Monday, March 30, 2009


Paul Krugman writes in the NYT that the biggest cost to America of the current economic crisis is its ability to lead:

Still, it’s a fact that the crisis has cost America much of its credibility, and with it much of its ability to lead. And that’s a very bad thing.

A lot of us were hoping that Obama would be able to provide world leadership, indeed, that he was the 'President of the world'. It doesn't look to be turning out that way, which was probably inevitable, once he had to inherit the responsibilities of power. There is a built-in conflict and antagonism between the U.S. and the rest of the world that is probably unavoidable, and that will tarnish the way he is viewed by the world.

The same thing is true for all of us really, who were his supporters during the campaign. Our hopes ran very high, probably too high, given the realities of power and office. Obama couldn't possibly fulfill all our hopes and dreams. What we have to do now is try to see him in a new, more realistic light. Which means that we have to try and see him objectively, without emotion, and support him when we can, which is often, but also oppose his policies when we feel we have to, without feeling like we're betraying him. It also means being patient and knowing that he can't do everything he wants all at once. But it may mean realizing and accepting the fact that we may be reading into him all of our desires and hopes, rather than what he has decided to do.

Obama is, as many have in fact said, not our Savior, and he is not all-knowing. He has very real flaws and weaknesses that will become apparent as we go along. He is a human leader, and we can support him, pray for him, admire him. But sometimes it means taking issue with decisions he's made, but doing so in a mature and reasonable fashion.

Having said that, Barack Obama is so far a very good President, compared to the previous holders of that office. And for that, we can be very thankful.

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