Collins has a great piece in today’s NYT.
Think back. Why, exactly, did you prefer Obama over Hillary Clinton in the first place? Their policies were almost identical — except his health care proposal was more conservative. You liked Barack because you thought he could get us past the old brain-dead politics, right? He talked — and talked and talked — about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats.
Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?
But if you look at the political fights he’s picked throughout his political career, the main theme is not any ideology. It’s that he hates stupidity. “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war,” he said in 2002 in his big speech against the invasion of Iraq. He did not, you will notice, say he was against unilateral military action or pre-emptive attacks or nation-building. He was antidumb.
Most of the things Obama’s taken heat for saying this summer fall into these two familiar patterns — attempts to find a rational common ground on controversial issues and dumb-avoidance.
On the common-ground front, he’s called for giving more federal money to religious groups that run social programs, but only if the services they offer are secular. People can have guns for hunting and protection, but we should crack down on unscrupulous gun sellers. Putting some restrictions on the government’s ability to wiretap is better than nothing, even though he would rather have gone further.
Dumb-avoidance would include his opposing the gas-tax holiday, backtracking on the anti-Nafta pandering he did during the primary and acknowledging that if one is planning to go all the way to Iraq to talk to the generals, one should actually pay attention to what the generals say.
I was glad to read this column. Yeah, Obama does appear to be turning a little bit to the center for the general election, but it’s not like he was ever perfect on all the issues.
What originally drew me to Obama was, well, the hope thing. What kept me with him is his ability to analyze issues in different ways that go beyond the traditional Republicans vs. Democrats paradigm.
An anti-stupidity president is exactly what our nation needs.