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Monday, October 04, 2010 

So it turns out I love The West Wing

And while I'm Canadian (and thus saddled with a venal and borderline incompentent (at anything but skullduggery) Prime Minister, and naturally resistent to the siren song of US politics), this interview with Barack Obama is incredibly impressive. His presidency hasn't been error-free or perfect, but considering the circumstance I think he's still doing an awfully admirable job. My two favourite parts:

"I could have had a knock-down, drag-out fight on the public option that might have energized you and The Huffington Post, and we would not have health care legislation now. I could have taken certain positions on aspects of the financial regulatory bill, where we got 90 percent of what we set out to get, and I could have held out for that last 10 percent, and we wouldn't have a bill. You've got to make a set of decisions in terms of 'What are we trying to do here? Are we trying to just keep everybody ginned up for the next election, or at some point do you try to win elections because you're actually trying to govern?' I made a decision early on in my presidency that if I had an opportunity to do things that would make a difference for years to come, I'm going to go ahead and take it."

"One of the things that you realize when you're in my seat is that, typically, the issues that come to my desk — there are no simple answers to them. Usually what I'm doing is operating on the basis of a bunch of probabilities: I'm looking at the best options available based on the fact that there are no easy choices. If there were easy choices, somebody else would have solved it, and it wouldn't have come to my desk."

This is a great, detailed, fairly in-depth interview, and while it won't make certain factions in America shut up (nor is it trying to shut them up), it's a pretty stirring one to boot.

I may be the only American who thinks Obama has been a pretty great president. What, he hasn't miraculously fixed the economy? Was anyone really expecting him to? He's been pretty awesome in the face of a hostile stupid mob that's been accussing him of every possible ridiculous thing they've been able to hurl at him.

There have been disappoints, for sure, but not all of them are Obama's fault (Don't Ask, Don't Tell, for example). As Alfred could tell you, the most worrisome thing is his fondness for those increased executive priviledges Bush put into place, but aside from that I've been fairly happy.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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