Monday, May 25, 2009

The President and the time he needs

I supported President Obama before he even announced for the job, but I am noticing a disturbing trend among other erstwhile supporters - I'll call it the "right now" syndrome.

Why hasn't Obama done more for gay rights? When is he closing Guantanamo? Why is he continuing some of Bush's policies? Why isn't he doing everything he said he would RIGHT NOW?!!!

Take a breath folks and remember how our government is set up - we just aren't configured to do things real fast. Let's remember a couple of things too, Obama has been President for less than a year. Heck, most new Presidencies haven't even filled their cabinets this early in the first term - at least he's done that much, not to mention getting passed and signed into law some important legislation like the stimulus bills that at least slowed if not stopped our slide into another Republican Great Depression.

This is in no way meant to give Obama a free ride on everything he does - I don't want us to become the Democratic version of the Republicans agreeing to everything (but immigration, of course) that Bush wanted either. The lean to keep some Bush policies going is particularly troubling, but if you read deeper into the news stories that report this there are two words that are strongly implied but rarely written: "for now." I'm willing to allow that ending everything in place from the Bush era with nothing to replace it with yet may not be the best idea in terms of actual governing so I'll give a little bit of slack here. Remember too that the Obama version isn't exactly the same as the Bush policies - there have been tweaks to make them a bit more palatable.

I think the criticism is fair about the need to really change Bush's policies when it comes to the treatment of detainees and just what are we going to be doing in Afghanistan. What's unfair is the left going on that Obama has failed us and he's just like Bush. Oh puh-lease. Give the man some time - they are working on it. As for Afghanistan, with all the moanings over how Obama is going to stick us with another quagmire I have a challenge to the moaners: Show me where Obama or his administration has ever said that they plan on staying in Afghanistan forever like the Rush Republicans want to do in Iraq. Now, if these Bush-like policies are still essentially in effect a year or more from now, I'll be joining the folks on the left that are decrying the fact that Obama hasn't done everything they wanted right now. But not quite yet.

There's a couple of things to remember as well when it comes to President Obama. First of all, after 8 years of having to deal with who lied and what outrage was going on today when the Republicans were in charge, I find myself and others still stuck in that mindset. Tell me that you haven't cringed at first when you hear that the President is giving a speech, a press conference or whatever then having to stop and remind yourself just who is the President now. That's also a function of how little time Obama has been in office - it's taking us some time to adjust as well.

There's something else to remember as well as the new administration goes forward - it's being headed by a man who actually tells us the truth. He said he wanted to hear all sides of an issue and and be less driven by ideology and more run by what is going to work and he means it. The man has actually changed direction when it's been pointed out to him that a policy idea of his is a bad one - twice so far. He's met with people on the right and the left who disagree with him - he may not agree with their analysis or positions but he did give them the chance to have their say right up in his grille as it were.

Will President Obama be a great President? Hard to say right now, but I will say this: so far, mostly so good and only time will tell. Don't let up on him but give him the time he needs to get it done.

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