Monday, May 4, 2009

Okay, enough with the 100 days already.

I haven't written that much about politics this year. I'm still annoyed that the Al Franken victory is being delayed so long. (Next court date is Minnesota Supreme Court in early June.) But as for Barack Obama... he's not perfect, but I like the guy.

I mean I really like him. When this White House sets up a photo-op, it works for me. I thought Bill Clinton on Arsenio Hall's show was cornball. A few years back, Bush had the women's college basketball champs visit the White House and people made a stink that the young women wore flip-flops. That might have been the press being idiots or the White House tsk-tsking, but I thought it rang a bad note, completely separate from how I felt about Bush and his politics. Last month, Obama had the UConn women's hoops champs over to the White House, and he played P-I-G (a short version of H-O-R-S-E) with them at the outdoor hoop, and he schooled them. He's got a nice stroke from about sixteen feet.

Another reason I haven't been writing that much is that I usually read Frank Rich on the weekend and think "Yeah, that's what I was gonna say." Here's his most recent article, touching on several things I had in mind.

1. As someone who disliked George W. Bush personally, who thought he was just a spoiled, dull frat boy grown older but not grown up, I've tried to get in the heads of people who have a personal distaste for Barack Obama, and I find it tough to do. Not all of them speak in bigot code, but a whole lot of them do.

2. While I like Obama, I can certainly understand how those who don't like him think the press is fawning over him. Part of the press definitely is. I was just a kid when JFK was in office, but some of the stuff I've seen, the way the press laughs at his jokes, the interest in what Michelle is wearing, the way the kids are treated, has very strong Camelot overtones.

3. The 100 days milestone is unreasonable. FDR came into office in a completely different situation than anyone since. The economic troubles had been going on for three years, and the degree to which the public blamed Republican policies was much higher than it is today.

So far, I think the stuff he's done has been pretty good. I still don't trust Geithner, but that story isn't over yet. The stuff he's been able to do with the stroke of the pen undoing what Bush did, like Guantanamo and the global gag order and the ridiculous stem cell research ban and the blocking of the Plan B pill, that's good stuff. The big stuff, ending the wars and making health care affordable for everyone and doing something constructive about climate change, that's yet to come. Cut the guy some slack. He's still got the job for another 45 months at least.


Karlacita! said...

For me, the change is sort of global and also personal. I feel better about the world, whereas when Bush and Cheney were in charge, I lived with a sense of dread at all times.

In the personal realm, I can now listen to the radio when someone mentions the president's name. Instead of shutting it off, I actually listen and go, "Mmmm, Obama."

dguzman said...

Amen, Matty. Like Karlacita!, I enjoy feeling generally happy most of the time instead of feeling that, at any moment, a black van is going to whip around the corner on two wheels and screech to a stop next to me, and two guys in shades are gonna disappear me to Gitmo.