And Now, Some Skepticism

By  | 


O.k., enough with the flowers and rainbows. Let’s look at why there’s reason to be skeptical about Barack Obama and his team. Politico lays out seven worries about Obama’s presidency. I summarize those concerns and comment below:

1. Teams of geniuses don’t always produce genius results.
Of course, teams of fools aren’t known for their great results either.

2. An urge for bipartisanship might create a herd instinct.
That’s why we don’t need bipartisanship but rather independence from partisanship. Congress is often at its worst when members aren’t disagreeing. Let the arguments flow. Just don’t make them based on petty political maneuvering or shortsighted ideological games. Easy to say, I know …

3. We’re broke.
And we’re going to get more broke. There’s no stopping it. The trick is to make sure money is spent wisely and that policies are put in place to allow for a quick return to fiscal responsibility once the economy is out of the weeds. I hope a re-inspired Republican minority and the growing contingent of Blue Dog Democrats can keep the more profligate congressmen and women from leading us into financial ruin.

4. Obama ain’t done nothing yet.
Obama has the style of a leader and the sense to surround himself with tough, smart advisors. But style won’t get us through our first crisis. As hopeful as most of us are about Obama’s prospects, many of us will remain apprehensive until Obama proves he can be competent and decisive in a moment of crisis.

5. He talks post-partisanship but he hasn’t walked the walk yet.
Just like #4, this is a holdover from all the concerns about Obama pre-election. He has a liberal record. But he promises something more inclusive. His cabinet choices were a good start. I’m hopeful his presidency will not be a series of kowtows to liberal special interest groups.

6. Everyone is winging it.
Yep. The current economic situation is unprecedented and no one knows for sure what will and what won’t work. Hopefully we have the best people in place to do the job. But there will be wrong turns.

7. The watchdogs are weak.
Serious investigative journalism has suffered under budget cuts at newspapers and under television’s predilection to embrace the easy story du jour rather than doing the hard work of digging into the details. The media, in all its incarnations, must watch Obama like a hawk. I’m hopeful tenacious bloggers can fill some of the role abdicated by professional journalism. But I do worry Obama will not be subjected to the level of scrutiny all presidents deserve.

  • renee

    i am really curious to see what happens this year! will marijuana be legalized? is the US going into a complete recession? is going to address 99 problems in 99 days. i wonder what all the topics will be!

  • demetrious

    We cant just sit back and expect Obama to wash our problems away like our mom did with our clothes. Instead we need to realize that without our participation in the governemtn nothing is going to change. There are plenty of website that you can go and sign up and help out. (example we need everyone to participate one way or another.

  • John Burke

    There is a seventh reason to be skeptical about this or any President working wonders — one I think may be the most significant: events always drive government policies and define political debates.

    Indeed, although Presidents typically chart in their rhetoric and promises ambitious paths to the future (of “change,” “return to values,” etc.), a great deal of what governments do is reactive, responding to, rather than shaping, events. No where is this clearer than in foreign affairs, where friends and enemies alike all have a “vote” — the ability to influence US policies by their own policies and actions. The US may not be a “global hegemon” but our leaders consistently talk as if it were. This is no less true of Obama’s talk about working with other nations than it was about Bush’s uniliateralism. In both cases, the assumption is that other nations wil do what we want — whether we ask, negotiate “toughly,” darw lines in the sand, or go to war. But this is rarely true. Nations (and non-state actors, too) act in their own interests as best they can. Consequently, there will always be a high degree of uncertainty surrounding what may happen next in international affairs. Success, at least in this arena, requires above all pragmatism and flexibility.


    Lets stay proactive yall! keep pressing them issues on

  • Chris

    that was a useless list alan. Waste of blog space. Might as well say #8: as long as he isn’t a space alien intent on early destruction.

  • Derek Viger

    demetrious I totally agree with you. We must all heed the call to service for our country. This is the call for my generation to get off the phone, turn off the TV, get off the couch and do something.