Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If Obama Can Do It

It looks like the next president will be a Democrat. I'm pretty much OK with that. The parties are so polarized now that we really need to change colors once in a while so that one administration can check and repair the excesses of the previous administration.

In case you haven't noticed, Obama is a pretty liberal guy. The problem with liberals, is that most of what they want, if it were that easy, would have been done a long time ago. It's much easier for conservatives. Most of what they want is to remove restraints from the rich which is pretty easy to do. Liberals however have to try and figure out a way to make their big ideas work and often that's not so easy.

For instance: Bill Clinton ran for president on the promise of national health care, and he spent the first few years of his presidency trying to get national health care, but in the end, there were so many obstacles and so many challenges to the idea that he eventually had to give it up.

All of those problems with making national health care will be waiting for Obama once he takes office. Problems like that tend to stick around. We could use national health care though, if they can figure out how to make it work.

Jimmy Carter ran on a platform of peace in the middle east, but by the time he was done, Anwar Sedat was dead and our embassy in Iran was under siege. Obama has similar goals, lets hope he has better luck.

Carter also wanted to improve housing for the poor and working class. It's pretty hard to be against that idea. After twenty years though, his plan for improving housing evolved into the sub-prime mortgage disaster. It was a great goal, we were just on the wrong path for getting there.

Lyndon Johnson ran on the idea of a "war on poverty". Who could be against such an idea? It's not like somebody was going to come out and say they were for poverty.

Forty-five years later, a lot of people blame Johnson for creating a near-permanent welfare class that's almost impossible to evolve out of. It took another Democrat, Bill Clinton to go in and roll back a lot of what Johnson tried to do.

One of Obama's plans is to re-strengthen the unions. He says we were a better country when the unions were strong. That may be so, but I don't know how you're going to strengthen the unions without bringing back manufacturing and I don't see how you're going to bring back manufacturing without weakening the unions. So, if Obama wants to bring back the unions, I'm all for it, I just don't see how he's going to do it.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm bagging on the liberals needlessly. What they want to do, we need as a nation. It's just that they face a lot more obstacles to their goals than just the opposition party.

There's only one way to achieve these goals though, and that's to keep trying, from administration to administration, through the years until we eventually do get what we need.

Some of the efforts towards these goals will be misguided though, and in four years or eight or twelve, we'll elect a republican president to roll back Obama's mistakes, just like Obama will roll back the mistakes of George Bush.

That's how our system works. Checks and balances. It's the promise of Democracy and we'll rock along toward the future, even if it is three steps forward and two steps back sometimes.

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