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February 06, 2009


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There are arguments made that suggest Obama is, at heart, deeply conservative, that his respect for institutions as well as the Constitution lead him to govern from an idiosyncratic center. But that center is as much the problem as the right since it has no real vision or competence. What Obama in effect does is create a false debate between the fact-free right and the vision-impaired center. We shouldn't be surprised, then, when the result is stimulus spending for a 20th century economy.

By marginalizing the left, the corporate media neuter what should be a vigorous debate. No real issues are being discussed because half of the argument is ignored. Obama will preside over but he won't push the debate. So, we're left with something approaching mush, meaningless alternatives between doing too little and doing nothing at all.

The GOP is currently overplaying its hand, which should hand Obama a victory of sorts. In a couple of years, we can revisit the issue again since America's economy will likely be struggling with systemic issues of inadequate investment and maldistribution. Health care will be one of those issues. And if Obama chooses to preside rather than lead, he will let one more vital sector flounder while searching for some metaphysically perfect fulcrum point between false choices.

While we're making useless time metaphors, how much did Bush spend/lose/waste every second of his tenure? Didn't he turn the biggest suplus ever into the biggest deficit ever in about two years?

Why, exactly, are the powerful threatened by change? Doesn't change represent an opportunity? Weren't most of their companies created by some other change in the past? The answer is that the current leaders are status quo whores who don't know how to anything different than what they're already doing. "Leader" doesn't describe them at all. If they actually knew anything about making money or building industries they would realize that this situation can lead to the kind of empire-building that the transcontinental railroads did.

I've always thought that aspiring to the office ought to be an automatic disqualification for Presidents, but Congress is worse by actively working to make the incumbents fail. How we do anything when half of the people doing the work are trying to make it fail? We can't. It's childish behavior any way you look at it. And I feel the same way when the roles are reversed.

I'll give Obama time to show what he's really going to do. Time to learn what he can do and what he can't do. Time to learn how to be President.

His first week was encouraging with his Presidential orders. The second has not gone as well with the contoversy around appointments.

The last few presidents have been judged on their first 100 days. It seem that now we expect it in 100 hours. It's too soon to judge and we have too many promises and too few acts to make a sound judgement.

We learned that the Bush administration always had many layers of meaning to their actions. You might, but I don't know how devious Obama is. His appointment of a Republican to Commerce looks like a bipartisan gesture on the surface but could have been a way to get another Democrat into Congress. Seeing that he made deal to ensure that the replacement was also a Republican could be a sign of weakness or a commitment to honest and open government. There could also be other reasons and deeper levels. I don't know and neither does anyone outside Obama's inner circle. Time will tell.

Stimulus: Moderates Exhibit Profiles in Courage

While the stance of Senators John McCain and John Kyl in opposing the Economic Recovery and Stimulus Bill has been ideologically principled, in this time of economic meltdown the real heroes have been the Senate moderates such as Senators Susan Collins, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Joe Lieberman, and Ben Nelson, who were willing to do the hard legislative work of forging the necessary compromise to resuscitate the American economy.

The economic house is on fire, they know it, and they have bravely endeavored to save those Americans who are suffering and to keep the financial fire from spreading by cutting back on the pork. Despite incurring the wrath of many Senate colleagues, they ventured forth, epitomizing what John F. Kennedy termed "Profiles in Courage".

For them, reality and pragmatism trumped ideology. For that, they deserve our thanks.

The comment Susan Collins made on the Senate floor should be engraved in white marble on a Capitol wall: “The American people don’t want to see partisan gridlock.” That was the message of the 2008 election-- and legislators ignore it at their peril.

RW (Skip) Kistner, Phoenix

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