Marty and I listened to the President deliver his State of the Union address Wednesday night. The man is, if nothing else, one of the best orators of our time. It helps that I agree with most of what he says, but he is undeniably a talented man, and I appreciate that he can develop and deliver a coherent sentence. It gives me hope for reducing the sucking sound we hear everywhere.
In my view President Obama is not a radical left wing nut but a pragmatist with populist tendencies. It is clear he believes the government should play a large role in improving the lives of its citizens. It's equally clear by the looks on Republican's faces at the SOTU, they don't agree. That's America, not agreeing, that's okay. But, to simply call Obama a radical is at best disingenuous and at worst ignorant. He's just not that simple.
Last night I think he articulated what many of us are thinking and wanting, and for me, reinforced why I voted for him. I think he is populist in his desire to reregulate banks and financial institutions, I think he is populist in wanting the government to draft a jobs bill to help people go back to work, I think he is populist when he implores our Congress not to give up on health care. I think he is pragmatic enough to know we need to use all of our resources for energy, I think he is pragmatic when he gave tax cuts to so many, I think his pragmatism shows when he draws a line in the sand for Iran and when he calls for capital gains tax cuts for small business.
In many ways Obama’s life would be easier and certainly more appealing to his base if he acted as radical as some want to paint him. Trying to live a nuanced life where you listen to all sides, where you are open to the opposition is a lot more difficult than being an ideologue. When you take a hard and fast stand on everything it's really easy, you don't have to think, you just have to parrot a party line or talking point. I believe Obama to be a nuanced man, that's why I voted for him and why I will vote for him again if given the opportunity. We don't need ideologues in that office anymore.
Ideologues on both sides are responsible for the grid lock everywhere. Ideologues on both sides are the reason we have not reformed health care. Republicans would like all of us to believe they are willing and ready to negotiate. Reality says, they have said, we want to defeat something like health care because it will harm Obama, it will further our political interests. They only want to negotiate if they as the minority party can act as the majority. It's not policy they are concerned with, they are concerned with elections. That doesn't seem particularly patriotic, it seems self serving. I really don't think the Democrats are any better, I just agree with them more often than not.
What I really want to see is the President step up and be the leader I think he can be. I think his first year has been one of some success and some clear failure. I don't think John McCain, Mitt Romney or thank God, Sarah Palin would have done any better or frankly done much different. I want to see Obama be more aggressive, I want to see my President get behind is own words that he would rather be a great one term president than a mediocre two term president. I too want him to be a great president. I would hope everyone would, it's what our country really needs.