Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mixing Politics and Memorial Day

The Republican campaign for President will kick into high gear starting now – just when Obama has risen in popularity and respect. It should get very interesting now.
by Charlie Leck

This was a good Memorial Day weekend. I spent most of it in Chicago and I liked the quiet, calm respect that everyday residents were paying to the memory of men and women who have served this nation in times of war or in preparation to defend us. The rah-rah-rah sense of blind patriotism seems to have been replaced by more considerate gratitude. People are thankful, but they want to know how we can get ourselves out of this blind and frenzied war mentality. That's the reading I got, anyway!

Why does it always need to be the U.S. that leads the charge? After awhile, it gets to be too much. The nation wearies from seeing its extraordinary young people falling in faraway nations. The people themselves cannot easily explain to themselves why we are there and what the bottom-line mission is.

I think it is why Obama moved so carefully in Libya. We simply couldn’t lead the charge there. There are several reasons why: (1) We’re spread thin and our fighting forces need to complete the tasks in Afghanistan and Iraq; (2) The economy at home demands that we spend less on the military and our own defense and not more; and (3) We need to get other allied nations involved in the process of stopping inhumanity around the globe.

Obama’s moves may be seen as a sign of weakness, but, in fact, they show great personal strength on his part. And, they all show political wisdom.

The President’s political standing has grown since the killing of bin Laden. People – regular people and world leaders – are willing to look more carefully at him and his actions and tend now to give him the benefit of the doubt. His approval numbers have risen at home and around the world.

This high regard won’t last. The economy appears to be tanking again. The President is forced to make political concessions and compromises that will anger some of those who voted for him. He’ll need all his political acumen to fight through this.

The Obama campaign (2012) has set a goal to raise a billion dollars to spend on the election. That will be an all time record. To do that, Obama’s campaign structure will need to resurrect all those who so excitedly gave to him in 2007 and 2008. That will be a tough task and Obama will need the Republicans to commit a few frightening blunders to get his base motivated. In this day and age that doesn’t seem to be too hard to imagine or for which to hope.


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