Thursday, August 30, 2012

Strip away the straw-demon representation

I have been shaking my head in wonder for a few years now. President Obama has been in turns vilified as the embodiment of evil, of socialism or of incompetence. None are accurate. Strip away the straw-demon that has been constructed for years, and what you have in President I believe that an honest assessment shows Obama as a competent, even keel steward of U.S. domestic and international interests who governs from the center in the midst of a toxic climate that is in large part the product of a knee jerk reaction of loathing by many on the Right. ...

When he came to office, one of the huge assertions was that he would put the nation in danger with his FOREIGN POLICY. What has happened? He's ended one war, drawn down the forces on another front and assassinated most of the Al-Queda leadership, including Bin Laden. His foreign policy includes drone warfare, lines the pockets of contractors, and costs fewer American lives than would other available strategies. I don't love it, but I get it. I also know that he owns a record here that the Right only wishes it could pull off. ...

On the HIGHER EDUCATION FRONT, he stretched available federal funds for college students by pulling off the brilliant maneuver of cutting the banks out of the student loan process. ... On the K-12 EDUCATION front he is a partner in a bipartisan disaster - turning over education policy to corporations and philanthropists that are, respectively, taking turns making huge money or giving huge money away in disastrous misadventures in privatization and standardization that are somehow recast as innovation.

On the ECONOMIC FRONT, he is still hostage to the explosion in the deficit that is directly attributable to the Bush tax cuts and in much smaller percentage to the stimulus funding passed early in his presidency, and yet he is on a path of deficit reduction. On it goes.

I am not thrilled with the guy, but nor have I ever been thrilled with a President. But the descriptions from the Right come from lala land! And they have been pulling reasonable people in with them. ... My sense, again is that huge segments of the Right have been so vocal in their hatred that they have pulled the conversation their way. In many circles you have to be pretty brave to just offer a reasoned assessment that includes praise for Obama. The immediate, unfounded shrieks about socialism and incompetence can make your ears bleed. Importantly, the dislike that drips from the mouths of many started before he took office and has never let up.

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