Thursday, August 26, 2010
What Are President Obama's Goals?
I have spent hours, days, weeks trying to fathom them, but I don't get anywhere at all. Simply stated, I haven't got the slightest idea what his strongest values might be and what he wishes to accomplish, in some fundamental sense. Is he for the "lesser people" (in terms of our dear Alan Simpson)? Is he for feminist goals? Is he for the survival of this country's safety nets? What are his foreign policy goals?
Sure, I can read articles on all this, but the problem with them is that the explanations they offer contradict each other. It may just be my limited intellectual capabilities, my inability to play 11-dimensional chess with one hand tied behind my back, my refusal to see "pressing realities" as realities. But I simply cannot figure out what his basic values and goals might be, in the sense of then using them to predict what he might do next. I never know what he might do next.
Now Bill Clinton I could figure out, after a while. But this guy I cannot. I don't understand his worldview and I don't understand how he thinks of politics. I don't understand what drives him. Every time I think I do, he does something new, something which refutes my earlier thesis.
My most recent hypothesis, a poor one, is that he sees his role as an arbitrator in a salary debate or as a marital counselor: someone to offer compromise solutions.
Translated into politics, his task would then be to offer moving half-way on various issues: half-way towards banning abortion, half-way towards fundy religious stuff, half-way towards those jungle markets the right wants. Half-way everywhere, without being asked to make that step at all!
Hence his decision to attack Social Security by installing the commission (called the catfood commission by some), his decision to invite fervent opponents of Social Security to be part of it and to have real power in it, behind closed doors. That this was NOT an issue he campaigned on doesn't seem to matter at all. He wishes to pre-empt the political opposition by meeting them half-way in everything, unasked.
That makes no sense whatsoever, because his opposition is playing a whole other game (the tea-partiers are getting stronger, not weaker, for instance). But it fits the events, and none of my other theories do.