Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Paul Krugman Praises Obama Presidency

We in Canada watch with fascination how effective the spin media is in the U.S. Granted, we don't get Fox News, or MSNBC as part of our normal viewing package, so, we are not as effectively inundated with propaganda, but, we do get to see the effect of all this rhetoric after the spin.
I have watched with fascination how the U.S. opinion polls have cast a pox on the Obama Presidency, and quite frankly, never quite got it. I look at the state of the world when he took power, and where things are at today, and I think, who could have done better, or even as well. Then, when I throw health care into the mix, this is a successful Presidency.
But, you argue, what about ISIS. Can we really put that on Obama? Is that not a problem with a war weary world, and, two disastrous governments, both in Syria and Iraq? Did anyone really want the U.S. to go into Syria to overthrow Assad? That worked out so poorly in Iraq, a much more strategically valuable property, that it just didn't make sense. And, is Maliki Obama's problem? Could he possibly have left troops in Iraq when the democratically elected Maliki government wouldn't guarantee them the same safety as U.S. troops were guaranteed everywhere else in the world where the remained after a conflict (i.e. Europe after WWII or even Afghanistan).
Of course, all of this falls under the category, "It's Complicated", and one thing that doesn't work well with the U.S. electorate is "It's Complicated".
So, I was delighted when Paul Krugman, a serious critic of the Obama administration was
interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine and rated the Obama Presidency as one of the most successful in history. He details where the presidency has succeeded, and, ends the article with the following paragraph:

"Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don't care about the fact that Obama hasn't lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn't quite say, a big deal."

I'm not sure that history will look back and call it one of the most successful, but, I do think that when you look at the state of the U.S. when he took office, and the country today, it has to be considered a success. Could Obama have turned the ship around faster, could he have done a better job of letting his nation know that things were moving in the right direction, could he have countered the likes of hallucinatory Fox News and Rush Limbaugh better, I suppose so. The political machines learned a lot from the swift-boating of Kerry in 2004, and that sort of attack was ineffective in every presidential campaign since then. I suspect the next president will learn a lot about the communication mistakes of the Obama Presidency and we won't see the likes of that going forward.

Here's what Howard Kurtz, now with Fox News, formerly with CNN had to say about the Klugman article. 

I couldn't seem to be able to insert the video, so, here is the url: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/13/do-obamas-low-approval-numbers-matter-why-paul-krugman-says-no/


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