Is Obama A Failure?

Has President Obama failed? Many Liberals and Independents have wished, for all of his talents, that the President had “a little Bush in him”. I have held that same feeling for parts of the last two years now, but I always come back to his basic maturity; he has a vision for how he wants to govern, and he is sticking to it. He doesn’t pull the hair trigger and fire people in the tradition of Washington scapegoating, and he isn’t interested in being pulled into the behavior of his opposition.

Mr. Obama made tactical errors in the stimulus bill (giving tax cuts before they were demanded), he made a strategic mistake in not pushing for financial reform last year (when he could have harnessed the populist anger to his cause), and he made an error (I believe) in not challenging the GOP leadership to write their own version of Health Care Reform last May.

Despite these missteps, he remains on his path; he will get reform that has some teeth (it isn’t 180 degrees kids, but it is at least 90, and that is something); he will repeal don’t ask don’t tell (its in the JCS and deep in Pentagon review); he has a timetable for withdraw from both Afghanistan and Iraq; he pushed a plan that Moody’s and CBO both estimate kept unemployment from hitting 13% (stimulus); he has restored the EPA; he has signed an order that will (over the next three years as appointments expire) rid us of 15,000 or more lobbyists currently sitting on federal advisory panels.

All of these have been accomplished despite the most organized, belligerent, and mean-spirited opposition in the history of U.S. politics. This notion of failure and under-performance coming from the left (of all places) is precisely what GOP organizers want; Progressives/Liberals are typically asking “how high” when Conservatives yell “jump!”

If there has been failure, it has been a typical (sadly) failure of courage among Democrats in Congress. This lack of courage, followed immediately by blame-assignment on the White House staff, is both sad and ridiculous. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter remain popular among Liberals, but their greatest political achievements were articles that were largely conservative; they passed most of the transportation deregulation bills, and Clinton pushed through NAFTA.

Despite his name and skin color being turned into political liabilities, President Obama is going to sign relevant legislation that address liberal America’s highest priority for decades. After the mid-terms (where Democrats will do better than current projections, but worse than they want), he will find compromise on environmental, energy, and transportation bills that at least change our direction for the better.

The RM is open to comments…