Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Clearly, our president is much smarter than Professor Fraser. The stock market crash and depression preceeded the Roosevelt administration, requiring a different set of actions. The size and reach into our lives of the medical insurance industry is what makes a "flick of the switch" change slow, a war of nerves, rather than a sweeping presidential signing of legislation.

I don't think it is healthy to collapse history into cozy images, as the History Channel would, when comparing FDR to Obama. The bank and credit business today are much more out of proportion to our principles, as are the demands of running political campaigns and the subsequent demands of PR and image-building. Times have changed from the days when radio was king.

Obama is smart. You don't ram headlong into a mountain, you wind up its slopes gently.

Richard Ray Harris

Desert Hot Springs, CA

Feb 18 2010 - 11:21am

Web Letter

I would think that President Obama is more disappointed in the people than the people are in him. After all, he made it very clear during that campaign that, as president, there would be little that he could do alone--it would take the direct action of the public to get things done. So, what have We the People done? Besides sitting in our living rooms, grumbling about the tea partiers?

I don't know why ordinary people seem so paralyzed, so like deer caught in the headlights. We can't seem to organize, can't march, can't make a single collective statement. There is no movement for change and, again, Obasma can't accomplish a whole lot alone, without the active support of people like you and me. It will take effective spokespeople (and there are a few) and a whole lot of people willing to put on their marching/working boots.

D.H. Fabian

Fort Atkinson, WI

Feb 16 2010 - 10:54pm

Web Letter

Apparently Obama disappoints many liberals. Yes, that is to be expected. Obama was bound to disappoint because the task is impossible.

One difference with FDR is that his constituency did not have a sense of entitlement, unlike now. Across the whole political spectrum there is much more of a sense that the system needs to take care of us than before WWII.

Accordingly we are all fighting to get a piece of the pie from the public treasury without concern to the health of the whole system. That is applicable, for example, from union employees to Wall Street traders equally.

In addition, we typically believe the problem is always the other.

"Left" or "right," "liberal" or "conservative" are but labels that keep us wanting to solve life with black-and-white solutions. Could it be that both the right and the left contribute to the problem and also have solutions?

I haven't seen any more self-awareness and wisdom on the political left than on the political right.

Maybe it's time to try something new. The American Indian Wheel of Law or (Medicine Wheel) seems more evolved than what we are practicing now.

Chris Alexander

Los Angeles, CA

Feb 16 2010 - 4:06pm

Web Letter

This is a very good article, and I share the author's doubts about the Obama administration. In the past week, ABC News had a report on the green jobs that would come out of the stimulus package. Apparently 2,000 of these jobs would go to China to manufacture solar panels, and close to 300 jobs would be available in Texas to install them. Since China's economy is growing at 8.7 percent, I find it surprising that it would need a stimulus from what is fast becoming an undeveloped country. One of Obama's campaign promises was that he would seek a balanced trade relationship in trade for US exports. You may also remember that one of his financial advisors ran over to the Canadian Counsel in Chicago to tell them it was only campaign rhetoric!

Since around 70 percent of the American economy is supported by consumer spending American jobs support, there is no recovery without those American jobs. There is no American market without those jobs! Obama can try to spin this issue through the 2010 election, but spin will not prevent the failure of the American economy. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are responsible for this "free trade" depression in the United States, and, in 2010 or 2012, they will be judged by the voters. When the US economy fails, the globalized interconnected world economy will fail. We don't have an independent national economy protected by trade barriers, that we had during and after the 1929 depression. Talk about a house of cards!

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Feb 15 2010 - 4:44pm