Politics & Prejudices
Year of decision
Holding back the GOP, even as we wish the prez were more impressive
Published: January 4, 2012
Yes, President Obama hasn’t seemed to live up to the impossible hopes he stirred in us during his first campaign. Nobody could. This has gotten otherwise sensible liberals to bitterly say that they’ve been betrayed, and may not vote.
Two people I know say they might even vote for Romney, on the grounds he couldn’t be worse. But that is both infantile and nuts. People always pin more hopes on their presidents than is realistic.
Check out the quotation at the start of this column. Fits Obama perfectly, doesn’t it? Except it wasn’t said about him, but about John F. Kennedy, when he was president. Historians today feel differently.
I’d bet my sweet bippy they’ll see this administration differently from the way the chattering class now does too.
Trouble is, much of what Obama has done is so far invisible. Most of the features of the health care plan that will improve the lives of millions haven’t yet kicked in. Mostly, his policies prevented what would have amounted to another Great Depression. Think of what would have happened if Obama hadn’t been elected. The domestic auto industry would have gone out of business, based on what John McCain, Mitt Romney and the Republicans said they would do.
Last year ought to have been a bucket of cold water in the face for all of us, regardless of ideology. America turned over control of half of Congress to the Republicans in the midterm elections.
Here in Michigan, we turned over control of everything to the GOP. Nationally, try to name one positive thing Speaker of the House John Boehner and his majority Republicans have accomplished, or even added to the national debate. (Good luck with that.)
In this state, the picture is more complex, but is mainly one of a nontraditional governor with some worthwhile ideas trying to cope with a Legislature controlled by narrowly ideological, often nasty and vindictive members of his own party.
Unfortunately, at year’s end they seemed more and more to be winning, and Snyder increasingly allowed himself to be pulled along.
This year, we ought to learn what he is really made of.
As this presidential campaign progresses, we should find out what this country is made of too.
> Email Jack Lessenberry