Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Andrew Sullivan on Obama's long game

The always eloquent Andrew Sullivan has written a detailed article for Newsweek regarding President Obama and the manner in which he makes change. He looks at the arguments against Obama from both the right and the left and concisely neutralizes them with a singular, effortless ease. This is one of the reasons I support Obama: his ability to play the long game of American and global politics sets him apart as one of the premiere presidents in living memory - if not of them all.

Obama's record should speak for itself - but it doesn't, as Sullivan notes, primarily because Obama's manner of getting things done is to get other people to stand up for what the President thinks is right. Who was the primary voice behind the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell? It wasn't Barack Obama - it was Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It's very difficult to suggest Admiral Mullen is an anti-American traitor, not when he wears a couple dozen ribbons on his left breast. The other force for DADT repeal? Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Sure, you could suggest that's an Obama political ally, but wait a minute - he was appointed by George W. Bush, and Obama simply kept him around.

Health care? Reformed. Wall Street? New legislation passed. Second Great Depression? Avoided. American automotive industry? Saved. Osama Bin Laden? Dead. US-world relationships? Fixed. Arab Spring? Happening. Torture in US detention centres? Ended.

But don't take my word for it. Sullivan nails it out of the park on this one. If Obama wins another term (and I believe he will), then he may be able to establish the best progressive record since FDR. Obama plays the long game with his eye on the prize - and more often than not, someone who plays the long game wins.

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