Perfect and good have been battling one another forever. Perfect needs to lay off. Now!
“You say you want a revolution? Well, you can’t always get what you want — but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” With these words Paul Krugman ends Learning from Obama, his April 1 column for the New York Times. In the piece Mr. Krugman notes:
- the 10,000,000 new private sector jobs during the past seven years (along with still disappointing economy);
- the Obamacare successes, including a huge increase in the number of people with insurance, fewer employers dropping coverage, and lower than expected costs;
- financial sector reforms which include, most notably, far less leverage in “too big to fail” banks and other finance firms;
- real policies, albeit via executive action because of the Do-Nothing Congress, on environmental issues, including the first meaningful steps to try and mitigate climate change.
Mr. Krugman completely ignores foreign policy. We’re actually, finally, dealing with Iran (after almost 40 years) and Cuba (after more than 50). We—here, I reference the collective WE, which includes the world—have a plan for dealing with climate change. The United States has wound down two wars, one of which never should have begun. (In Afghanistan, we stayed way too long!) We’re fighting terror where it starts, and dealing with the fact that in a free world, bad things will happen to good people in lovely places.
I offer up the foregoing thoughts—and Mr. Krugman did, too, albeit with much greater eloquence—because I worry about perfect in the perpetual battle with good. President Obama didn’t fix everything which ails us, much of which has been ailing us for decades, in seven years (with no help from Congress, and precious little from a formerly dyspeptic majority on the Supreme Court.)
From the Republicans, we have stupid, selling itself 24/7 on cable and via tweets. And from the Democrats, we have a serious discussion which centers, mostly, on methods. (For a terrific explainer of this dichotomy, watch Stephen Colbert, interviewing Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on March 30.)
Now, I’m hard-pressed to decide which bothers me less: Senator Ted Cruz (D-Tex.) reading Dr. Seuss to the Senate, while he is shutting down the United States government, or the same Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, fighting about their wives. Either way, and you can call me a fuddy-duddy if you want, I prefer policy discussions.
So, let’s not forget the fact that the Ds have offered up two serious people as potential occupants of the White House. I said I liked Secretary Clinton on April 17, 2015. I’ve wavered privately, but she’s still my candidate. That said, there’s not an ounce of doubt in my mind that there is only one other candidate whose election to the office will not drive the country back into the ditch President Obama has been pulling us out of since January 20, 2009: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). No effing doubt at all!
So here’s my wish. Both Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders have said many times that either is preferable to any Republican, and they said it when there was a plethora of choices. Now, though, as the nominating process comes to a close and the election is ever closer, I want to hear from each candidate, every day, in every speech, as the open line, the following words:
Welcome! Before I say anything else, let me be clear about one thing. The only person we can seriously consider for the presidency in the next election, other than me, is [Hillary Clinton] [Bernie Clinton]. So if I’m the nominee, vote for me, but if I’m not, you need to vote for [Hillary Clinton] [Bernie Clinton].
Every day. Every speech. Same words. No matter what else—and however hurtful it may be—gets said.
Too much is at stake on November 8 to let another reckless driver occupy the White House. Too, too much!