For nearly two years the Madoff affair has made it very difficult for me to find time to write political blogs. That still remains true. But I shall write a short one here because of longstanding concerns, which can only become worse in view of the smashing victory for arch conservatism on November 2nd.
Two years ago I thought Obama was one of the smartest men, and conceivably the best speaker, ever to enter the White House. Today my main impression is that, for all his intellectual smarts, he is horribly lacking in judgment. Crassly put, he is a fool.
The conservative wing of the "national" Republican Party -- which today is a major share of that party if not all of it -- made clear early on that it had but one overarching goal: defeat Obama's plans. To that end the national wing of the Party was willing to say and do almost anything. Obama's response was to try to "make nice," to say he wanted to work with and cooperate with people who did not give a fig for cooperation, but wanted only to savage him and his policies in order to get back into national power and who therefore said that failure to do what they wanted done on the national scene was ipso facto a failure to allow them to participate in structuring policies. Apparently being a prisoner of his own background, in which his golden tongue enabled him to overcome opposition and to get ahead at least from the time he entered law school at Harvard, Obama failed to understand the obvious, failed to understand what anyone who has ever faced bitter, unyielding opposition would understand immediately: there are people with whom it is profitless to try to "make nice" because they wish to fight you bitterly no matter what, no matter how much you wish to "make nice" with them and to compromise with them.
Now that the national Republicans have handed him his head, Obama still wants to "make nice" with them. For all his intellectual smarts, Obama just didn't get it and doesn't get it. He lacks judgment.
Of course, he and his acolytes will say he is simply trying to be politically cooperative and to achieve his ends that way. Forget it. The Republicans who lead the national Republican Party want his derriere out. They will savage him and his policies, and blame him and his policies for everything wrong in the country, until, as they just did for the last two years, they have the country angry at him (as at present) and are able to "diselect" him in 2012. That is their goal and all else -- including the good of the country -- is secondary to them, even if Obama doesn't understand this.
Then there are his policies, which too often lack good sense, although the points on which they lack good sense are usually not the ones on which the national leaders of the Republican Party assail him. I used to think that a lot of the opposition to him was pure racism, no matter how much people denied this. I still think that, with regard to a lot of his opponents, racism is deeply involved. But it is pretty plain that racism is a long way from being the whole story, because some of his most important policies simply lack sense. He has listened to fools like Summers and Geithner, to Wall Street and big business, and to the generals, instead of taking the obviously sensible courses.