Monday, January 19, 2009

Ten No Nos

It's all but impossible for a blogger who comments on politics often to ignore the inauguration tomorrow. Commentators from all persuasions are noting the seemingly cosmic significance of the MLK holiday and inauguration day conjunction. Perhaps some larger forces are at work here, I don't know. What does seem apparent is Obama is inheriting probably the worst situation anybody elected to the office faced, with the exception of maybe Lincoln and FDR. And like them he is getting tons of advice. I want to just briefly describe the advice he received from a bevy of's regular contributors. If you want to read the piece, I think it's worthwhile, but I will save you the trouble if all you're wanting is highlights. The title of the piece is "Obama on the Precipice: the Ten Worst Things He Could Do When He Takes Over."
Here they are:
  1. Screw up the stimulus plan (Some people think the stimulus plan is doomed before it begins, so maybe this is just wishing anyway. You can find these people in profusion in the comment section to this piece.)
  2. Escalate the war in Afghanistan and continue the war in Iraq (I could not agree more, but I think he will stay in the Afghanistan quagmire and will be slow about getting us out of Iraq.)
  3. Settle for a health care plan that doesn’t include a competitive government-sponsored 'Medicare for All' program (in other words, settle for something politically pleasing to as many as possible, but NOT a single-payer health care system. And single-payer is the only sane way to go.)
  4. Fail to forcefully defend a worker's rights to join a union (I don't know much about this issue, but I know enough to favor this without reserve.)
  5. Continue the destructive, discredited, so-called War on Drugs (It's folly; it's been a colossal failure; it's imprisoned thousands upon thousands for marijuana offenses; it's hugely expensive; it's totally illogical. But it's politically impossible to kill this unless things get a lot worse than they are now. Maybe they will.)
  6. Fail to prioritize climate change and continue the fantasy about "clean coal." (I heard about the clean coal argument one day on NPR. It is indeed a fantasy being bruited about as a real solution by . . . guess who? The coal companies! If they like it, I don't. But apparently Obama likes it, too.)
  7. Fail to end torture and restore the Constitution (Torture will not continue. But I don't think the people responsible for torture are going to be punished either. Restore the Constitution--that's subject to a lot of interpretataion, isn't it?)
  8. Ignore the emerging water crisis (My God, don't we have enough crises for this guy to deal with? Yes, but this one has been gestating for some time and is just another that the Bush administration helped make worse. Now it's really bad, even in the US. I hope it's on the new administration's radar.)
  9. Continue the Bush administration's warped view of how to handle the Arab-Israeli conflict (I'm tempted to say continuing any policy from the Bush administration is wrong, but there must be some worthy policy hiding out there somewhere that W's administration is responsible for. Middle East policy sure isn't one of them.)
  10. Continue to detain non-violent immigration offenders. (Another thing I just don't know much about, but I oppose mistreating immigrants on principle.)
So let's see . . . how many of these "mistakes" is Obama going to commit? By my reckoning, at least half. What do you think?
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