Why We're Grateful for Obama's 100 Days

obama_portrait_146pxSome Americans believe that Obama is doing too much. Others shout that he’s doing too little.

I think Obama is doing his job. No more. No less. I will credit him, but I won’t praise him. A president should not be praised for being presidential, anymore than a fireman deserves adulation for putting out fires. That’s their job.

Our love affair with Obama is testament to how low our expectations have fallen under Bush and Clinton. A president who makes policy instead of abdicating to his vice-president? A commander-in-chief who runs the nation instead of running into bed with interns? Who would have believed such a thing is possible?

My favorite president is Harry Truman, who was thrust unprepared into the most powerful position on Earth. Was Truman a great president? Depends on your point of view. But he has fared well in history because he is perceived as a man who took his job seriously and did his best to execute it.

Obama is no  Truman. I think Truman wanted to be a good president just to prove to the world that he was no dumb hick from Missouri. I think Obama wants to be a good president just to prove he’s smarter than everyone else. It doesn’ t matter. I don’t ask for humility from our presidents. I don’t even demand competence all the time, because no man is perfectly equipped to handle such a vast position.

But I do expect them to take their job seriously, and to do their best. I will accept their failures and stumbles as long as I believe that they are willing to learn from their mistakes. I believe Obama is willing. Until I see otherwise, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

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4 Responses to Why We're Grateful for Obama's 100 Days

  1. Brian In NYC says:

    “I think Obama wants to be a good president just to prove he’s smarter than everyone else. ”

    That’s a pretty shallow assessment there Michael! While I don’t for a minute think the president is without ego, I also don’t doubt his commitment to a vision for this country and that being the driving force behind his presidency.

    • Michael Peck says:

      I’m not doubting Obama’s sincerity, anymore than I doubt that Bush sincerely believes that he was doing the right thing. But Obama strikes me as an ambitious man who enjoys using his talents, and that ambition will motivate him to be a good president (sounds like JFK and a lot of other politicians, too). However, it doesn’t matter. Whatever motivates Obama – patriotism or ambition – I think he wants to be remembered as a very competent president. I don’t think Bush thought that way.

  2. thorgolucky says:

    I like that Obama has restored scientific integrity. I don’t like that Obama is continuing Bush’s faith-based initiative and diverting funds to religious groups.

    • Michael Peck says:

      Obama wasn’t raised in a religious family, but neither is he an atheist in the definitive sense of believing that there is no God. I don’t think religion is a big issue for him either way, and he’s not going to pick a fight with the American religious establishment.

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