Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Can Obama Be Accidental?

On the evidence of his press conference, our president of 100 days seems so right for this critical time that it tempts a secular humanist to suspect Barack Obama came to power, not just by the natural selection of a brutal political campaign, but some more mysterious process of intelligent design.

How else to explain the qualities of mind and heart, and the eloquence to express them, that arrived in the White House just in time to deal with what he rightly calls "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression" and a world filled with natural and man-made dangers from pandemics to nuclear weapons in the hands of extremists?

He answered questions on all these and more last night with a command of the issues and his own brand of idealistic pragmatism, tempered with the kind of humility unseen in past presidents who had much more reason to be self-effacing.

In answer to a question on that subject, Obama said he was "humbled by the fact that the presidency is extraordinarily powerful but...just part of a much broader tapestry of American life...I can't just press a button and suddenly have the bankers do exactly what I want or, you know, turn on a switch and suddenly, you know, Congress falls in line...

"This metaphor has been used before, but the ship of state is an ocean liner. It's not a speedboat. And so the way we are constantly thinking about this issue, of how to bring about the changes that the American people need, is to say, if we can move this big battleship a few degrees in a different direction, you may not see all the consequences of that change a week from now or three months from now, but 10 years from now or 20 years from now, our kids will be able to look back and say, 'That was when we started getting serious about clean energy. That's when health care started to become more efficient and affordable. That's when we became serious about raising our standards in education.'"

Ten or twenty years from now, that generation of Americans may also look back and wonder if their parents and grandparents were smart or just lucky in picking a president to attempt all that.


Anonymous said...

Gosh, are you in love with Obama or what!

Too bad he's going to bankrupt us.

Shambo said...

No............G.W.B. and his fellow 'conservatives' laid the foundation for this year's economic debacle.