Posts Tagged ‘Bill Maher’

The Non-Obama (Part 2)

January 1, 2010

Campaigns are all about creating a marketing message. It’s rare that the application of the marketing message is effective for governance. While Obama has been exceptionally consistent with his tangible campaign promises, the marketing message of hope and change has yet to be fulfilled in the minds of many. If any mistake was made on Obama’s part, it was a lack of tempering those unrealistic expectations. The recent editorial that I picked up from a friend on Facebook is a rather nutty example [1] of comparing the fictional Jesus Christ to the fictional Obama.

Many on the left apparently hoped for a far-left-of-center President that would take the same political approach of the previous administration in driving ideological goals into law. Bill Maher has expressed this point-of-view with a vengeance [2]. Lasting change is accomplished through moderation and patience. Bill seems to be lacking in this regard, but the president is not.

As a case in point, Dan Savage, a blogger [3] and gay rights activist, is a harsh critic of what he views as betrayal by the Administration for not being more activist on gay rights issues. Obama has not overturned the flawed Clinton Administration policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, but we are in the midst of two wars. Being an effective citizen-commander includes not alienating those who are necessary to accomplish our wartime goals. The time isn’t right. Instead Obama signaled in an October 2009 speech that the policy would end. He took a shot over the bow of those bigots who want to discriminate against gays, but fell short – apparently – of the desires of those in the midst of this social discrimination. Patience and pragmatism are always at odds with ideology.

Those on the far left would like to see healthcare to be the domain of the government. The medical system afforded to those in the military is truly socialized healthcare. Those administering care are employees of the government. Those left-of-center would like to see – not socialized medicine or even socialized insurance – but government competition in a capitalist marketplace in the field of healthcare. That notion has been dubbed the “public option.” Obama advocated for that, and I concur that competition in the form of the public option is a worthy government policy. Those on the left see the current state of healthcare reform legislation as a failure of the Obama Administration. Like so many things in politics, it was not what I hoped for, but the left needs to understand that progress short of a goal is not failure.

Obama has taken a hit in the polls, much of it from those considerably to the left of my political views. Passion for a general ideology or a single issue is at odds with effective governance. Lasting change comes slowly and incrementally (which I think was the original definition of political conservatism). Those ideologues on the left need to temper their passion with an appreciation for the patience and pragmatism that is the key to effective governance.