Saturday, August 28, 2010

What if?

One of the differentiating marks of a Moderate over either a Liberal or a Conservative, these days, is the ability to see and the honesty to acknowledge the strengths of both sides. So in that vein, let me ask a question.

Barack Obama ran on a platform of "hope and change," where his core promise was to "change Washington". He noted that the political culture was broken, and pledged to fix it. The last year and a half seems like a bust on that score. Partisanship is worse than ever. Now that it looks like the Democrats may lose the House, Republicans are already talking about returning to the old practice of White House probes and hinting at special prosecutors. This is the new rhythm that has existed since Reagan, where the wrongs of the last majority are used to justify those same wrongs by the new majority over and over.

What if Barack Obama's real legacy of "change" is turning the other cheek? What if he manages to break the cycle by making such tit-for-tat politics unsavory, by letting his enemies destroy themselves as they overplay their hands? In theory, it could work and could lead to a new era free of the hardball politics that have characterized the USA since at least the Clinton era.

Honestly, I remain skeptical. The President has shown himself to be, if anything, an old-school Chicago politician. But if this were his only legacy, it might be one of great service to the American system.

1 comment:

Ward said...

The problem is that the Republicans far over-reached their mandate the last time they took power from the Democrats in 1994. They had the go-ahead to really focus on reform, and while they made some good changes, they pushed the politics too much to a place of making it personal and it hurt them because the Americans who elected them had not elected them for the crusade against his personal life.

Clearly, they didn't learn from that and are preparing for yet another round of the same. Depressing.