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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/26/10

How Goes the Battle Under Obama

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By the end of this summer, I expect that President Obama will have a rather impressive set of achievements to show for his first year and a half in office.

He'll have gotten the Recovery Act through, and brought the economy through its darkest time in three generations.

He'll have managed to snatch victory from defeat's proverbial jaws, in a most impressive way, in getting health care reform passed.

By then I expect that he'll have gotten a decent financial regulation reform measure enacted.

And I also expect that by then he'll have placed two justices --humane and excellent-- on the Supreme Court bench.

Maybe there will be other accomplishments too --like on energy and climate change-- but I'm not expecting much else by that time. (And I'm not going to address here any of those matters of policy where he has NOT accomplished the kind of change the country needs.)

This is a set of accomplishments worth paying tribute to. I am glad to applaud this accomplishment: Obama has been tackling important problems, he's been patient and persistent, and he seems to keep managing to squeak through to victory.

If he were to serve another two and a half years achieving things at this rate --and even more so if he were to continue to achieve things at this rate for another six and a half years-- he would have far more to show for his time in office than most other presidents have.

It's unlikely, though, that he'll be able to continue this important repair work at this pace. For one thing, at the moment it looks quite possible that he'll cease to have the strength in Congress he'd need to be able to continue moving the ball forward. And while this is the usual pattern in American history for midterms after a presidential election, I believe it was not necessary for the prospects for Obama and his allies to be so precarious at this point.

I've addressed this issue many times here over recent months, but I want now to reiterate some of that, and also to articulate some new relevant points.


The essential nature of the battle in America today is --as I've often declared-- more spiritual than political. It is in the political realm that the forces of evil have lately made a bold move (unprecedented in American history in its audacity and in the depth of its threat to what's most valuable in America) to control this country. And it is the battle between good and evil that must be won.

Politics, therefore, is more the battlefield than it is the basic stake in the war being fought. Obama has directed his efforts at the political arena, and there he has racked up important political accomplishments. But he has not seemed inclined to wage the spiritual war. And this is the reason, I believe, that his and his party's position is presently so precarious.

Two caveats here.

First, it should be recognized that every political battle that Obama wins has an influence on the correlation of forces in the deeper war. Everything he does that brings him and his party credit in the eyes of the people helps weaken the forces of evil. That's true because his accomplishments have been basically for the good. But it's also true because the public rewards winners and punishes losers, often independently of the merits of what the winners and losers have been fighting for.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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