Obama’s Biggest Challenge

Nope, not the economy, not energy, not the war or education, not global climate change, intolerance, terrorism, international discord – nope, these all pale in comparison to his real challenge.

It’s His Fault
Yesterday I received an email from a colleague. It had almost no text from him, only a graphic picture showing yesterday’s stock market fall and the word, “See?!?!”


If he just wasn’t black
Later yesterday morning when I took my middle son to his high school, we noticed several cars that had a Confederate flag on make-shift flag poles screwed into the sidewalls of the car. There was a fracas and it didn’t take long before African American kids and parents were REALLY pissed off at the “Metal Mafia” dirt-bike gang (a bunch of ignorant skin head white supremacists) who were forced by the school administration to to remove the flags from their cars. (Reasonable point for discussion of Free Speech here)


Buddy can you spare a dime?
Last night I got a thread that stated that the Arizona Board of Regents will be seeking a double-digit increase in tuition in a public forum. The comments ran to the tune of, “WTF? Where are the changes Obama promised?” “Don’t worry, you’ll be going to college for free soon” and “See? Liberal commies just want to get into office and charge you more. He’s just like all the rest.” (This point, in particular was curious to me, thinking that college students of ALL PEOPLE should be smarter than that)


Push Me Pull Me
This morning I heard 2 Fox snippets. One of them harangued him for going so fast to propose Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff the night of the election, the other berated him for not taking action yet on his promises.


Why exactly, did he want this job again? I’d have to say this is the most thankless, lose-lose job on the planet. Here’s a tip: If you are expecting that the government is going to change up in the next couple weeks, don’t hold your breath. If you expect that the economy is going to suddenly straighten right up because we have a president elect, perhaps you should avoid purchasing stock. And if you’re a right-wing windbag that wants to start hacking at the new President, you might consider waiting till he has the tiniest modicum of Presidential authority before you slam him for his inaction in office.

Oh, and BTW: If you’re an ignorant, racist motherfucker, please just leave. There’s no room for you here and your quaint-yet-ugly stupidity is a huge scar on the face of my country. Find somewhere else to spit your hatred. Perhaps Rwanda – I understand there’s plenty of delightful touristy things down there for you to see. Don’t forget your cloak and pointy hat, I’m sure the locals will be amused.

But I digress.

Obama’s biggest problem is the THRONGS of people that expect that he walks on water, that all of Congress will suddenly bend and bow to his will, that all the political divisiveness will disappear in preparation for his administration, the entire world will suddenly start risking their money in the market again and that the ignorance and hatred that is racism simply disintegrates before he takes office. There is no way on this planet that a person can live up to the expectations that have been foisted upon him.

To be sure: there are also a WHOLE LOT of reasonable expectations on him, and I am one of those that will keep those expectations alive and loud, and will listening, watching and auditing intently as the new President steps into the shoes of My President.

But FFS people, let’s let the guy take a breath and figure out HOW he’s going to govern before we hassle him for not having done it. He’s going to do just fine – most probably be exceptional. But he deserves the time to convert from the discipline of campaigning to the science of governing.


  1. jairez says:

    @Rahm Immanuel – I have to say this pick kind of concerns me as Immanuel is a tried and true DLCC’r, which lands him directly in Pres. Clinton’s front yard. The corporate dominance of the DLCC doesn’t make them a whole bunch better than the Republicans – IMO.

    I think I would like more radical change than that (e.g. healthcare, un-privatize our vote, redaction of corporate personhood … etc.) and I’m just concerned that Clinton ran on a liberal agenda but was eventually forced into the middle and capitulated on a number of items that would have been outstanding for our country. See examples above.

    That said, to your point, … it’s early. So I’ll remain cautiously optimistic and wait and see.

  2. perkiset says:

    I’m not only fine with it, I’m pretty happy with the decision.

    When Repubs are in control, they push their advantage mercilessly, moving as far right as they possibly can because they know that their rule will fade. It is not only inappropriate, it is dangerous for the Dems to be the only centrist party. That means that we are center or right, and no “left” notions get forwarded.

    We need to bulldog some policies for a while – bulldog hard and Rahmbo is just the man for the job.

    IMO, of course ;)

  3. WillyP says:

    ‘Couldn’t agree with you more, Perkiset. The repubs have no choice but to play the tear down game, as they have no policies or new ideas to offer. I agree that Rahmbo is the best for Obambo. It is time to be strong and to not let the vicious ones tear him down or slow his agenda.

    More importantly, I think that the attacks by the right only underscore the need for a re-institution of the fairness doctrine. I clearly remember back before it was removed. Talk radio was much better. Instead of allowing people like the sack of guts Rush say whatever he wants to, his station was required to include legitimate opposing views on their air space, giving the listeners a range of ideas. Today, if a cementhead is locked into FOX Noise for example, they are cut off from any other ideas. It is time that stops.

    Keep up the good work, young man. This is an important and very thoughtful blog.

  4. perkiset says:

    Most kind, WP, Thank you.

    Let’s hope that there are more voices like ours in the coming years. My next post, however will outline the things I’ve heard in the last 2 days that denote the start of a new hate doctrine about to be unleashed. It’s going to be an INTERESTING next few years.

  5. jairez says:

    @”start of a new hate doctrine about to be unleashed.”

    Something for everyone to remember here is that is EXACTLY what the Republicans did to Bill Clinton once he won the White House. Started with Vince Foster and all those people the Clinton’s had killed along the way (:roll:) and never let up through White Water, Travelgate and all the rest, eventually leading up to Perkiset’s bff Trent Lott who promised stonewalling in the Senate once the Dems took over.

    I guess that’s the difference with liberals vs. conservatives. Liberals actually have high hopes and work towards a better tomorrow while the conservatives work diligently to be sure we never leave the 1950′s, and anyone who DOESN’T want to go back in time is a Commie-lovin’ Un-American Give-to-those-who-won’t-work Socialists!!

    JTFC – I just can’t wait. (sorry … sarcasm intended)

    On a personal note – WillyP – it’s AWEFULLY good to see your words again! I can hear your voice now and I’ve missed it! If you’re not sure who this is, Perkiset can fill you in ;) .

  6. WillyP says:

    Thank you, Jairez. That makes a tingle go up an old man’s leg! We are out here in a very rural desert area and it just isn’t easy getting back to the computer. I am so sad about the tactics that the repubs are using to hack at Obama and his crew. It is so unfortunate to see what was once a real, thinking and reflective party turn into a mindless attack dog. It is strange, but I think Sarah Palen is such a perfect symbol for that party. I hope she runs and gets another intellectual giant to run with her, say someone like Sean Hannity. Now there is a ticket that you can count on for laughs. It’s all so sad.

  7. perkiset says:

    @ Sarah Palin – you’d think it was 2011 already the way she’s doing interviews and slamming the McCain team. Hell, she’s on Larry King tonight… I thought we were done with her.


    That woman really bothers me.

  8. SFNathan says:

    Perk, this period is the initial test for Obama, and so far he’s doing better than anyone since Reagan. Like his campaign, he has remained steady while people all around him on every side have been flailing about with opinions on what he should do.

    All of the crazy carping around him isn’t important (in fact, it’s to be expected). Polling is overwhelmingly in support of him right now, and there is no media narrative that he’s made any mistakes yet. During this transition, the most important thing for him to do is to choose a strong team, and advance a few key policy positions. He has done both very well.

    Selecting Rahm Emmanuel as his Chief of Staff is one of the smartest choices Obama has made so far. Republicans respect and fear Emmanuel because he has a strong record of success (they may not like him, but they fear and respect him). And most liberals are fine with Emmanuel, because he will help Obama enact Obama’s agenda. Emmanuel may have a history working with centrists, but he is more than anything, an effective, fiercely partisan democrat. His experience in Congress will help Obama to shepherd Obama’s agenda through Congress.

    The second important thing Obama has done is to declare that he will take on two policy areas that are key to Democrats. First, he will close Guantanamo, and 2nd, he will reverse the Bush policy of blocking state climate change laws that are stricter than federal laws. He chose these two fights probably because they are fights he has some control over. Both are fights that he can win by Executive Order, rather than an act of Congress, and both are fights that are comparatively easy to win. (there may be fallout from both fights, but if he does it well, he will have two wins at the beginning of his term, with as little fallout as possible). One could compare these fights to Clinton’s early decision to sign an executive order removing the ban on gays in the military, but the key difference is that no one was pushing for Clinton to sign that order when he announced he would do it. There was no political will behind his decision. In both of these policies Obama is pushing for, there are strong constituencies already demanding action on these issues, and so the political will to enact these Executive Orders will be much stronger than what happened with Clinton and gays in the military.

    Obama is showing us already that he is judicious in his governing style, and will set his own agenda, rather than flail about responding to constituencies, as Clinton and Carter did in the beginning of their terms.

  9. perkiset says:

    Beautifully written SFNate, I feel smarter when I read your stuff. My paranoia is similar to what it was during the campaign: the unknown. I have enormous respect for Obama’s political abilities now – quite frankly, a LOT more than I thought I’d be willing to give so early in the game.

    It’s that I also respect the capabilities of our political adversaries, and the fact that as good as he is, he is neither omniscient or omnipotent – it is the Delilah haircut that rumbles around in me. You just don’t know how many are plotting against you and exactly how – think of the political brinksmanship in the first Dune book (an excellent example of political chess IMO) and how you couldn’t even count on people to be consistently good, evil or anything – the whole world was shifting sand (pun intended ;) )

    I think he will do better than perhaps any president in recent times – perhaps becoming one of the greatest. I’ll stand with you in your optimism and crafty layout of the current political landscape.

  10. braindonkey says:

    @dune reference.
    wow. :nerd:
    relevant and true, but still :nerd:

  11. perkiset says:

    Oh c’mon now, “Dune” is THAT eclectic of a read? I mean I’ll take “dork” and “dweeb” but a DOUBLE :nerd: ??

    OK OK, so I did have a hard-on while reading Chapterhouse and got my arms around the fact that the Bene Gesserit nuns could actually control the minds of men because their sack-action was so tasty, but who didn’t? I mean, c’mon!