I’ve been pretty defensive of Barak Obama, feeling many of the criticisms of him were:
irrelevant (he’s a Muslim!!, he put mustard on hamburgers!);
petty and nasty (he uses a teleprompter!0
misleading (he a socialist, no make that fascist, no both!!!!);
self contradictory (he’s terrible because he’s following Bush’s terror policy and because he isn’t following Bush’s terror policies, he stupid because he uses a teleprompter, but he’s an elitist);
ignore the context of the times (he’s running up a deficit, IN THE WORST RECESSION IN 25 YEARS!);
naive (he and the Democratic leadership are using every political tool to, GASP, pass their agenda);
hypocritical (he’s adding to the deficit for healthcare, never mind we Republican added to the deficit for a pointless war, he’s attacking freedom, what’s that about holding prisoners for years with no charges?);
prejudiced or xenophobic (he not constantly proclaiming that we’re flawless to the rest of world! He has no US birth certificate!); and
But now, comes oiliness on the administrations part.
First Sestak gate.
Apparently a White House job was offered to payoff Arlen Specter by trying to buy his primary challenger out of the race, and now it appears to have happened in Colorado as well. Perhaps there will be more examples.
This disturbs me. Some such Jonathan Bernstein dismiss it:
the US has a disconnect between a political system based on parties, bargaining, deal-making, logrolling, and, more broadly, (self-) interested people and groups finding ways to work things out with each other, and a political culture that has quite a bit of disdain for all those things. See, for example, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and the dozens of movies and TV shows that have followed, all built around the idea that parties are bad, interest groups are bad, cutting deals is bad, and the only hope for democracy are radically independent people with pure motives who alone have access to what constitutes good policy. Thanks to that disconnect, there are always plenty of perfectly ordinary things that pols do in the perfectly ordinary course of their jobs that can easily be sold to many reporters as corrupt.
I get his point that deal making is always part of politics and life in general, though at time most of feel shocked by it. Most of us do it, and certainly politicians do.
I think I could see offering policy compromise to move ahead. I’ll help you do good from your point of view if you help me do good from mine.
The Republicans might have done us all good if they had tried to actually get more movement on issues like tort reform, and more controls of costs, and other regulatory reforms during the bargaining on health reform. Instead they just sat on their hands and in the end accomplished none of their goals, and lost the fight against what they opposed anyway. This is an example of what Bernstein means.
But Sestak Gate seems different. This wasn’t I’ll help you accomplish your policy goals, if you help me with some of mine. This was using public dollars and a government job to buy votes. If it had been an out and out bribe and I think the reason for outrage would be more obvious.
The oil spill is troubling also, though less so. It raise the issue I found most troubling in the end about the Bush administration. Is this a competent administration? Can they pursue objective (whether right or wrong) in an effective way, or just posture (Mission Accomplished!). Sestak gate doesn’t seem like a sign of competency either.
I’m not sure a lot more could be done in the gulf to stop the spill, but Governor Jindahl seems to raise a legitimate issue that more could surely have been done to protect the shore and mitigate the spill. Couldn’t stimulus dollars have been used for this project. After all the main thrust of stimulative policy in a recession is to find public uses for resources that the private sector hasn’t figured out a way to use just yet. Here we have a clear and present need.
On immigration, the President is considering challenging the new Arizona law. I’m unclear on how this law can work and not be discriminatory. I’d lean toward making checks during all traffic stops, it shouldn’t be up to the officers discretion. I don’t see any other way to be effective yet non-discriminatory. But this is an issue that concerns many, and I don’t think the federal government should crush a local effort to deal with this problem.
After becoming as disenchanted with President Bush as I did, it discouraging to have that sinking feeling in my stomach. Again.