Save The Obama Drama
Stop it with the ridiculous expectations for the president-elect's success. Political temper tantrums will get us nowhere.
Some people have ridiculous expectations for President-elect Barack Obama. And now there's already talk that he can't be trusted. But listen, he beat the Clintons, and he beat the GOP. Stop the temper tantrums and the second-guessing. Obama's a true-blue American pragmatist so just get off his case.
Nov. 19, 2008--Having already gone through my—now regretted—Obama tantrums in July (and on this Web site), I do not want to hear about anyone else's. Please try to get over yours as soon as possible.
Let's clear up a few things. The right is all in a tizzy because it is trying to project itself onto Obama. It's Sarah Palin and the resentment machine who sent chills down the spine of everyone who ever studied fascism. It is George W. Bush who turned out to be the crypto-socialist (at least for banks, not automakers). It's the far-left blogger types and other leftists who will also flip out and throw tantrums because Obama seems to be governing from the vital center, with the occasional left lean, but they should've known that in the first place.
Stop second-guessing Obama and trust him. He beat the Clintons, and he beat the GOP. Obama saw things nobody else saw. He won fraggalackin' Indiana, formerly a Klan-stronghold.
Perhaps I'll regret this, but the man is a genius. I always liked him, but at first I didn't think he could win. I jumped on board after Iowa, sweated through the primary and obsessed about the general election. Sure, I doubted him a few times—maybe more than a few times—right up until the last week. I was proven wrong every time. Every time! Obama's vision seems based on not only better sets of data than most informed people, but it's what he does with his data that makes him so brilliant. So he removed certain policy proposals from change.gov. Well, maybe the briefings he's been receiving have caused him to rethink the proposals. If so, I think it's great.
Obama will succeed because he will be a true-blue American pragmatist, the culmination and most practical expression of America's philosophical tradition. With its roots in Franklin and Emerson, most sophisticated expression in Charles Peirce, William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., George Herbert Mead and John Dewey, and rebirth in Richard Rorty, et al.
He will look at situations and study what has worked, what might work, what won't work, and figure out what probably will work. If that does not work, he will find something that should work. In the days after election, I imagined that the 2012 map would be solid blue, with Obama taking 50 states. I am now shocked to hear one-term murmur—based on the economy! Don't worry. Just because the people on Wall Street who wrecked the economy did not know what they were doing does not mean Obama does not know how to fix it quickly.(Besides, it's not as if people who knew what they were doing were on the government side of things either for the past eight years. How is Chrysler doing, Secretary Snow? Oh, OK. Good luck with that.)
Reagan and Clinton had rocky first terms and were reelected by handy margins. George H.W. Bush was defeated not by the economy (stupid) but by a combination of Perot and weariness with 12 years of the GOP (a factor Perot fed on). Jimmy Carter was beat by the hostage crisis and a Reagan one-liner that I never understood.
President-elect Barack Obama has earned our trust. Get off his case. Emanuel and Biden are there to make sure nobody (Clintons, Congress) dares to make mischief for him. Unless Obama really screws something up, he will sail to a second term in 2012, take a few years off and perhaps ascend to the Supreme Court at 60. Remember where you heard it first.
Paul Devlin is a graduate student and writer in Long Island, N.Y.