I make that bold statement because when you add up everything that is stacked against him and the forces that are trying to take him down, he continues to rise above it and make serious change happen in this country. All of us liberals, of course, wish the change would come faster and also bigger, but when you look at the forces arrayed against this president from both the right and the left, he is undoubtedly the best damn president this country has ever seen.
As someone who has supported him since his keynote address in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention, I have not wavered in my support. It isn’t because of some blind, cult-like belief in him like so many in the “firebagger” crowd (Hamsher, Greenwald, Uygur, Huffington et al) would want you to believe. They share that attitude with people on the far right, which should say something to you about the firebaggers. I’ve railed against those asshats plenty, go to the archives to see it, if you are interested. But my support of Senator Obama, candidate Obama and now President Obama is because he has a clear vision for what he sees as the role of government to average people. Not the ones who can afford a lobbyist, but real people like you and I. Since President Obama’s speech on Tuesday, there have been many great articles that speak to that vision. Rick Ungar at Forbes has a most excellent column on President Obama’s character, go read the whole thing. Here is a snippet…(emphasis mine)
What did it for me in Obama’s plan to get the nation’s finances in order was that the President took his stand against the GOP effort to take away the soul of this nation while staring directly into the eyes of Rep. Paul Ryan- the architect of the document that would remake this country in the mold of third world nations where there are rich people and poor people with nobody in the middle.
Unlike the taunts, personal insults and barbs that Ryan and his companions lob at the president on a daily basis from the safety of a television studio, Obama took the route that requires character.
He did it to Ryan’s face.
The President invited the Wisconsin congressman, and a few of his congressional confederates, to attend the speech, placed them right up front and proceeded to call these people out for the hegemony they would visit on millions of Americans to benefit their wealthy political patrons with a trillion more in tax cuts.
The response from the right wing speaks volume about their character. The same people who go on Fox News and hurl insults and blatant lies about our president have the audacity to cry about the President telling them, to their faces, that they are wrong and going into details on why they are wrong, that takes character. Getting in front of a Fox News camera where you know you won’t be challenged and can say any crazy thing you want, SHOWS NO CHARACTER.
Click Read More for the rest of the story…
The environment that the Obama administration is operating under is unprecedented, there has never been anything like it in our history. Comity is gone, replaced with vileness, invective, petulance, naiveté and stupidity. I’m returning to Indra Nooyi’s comments to Fareed Zakaria on CNN, because it says is so well…(emphasis mine)
ZAKARIA: You think about leadership, what do you think about President Obama as a leader?
NOOYI: I think he’s a remarkable individual, but let me put this in context, Fareed. Just imagine that you are the CEO of a company. Just bear with me for a while, while I talk you through the story. Imagine you are the CEO of a company and your executive team, half want you to succeed, half want you to fail.
ZAKARIA: Republicans and Democrats.
NOOYI: Yes. And then imagine that your functional team, you can’t hire them without the approval of your executive team.
ZAKARIA: Half of whom want you to fail.
NOOYI: That’s exactly right. Also imagine that every word you say is debated in the public media every minute of the day. Also remember that your board of directors is a fragmented group who really cannot get together to fire the executive team if they don’t tow your line.
ZAKARIA: The American public.
NOOYI: That’s exactly right. That’s the environment in which the president of the United States is working today. It’s not as if the president is maintaining a successful country. The president is turning around a difficult situation. So all things considered, you’d say he’s doing a pretty good job.
Of course Indra left out a whole lot of other factors that are at play in this environment like Fox News, right-wing radio, internet chain emails with racist pictures, egotistical-click-hungry-opportunists like Jane Hamsher and a barrage of daily polls which dictate what the media focuses on. Oh, and phenomenon like the Donald Trump Clown Parade that keeps marching across my television set. So although Indra completely nailed her analogy of the modern presidency, I would only amend the final sentence from above to read, “So all things considered, you’d have to say he’s doing an incredible job.”
If you’ve never read George Lakoff, I highly recommend his blog. I personally look forward to reading his books Moral Politics and The Political Mind, which a friend has recommended to me. George has an excellent post about the President’s speech, another must read for real liberals, I’m sure it will just piss off the people suffering from “Obama Derangement Syndrome”. Here is a piece from one of his latest posts…(emphasis mine)
The basic idea is this: Democracy is based on empathy, that is, on citizens caring about each other and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities, and their nation. The role of government is to carry out this principle in two ways: protection and empowerment.
Obama quotes Lincoln: “to do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.” That is what he calls patriotism. He spotlights “the American belief … that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security… that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard time or bad luck, crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us.” He cites the religious version of this moral vision: “There but for the grace of God go I.” The greatness of America comes from carrying out such moral commitments as Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.
It is rare that a presidential speech provides such opportunities for Democrats, whether in office or not. The President has made overt the moral system that lies behind every progressive position on every issue. He has done it with near perfection. He went on offense, not defense. He didn’t use conservative language tied to conservative ideas. He correctly tied his moral vision to the American moral vision and the very idea of American democracy — and patriotism. He used systems thinking throughout. He tied every part of his budget proposal to the American moral vision. And he showed clearly how the Republican budget rejected those American moral ideals in every case. It was not merely high political art. It is a model to be studied and followed.
I agree with all who say that the President’s speech is a must read/watch. I’ve never underestimated this president and his team. And that speech, which certainly was political, is just a taste of what is to come. The 2012 election is going to be fun.