Obama–Pros and Cons

If you are a liberal, there isn’t much guesswork on who you will vote for this November, and the same holds true if you’re a conservative. But what about moderates and independents? What will President Obama look like to them on Election Day?

The pros:

1. Experience: One big knock on Obama 4 years ago was that he was so inexperienced in national politics. Well, that’s no longer an issue. Nothing like 4 years in the hot seat to teach you how to survive for 4 years in the hot seat!

2. Strong convictions: In theory, we should admire people who do what they feel is right instead of what they feel is popular. The President pushed through health care reform despite the fact that polls show most Americans didn’t want it. Is the President simply supposed to be a servant of the people, or a leader? How about a servant-leader?

3. Integrity: There haven’t been any allegations of moral and political scandals of lasting consequence in the current administration, which is always nice. Obama wants to be Lincolnesque–it’s nice that he didn’t opt for Clintonesque or Nixonesque. (Please note the inclusion of both a Democrat and Republican in my examples. Sometimes history is a great equalizer.)

The cons:

1. Unemployment: The President promised that if Congress passed his stimulus plan, unemployment would stay below 8%. Well, it hasn’t been less than 8% in over 3 years. Can the President really, personally control unemployment? Of course not. But if you make the promise, you’ve got to live with the consequences.

2. High gas prices: When Republicans sported their “Drill, Baby, Drill,” t-shirts 4 years ago, there were Democrats scoffing that any new drilling projects would take 5-10 years to impact gas prices. If Obama had pushed this earnestly 4 years ago, he could point to better days on the horizon.

3. The Middle East: There’s trouble in Syria, Iran, and Egypt, and Israel is always a matter of concern. The Bush Doctrine stated that the US reserved the option of preemptive strikes to maintain our security. You could love him or hate him, but you knew where the man stood. A little mystery is nice in romance novels (I assume), but not so much in a presidency. What is the Obama Doctrine? We’ve intervened in some of the Mid East revolutions and stayed out of others. Perhaps this is the best possible response, and surely there has been a logic to it, but what is it?

Next week I’ll look at Mitt Romney’s pros and cons, unless something else comes up (we’ve got a little time yet).