It’s Tough Being President

I don’t follow politics too closely anymore even though I find it fascinating. Lately though I’ve been trying to watch Meet the Press, which is a great show, on Sundays to try and get some perspective.

Here’s one thing I do strongly agree with: it’s tough being president. Everyone hated Bush (1/4 approval rate speaks for itself I think) and thought he did a bad job, and I did too, but maybe we should think of Bush as not a nefarious incompetent, but someone who faced off against the tough job of being president and lost in spectacular fashion.

And what I mean is that Obama is finding it hard to change the country from Bush’s path in many important respects. He said he was going to close Guantanamo (Bush attracted a lot of anger over Guantanamo). Hasn’t happened yet. He also wanted to try KSM in civilian courts (Bush was accused of using illicit legal arrangements to try terrorists), now that probably won’t happen either. Obama railed against Afghanistan, and it looks like he’s going to have to increase the number of troops there.

The difference I guess is really on the domestic side. Obama got healthcare, Bush couldn’t have cared less. Bush wrecked the economy, Obama is at least preventing it from being much worse than it could be (or is he?).

Still, my point is that it ain’t easy being president. Things are just really hard, and this fact makes me think that its very hard to judge how good a president is doing. I really haven’t had any problems with Obama so far (from his policy decisions). He seems to take honest positions on tough issues (unlike the Bush administration which I thought took some undeniably duplicitous and cynical approaches to very complex issues). Still though, he’s kind of getting eaten for lunch.

I’m interested to see how the economy ends up (if it turns around before his reelection campaign, I think it could be a huge coup for him). Overall though, my point is that the hatred directed against Bush might have been unfair in its intensity. So he didn’t shut down guantanamo and hurt our international credibility? So what. Obama hasn’t really changed any of his substantive foreign policy decisions, so maybe the world situation just forces unpopular but necessary decisions on us.


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