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For the record: I (still) think Obama is a good President

I’ve seen plenty of complaints about Obama, so I want to take this one-year point to stand up and show a bit of support for him. I agree with most of this administration’s priorities (environment, “green” energy, health care reform, financial reform, government transparency, Afghanistan, more). I _hugely_ appreciate our President actually largely showing respect to opponents domestically as well as to foreign countries, rather than only to his supporters and rather than acting as if other counties exist only to do what we tell them to do. I’m really grateful that he seems to focus on fact-based decision-making with a high priority on the best available science. I even like that he (generally) tries to be fairly hands-off with Congress; while he certainly (and appropriately) has influence, it’s not his job to make the laws – that’s Congress’ job and they are there to ensure that all constituencies at least get heard from.

That’s not to say that I think he’s perfect or that I’m happy with everything he’s done. For a couple of quick examples, I’m unhappy about the privacy around the ACTA negotiations, and his reaction to the Henry Gates incident was “stupid” – to borrow a word from Obama himself. Still, I think he has indeed made some real improvements, such as in government transparency (see the “high-value” government data now being released for an example), in improving our relations around the world, and in actually letting decisions be driven by science and fact (see NASA, environment, more). And while he is legitimately due some blame for current economic conditions and I don’t pretend to know all the right answers (or to be completely happy with everything we’ve done), I think he’s honestly making reasonable decisions, I think we’re better off for the decisions he’s made, and I personally attribute most blame for our current woes to pre-existing conditions (Clinton-era financial regulation relaxations, for a start, as well as breath-taking spending and poor financial management that went on under the previous administration – see the extreme costs of the Medicare drug benefits for an example), an opposition that is hostile and unconstructive in order to damage him, pretty much regardless of the collateral damage), and far-left Democrats who prefer inaction over compromise or who drag things out so much to show their bona fides at a substantial cost of progress. That’s my perspective.

I have no illusions that this post is going to change anyone’s mind, and indeed that’s not my intent. My point with this is mostly to stand up and be counted – to lend a bit of support to others who feel much the same, and maybe to provide a bit of balance to some who might otherwise be supportive of Obama but who don’t hear much beyond the chorus of detractors.

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