Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Misreading Obama, still.

O Good Lord, I do love Charles P. Pierce, the politics blogger now appearing amidst the shoe porn and the very respectful photo spreads of attractive young female actresses and models of Esquire Magazine. CPP can hurrumph with the best of them.  He calls the GOP House caucus "feral children" and Paul Ryan, a "zombie-eyed granny starver." I like that sort of stuff.

But he doesn't get Barack Obama.  

He thinks that Barack Obama is failing to be another Lyndon Johnson: a President who squeezed Congress so inappropriately that they coughed up great gobs of progressive legislation.  More brow-beating, please.  More contempt and ridicule, please, Mr. President.

He is upset that President Obama appointed a Republican lawyer, whose resume ought to be his criminal record, if there were any voting justice, to co-chair a commission on voting reform.  Who did he think Obama would appoint?  Bernie Sanders and Jesse Jackson?  They would win the day, but only on Rachel Maddow's show.

Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson.  Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton.  Barack Obama is not Cornel West.

Barack Obama is the political equivalent of Jackie Robinson, if any comparison is to be made.  He is not defeating his opposition; he is not humiliating them; he is rising above them.  Just as Jackie Robinson prevailed by being the best damn baseball player anyone could imagine, and never being distracted by the taunts from the bleachers, or the other teams dugout, or even his own.

It is a fact of American life that for an African American to succeed, they have to work twice as hard, and be twice as good to get half the result.  It must be maddening to every ambitious and talented African American. And it must be even more maddening that many people don't recognize it for what it is when it happening right before their eyes, that they think it weakness, instead of enormous strength.

There are lots of people who don't think that Barack Obama is a very skilled politician. Seriously?

Barack Obama is doing what a textbook President would do, what a President is supposed to do:  proposing policies and expecting Congress to act upon them, asking for a vote on his proposals, doing his best to always be responsible.
We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.
He looks bigger everyday, while his opposition looks smaller.

He has won over a significant majority of the people, who support his proposals.  The only thing that stands in the way of another of those brief periods when this country lurches forward are legislative machinations to keep the people from enacting our will. The only things between us and climate change legislation, gun safety legislation, public works programs, universal pre-school, immigration reform and everything that we need to do are the Senate Filibuster and the Hastert Rule.

We all deserve a vote on what matters, now.



2 comments:

Kim Hampton said...

Tom,
I hadn't thought about the Jackie Robinson comparison. It's a wonderful way of looking at it.

Being who I am, the figure that I'm really starting to see in President Obama is Curt Flood. There is something powerful in knowing that even if it hurts you some, breaking a system that isn't working will eventually bring about the intended result. The question becomes how far the Republicans will go in order to try to break Obama like MLB tried to break Curt Flood.

Unknown said...

The President of the United States is the head of the American Empire.

While I have invested many a year in active critique of Empire, it matters to me who the head of the Empire is and what he does. This one is much less annoying than others I have experienced.

Much less.