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Predicting President Obama’s Performance

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Posted on Nov 19, 2008
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Is it possible to foretell how a president will lead based on a set of indicators culled from past precedents? That’s a hard call—but John Dean is willing to take his chances in his latest column about the future of America’s highest office.


Now the good news. After observing candidate Barack Obama, and reading his two memoirs, “Dreams from my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope,” I strongly believe that he is a prototypical “active/positive” president—under the criteria of Barber’s analysis. For that reason, allow me to further draw from Barber’s work, to highlight the portrait of an active/positive president’s key characteristics—quoting Barber’s analysis as follows—for it provides a portrait of the coming Obama presidency, if Barber is correct:

A conviction of capability. The President soon reaches the conclusion that despite weaknesses he knows about, he is fully able to meet the challenges of the job.

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By Maani, November 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Regular Joe:

Lighten up!  LOL.  We here at the progressive TD (LOL) use the word “repugs” as an endearing term (well, at least I do).  As for “staffing his administration with people who share his vision,” this is what we DON’T need: another administration of presidential “yes-men” (and women).  The point of including SOME people who DON’T necessarily “share his vision” is exactly that: to provide challenging viewpoints, to have alternative feedback, to get opinions from ALL SIDES of an issue, not just the one the president believes in to start with.


“Some of us who were stupid enough to vote for Obama did so with the hope that he was going to challenge the ruling elite to some extent.  This is what we thought he meant by change.”

If that is the case, then you started from false premise, and you have no one to blame but yourself.  I NEVER expected that level of “change.”  And anyone who thought that Obama was running on a solidly “progessive” platform was intoxicated by the fumes of his rhetoric and wasn’t paying attention at all.

He made it clear that “change” meant changing the way things are done in DC vis-a-vis having an administration of yes-men (and women), lobbyist influence, partisanship that created a do-nothing Congress, a hopeless lack of ethics, and doing the same old things and getting the same old results.

In this regard, Obama can still effect “change” on an extraordinary level compared not simply to the Bush administration, but as far back as Bush I (if not Reagan).

To suggest that he somehow campaigned - or even led anyone to perceive that he was campaigning - to “challenge the ruling elite” is hopelessly naive.  He may yet do so, to some small extent.  But that was never his goal.  And his goals, as he offered them, were laudatory in and of themselves.


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By troublesum, November 19, 2008 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

See Amy Goodman’s column on this page.  Some of us who were stupid enough to vote for Obama did so with the hope that he was going to challenge the ruling elite to some extent.  This is what we thought he meant by change.

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By RegularJoe, November 19, 2008 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

>> I will be extremely ANNOYED if Obama does not name at least two, and maybe three, Repugs to cabinet or other high-level positions.  THAT is the spirit of true bipartisanship, and “change.”

So, does your definition of ‘bipartisonship’ include continuing to refer to your political rivals as “Repugs”? 

That’s about the kind of changed I believed was coming.

For the record, as a Republican I’m not in favor of Obama appointing Republicans to administration roles.  He should staff his administration with people who share his vision, and be judged 4 years from now on the results—especially if the appointments are as cynical as your comments make them seem.

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By Maani, November 19, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl:

You and I don’t tend to agree on much (LOL), but I completely agree with your rant!  In fact, I will be extremely ANNOYED if Obama does not name at least two, and maybe three, Repugs to cabinet or other high-level positions.  THAT is the spirit of true bipartisanship, and “change.”

I will repeat for the umpteenth time: presidential appointees are responsible for carrying out the agenda of the president - not the other way around.  It is what Obama wants that matters; not what his choices want, or even what they did in the past.  If HE is comfortable with his choices, and believes that they will carry out his agenda, then who the heck is anyone here to second-guess those choices?

Shame on those who voted for Obama for “change” but never understood what that meant!


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By troublesum, November 19, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

John Dean is a republican and of course they love Obama.  Why wouldn’t they.

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By Folktruther, November 19, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

You’re fun, Purple girl.  You’re also wrong.

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By felicity, November 19, 2008 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

There’s an article in the Nov.l7 New Yorker, ‘Battle Plans, How Obama won’ that supports Mr. Dean’s profile of Obama to the letter.  It’s worth a read because it’s fascinating and more importantly because any doubts we may have about Obama will be allayed.  The guy knows what he’s doing.

Also, Purple Girl is right on the money today.

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By mike112769, November 19, 2008 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

We the people certainly hope he is up to the job. Another term like the last two we’ve endured and the American Dream will truly be dead!
Like the majority of voters, I gave this man my vote. I admit I did it out of a sense of revulsion toward the Republican party, not because I admire Obama. McCain did not have a prayer of winning this election. The Republicans are so reviled right now that Ronald Reagan would have lost this one.
The Democrats have a shot at helping fix the mess we let Bush make. I really hope they take it, but so far all I’m hearing and seeing is “business as usual”. Barack Obama, please don’t continue with business as usual. You got a lot of people drawn into this election based on your promises for change. We are waiting.

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By Purple Girl, November 19, 2008 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Every Lefty is having a mental meltdown because of possible appointments…POSSIBLE is the operative word.What part of ‘Unity’ do they not Understand? What part of the statement ‘We are Not red States or Blue States’ escaped their comprehension?
I’m a Lefty (Life long) and I am dismayed by the prejudgement and paranoia coming from the left.
I voted in the primary for Kucinich, I had no misconceptions about the Fact Obama was a centrist.
The Left is acting (and as delusional) as the Religious Right….Obama is NOT a Radical Lefty.
I am sick of extremeism from the Right and Left, Both have done NOTHING to solve any problems because they are Unyeilding in their perspectives. Hint Not everyone Wants to become a vegatarian, just like not everyone wants to be a ‘Born again’ Christian! What have both of these Groups accomplished in Humane treatment of living beings….NOTHING.the right keeps screaming at Gays and the PETA people keep throwing paint on already dead fur someones wearing.IDIOTS! I dare not mention to anyone I am an Animal Advocate, because they’ll think I’m a PETA Freak. I don’t admit to my ‘Faith’ because they’ll associate me with the likes of Hagee. These Extrmeist not only give the rest of US a bad name, they are counterproductive in their OWN Causes!
I can hardly wait to hear the Crap when Obama names a Republican to one of his top posts. I’m hoping Chuck Hagel gets Sec of Defense, and I’m a Life Long Liberal Dem.but I am willing to put that aside if it Resolves issues which have plagued our country for decades. Grow Up Fanatics, You’ve blocked the way to Progess long enough. Oh another Hint…‘Divide and Conquer’ is the stratedgy which you have played right into…Elicit Gutteral Emotional Response and Logic goes right out the window. The right thinks the Left will make them all become Gay and the Left thinks the right will make US all Evangelical ‘End of Dayers’- Get a grip!This BS has worked to the advantage of such vile criminals as Cheney and Rove- stop feeding these Beasts with your irrational hypersensitive Reactions. Most of US are not middle of the Road, Were Just sick of the opposite ends of the continum pigeon holing US and fucking US up!

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