The Inside Washington show today was talking about the popularity and potency of the Obama administration. Even people who don’t like his policies seem to like him, which, they point out, poses a huge problem for his political opposition.
Count me among those people who like him, but are not quite behind all his policies. Make no mistake: there is no one else I’d want to have be president right now. His intellect, poise, thoughtfulness, meticulousness, etc., mean that although there’s a slew of things going wrong in the world I can bear the news of them with so much less anxiety because I trust that someone capable is in charge of getting us through it. As I’ve said before, it’s not policies I care about, per se, but the methodology by which they are developed. And his methodology I’m inclined to trust a lot.
And yet, on several big ticket issues I care about, I find many of his current policies coming up short in troubling ways. Stocking the DOJ with representatives of the content cartels and backing their litigation efforts against users, supporting the government’s efforts to spy on citizens’ communications with even greater zeal than even Bush had, taking a rather milquetoasty approach to the Bush administration’s torture program, these policies all run completely contrary to everything I’ve endeavored to fight against in my personal and professional life. Moreover, they also run completely counter to the liberal ethos he espoused in his campaign, and, indeed, the values I suspect he truly believes in.
So I comfort myself with the thought that he is just getting started. It is a new administration, only slightly more than 100 days into his multi-year marathon, with an enormous list of crises and tasks to deal with. That he has already handled so many with the deftness someone with much more experience in his role could only hope to have is to his credit and inspires tremendous confidence. Thus I feel it’s only a matter of time before he realizes the folly of some of his administration’s positions, including how they may prove counterproductive to his larger policy goals. There are already some good and talented people in his midst ready willing and able to point this reality out to him, and others like me on the outside who will continue to advocate for these polices’ reversal.
I still believe he’s the kind of president who will hear us.