Expectations for the Obama Administration

It seems like a lot of people are discussing what it will be like with Obama as POTUS and I decided to add my comments to the mix. The Obama administration will likely be significantly different from the Bush administration. Here are some general observations in no particular order:

1. Obama will likely do several things that I do not like. This should not be surprising since I found none of the candidates in the recent campaign worth supporting. However I suspect that I will find fewer areas of disagreement with Obama than I have experienced with Bush or would have with McCain.

2. The next four years will be bumpy. Obama is inheriting a mess from Bush. Given the economy, the budget, the deficit, Iraq and other issues there will be a lot of bumps. Occasionally people get either blame or credit for something over which they had no control. I expect we will see this with Obama. There are several reasons to expect this; not the least of which is that there might be some problem that is not yet on the radar popping up in a few years. Perhaps not as big as the current economic issues but still substantial enough to rattle some nerves.

3. There will be more honesty from an Obama administration than we had from Bush or I expect that we would have had from McCain. At least we can hope that Obama will not behave like some Republicans who are all about the free market in their talking points but would not know a free market if it kicked them in the shin.

4. There will likely be a lot more competence in an Obama administration than Bush. Even if I disagree with Obama on policy at least I expect that there will be more competence and some better judgment. I had deep concerns about McCain; his selection of Sarah Palin confirmed to me that he did not have the judgment for the position of POTUS.

5. Based on what I have read Obama is going to reverse the Bush restriction on family visits to Cuba. The Bush restrictions on travel to Cuba were vile, stupid and counterproductive. Actually US policy toward Cuba can only be described as 'years and years of failure'. Here is a little thought experiment: Where would we today if the US had lifted all sanctions and allowed free travel and commerce with Cuba starting in the middle of the G. H. W. Bush administration say around 1990?

6. There will be a lot of people who seem to thrive on being angry and upset about things which have not happened. Some people seems to think that Obama is going to nationalize everything down to the level of the local lemonade stand, set margin tax rates at 95% and send everyone to re-eduction camps. OK; those were exaggerations. The point I was trying to make is that there is no point in getting angry over things that Obama has not done and is not likely to do. Some people are upset because they think Obama is a Socialist. First off there are many different definitions of the term Socialist so just calling someone a Socialist is not all that useful without some additional qualifications. Secondly given that under the eight years of the George W. Bush administrations there has been a major Medicare drug law and the multi-hundred billion dollar involvement in the financial markets it does raise the quesiton that if you call Obama a Socialist then what do you call Bush? So maybe we should stop the name calling and deal with issues of substance.

7. There will likely be a lot of disappointed people who thought Obama would be able to ring in a worker's paradise with a snap of the fingers. Obama is smart enough to know in general terms how an economy works and that no amount of wishful thinking will change basic economics. For example it is not easy to have huge budget deficits and massive debt year after year; eventually things start to unravel. I expect that there will be some grumbling that Obama has sold out to big business because some pet project did not get immediately approved.

8. Guantanamo Bay detention camp, torture, Iraq, Afghanistan are just a part of what I consider the Bush legacy of incompetence, mendacity and hubris. Obama will start to deal with the mess but I doubt that it will be cleaned up within a four year term. This mess is so big that it might take a decade or more.


hellroy said...

Great post Curtis! I do think we are in for long drawn out version of the "blame game", regardless of legacy issues. Even Bush has been held responsible for the mortgage crisis, much of which was on a path for failure years before his term.

And if you recall Rush Limbagh listenership skyrocketed when Clinton was in office, so I imagine he is secretly cheering about this win as many others who gain from digging into the opposition.

Let's face it, Obama will be lucky if he is able to change dog food brands without the Right calling for a full inquiry- whereas Bush could triple the deficit without a blink of an eye.

Unfortunately, that's the nature of the beast. But I do think its well worth these costs for quality leadership in this country. We are due.

Fred Curtis Moulton, Jr. said...

The mortgage crisis was a long time building and we do not know all of the details. As my friend Jeff Hummel said "The current financial turmoil is very complex, and no one knows the whole story yet."