Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our brilliant president

Noemi Emery puts her tongue firmly in her cheek to marvel on how Obama has been on shredding the huge popular approval and public support with which he came into office. Instead of building a coalition from the middle out as he did in his 2008 campaign, he's centered himself on the left and given up the middle ground to conservatives. And then he trots out all his straw-men argument to demonstrate that his words at that San Francisco fundraiser in 2008 about Americans clinging to their guns and God is exactly how he regards the great majority of Americans. We're all bigots who, without his wise leadership, would let loose our inner KKK on the land.
How brave is Obama, to speak out as he did against the persecution of Muslims that is sweeping the country, and has swept it in fact since Sept. 11, 2001? Who can forget the riots that engulfed the whole country, the cross (and Star of David) burnings outside the mosques and the homes of innocent Muslims, the lynchings and hideous acts of unprovoked violence; the demands of conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Sarah Palin enthusiasts that Muslims and in fact all Arab-Americans, be confined in camps somewhere out in the country -- Wasilla, for instance -- as Japanese-Americans had been during the Second World War?

How lucky was it that Obama was swept into office just as George W. Bush was about to put this vicious scheme into practice? What would the world then have said about that?

How wise too for Obama to come out for the mosque, enraging survivors of those killed in the terror attacks and swing voters everywhere, and then walk it back somewhat, ticking off the press and the left wing of his party (but we repeat ourselves), who now feels a little betrayed?

It's not as if Muslim outreach hasn't paid off already: Iran has dropped its nuclear plans, and adopted a Good Neighbor policy, which would never have happened if Bush were in office. Can we all say a prayer over this?
Just do a little contrafactual thinking. What if Obama had come into office and constructed a middle ground for his stimulus package using a few of the conservatives' ideas on how to bring back the economy. And then imagine he'd gone on to craft his health care policy by picking off the moderate wing of the Republican Party. He would have been able to drive a wedge through the Republican Party that would have left them whimpering and whining in a corner as he continued to build on the coalition that elected him and won over several red states in 2008.

But that wasn't the path our brilliant president took. He likes to brag that he's pretty good at politicking, but he's managed to infuse strength into the conservative movement in a way unimaginable just a couple of years ago. Yup, that's our Barack, the brilliant politician.