I appreciate everything Robert Scheer says in this article. I especially appreciate his recognition that most of the challenges that Obama faces, whether it be getting strong healthcare reform done or cap & trade, have been made much more difficult because of this financial mess inherited from Bush.
However, I think Obama is doing a very good job in a very tough economic environment and with the cards he was dealt. His policies are definitely helping the economy, and the fact that we are even debating healthcare is huge and we can thank Obama. Even if there is no perfect healthcare bill, the train has now left the station and healthcare reform will more likely develop over the next several years, particularly if the cost problem continues to linger. This likely is just round one on healthcare.
I think Obama will look very good for re-election in 2012. By then the economy will have significantly recovered--leading indicators are already pointing to a full-blown recovery--and if he can get some healthcare reform done, at least getting millions of people insured, that will be some achievement, not to mention that these newly insured are also voters. The newly insured could secure him millions of voters, just like not giving up on the auto sector likely secured him millions of votes in the battleground states of Indiana and Michigan.
In the second half of his first term, if he then focuses on the debt and deficit (as his people say he will), which will correspond with stronger economic growth, he will look like he doing something to fix one of the only things you can kind of blame Obama for: the higher debt, although most of the deficit expected over the next threee years can really be blamed on Bush and was years in the making.
Write off Obama if you would like, but that is likely unwise.
I would also say it is important to not just focus on Obama, but to look at the other side of the equation. The Republicans are even in a much weaker position. They are definately looking more and more like the party of "no" with few ideas, few leaders and the party of extremists. If I was a Republican, I would be even more worried, as their strategy to trash Obama may have gained some traction, but they have not really benefitted--in fact, they may be shooting themselves in the foot.
New York, NY
Sep 16 2009 - 2:22pm