I heard on news this morning about reactionaries doing well in Greece, and I remember to note the general swing to the right in Europe: this is valuable perspective.
Obama has been very disappointing to those on the left, but remember the environment he is in. Who in the world has resisted swinging way right in this environment? Mostly everyone is charging right. At least Obama is resisting. And he is resisting.
While I am defending the man, remember another disadvantage he has. Not only did George II destroy both our government’s and our country’s finances, and not only did he try to make most of the world hate us…
He also did a damn good job of gutting the federal work force. Good people were driven out, quit, and retired. Rightist incompetents were hired at every opportunity. The people Obama has under his employ include a lot of terrible people who want to do bad things, people who are dolts and crooks. People who now have civil service protections.
When Obama’s history is written his work to rebuild the basic functioning of our government will be a big item.
I am looking forward to reading It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, just out by Thomas E. Mann (Brookings) and Norman J. Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute). There is an argument that Washington is not its most broken ever, that it was more broken just before the US civil war. Wow, what a low bar. Just before the war where we killed 700,000-plus fellow Americans, we were worse off than we are now. We are in a very bad place. My mother is right about that.
Hollywood has the term “magic negro” for a swath of characters with mystical powers, but how much magic do we expect from this mortal who is badly constrained by a reality that is trying to crush him and our country? He is doing one hell of a good job.
©2012 Kent Borg