With all deference to Desperado, I wanted to piggy back on his idea of looking back at the last year since Obama was elected president. However, instead of evaluating his performance, I wanted to take a look at the political landscape. Obama made a lot of noise about changing the tone in Washington. He wasn't the first and he won't be the last. George W. Bush made the same pledge when he went to Washington. He got worse in the intervening eight years, but to be perfectly fair, I'm not sure it was all or even mostly his fault. At least not Bush individually.
Similarly, Obama has tried to reach across the aisle, but he has also done his fair share of wall-building as it may be called. While people on the left are applauding his decision to freeze out Fox News, that action is definitely not one someone would take if the want to mend fences. That being said, like most presidents, Obama is in the peculiar situation of trying to be conciliatory while not being a push over. Sometimes, that requires people to make hard choices.
Memory is a funny thing sometimes. People that support the president (any president) will come out and say their president has been getting more flack than any president before him. Obviously, it becomes a bit hyperbolic at times. George W. Bush took on abuse just like Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush before him. In fact, you got to go back pretty far to find a president that was immune to such abuse. It certainly hasn't happened in my lifetime even if Ronald Reagan came close. It is not only our right to oppose policies we disagree with, but it is also our duty.
One of the things I have noticed is the fact that those that oppose Obama's policies have done a couple of things that are new to the political discussion. First, they have asserted that Obama wants to destroy America (or segments of it). This is something I never heard from mainstream Democrats and any elected Democrat that uttered such a thing in the past was usually frozen out of power. There will always be segments that say such things, but those segments have become more mainstream. Maybe it is having a major cable network that argues such things. Maybe it is allowing talking heads to take control of the Republican party. Either way, it is damaging to public discourse. If we could agree on anything in the past, it was that everyone wanted what was best for America.
The second thing we've noticed is an increase in what I would call fantasy strategies. In other words, the strategies and ideas attributed to Obama are pure fantasy. He has been called a Socialist that wants to convert the United States into a socialist country. Excuse me? When did he say this exactly? This is attrbuted to all of his policies. Instead of fighting the policy, they make it up. He doesn't want counseling for seniors, he wants death panels. He wants rationing. They didn't stop there. Now, they are making up what happens in other countries. You don't want to end up like England or Canada. You might actually get health care for an affordable rate. Oops, I can't say that, so I people are dying in line. You say I'm wrong? Go buy a plane ticket to go to London and prove me wrong.
The tragedy of it all is that there are realistic points to make against Obama's ideas. Health care reform needs those ideas. Our energy policy needs those ideas. More than that, our policies around the world need as many ideas as possible. We need the best minds this country can muster to beat all of these threats to the well-being in our country. If the best minds are stuck hatching hair-brained conspiracy theories then we don't have the brain power we need to get these things done. Happy Anniversary Mr. President, I hope this next year goes smoother than the first.