While it’s true that Republicans have been dominating the debate in the mainstream media from a decibel perspective, the most recent Gallup poll reveals that Americans have come to strongly disapprove of the way Congressional Republicans are handling the crisis and give Obama high marks for his approach.
What does this tell us? Think back to a year ago when Obama was being routinely counseled by partisan hacks and the mainstream media to “take the gloves off” against Clinton and McCain. Remember how many times Obama was flying under the radar only to ultimately hand his opponents a neverending series of trouncings?
The simple fact is that Obama is a once-in-a-generation political virtuoso who is able to think many moves ahead in the complicated game he is engaged in. As someone said to me recently, Obama is playing three-dimensional chess while we’re still stuck playing checkers.
Almost without fail, Obama has time and again proven himself more shrewd and astute in the game of politics than any of the tired partisan hacks that control the media spigots of “conventional wisdom” and misinformation.
People on the left who are worked into a frenzy about how supposedly muted Obama has been at times over the last few weeks need to take a deep breath and give him a chance to prove himself to us.
Chances are, Obama is going to make all them sound pretty tone-deaf once he unveils yet another unexpected checkmate.
Update: Here’s Andrew Sullivan’s take, which I think is exactly right:
One feels exactly as one did in the primaries as his occasional drifts against Clinton led to a chorus of attacks from the base that he was being too much of a wimp, too defensive, too polite. My gut is to advise him to let rip. But Obama’s brain is often shrewder than many guts. From a long-term strategic perspective, even the critics are already entrenching the central meme that Obama has tried to bring as many people on board as possible. They are doing his work for him. If his core identity has been established as genuine and conciliatory – something Bill Clinton, fairly or unfairly, failed to achieve – then he can make a good faith case for his bill on its merits, not on the demerits of his opponents. The case is more effective if people don’t interpret it as partisan. And since I suspect the case is very strong, that’s his long-term advantage.
Andrew Sullivan posted a remarkable quote by Obama made back in the heady days of the mid-90s:
“The political debate is now so skewed, so limited, so distorted… What if a politician were to see his job as that of an organizer, as part teacher and part advocate, one who does not sell voters short but who educates them about the real choices before them? As an elected public official, for instance, I could bring church and community leaders together easier than I could as a community organizer or lawyer. We would come together to form concrete economic development strategies, take advantage of existing laws and structures, and create bridges and bonds within all sectors of the community. We must form grass-root structures that would hold me and other elected officials more accountable for their actions,” – Barack Obama, 1995.We’re lucky to have this guy as our President at this moment in history.
This new Gallup poll helps to demonstrate how short-sighted the Grand Obstructionist Party has become:
The American public gives President Barack Obama a strong 67% approval rating for the way in which he is handling the government’s efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, while the Democrats and, in particular, the Republicans in Congress receive much lower approval ratings of 48% and 31%, respectively.
I recently reconnected with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Monza Naff, from my old college days. She wrote a book recently on a topic that I’d never considered.
Think for a moment; why is it that we, as a society, have come up with rituals for certain momentous life events (e.g., birth, the passing into adulthood, marriage, death, etc.) and not divorce? Regardless of my general views on religion, I can understand the human need to mark chapters in the human experience with some kind of ritualized happening. When it comes to the big ones, like death, the rationale becomes even clearer.
Here is a short writeup of Dr. Naff’s book, Must We Say We Did Not Love? The Need for Divorce Rituals in Our Time:
After completing the legal process, adults and children alike may still feel the need for some kind of rite of passage to cement their intentions so they can move on into the future instead of staying stuck in the past. Parents may want to offer their children greater security and ease in the transition. Based on the author’s 25 years’ work co-creating rituals with divorcing couples and families, this book shows you how. By sharing engaging stories of real people in varied circumstances, Naff highlights key elements to consider in creating a divorce ritual that’s appropriate for you. The ritual can be simple and informal or structured and intricate, honoring each person’s beliefs and/or philosophy.
Grounded in a brilliant analysis of the psycho-spiritual value of ritual, this book offers you a way to deeper peace and resolution through a 4-element process, flexible enough to fit your feelings and values, your children’s needs, and your goals for the future. Even in the midst of pain and anger, you can create an opportunity for healing.
Now, a Very Serious New York Times sports writer gets into the act with this finger-wagging drivel:
Phelps has not denied or confirmed anything. He has instead apologized for setting a bad example, which it most certainly was. No matter how many people defend marijuana and extol decriminalizing it, there are studies that say the stuff is bad for important functions like reasoning, and can lead to worse abuses.Here is my reply to the writer, George Vecsey (his email is [email protected] if you want to drop him a note):
The swimming federation and Kellogg have every right — in fact, a responsibility — to punish Phelps.
Your article on Phelp’s pot smoking was so insightful. God knows you can’t become the #1 world record holder of gold medals or, say, the President of the United States and have yet been a pot smoker. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were obviously lying when they admitted to smoking weed — it would obviously be impossible for them to rise to such a high status and yet have been polluted by the demon drug.
Now that Phelps has tried the deadly life-destroyer, he is obviously incapable of ever achieving the heights of athletic success he previously enjoyed. It’s too bad that Phelps is now destined to a life of penury, addiction and despair. Kids, take note!!
Is it too late to let Texas secede?
[O]n January 7th, a student in my classroom in second period left my class, went to the Principal’s office, and told him that there was an inappropriate discussion in my classroom… Her mother came to class on January 7th, came to the school January 7th, very upset… She accused me of being an atheist, saying I was too liberal, and that I allowed the students to talk about inappropriate things in the classroom. I told her that occasionally students would get on topics and say things, but I was unable to censor them before they were able to say them. She said that I called her daughter a name and I denied the accusation. But then she said that I didn’t believe in god and shouldn’t be teaching. She also said that she had spoken to 3 other board members who agreed with her that I shouldn’t be teaching because I was too liberal and I was an atheist. On January 16th, I was called to Mr. Richard Turner’s office (my principal), and he informed me that I had been put on administrative leave with pay. The reasons, as stated to me by Mr. Turner at the time, were that I was accused of being an atheist and teaching atheism in the classroom, and I was too liberal.
This is one of the best quotes I’ve come across in a while:
“I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.” — John Cole
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