A Letter to a Friend: My View of President Obama, August 2013
As per Obama, (I need to write a blog post on this) I think he is a principled but amateur liberal, pragmatic in foreign affairs only because he has been forced to be (and badly at that- the first two years saw a series of misinformed blunders in high politics, though his handling of the war on terror has been at least sufficiently vicious; but his crisis management has been Carteresque, as Libya and the bumbling Arab Spring statements seem to indicate. His team is a divided bunch of people and I question whether he knows what he wants in foreign policy other than a liberal world order which is slowly but surely evading his grasp.) He is skilled at playing domestic politics, having managed to push through landmark legislation, and he is charismatic enough to mobilize his own supporters; but he is not charismatic enough to either bridge the partisan gap or attract sufficent moderates to create a majority, and while I disagree with the accusations that he is any more divisive than any other President, he certainly doesn’t have the Americanaesque speaking style which has defined the greats. I think if any principle dominates the White House today it is confusion.
Since my political evolution, I have always tried to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. But [I have been disappointed again and again.] He does not appear to be incredibly competent in foreign affairs, nor a particularly unitary leader on the domestic front. Due to the fact that politics is always in flux, the shifting power bases give hostile commentators ample evidence to (wrongly, I think) suggest that Obama is seeking a monopoly on power and a destruction of the Constitution, and as the President is not particularly skillful, certain programs (such as the increased drone strikes, etc) which have been started out of frustration with the failures of other methods, have provided yet more ‘evidence’ for commentators trying to paint the president as bent on seeking more power.
I will probably hold similar views of every president in my lifetime though.
[This is by no means a conclusive review of my opinion. If Fate permits, I will record my complete opinion in another post sometime in the near future.
My thought on the Presidency in general and Obama’s presidency in particular has been unduly influenced by such radical moderates as George Friedman, Robert Kaplan, and Walter Russell Mead.
Abiasedperspective fully supports the President, and wishes him the best of luck in steering the ship of state through the turbulent waters it will surely pass through before his term is over.]