No surprise: Obama is just a politician - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

No surprise: Obama is just a politician

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Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2010 7:53 pm | Updated: 3:22 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Austin Hill: President Barack Obama is human. He is not a "messiah," he is not omniscient, and after a year in the White House, he has neither been, nor will be, that one, single individual who "fixes everything" that is wrong with America.

President Barack Obama is human.

He is not a "messiah," he is not omniscient, and after a year in the White House, he has neither been, nor will be, that one, single individual who "fixes everything" that is wrong with America.

These human limitations of Obama are not surprising. What is surprising - and very disturbing - is that there seems to be a fair number of our fellow Americans who are surprised.

This level of surprise has become so great that now, even some in the world of liberal media are being forced to admit what a majority of Americans have been able to discern for the past few months: Obamacare is not good for America, and worse yet, it entails a high level of corruption.

In the aftermath of last week's stunning political sea change in Massachusetts (and the resulting sea change for the entire country), much of America's left-wing media has attempted to explain the stunning loss by Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley in terms of mere political strategy. Some dismiss the loss, noting that Coakley was simply a bad candidate. Others are willing to acknowledge that maybe - just maybe - her close alignment with Obama ended up hurting her candidacy.

Yet the usual line of reasoning suggests that Obama's only mistake has been to confuse voters by doing too much, too fast. Obama's strategy has been faulty, so the logic goes, but the substance of his proposals and actions has been just fine.

But in the midst of this milieu, yet some other liberal Americans have taken note that the substance of Obama's proposals and actions are not just fine; that, indeed, they are harmful; and that maybe - just maybe - they are not the change that we were all supposedly "hoping" for. Put Robert Kuttner in this latter category. The co-founder and co-editor of the left-wing publication "The American Prospect," Kuttner noted in the Huffington Post last weekend - two days before the Massachusetts election - that everything was not so fine with Obamacare.

"How could the health care issue have turned from a reform that was going to make Barack Obama 10 feet tall into a poison pill for Democratic senators?" Kuttner asked. He noted that, the Massachusetts Senate race aside, the forcing of the Obamacare agenda had already done "incalculable political damage" to Obama and the Democratic party, and would "likely do more."

As an example of the carnage, Kuttner noted that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) was hit with such a stinging backlash from his constituents over his support for Obamacare that he began running TV advertisements in Nebraska insisting that the Obama health plan "is not run by the government."

"That's one hell of a slogan," Kuttner wrote of Nelson's defensive public relations campaign, "for a party that relies on democratically elected government to offset the insecurity, inequality and insanity generated by private commercial forces. If not-run-by-government is the Democrats' credo, why bother?"

It's likely that many Americans are asking this "why bother" question right now. If there is no government-run health care program, some are likely thinking, then why bother trying to reform the health care industry at all?

Yet I'm interested in some more important questions: Why are so many Americans so trusting of politicians? Why do so many of my fellow Americans look to elected officeholders to protect them from a rough-and-tumble world? How can any thoughtful, mature American adult believe that - of all people - politicians will save them from "the insecurity, inequality and insanity generated by private commercial forces?"

The assumption that our free-market economy is the harbinger of all evil, while politicians and government programs are the fount of all goodness and benevolence, is grounded in some very simplistic and childlike thinking. It contradicts the lessons of world history and the founding principles of our country. And those who actually thought that Obamacare was about "helping the little guy," and not about Obama's pursuit of his own political self-interest, need to rethink their misplaced trust in politicians.

For his part, Kuttner seems genuinely surprised that Obama cut deals with those supposedly evil drug and insurance companies and allowed certain groups of Americans (like, for example, union members) to be exempt from being forced to participate in the Obamacare program. Yet Obama was merely doing what politicians do - pursuing his own political self-interests.

All Americans would do well to consider this reality. It should inform our views about politicians and the proper role of government in our lives.

Austin Hill's commentaries appear ever Sunday. He hosts talk radio around the country, including Arizona's Newstalk KTAR (92.3 FM). To join Hill as he talks with Arizona's newsmakers, and have a fun time doing it, watch "The Austin Hill Web TV Show" on Arizona Web TV.

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