Monday, November 15, 2010

Obama knows what he's doing today

Two examples:
  1. Middle-East diplomacy: Like most everyone, I've grown not to expect too much from the current round of peace talks. But they're not dead, and this can only be seen as promising. During Bush's last year, he tried to accomplish Middle-East peace with the Annapolis process and suffered a high-profile failure, as his White House hyped the effort and increased expectations. Obama's team seems not to have pushed back on a lot of the defeatist rhetoric but kept things going, so any progress actually made will be a much bigger deal. I'm not going to get too optimistic, but as a J Street supporter I remain hopeful for a two-state solution. And if it were to happen, it would be huge.

  2. Obama takes the blame: I can only imagine what Krugman and the Kossacks are saying about this:
    “I neglected some things that matter a lot to people, and rightly so: maintaining a bipartisan tone in Washington,” he told reporters in a brief question-and-answer session aboard Air Force One as he returned from a 10-day trip to Asia. “I’m going to redouble my efforts to go back to some of those first principles,” he promised.
    Democratic partisans must be livid over this sort of stuff, but I think there are basically two ways Obama could have responded to this most recent election. He could have continued with the fierce (and usually correct) attacks on the Republicans that he lobbed around during the 2010 campaign, or he could have offered the Beltway opinionmakers a bit of a bone. Most of what I read suggests the Administration has about as dim a view of the news media as the partisans do, but one cannot get around the fact that these idiots do have a lot of power. Throwing down a marker at this point would probably not have gained Obama anything, but statements like this make sense if Obama wants to set the tone for the next two years, with himself as the reasonable adult in the room and the GOP as hyperpartisan crazies. And it's not like he's giving up anything of substance yet. Meanwhile, after having used the drawn-out process of passing health-care reform to hurt the favorability of Obama and the Democratic Congress and witnessed the damage done firsthand, their evident response is to get themselves some of that too. Time will tell how serious they are, since repeal right now would mean bringing back recissions, benefit caps, the "donut hole" and so forth, and the government shutdown card would be quite a radical one to play.

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.