Sunday, December 19, 2010

Assessing Obama

On his widely read blog, The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan argues that Barack Obama is not a weak liberal, but rather a tactical and cautious president who reads the country's mood and compromises to get what he can. Then he lists what Obama has accomplished in his first two years:
...universal health insurance, the rescue of Detroit, the avoidance of a Second Great Depression, big gains in private sector growth and productivity, three stimulus packages (if you count QE2), big public investments in transport and green infrastructure, the near-complete isolation of Iran, the very public exposure of Israeli intransigence and extremism, a reset with Russia (plus a new START), big drops in illegal immigration and major gains in enforcement, a South Korea free trade pact, the end of torture, and a debt commission that has put fiscal reform squarely back on the national agenda. Oh, and of yesterday, the signature civil rights achievement of ending the military's ban on openly gay service members.

It certainly is an impressive list, and though I was hoping for more bold legislation with a Democrat in the White House and large majorities in both houses of Congress, I do understand that political logistics must be taken into account when hashing out domestic policy.

As I've said before, it is in other areas that I have significant problems with Obama's leadership: the wars, the secrecy, the assault on privacy and civil rights, and Guantanamo Bay. In these areas the change in White House residents has given us little if any modification in policy. That is disturbing.

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