Hail to the Chief

It’s been a busy January for me, so I apologize for the lack of posts.

Today is a momentous day in America.  We inaugurate a new president.  He’s well-spoken, educated, telegenic, has an attractive wife, two cute kids and a mandate for change.   The main differences from past presidents?  The color of his skin and an exotic name.

If nothing else, Obama’s installation as president should give hope to every child that they can achieve pretty much anything they want to if they are willing to work hard enough to get it.

I approach today’s transfer of power as a good thing and as a historic event, but without the sense of jubilation that many in this country have.   I’m very glad to see Bush gone.  From the standpoint of the average American citizen, his policies have ranged from mediocre to terrible.  The best thing one can say about his administration is that there was not another terrorist attack on US soil after 9/11.  How much of that is due to his policies is a matter open for debate.  With Obama as president, it will be hard for him to not improve foreign relations with most of the rest of the world.

My main worry with the incoming Obama team deals with the economy.  We’re still in serious trouble here, and I don’t think continuing to shovel debt at the problem will work.   That is the approach being forwarded by the Obama economic team, though.   We may see a short-term economic bounce, but over the longer haul I don’t think it will have lasting effect.   The measure of the man will be in how fast Obama recognizes this and changes policy because of it.  If he follows the Bush/Paulson plan of just continuing to throw bad money after worse money, then I will be sorely disappointed.    I voted for Obama because under all of the ‘change’ claptrap he seemed to be thoughtful, intelligent, and pragmatic.  If he cannot break out of the Keynesian economic approach if that fails to work, then we’re all in for a turbulent ride.

I fear that the historic impact of Obama’s election may be swept away by both current events and extremely elevated expectations for his administration.  Some folks are simply happy to have a new face in the White House while others seem to be expecting that we’re all going to have  our money problems magically go away and we’ll get a free pony to boot.  We have dug ourselves into a deep hole, and getting out will be long, hard and messy.

Those are worries for another day, though.  For today, I’m content that the old regime is being swept out and we have a chance to move forward in many areas.  Enjoy the day.

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3 Responses to Hail to the Chief

  1. mike says:

    I see Obama about the same way as you with two differences.

    First, I am less impressed with Obama as a man than you are by the looks of it. My take from talking to people that know him to varying degrees is that he has wanted this for a long time. This means that he has lived his life a particular way in order to exposure to anything that may tarnish him – which is why I am so confused about the Bill Ayres relationship.

    Second, as I have told some of the loyal Obamies that I know, Obama is now Bush as far as the expanded power he inherits. I don’t see where he will roll much of it back significantly.

    -Mike

  2. Bart says:

    You have to want to be president for a long time to do the groundwork and put up with the shit that comes with the job. There’s an old saying that the people best qualified to be president are too smart to want the job. With that in mind, I think Obama was the best candidate in the current flock of wanna-bes. That doesn’t mean I think he’s perfect… he’s still a politician, and we’ll see soon enough how his campaign promises are translated into action or not.

    As far as the Ayers thing goes, it’s an incidental relationship at best from what I’ve been able to read. Much more was made of it in the election campaign.

    You’re absolutely right as far as the presidential power thing goes. We’re not wired to give up power voluntarily when we don’t have to. Until Congress finds its backbone again, we will deal with an increasingly powerful executive branch. I wrote a little about this over a year ago in this post:

    https://moralequivalentofwar.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/looking-at-2008/

  3. Rebecca says:

    I was really glad to see Bush go, and I think Obama is going to be a better president than he ever was. But over the past few days I have been getting the feeling “meet the new boss…same as the old boss” in a lot of ways.

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