Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Credit where it's due

"Taking an important step on the thorny path to closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the White House plans to announce Tuesday that the government will acquire an underutilized state prison in rural Illinois to be the new home for a limited number of terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo."
Just something to keep in mind, you know, when considering whether Obama has any follow through. It would have been easy to just let this matter drop. There's not much of a constituency for this sort of thing, outside of civil libertarians. To press forward on it shows a not inconsiderable amount of political courage. Regardless of what he does on everything else security-related, he deserves some kudos for this.

I also think he acquitted himself well enough on the healthcare front. Not a popular opinion among net progressives, but they should have spent their time organizing against the filibuster from the start instead of obsessing on the public option--and they probably would have gotten the second if they had done the first. It would have been a harder fight but a more important one. At every stage, Obama has worked on getting the best possible deal he could get. And he's mostly been prescient on what was possible and what wasn't (the White House was bashed by some for pursuing triggers at the outset of the Senate negotiations, but as it turned out, that was probably on the outside limit of what could have been done). He's been the clear-eyed pragmatist he always billed himself as, and while this health care bill isn't going to be anyone's first choice it'll help a lot of people. It's always the first step that's the hardest, and it sure looks imminent.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.