Bill Glasheen wrote:Justin never fails me. He'll speak up when he feels there's something worth saying. And while I challenge him, I also encourage all viewpoints.
I've been reading this thread, and while I don't agree with much of the views expressed (shocker), I don't feel particularly driven out.
Do I think Obama's done a great job on the economy? Meh, it's mixed, from my perspective. First of all, it's never been my opinion that the president is really responsible for the economy. I don't blame Bush for the bad economy Obama inherited, even though theoretically it developed while he was in office. Sure, there's blame here and there in varying amounts, for various elected officials and nobody in power is completely free of responsibility, but we have an at least somewhat free market and it's going to swing up and down, and part of what a free market means is that the government doesn't really have a lot of control. It can definitely do things that help and things that hurt, and it should try to take action where appropriate, but to a large extent the economy is just going to do what the economy is going to do.
Besides the fact that I don't think that the president has as much power over the economy, I think there are some other decent points to make.
He orchestrated a big bailout. Was this good or bad? Some people say if we'd let the big banks fail we'd have a shorter shock and be recovered by now. Others say we'd have been pluged into a truly unbearable depression. I've read argumentation on both sides, and the voodoo science of economics has failed to come up with any persuassive evidence either way. My best guess is that the bailouts were an unjust, offensive and awful, yet pragmatically superior to the alternative.
He did a big stimulus. Some say it was a failure, I'm not sure if it's a failure or success. It clearly hasn't been a smashing success, but I also don't think it's been a dismal failure like some would try to suggest.
He's been blocked hard by a republican minority that is as (and "as" may be too charitable) interested in seeing him fail as it is doing the country any good. Should he have had the political savy to push his agenda? Eh, maybe. I would like to have seen him do better on that front. Still, in our political system, all it takes is having one more vote than 1/3 in one of the houses to cause a stalemate. So maybe he has been a failure at negotiating legislation, but in the caustic partisan environment we're currently enjoying (enduring?) it seems naive to blame him entirely for failure to fix problems.
So when it comes to the economy, it's all to easy to look at a bad situation and say "look how everything you've done hasn't worked" but we don't have a window into the alternative universe where he hadn't done those things. It might've been worse, but it's a bit like saying seatbelts don't work because you know someone that got their legs torn off by one in a car accident. Sure, that *****, but maybe it would've been worse without it?
Basically we had three possible scenarios (actually many more, but let's pretend)
The government could have:
A. Done nothing
B. Gone with Obama's ideas
C. Gone with Someone Else's ideas.
Is B better or worse than A? I dunno, honestly. I think B (even the partial B that we got) has been better than A would have been. Undoubtedly there's a Someone for whom C would've been better than B, but how do we know which Someone(s) that is?
As for the rest of his presidency, I've been mostly pleased. The things that I think are really a president's primary domain (like cabinet appointment's) and such I am quite pleased with. DADT is gone, though a bit belatedly. He's done okay in the wars, made a good decision on OBL. There's things I don't like, but overall I've been satisfied, but then I think there are a lot of things more important than the economy, at least as far as presidential elections are concerned. Yes I realize this is a minority viewpoint and doesn't reflect the reality of how people vote.
And that's in large part why I haven't bothered to weigh in before. But I'd hate to disappoint you.