Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Landmark Leadership

To date I have been underwhelmed by Obama’s leadership efforts. He has not led on principle but by appealing to fear and greed. “Health care costs will bankrupt you if we don’t pass this bill,” and “You will like this bill when you get a $250 check this year to fill the Medicare prescription donut hole.”

The legislation he has championed has been watered down by catering to corporations and conservatives; a “stimulus” that was 42% tax cuts, and “health care reform” with no public option and no reform of pricing on prescription medication.

International leadership has consisted of pretty words accompanied with continued war, bombastic rhetoric about “keeping America safe,” bombing villages from pilotless drones in nations with which we are not at war, and an endless drumbeat of threats against Iran.

Finally he has brought off something that makes me proud of having elected him. Convening a meeting of heads of state and bringing together agreement on reducing stockpiles of nuclear materials is a landmark accomplishment indeed. The details do not matter; that he created the meeting and the agreement is a major accomplishment, and it reflects the esteem that the world holds for him as a person and as a world leader.

This is not just pretty words or a fine speech. Even if the agreements are voluntary, and even if they are in principle rather than to reach a specific four-year goal as has at times been misreported, this is a very big deal.

This is world leadership that reflects credit on our nation.

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