Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mort Zuckerman on President Obama

Mortimor B. Zuckerman is the Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News and World Report and a regular panelist on the McLaughlin Group, which Carol and I have watched for years on public television. He usually sits to the right of McLaughlin, the viewer's left, and it is on that side thatpundits who are politically "left of center" sit. On the left of McLaughlin, the viewer's right, is where the pundits sit who are "right of center." McLaughlin, of course, sits in the center, and I believe he thinks of himself as politically in the center.

After listening to Zuckerman's comments over the years, I would say that he is left of center, but not very much. Of course, that's a subjective viewpoint, as all of this left-of-center, right-of-center, labeling is. That labeling is quickly less than helpful and even damaging to political discussion. In any event, Zuckerman very much liked Obama during the campaign and has said very hopeful things about him over the last 12 months.

But now he writes an article in U.S.News entitled "The Incredible Deflation of Barack Obama." It is well worth reading. He doesn't bash Obama. He expresses his deep disappointment and he describes reasonably and accurately the mistakes that the President has made and the political consequences of them. He also expresses the hope the the President will somehow get back on the right course.

Frankly, I don't see Obama being able to turn his administration around. I do not believe he has the experience, the political know-how, to do so. His character also seems to lack the sort of humility that it would take for him to start anew and act differently. Finally, I believe he has a sort of religious faith that government has the answers, all the answers, if only government were large and powerful enough and had bright people like him to run it. I hope I'm wrong about his ability to get on the right course. I fear, though, that he will simply "double-down" on his bet that he can shove his agenda through by doing whatever it takes.

But if he looses very bright, opened minded, articulate, centrist, and well-connected people like Mort Zuckerman, the President will surely, surely fail.

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