Sunday, January 18, 2009

Now We Have To Put Up The Ante And Play A Good Game by Anthony McCarthy

Rebirth of the real cool.

We are about to find out what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States. From the media and some of the blog chatter, a lot of people don’t seem to realize that he hasn’t done anything as president yet, but that is about to change.

I’m not the most plugged in person, though I know a few politicians, mostly Democrats. The word on that particular grape vine is that no one should assume their first impression of what he is up to is either complete or what it seems. My state legislator says that the word is Barack Obama’s poker game was one of the most desirable in DC, with people clamoring to get at the table. He mentioned that Harry Truman was the last real poker player-president we’ve had. I don’t know. Having just recently taken up cards again after about four decades, it’s obvious that it could build politically useful skills. Aside from poker, President Obama’s well know basketball suggests he thrives on fast and constant observation and thinking. Those are also qualities that are transferable to politics.

We don’t know what he’s going to do once he has the office but from what I suspect, he’s going to be many steps ahead of most of us and miles ahead of the corporate media. If his guile and intelligence are enough to defeat their concerted and certain and already begun attempts to sandbag him, we will know in a year or two.

Bill Clinton is in the running as the smartest man ever to be president. Despite his brilliance, it took a lot of his effort just to survive the avalanche of lies and attempts to drive him from office. His lack of wisdom and self control handed his enemies material to work with, when they lacked that, they made up stuff and the corporate media ran with it. And some of his appointments and hires were really bad. Several of those cost him dearly when it wasn’t necessary. Louis Freeh, Janet Reno, Dick Morris,....

Barack Obama strikes me as being at least as smart as Bill Clinton and not having some of his personal weaknesses. I don’t think Obama is as worried about people not liking him, though he is smart enough to not go out of his way to make enemies when it’s not necessary. He also seems to be smart enough to know he isn’t under any obligation to tell his adversaries more than he has to. I do worry about his tendency to be cocky. No one, not even the most skilled politician, doesn’t fall down sometimes. There were several of those times during the campaign and he made some good to excellent recoveries on those. But it would have been better if they hadn’t been necessary.

But, from what he’s shown, Barack Obama could be an excellent president, and after the theft, pillage and vandalism of the Bush regime, we need a president of the FDR, Lincoln class. If we are lucky and allow him to be, I think Barack Obama could be that kind of president.

As well as testing Barack Obama, his presidency is an important test for the left which, by and large, supports him. We should consider what we do as an audition to get at the table to advocate our issues and to come to compromises that gets us a good part of those. That part is the best we are going to get from anyone, we got nothing from the Bush regime and less than we could have from Clinton. Now, with Democrats in control of the executive and legislative branches, if we are patient and smart, we could make more progress than we have since the 1960s. No one who isn’t grown up about it is going to get us anywhere, anyone on the left who isn’t reasonable is going to turn into a problem for us. The Election got us a seat at the table, we’ve got to ante up and play the game. We’re not going to win every hand, probably not even most of them but we’re not going to go home flat busted with this administration. Blog thread bellyaching, which has been an epidemic already, isn’t useful. We’re going to be playing by Obama’s house rules and, ironic as this will be, coming from me, that requires real and genuine kind of cool, such as we probably haven’t seen since about the time he was born.