Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Case For Obama's First Term

By jakeh at TNR, 10,29, 2102:

...CRS, do you have any links to any Obama promise to "address the de facto segregation in America"? I don't recall that, nor do I know how he would do that. Nor do I recall his ever promising to deal head-on with urban crime, which, while a nasty problem, is one that is seen mainly as a local one, and is low on the national agenda. (Chicago is dealing with an increased murder rate basically due to the vagaries of gang politics, and not, say, due to a lack of police officers. Chicago has among the most cops per capita in the nation, and other forms of crime are down.) Nor do I recall foreign aid to Africa featuring prominently in Obama's professed agenda. Meanwhile, I think that Obama would point to the economic stimulus, health care, education reform, community college funding, and student aid -- measures that, while addressed to the nation as a whole (and, in the case of education reform, not measures that I happen to agree with), are geared toward lifting those who are struggling, softening the blow of an economic downturn that minority communities, blacks especially, feel most acutely, and moving toward more equal opportunity. How many black people still have a union job, or any job, due to Obama's rescue of the domestic auto industry, or the stimulus aid to the states? How many black people are able to collect unemployment benefits because Obama extended them in the midst of an economic downturn, and against Republican opposition, because he recognized that individuals are not responsible for macroeconomic forces beyond their control? My guess is that black voters generally see in Obama what I see -- a smart, decent guy (uniquely so for a politician, on both counts) with his heart in the right place, who's been unfairly vilified and obstructed, who's nevertheless managed to get a lot of good things done (including the historic passage of health care reform, which, for me, is almost accomplishment enough for a four-year term), who would like to be able to do a good deal more, and who still represents the still almost unbelievable fact that a liberal black man (an intellectual, besides) occupies the White House and is a strong leader at home and abroad. Some of the luster may have worn off the soaring rhetoric we fell in love with in 2008, but that was inevitable, and, that rhetoric still marks him as a uniquely inspiring politician in my book, and, as far as I can tell, he has followed through on it to a remarkable degree. I can't say that Obama has done everything right, but liberal and liberal black dissatisfaction I think stems mainly from unrealistic expectations...

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