November 9, 2008

Sunday--post election version

And it still feels great. Ran into some neighbors on the walk and when we asked how they were doing, they said, "Great. Barack Obama will be President!" :)

It is great, but there are many, many challenges for him and his team. We also braved the morning shows for the first time in months. On MTP, I quickly grew tired of Republicans talking about the importance for Obama to move slowly and to work across the aisles. I have no problem working with Republicans and think Obama will do so, but I am reminded of just how Bush approached that. As I recall, it was more in the model of "I won. You do what I say from now on." Bi-partisan meant doing whatever he said or he would use your resistance against you and call you unAmerican. Not only that, but they talk about the huge problems facing the Obama admin as if they just passively occurred rather than being the result of horrible choices during the last 8 years of nearly complete Republican rule. The Republicans remind me very much of the American auto industry. Over the last 20 years, they have acted as if their wealth was their own, and that producing inefficient and polluting cars was their birthright. Instead of investing in future technologies, they made Escalade's and Explorers and Suburbans. Now, facing huge problems, they are turning to the government for a handout. I wonder if Republicans will give them the same lecture they give to the poor, or if my Republican friends will show the same contempt toward these handouts that they do toward welfare recipients?

Perhaps we will see genuine reassessment of the blind faith of the free market. Perhaps we will see a reassessment of the "government is the enemy" mantra that the right has used to fundraise and govern. Perhaps we will see a Republican party out of the ashes that no longer rejects science and expertise. Perhaps.


A couple of remaining thoughts from this week. During his first press conference as President Elect, Obama demonstrated that serious approach to policy that we all saw during the campaign, but he also showed that sense of humor and humility. When talking about the children's new dog, he mentioned that they have to find one that won't be a problem with allergies, but that they really want to find a shelter dog, and those are "mutts like me." Not only do I love shelter mutts (all our animals are shelter or rescue animals) but I too am a mutt.

Second, thinking back to the historic nature of this election, I cannot quite shake how powerful it was to recognize that our new first lady is an African American woman. For some reason, that resonates with me even more than Barack at the top of the ticket. The history of race in this country has been so contested and so conflicted, and few have taken the brunt of that racism more than black women--those who were on the receiving end of the double pronged discrimination. Those who were relegated to the worst paying jobs and the least amount of respect. Seeing this amazing woman in that role makes me very proud of our country.


ubub said...

What gets me is all of the Republicans and pundits calling for Obama to move the the center. That's not who or what I believe we voted for.

steves said...

What gets me is all of the Republicans and pundits calling for Obama to move the the center. That's not who or what I believe we voted for.

It is what I voted for, or at least hoped for. Not that I expect him to be a Republican-lite, but I would like to see the same pragmatist I saw campaigning.

As far back as I can remember, the losers have been calling for a move to the center and it hasn't really happened. One of my Dem friends has pointed out that Obama is in a great position:

A commentator last night (which commentator escapes me at the moment; they all blend together after a while into one person, Wolf OlberBorgeRobertson) about what Obama owes Congress and the DNC.


Dude did this on his own dime, and with his own political organization. That gives him a level of freedom that few presidents have.

He doesn't have to appease congressional Democrats hell-bent on retribution after years in the desert. Quite the opposite; many of them will owe their Capitol Hill office nameplate to Obama's coattails.

I think this gives us the best chance for a governed-from-the-center country since... hell, I dunno.

I live in Michigan, so I am pretty biased when it comes to a auto industry bailout.

ubub said...

Steves, I think we agree in our assessment of Obama, but perhaps we disagree in our interpretations in what is being called for.

He told us who he was, what he was about, and what his vision was for the nation during the primary and the campaign. Voters chose him and that vision in both cases. I see those calling for a "move to the center" as asking Obama to pull a sort of bait and switch on voters after being elected on a platform that was both progressive and pragmatic.

Of course I hope that he would take the same pragmatic approach to governance that he demonstrated in the campaign. Of course I hope we will craft policy in a bipartisan fashion that reflects broad national interest. "Move to the center" means neither of those things to me.

Streak said...

I guess I am not sure where the "middle" is any longer. Bush moved things so very far to the right that I am leery when that term is used. Is it the middle between conservative Democrats and Bush? Or is it truly at something approaching the middle of policy? Something harkening back to the Roosevelt approach to governing?

Those Republicans who voted for Obama, clearly hope that he will run a centrist admin, but those of us on the left would like something just a little left of center, and there is an argument to be made that we have not seen anything left of center since the Johnson administration.

Have no fear, however. Obama, in my view, is hardly some leftist radical and will be pragmatic. Whether or not that means something on the conservative side of the spectrum, is up in the air.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Interesting to contemplate what the "center" is. I think our linear way of looking at things i.e. moving along a left/right continuum (you'll have to help me on where that came from historically, Streak) is often so inadequate. What makes a decision centrist? Personally, I liked what McLaren attempted to do in "A New Kind of Christian" and use a spherical, three dimensional paradigm in an attempt to free us from the confines of either/or thinking. Perhaps the last 8 years and the new administration will help get us there.

As far as the quote regarding what Obama owes- I agree although to get anything accomplished he has to be able to work with people compromise, etc... Of course, there's plenty I'd like to see but I've grown accustomed to being disappointed. The first thing I expected after the last election in which the dems got congress was a Bush/Cheney impeachment. Of course, Pelosi showed her resolve and backbone when she immediately stated that impeachment was off the table. Great way to make Bush see he needed to change his ways. Oh well.

Obama is already impressive. We've already been spared the swagger and arrogance we've become accustomed to. So far so good.

Later- BB

steves said...

I agree with all of your assessments. I doubt the center is the same to everyone, nor would we probably agree on priorities.

My priorities:

1. Leave Iraq.
2. Stabilize the economy.
3. Eliminate the Patriot Act or pare it back. Focus on restoring civil liberties.
4. Cut wasteful sepnding and focus on programs and policies that do what they say they are supposed to do.

Streak said...

BB, I think a centrist move is simply a matter of where your perspective is, as you note.

I agree, btw, that Pelosi should have not taken impeachment off the table. Unfortunately, the Clinton impeachment oddly enough made one of Bush undoable, and the Republicans made that such an issue prior to the 2006 election that Pelosi didn't have a lot of choice. Or thought she didn't. Add to that no way that there was any chance of conviction....

Steve, good list. I would place (implied by your list) the first priority of restoring (or beginning the process) our moral standing in the world. Obama did a little of that just be winning the election.

Bootleg Blogger said...

I like steve's list. Leaving Iraq for me is the first step in what I hope will be a complete reevaluation of the US empire- are we going to maintain the tons of bases we have around the world?

Streak- I don't agree that impeachment didn't have a chance, but that's old news now.