I have not written much on President Obama lately, so I think I will return to the subject now that the ACA and a budget agreement are in place.
My view of this man has not changed much since 2007. I see him as a person of integrity, authenticity, creativity and intelligence, along with an intact conscience.
Has be made mistakes in office? Of course. Part of the problem is that some of his appointees have messed up, and he must assume ultimate responsibility, since he appointed them. But this happened to virtually every president, including George W. Bush.
It is unconscionable that the extreme right–identified with the tea party now–has attacked his character, and misrepresented his views at every turn since 2008. No, he is not a terrorist, Muslim, or socialist. He is a middle of the road liberal, and a fair debate with conservatives is certainly justified. He is too liberal for many on the right, too conservative for others on the left.
He is not anti-free enterprise, but clearly he sees the need for government regulation to prevent some of the rich and powerful from oppressing the poor and crippling the middle-class. He, clearly, favors a mixed economy, but admittedly he is much more trusting of the small business sector than he is of the corporate entities.
Under his watch, the economy has turned around, and he deserves a large measure of credit for that. The Affordable Care Act has many good features (expansion of Medicaid, ending denial of preexisting conditions and lifetime limits on coverage) but clearly needs amendment in some areas and much more competent management.
What we need is for Democrats and Republicans within the Beltway to dialogue in good faith and arrive at reasonable compromise of a variety of issues. If some refuse, they should be voted out of office. Obama, I think, is eager for such compromise, though some liberals excoriate him for taking that position.
Overall, I am thankful that President Obama has been at the helm for the past six years, though, obviously, he is not perfect. Who is?
by Patrick Frank
published in the Asheville Citizen-Times, 01/04/2014