Why Obama Is Still in Catbird Seat

People say that Barack Obama “hasn’t accomplished much” in his first few months as the President of the United States, i.e. we’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan; we don’t have health care; the economy still sucks?

I suggest that he has accomplished a great deal; he has accomplished enough (as I write this letter) through his leadership to: partially stabilize the economy (JOB, JOBS, JOBS, still lacking); help many of the unemployed with the health care and the extension of unemployment benefits; find the direction to a reasonable and truly competitive health care system; show the world that the US of A can be a leader in the world as a valuable and intelligent partner and show that he is addressing climate issues.

Barack Obama IS a leader. He has proven himself to be the leader that he said he would be. He knows his politics; he knows how to put good people into critical jobs. He focuses of issues that are most important to the country. He is a consensus builder. He allows those with different opinions to his to help him to solve problems. AND, he demands respect from those who prove themselves not to be part of the solution.

Can you imagine walking into what the situation that he inherited? The banking system going bust; we were involved two wars, one of which was worsening due the political structure that had been put in place thanks to the US; a health care system was so broken it was sending many to bankruptcy; spiraling housing foreclosures were also bankrupting many families, AND, a Republican party that early on proved itself to be most interested in failing the President’s positions on the issues.

I write this because I have a little experience working in local politics as a County appointed official. I was able to work with and observe elected officials in Maricopa County, Arizona (yes, Phoenix and its environs; yes, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, most famous for establishing a tent city for his prisoners in some of the most inhospitable weather around).

As the County’s Human Services Department Director for nine years in the 1980’s and 90’s, I worked with a county Board of Supervisors that was predominately Republican and conservative but also fairly supportive of the work of my department. I saw good politicians and their staff members listening and leading by forming consensus on an issue.

The President has used these tactics with Congress on the health care issue. As the issues have risen, they have played out with the extremes being heard from all sides. The extremes are distracting but have not thwarted the accomplishment of the goal. We shall see the end of it soon.

And, he is doing the same with Afghanistan.

Best of luck to him and to Congress! The extremists will continue to watch and shout from the sidelines as the rest of country which supports him applauds.-Barbara Faulkner

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