Obama, on his negotiating style
by Ernest Newman
While it may be true that "the devil is in the details", and that we cannot expect absolute, ideal policy and action from Obama, I think he has taken some fairly substantial initial steps in the first week of his presidency.
Also, while there is substantial basis for criticism, or, at the very least, some cynical skepticism, about many of his earlier appointments and projected policy statements, many of his appointments and statements have been much more positive and laudable than that.
People can rip and shred Obama, and nitpick every little detail of his position and practice, and they won't necessarily be "wrong", heh...
Obama is far from perfect...but I still have to say that he's clearly far "better", relatively speaking, than anything we could have expected from McCain/freakin' Palin.
Among Obama's more positive steps taken thus far as President:
Orders to close Guantanamo and secret CIA prisons, bring in Red Cross, stop military prosecutions and review cases, stop torture
End "Mexico City Policy" that restricted international US funds from abortion
Advocated, signed equal pay act.
Announced restoration of science as a major priority in all policy
Ordered Transportation to set new fuel efficiency standards, and EPA to review whether to allow Cali, other states to exceed those standards if they wish
Gave first media interview of his presidency to an exclusive with Saudi TV, where he offered a hand of friendship to Muslims, called for peace, promised to change policies
Advanced $819 billion economic stimulus bill, which passed in the House despite 100% "No" vote from Republicans
I have to acknowledge that even these more or less positive moves may have "devils" in the details, heh, but it still remains to be seen, for the most part, exactly what those will be, and exactly how things will actually develop, in practice...
I think attempting to ruthlessly and prematurely demonize Obama is going to tend to have negative blowback from the general public, whether that comes from the left, or the right.
If the left does not want to just be lumped in with the hostile spewing of the wing nuts on the right, as far as public perception goes, I think they should show a lot more restraint, and bring a more calm, reasonable, principled approach, and a lot less of what may seem like, and may even prove to be, in some regards, unfounded speculation and extrapolation.
Acknowledging what Obama does right, more or less, is as important as criticizing what he does wrong, if we want to appear objective and rational, and to show some principled solidarity with his unavoidably huge popular democratic mandate for hope and change, in pursuit of justice and peace, to save the planet.
In order to avoid taking up too much of the front page, I'm submitting my fairly lengthy actual response to Zoe's call for polemics on Obama as a comment to this item.
However, I have chosen to address my remarks to the left, rather than to Obama, which I hope will be more productive.