I was talking at length with my Dad the other day about our assessments of Obama's first year. In a fun little role reversal that we've shared for some time, my Dad is a little more of a liberal and lot less of a cynic than I am, and he brought up Bob Woodward's scathing defense of Obama's work so far.
I came away from our conversation with a little different perspective. It's apparent that I've become used to a president who simply never learned from mistakes... whose responses to any cause and effect were essentially the same- a smirk, a defensive quip, hiring a friend to do a professional's job. Obama, for all his biting-off-more-than-he-could-chew in the crucial first year, has three years to go. And I'm confident that he has learned several things the hard way in the past 12 months.
What would I like to see? Well, I've decided that I've waited this long for a sensible health care plan, how about that goes on the back burner while we try to figure out how to re-employ the one out of ten people in this country who are atoning for the sins of a hideously unregulated market during the Bush years? I'd be OK with health becoming a year 3, maybe even 4 priority. So long as my friends are employed and my scooter shop survives.
I'd like to see energy and the environment (issues that, if you scratch the surface, are actually tied to long-term health effects) be more of a focus. Because I know that if we're smart about the environment, we'll create viable jobs.
I'm fairly confident that the health-care bill in its current incarnation is pretty awful. Howard Dean has said so, among others. I want to see it get better. I want to see it with a real, appropriate deadline for release. I want it make health more affordable by reforming the health care industry rather than simply putting taxpayer dollars into a wasteful, inflated business that long ago stopped caring about making people healthy.
So my faith in change is not gone yet. I think Obama will take several solid deliverables away from this first year- both positive and negative. And I'm really interested in hearing what his plans are moving forward.
Tonight, I'll be listening.