The Absolute Necessity of Enacting a Progressive AgendaThose words jumped out at me from a comment while I lurked through one of the day's more prominent Obamabot pie fights solely for personal amusement. I tried, but could not think of a single time in American History when "The Absolute Necessity of Enacting a Progressive Agenda" was a somehow winning political idea, not even the New Deal, when everything was discussed largely in terms of recovery and jobs. What an odd point of view to bring to a discussion in a place ostensibly focused on Democrats winning elections. What an odd point of view to bring to an assessment of Barack Obama's performance as a politician.
This is not META. The words inspired me to write a diary, but not a meta diary. Another title for this diary might be
A Better Appreciation of Barack Obama as a PoliticianEvery American President has the same job: Win the office. Win it again. Leave a legacy. They all do the same job, though not all get the 2nd term. Some of those legacies have been good and lasting. Some harmful and lasting, etc. etc.
From the day I decided to support Barack Obama's candidacy, I have believed, without wavering, that I understood how he would approach the Presidency and how he would govern and deal with whatever challenges his particular era threw up at him. This was touched upon in my very first diary on this site. Perhaps by illuminating my understanding of Obama as a politician I can help others appreciate some reasons for continuing to support the President and his initiatives while keeping our many areas of specific policy disagreement more tacit for reasons of (gasp) political expediency.
Nothing the President did in the recent dust-up surprised me because, at each turn, he acted pretty much as I've always thought he might in such a situation. Hence, nothing the President did disappointed me or diminished my enthusiastic support for his Presidency. I thought he made mistakes, but I expect him to. I don't think him infallible.
I never imagined that this President had been elected to fulfill the "absolute necessity of enacting a progressive agenda". Talk about fairies and unicorns. I just hoped that he might help progressively minded thinking to nibble away at some of the anti-American realities that blight the American Dream. That's what the wing-nuts do, effectively, alas, about abortion. They nibble at it, here there, and very much in the state legislatures.
But the President only represents 1/3 of a 3 part government and he doesn't always control what gets put on his plate. Likewise, he has to pick and choose his priorities and, when he can, his fights. All effective politicians do this.
Jimmy Carter was a good President in bad times. He became a one-term President for it, but he lacked Barack Obama's political skills. I believe that in the end, historians will look back on Barack Obama's 2 term Presidency and find, both in his reelection and in his 2nd term, a legacy more in tune with some "absolute necessity of enacting a progressive agenda" than many might now dare dream. I have found it always helpful to view current political events through the lens of American History.
Speaking of comparative Presidential History, I recommend that anyone who wishes to really understand Barack Obama the politician should read 7 or 8 books about Abraham Lincoln. I guarantee you that Barack Obama has.