, he has always had an objective eye and found himself to be a formidable supporter of Barack Obama. Here’s his take on the President’s speech this week in Cleveland. He cites the entire speech, which many people believe is the best speech of his since he took office. Additionally, Sullivan puts the accomplishments of the Obama administration into thoughtful and honest perspective. The game is definitely on, contrary to what Gerson wrote. President Obama is a man true to himself and his progress so far has been nothing short of remarkable and historic. Nevertheless, because there is still so much more that needs to get done, those who complain about the lack of forward motion are actually going to penalize the entire country. Miracles take more than eighteen months to shake out. Political greediness and philosophical purity really have no big role in actually governing. So there is still great frustration, that being economic, social, cultural and political, on the horizon. This current upheaval is undeniably deep and real.
Something also has to be said for the natural cycles of our country. Especially in the economic arena, we have always had highs and lows every decade or two. This past recession was quite deep, surfacing after almost twenty years of outrageous growth and prosperity. Certainly it is going to take longer than two years to emerge from it. Patience has never be a high point of the American people. I imagine those Americans who have been unemployed for months, even years, are rightfully angry. How better to voice that frustration than to take it out in the voting booth against those currently in power? Thus, the ratings for President Obama naturally have taken a hit. He is the top banana, and he is the one who will pay for the slow recovery, regardless of the fact that the recession was set in motion long before he came into office. But he is a mature, realistic man, and he gets that part of his job. Times and circumstance are ever-changing. The ebb and flow of our economy, our society and our culture, have natural ups and downs. Assigning blame, especially when it is unwarranted and unearned, is decidedly destructive and not productive.
My money, and my vote, are still squarely with Barack Obama. I would not want to be in his shoes for all the tea in China and it astounds me that he still wants the job. As long as he wants it, I am behind him, warts and all. He is still the best shot we have at exercising significant change. However, change takes years to evolve, not to mention the decades it takes to evaluate the degree and success of that change.
Please take the time to read both of the above linked articles. They present a nice symmetry to what ails us. Both sides of the coin are revealed. If you do your homework, I will reward you with photos of the wonderful Blue Hill Fair. Have a good weekend.