2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The State of the Union this Tuesday, or the state of President Obama?

The Boston Globe's James Carroll puts the performance of President Barack Obama, the 2008 hope and change candidate, in perspective as we await his State of the Union address Tuesday evening. Although the title of the piece refers to Obama as a disappointment, Carroll gives him credit for his achievements and holds out hope for positive developments:

When President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the nation will implicitly consider the state of the president himself. Six years ago, he was defined by the word “hope.” He had arrived on the scene as a political innocent, and many who voted for him inevitably projected onto the blank screen of his future a cluster of aspirations that had more to do with a generation’s longing than with likely trends going forward.

Still, Obama’s slogan “Yes, we can” had come to seem both an acknowledgment of the difficult road ahead, and a savvy rebuttal to the “realists” who ruled out as impossible any actual progress toward peace, justice, or broad prosperity. Early on, the president defied the chorus of naysayers, especially as he pulled the economy back from the brink of catastrophe. His considerable success with health care reform will likely define the core of his legacy.

But six years on, in many important ways, Barack Obama has become a figure of American disappointment, with last week’s inexplicable failure to properly honor the trauma of France only a latest instance of mystifying solecism. Obama’s political and personal enemies never saw him as a force for good, yet by now even many of his once-passionate admirers admit to a profound disenchantment. The shattering of an illusion tied to a figure of such intelligence, deeply rooted liberal purpose, and evident public virtue necessarily involves a further — and perhaps dangerous — disillusionment with democratic will itself.

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