Will someone please tell me how I should feel about Obama?
I read about half a dozen blogs every day. They’re without exception written by and commented on by smart, funny, honest, sophisticated people. What this means is I’m exposed to the well-thought-out, well-written opinions of upwards of between, say, thirty and sixty people daily. Including weekends.
They all share my disgust with the Republican Party, my contempt for the right-wing commentariat, my disbelief of and distaste for the simple-minded Tea Party “patriots,” and my disdain for most of the mainstream media. Many of them seem to know a lot more about history than I do (although that wouldn’t be hard). They manifest differing degrees of cynicism, hope, anger, resignation, perseverance, pragmatism, idealism, and irony, but I feel entirely at home within their universe of discourse.
But after this debt-ceiling business I cannot decide whom among them I agree with. There are those who defend Obama by saying that he played the best one could, given the bad hand he was dealt. There are others who say that Obama–as he did on health care reform–gave away the store and only then started to negotiate. There are those who give him a pass for the “compromises” he could not avoid but fault him for not rallying the troops–us–and using the bully pulpit to at least identify by name those taking the US budget hostage.
For every commenter who says “that’s does it; he’s a moderate Republican and should be primaried from the left,” there is one who says, “he’s out-maneuvering the Tea Baggers and, when you can neutralize a radical clique, you’ve accomplished something.” For every “I wish I had voted for Hillary” there’s a “look at the list of his accomplishments: he’s done more than any Dem since FDR.”
Is everyone right? Is everyone wrong? Is Obama a decent centrist making the best of a bad situation, or is he a moderate Republican who cannot, or doesn’t want to, see that the GOP itself is a force for evil and plutocracy? Is he a politician who thinks he’s above politics, and therefore declines to lead anyone into battle–resulting in the victories of our enemies? Or is he a decent strategist grappling with a horrendous legacy from the previous administration?
I’m open to suggestions.