Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Mixed Emotions about President Obama

As the 2008 national elections approached, my (faint) hope was that we would get a Democratic president, with the Republicans controlling the Senate if not the House as well. By election day, however, it was obvious that the Democrats would win both the White House and the Capitol. I therefore voted for Barr (the Libertarian presidential candidate) and for Republicans in the other races.

With Democrats in the driver's seat, I feared the worst in terms of social engineering and bigger government. But I hoped that President Obama and his advisers would be wise enough to steer a somewhat moderate course.

That does not so far seem to be in the offing.

I want Obama to be a good president, even while I hope that he does not succeed in having national health insurance or carbon-emission limits adopted. The historic nature of his presidency -- our first African-American (or partly African-American) chief executive -- is still thrilling to me. I want him to do at least well enough that no one can afterwards honestly say African-Americans don't have what it takes to be president. Also, as an alumnus of Harvard Law School, I want him to reflect well on the school. (While many presidents have been Harvard graduates, Obama is only the second president to be a graduate specifically of the law school. The other was Rutherford B. Hayes.)

A Republican majority in either house or both houses following the 2010 elections could be a big help to him. It could call upon his reasonableness (which I believe is there) and encourage prudence.

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