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20 January 2010 @ 09:09 pm
Life In These Untidy States: The Johnson Grip  
A lot of people keep defending President Obama's mediocre track record on progressive causes,* citing the close margin he has, and occasionally even acknowledging that he can't even rely on his own party members in Congress.

bradhicks points out that Roosevelt, Johnson, and every other President who managed to accomplish anything of lasting significance faced the same kind of opposition, but knew how to use the power, prestige, and clout of the Chief Executive of the United States to get shit done.

The ones who didn't?

They didn't accomplish jack shit, for any cause, progressive or otherwise.

This is not the change I voted for.

*Most of his defenders also ignore his reprehensible track record in sustaining and expanding frankly regressive causes, including some of the worst stances of the Bush Junta on privacy, security, and copyright law, just to name a few.
I feel: irateirate
Corsethgalis on January 21st, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, the presidency is a leadership position. To execute the will of the united states. And there's a few things about being a leader.

The guy before you ALWAYS left things in a mess. Every president inherets problems of different sorts from the previous administration.

Leading people is like herding cats. They all want to go their own way and none of them care about authority that's based on "because I said so". Every president has to deal with getting support, and can't just count on everything he wants to pass without opposition (and a side not, opposition != bad. our government shouldn't be an army of clones because one viewpoint is never right all the time).

You'll never receive credit for positive, long term improvements. This is because these invariably won't bear fruit until after you're gone. You will, however, get the blame for the long term screwups of the guys before you that just now come to a head. On the plus side you'll sometimes get credit for someone ELSE's long term improvements.

Leaders have to /deal/ with these issues, not complain about them or how unfair they are. As you say, the ones who grit their teeth and figure out solutions get things done, those who don't, simply don't! I really don't have much sympathy for Obama each time he plays the "Bush did it" card, because, that doesn't do a thing to FIX the problem, no matter whose fault it is.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on January 21st, 2010 06:19 am (UTC)
Obama has the biggest majorities in the House and Senate that any President has had in literally a century . . . well, until today with the Republican winning MA. Now he's got the biggest majorities in eighty years. There is simply no excuse for him not to have pushed through any agenda he's had. The problem is that he doesn't want to face his political opponents down. In short, he's a weak leader. He's great at getting elected, he is a wonderful speaker, but none of that matters unless he can get things done. He feels like a one termer. I suspect by 2012, people will be tired of his failures, and the only way Democrats can punish their politicians is by electing Republicans . . . which is a wicked irony, and helps to explain why our government is so far to the right of our population.
Braxusbraxus on January 21st, 2010 06:49 am (UTC)
Seems to be the feeling these days unfortunately. :( Not delivering too much.

While I'll give him some leeway for year 1, he really needs to start getting things done for the rest of his term. Rather not see him as our modern version of Carter.
one in a billionsiege on January 21st, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
My dad considers Carter an outright failure, a useless personage whose actual strengths -- as an incredible diplomat -- shouldn't be exercised under any circumstances because he was a Bad President, a stumblebum, and a loser.

And every time my dad expresses this opinion, I see someone so dedicated to being The Enemy Of Carter (And His Party) that he can't even acknowledge the man's successes. Which means my opinion of my father drops another notch when the subject comes up.
Paka: coyote photopaka on January 21st, 2010 08:29 am (UTC)
I've been really less than happy with the whole thing.

Part of it is that, with my focus on environmental concerns, I'm less than happy with Mr. Salazar's job as Interior Secretary. Part of it is the Afghanistan thing, which feels like the only decision that's really been rushed at top speeds. Part of it was the great big nothing that was Copenhagen. Part of it is that I feel like he's played it safe on the great Gay Marriage issue, because he doesn't want to risk alienating his nice homophobic churchy supporters.

A lot of what's really driven my dissatisfaction home the last week is the OH NO THE REPUBLICANS MIGHT WIN IN MA/OH NO THE REPUBLICANS CAN NOW FILIBUSTER AND STOP HEALTH CARE REFORM flap. Oh, come on. The Democrats couldn't create health care reform with everything on their side, why should I believe they'll be any less capable of doing so now that the Republicans can filibuster again?

I'm not impressed with Obama. I see him as another Jimmy Carter - someone sold as a great hope from outside the nonfunctional system, then condemned as a clueless nothing from outside the system. I know exactly what Americans chose to follow up the Carter administration. I feel really hopeless that Obama and his best buddies will come out of this with a pretty good reputation and future, and the rest of us will have to live with and pay for whatever repressive crap our Red State fellows choose to set over us when the time comes.