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November 4, 2009

Yesterday was Election Day in the U.S.A., and if you watched CNN (or managed to find their website–not on the front page), you might believe that the voters came out in droves as part of a referendum on the Obama Administration in a shocking display of their dissatisfaction with the way this country is headed.  Of course, this is an off-year election with a few governorships and referenda at stake, so nobody was coming out in droves.  As Tip O’Neill would have said, “All politics is local,” but nowadays, all media is national, so of course it’s a referendum on Obama.  The national media doesn’t have the tools to analyze a local election, so what else could they talk about to fill a 24-hour news cycle?

Lest I betray my bias as an Obama apologist–oops, too late–I should also argue that I cannot stand the the Saturday Night Live school of political science that claims that Obama “hasn’t gotten anything accomplished.”  Simply put, if you actually look at what he has done, there are plenty of things to highlight (and these are just a few):

If you disagree with the processes that went into these decisions or the results of these actions, that’s fine, but don’t say that he hasn’t done anything.  The things that he has yet to do are largely a result of preparing people and institutions that are slow to change, but he’s still going to get there when the proper foundation is laid (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell being a prime example).  People sit by the sidelines and think that everything can turn on a dime, but there are mammoth institutions to be negotiated.

Most of Obama’s actual “failures to get something done” (and there are several) are works in progress, people.  He was only elected 366 days ago, and the resistance to change in this country is strong, with well-placed advocates attempting to stem the tide.  He’s made good progress so far, but having a 15-second attention span is not going to help get any agenda accomplished.

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