Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Obama's First Year

President Obama has just announced his new strategy for Afghanistan, complete with 30,000 more troops (less than the 40,000 requested by his general) and a timetable for withdrawal. It is inevitably drawing comparisons with his Democratic predecessor, Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam strategy of 1965. The Vietnam war went on to destroy one of the greatest liberal reformers the White House had seen, and the ghost that is haunting Obama must be Johnson (not, it has to be acknowledged, that the Ice Man of the White House looks very haunted at the moment). Even before the Afghan announcement, Obama spent a pretty difficult summer over healthcare, and a resurgent right have been attacking him from all quarters, while the left complain of his inactivity.

But does this amount to a failing presidency, or is it merely the petty detail of a genuinely transformational one. Jacob Weisberg in Slate.com makes the case for regarding Obama's first year as the most successful since Franklin D. Roosevelt. For the liberals who thought Obama was failing to measure up, read and have your heart warmed. For the right who were hoping much the same, could you possibly have been outflanked again?

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