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April 27, 2010

On a Roll

Roy Meachum

There was simply no way for Barack Obama to reply point by point the barrages of fault-finding in his first months. In the first place, some of the points took more of a reply than words, as the president showed.


The deal-maker for this administration was healthcare.


More politically astute President Bill Clinton could not pull it off – even with his wife’s help. At the very least, present Secretary of State Hillary Clinton understands well the machinations that go into public service. The Clintons’ hope to help the more vulnerable citizens was shoved aside in the Newt Gingrich Contract for America’s revolution.


As governor of Arkansas and a middle-road Democrat, Mr. Clinton was well known before coming into the White House; at least better known, by far, than Mr. Obama. By the time the current president’s schedule reached rewriting medical insurance, his opposition developed into a terrible force, comparable to the Eumenides, the furies of ancient Greece that could drive people suicidal or at least out of their minds. No matter which way he turned his naysayers blocked the sun of reasonability.


But after some razzle-dazzle politics, Barack Obama converted failure into victory, which astonishingly came after the Democrats lost the filibuster-proof 60th vote. Since Massachusetts, he’s climbed steep cliffs to get what he wants – so it seems here. The fact that the president has lost only minor scuffles strikes me as politically miraculous.


Luck plays a major role in his reckoning.


After recent sagging years that reached Depression proportions, America stands united on the need for the reform of laws that govern financial institutions. Naturally, Republicans favored minor alterations. Wall Street, to use an all-inclusive phrase for the money men and women, comes in the front ranks of the party’s major financial resources.


Millions and millions paid to individuals within banking and stock market circles provided accelerant for public disgust.


If that weren’t enough, then the Goldman Sachs story broke; a fantastic tale of greed and manipulation to top all others. The firm profited from the downturn. “Serious” was used in E-mail to describe the cash the Wall Street firm was making.


Do I suspect the Security Exchange Commission released the case when the political time was right? I certainly hope so. Add politics to love and war’s category that “all’s fair.” It’s always been true. No more than now.


One way or another – by luck or smarts, or the combination of the two – Barack Obama has set out to reverse Republican dominating influence in Washington. Until the healthcare victory, I was among those who speculated he might be a single-term president.


No more.


But while I’m up, so to speak, I still must blame the man in the Oval Office for frittering away young lives and resources in Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. As in past presidencies, America is blind to the tyrants and thieves we protect.


In the end, Baghdad and Kabul must inevitably be returned to their citizens. In time even the United States’ footprints will disappear, in the manner of centuries of conquerors, including Alexander the Great, the Ottoman Turks and the British Empire.


Nevertheless, I must make note of Barack Obama’s major conquests on the domestic front. He definitely has a roll going.


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