Sunday, March 21, 2010

Obama's Health Care Victory Puts His Critics to Shame

Re: Health Care Reform;

President Obama: 1

Critics: 0

Oct 8 of 2008 I predicted -- right here on Huffington Post -- that Obama would have a great presidency. Not only do I stand by my remarks made then but reiterate them now in the light of today's historic health care bill's passage. I also hereby call out the Democratic Party doubters (from the left) of our president who have been so ready to dismiss him. Who is looking smart today?

Presidents are made great by horrible circumstances combined with character, temperament and intelligence. Like firemen, cops, doctors or soldiers, presidents need a crisis to shine.

Obama is one of the most intelligent presidents to ever step forward in American history. The likes of his intellectual capabilities have not been surpassed in public life since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper. His personal character is also solid gold. Take heart, America: we have the leader for our times. He's just outworked and outsmarted the far right and the far left. The Tea party troglodytes are reduced to yelling racial epithets from the sidelines. The Lefty critics have egg on their faces.

I say this as a white, former Republican active on the Religious Right before I got disgusted with right wing hate and changed my mind in the mid-80s. (Something I write about in my memoir Crazy For God I say this as just another American watching his health care costs go stratospheric.

I say this as someone happy to have been called a fool for going out on a limb and declaring early in the primaries that, 1) Obama would win the nomination and then the election, and 2) that he was going to be amongst the greatest of American presidents.

You doubters beware. In November the Democrats will do much better than expected right now. You were wrong on health care. You are wrong about problems in November too. And while we're at it: Obama is not in the "pocket of Wall Street." He is not "betraying working America." What you saw today you'll see next in financial reform of banking laws. And you'll also see the economy turn around.

Obama puts service ahead of ideology. He also knows that to win politically you need to be tough. He can be. He just has been. Ask the Republicans today!

This is a man who does what works, rather than scoring ideological points. In other words, he is the quintessential non-ideological pragmatic American. He will (thank God!) disappoint ideologues and purists of the left and the right. He's already made them angry. And because he did that he just won a huge victory.

Obama has a reservoir of personal, physical courage that is unmatched in presidential history. Why unmatched? Take a look at the signs the Tea Party people carry. Take a look at the weapons they carry. As the first black president, Obama is in great physical danger from the seemingly unlimited reserve of unhinged racial hatred, and just plain unhinged ignorant hatred, that swirls in the bowels of our country. By stepping forward to lead, Obama has literally put his life on the line for all of us in a way no white president ever has had to do. His health care reform victory just made his life more dangerous. What personal risk have his critics taken? What courage was required to snipe from the sidelines?

Obama is the sober voice of reason at a time of unreason. He is the fellow keeping his head while all around him are panicking. Both the Left and Right not only blinked but ducked. Obama stood tall.

Obama brings a healing and uplifting spiritual quality to our politics at the very time when our worst enemy is fear. For eight years we were ruled by a stunted fear-filled mediocrity -- Bush -- who expanded his power on the basis of creating fear in others. Fearless Obama is the cure. He speaks a litany of hope rather than a litany of terror. Bush legalized torture. Obama just legalized health care for all. Which line would you rather stand in?

America is fighting its "Armageddon" in one fearful heart at a time. From the nutty Right we were told that Obama wanted to kill old people. From the nutty Left we were told Obama had "sold out to big pharma." What nonsense! A brilliant leader with the mild manner of an old-time matter-of-fact country doctor soothing a frightened child is just what we need.

The fact that our "doctor" is a black man leading a hitherto white-ruled nation out of the mess of its own making is all the sweeter and raises the Obama story to that of moral allegory. Literally we have a president that is now a healer of millions hitherto uninsured.

Obama brings a moral clarity to his leadership reserved for those who have had to work for everything they've gotten and had to do twice as well as the person standing next to them because of the color of their skin. His experience of succeeding in spite of his color, social background and prejudice could have been embittering or one that fostered a spiritual rebirth of forgiveness and enlightenment. Obama radiates the calm inner peace of the spirit of forgiveness. Doubters from the left and right just look cranky by comparison.

A hundred years from now Obama's portrait will be placed next to that of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Long before that we'll be telling our children and grandchildren that we stepped out in faith and voted for a young black man who stood up and led our country back from the brink of an abyss.

We'll tell them about the power of love, faith and hope. We'll tell them about the power of creativity combined with humility and intellectual brilliance.

We'll tell them that President Obama gave us the gift of regaining our faith in our country. We'll tell them that we all stood up and pitched in and won the day. We'll tell them that President Obama restored our standing in the world.

We'll tell them that by the time he left office health care was reformed! We'll tell them that our schools were on the mend, our economy booming, that we'd become a nation filled with green energy alternatives and were leading the world away from dependence on carbon-based destruction.

Remember our slogan as we fought for our candidate: "YES WE CAN"?

We just did!

Thank you Mr. President!


Annette said...

Thank You Mr. Schaeffer. You and I never lost faith or belief in this president. OUR President.

I know there are others, but I have never wavered.. Some have and then come back.. but for me he will be known as the Best President Ever..

I don't agree with every decision he makes.... but for the most part, I am very proud to say he is MY President.

Think Time said...

I second everything Annette said. Thank you for this beautiful tribute, Frank! I am so proud to say that I trust Obama and therefore believe that this healthcare reform is good for the country. Thank you for articulating Obama's significance so eloquently!

Jonathan Sands said...

I admit that I have had doubts, along the way, as to just what President Obama was doing and how he was doing it. But I admit to the fact that I am not on the same intellectual plane as he is, and have therefore deferred to what I hoped was his superior thought process. I was not disappointed.
I have never doubted his heart, I only questioned his methods. What did I know? He's a genius. I just hope more people on the right can come to this same conclusion. I had one hard headed right-winger I talked to recently who believed that, instead of my assertion that Obama sought the Presidency because he felt in his heart that he could make a difference, had actually "asked for it", by running.
"Asked for it"? What in hell was that supposed to mean? In his estimation Obama wanted the economy to be in crisis so as to be able to proffer upon,and implement upon the American experience, a socialistic agenda. This being said by a man who collects SSI, receives Medicare, and had worked as a public school teacher for 30 some odd years. The hypocrisy running rampant in this country is not limited to just the Rethuglican pols, but rather is alive and well in a large part of the populace.
I only hope and pray for the safety of this man. The alternative would be too scary to even contemplate.

freestyleroadtrip said...

Mr Schaeffer. After I read "Crazy for God," I blogged on it several times and you commented on my blog thanking me for the positive review. Since reading that book, I have kept up with your work and just started your new book last night. I can tell that you understand exactly the same things I understand about fundamental religious/atheistic views and that the so-called New Atheism makes the same mistake the Religious Right makes but just on the other end of the line which brings me to the topic of my comment. How are you not making that same mistake with what seems to be total and unquestioned support for President Obama? For the first time in my life I broke ranks with Republican Christianity and voted for President Obama because I thought he offered something that the US needs. And I haven't given up hope on that, but I also am not throwing in total approval of everything he does as it seems you are doing. Your new book seems to come down in the middle, between fundamental Christianity and fundamental atheism, but your position on President Obama appears to me to follow that same faulty thinking that I saw in fundamental Christianity all those years, that being assigning God's superior logic to every gap in my understanding so that I don't have to do the work of thinking through it myself and dealing with the doubt and tension that results. Maybe I am misunderstanding your position. I am a physician (in primary care by the way on the "front lines" of medicine so to speak) and far from ready to just hop on the train of assuming that President Obama knows best about how we should do health care. I'm not sure that this bill is a good thing overall in the end.

Douglas Lewis, MD

Frank Schaeffer said...

Thanks to you all for the kind comments. And Doug I thank you too because you may well be right re Obama. Time will tell and I hope I'm right about him for all our sakes. But you are correct in that my middle road is not one I can follow here. Given Obama can only be one man, there is no way to split the difference and I happen to trust his motives. We shall see. F

literatmosphermolekelvin said...

Thank you for detailing the positive attributes of President Obama. I have said many times that in comparison to Bush, Mcain, Palin et al, Barack and Michelle are saints.

freestyleroadtrip said...

Mr Schaeffer. That is about as honest a response as I could have expected, and I greatly appreciate it. It grows my respect for you and your writing and what you have to say. I have come to respect several figures (Cornel West, Brian McClaren, NT Wright, Colin Powell, Peter Rollins, Rob Bell) and I include you in that bunch. I hope you don't mind me asking another question. I struggle with where to get good information in the news that I can trust to honest and truthful. I struggle with being able to trust any politicians. Everyone has ulterior motives and an agenda so I don't feel like I can trust much of the information that comes out on a daily basis. Therefore, I find I end up sampling a little bit of all of them. A little MSNBC, a little FOX, a little CNN, a little President Obama, a little Senator McCain. And they all say such opposite things that it seems of little use. Who do you trust and why?


Hawkeye said...

Mr. Schaeffer, you said "Obama is one of the most intelligent presidents to ever step forward in American history.", can you please tell me what he's done to lead you to that conclusion?

fwallbank said...

Before Obama ran for President, I read his 2 books, and then I hoped so much he would be nominated. He's an excellent writer, which to me says a lot about his intelligence. His thoughts were poetic and coherent and very honest. His story - amazing... This Health Care thing - what a riot! It reminds me of the primary, when I was so worried that Hillary would beat him. I love her, but she was making me mad. And Obama was so calm - at least it seemed so - and he just brushed her mean comments "off his shoulder" - remember that? It's like, he knew something that the rest of us were too 'in the moment' to know. It was like that with the Health Care Bill - he and Nancy Pelosi seemed so confident. He has nerves of steel and a good heart and a mind that seems to be able to take it all in, and understand, and evaluate quickly. He seems to have an amazing ability to process information really really well. It is SO NICE to have a smart President at the helm! Fran

Trans Ocean said...

Frank Schaeffer, thank you for your courage to speak the truth while showing a sense of deep insight and a high level of sanity. Our President is a once in a lifetime Leader sent by the Great Creator to offset some of the extremely neagative forces circling the World in which we live.

Berd said...

I guess, as a critic, I have already, lost, having only scored "zero" compared to the President's (and his cheering chorus's) "one."

However, I don't think it is at all ridiculous to make the simple criticism, (without making any assumptions or jumping to conclusions about the ability of this legislation to be successfully applied,) that this legislation does absolutely nothing to curb the basic problem of the motive, by the profit driven corporations, to maximize the financial bottom-line.

Simply stated, while this bill offers some definite improvements in terms of the regulatory structure, it does nothing to address the basic problem of putting maximum profit (in the competitive marketplace) ahead of maximum health.

Their is a basic conflict between the cause of having the most effective/highest quality health care system - and profit motive.

I believe that all people deserve access to the highest quality health care.

And while this legislation is a step in the right direction, I am concerned about the potential for future improvements because of the complete exclusion, from the official debate, of those who argued in favor of a single payer universal health system.

I would feel a lot more comfortable if those who advocate for universal health care would have been included as part of the negotiations.

In Peace,

Hannah said...

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Hannah Bevills

sowens said...

Mr. Schaeffer,
I just became aware of this post from a email from a friend (who did not site her source). It was so good, I had to seek out the source of the shortened version of your post as it sounded like an urban legend. I am so glad to read that it is in fact a reality. I just wish more people were privy to this and would stand up and say WOW. What a well thought out and supportive piece. It would be wonderful if all of the isms would just go away so that we could heal. Thanks, and yes, President Obama is intelligent and extremely courageous and is the right man for the job.