Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Obama on Baltimore: We Like Him When We Need Him

I find it funny -- or tragic -- that Barack Obama has been addressing systemic problems about race, war, justice, and, yes, guns, since before he was elected. It's rather odd when someone says "On Baltimore, we finally have the president we need."

No, since Baltimore we have the president we need on Baltimore. And by the reaction of some in the press, he once again delivered in the ways we have come to expect during times of trouble and turbulence.

Case in point is the Daily Beast article in praise of his Baltimore remarks, all the more remarkable because they were delivered impromptu at a news conference:
Addressing Baltimore’s systemic poverty and lack of opportunity, Obama suddenly was the president we’ve needed all along.
Suddenly, President Obama did not need an anger translator.
Suddenly, he seemed exactly himself, power speaking truth.
The best public 15 minutes of his presidency came on Tuesday in response to a question about Baltimore at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“In those environments, if we think that we’re just gonna send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there, without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not gonna solve this problem,” he said as he stood in the sunshine in the Rose Garden 43 miles from the epicenter of the previous night’s riot.
He went on, “And we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets. And everybody will feign concern until it goes away and then we go about our business as usual.”
Read the rest of this excellent article by Michael Daly on Obama's remarks. But don't be confused by the "president we've needed all along." Obama has been there in so many ways that we've needed for so long -- and in a few ways we wish he hadn't -- that we forget the gift he's been, on balance, to this nation.

No, he's not perfect. FDR could be a power-mad prick, and Lincoln could dissemble with the best of them, it appears. But I'll take this Barack Obama any day over the pricks and dissemblers that are the Republican leaders of our day. They bring nothing, nothing. It's why Clinton is trashing them in the polls and likely will trash them in November, 2016.

I leave you with Obama's remarks, and Hillary's, too.

Sorry I can't edit a line break between videos. Weird code. And here's the complete text of Clinton's speech.

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