Changes in Platitudes, Changes in Attitudes

A couple of comments on my posts of the last couple of days make it apparent that I should state directly something that seemed obvious:  A change in administration, especially one from an ostensibly conservative Republican to a pragmatically liberal Democrat, brings a natural evolution in the editorial perspective of this blog.

Since founding OTB almost exactly six years ago, I’ve been a mostly friendly critic of a president for whom I twice voted; for the next four years or more, I’ll be in the role of loyal opposition.   I’ll continue to be fairminded and analytical, trying to understand and fairly comment on the complex realities of public policymaking and otherwise call ’em like I see ’em.  But I’ll almost certainly disagree more often with President Obama’s goals than I did those of President Bush, with whom I differed mostly on execution.

Given the ecclectic collection of bloggers at OTB, Alex Knapp and I will likely flip roles in that regard.  My guess is he’ll defend Obama more than I will, disagreeing from the standpoint of someone who supported his election.  Given their choice of topics, you’ll likely not see a whole lot of difference from Steve Verdon, Dave Schuler, Chris Lawrence, and others.

Regardless, while we may disagree with him on any number of programmatic issues and criticize him on that front several times a day, I think I speak for all of my colleagues in wishing him and his administration well.  Whether we voted for him or not, he’s the only president we have and the economy is in peril and American troops are in harm’s way on two fronts.  We need things to go well.

As one who has voted Republican in every presidential election for which I’ve been eligible (1984-2008) I can only hope my party takes its time out of power to recalibrate its platform and provide a viable alternative for the years ahead.   For 2012, I’d either like to lose in a landslide because the Obama administration is doing such a splendid job or win back the White House with a candidate who can match Obama as a spokesman for his cause, besting him in a spirited, civil debate on the basis of a superior plan for the future.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    win back the White House with a candidate who can match Obama as a spokesman for his cause, besting him in a spirited, civil debate on the basis of a superior plan for the future.

    Run, Sarah! Run!

  2. I assume that Triumph is talking about Sarah Jessica Parker, because that other Sarah doesn’t come anywhere near matching Obama’s rhetorical abilities.

  3. Michael says:

    Nice Jimmy Buffett reference.

  4. NoZe says:

    Despite our ideological differences, I’ve known you long enough and read your work enough to know that you’ll be a fair critic!

  5. Scott Swank says:

    James,

    As a staunch liberal I have always valued your “honesty first” approach to politics, particularly because that has been hard to find among conservatives on the web. I hope that you are more akin to Krugman in his critiques of Bush policy than to others have have just bashed Bush for sport. At least I hope that your definition of “loyal opposition” does not include the latter.

    Cheers.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    My guess is he’ll defend Obama more than I will, disagreeing from the standpoint of someone who supported his election.

    For the first couple of months, anyway…

  7. carpeicthus says:

    It sounds good to me. OTB is a perfect one-stop shop to get the gamut of opinion on the right, from the sensible (Mr. Joyner) to the slavering and dogmatic commenter or two (you know who you are). Politics is not sports — you should support people when you think them to be correct, not because they’re on your “team.”

  8. Houston says:

    Scott Swank, were you kidding with the “I hope that you are more akin to Krugman” comment? I sure hope so…

  9. steve s says:

    For 2012, I’d either like to lose in a landslide because the Obama administration is doing such a splendid job or win back the White House with a candidate who can match Obama as a spokesman for his cause, besting him in a spirited, civil debate on the basis of a superior plan for the future.

    If you think the Party of Stupid can get unstupid by 2012, well, bless your heart.

  10. Drew says:

    Hear, hear ! And I do believe that should have been an obvious point.

    I take one small objection: “I think I speak for all of my colleagues in wishing him and his administration well.”

    I would say I certainly wish him well personally, and with respect to OUTCOMES. However, if you truly believe, as I do, that various liberal leaning policy prescriptions are not in the best interests of the country or its citizens, I wish him no success in implementing them – not even for the oft cited “well, we have to do something” – and will say so.

    It has amazed me the past 8 years how many critics of Bush could not separate the man from his policies. Hopefully the “loyal opposition” will not make a similar mistake during President Obama’s term.

  11. James Joyner says:

    I would say I certainly wish him well personally, and with respect to OUTCOMES. However, if you truly believe, as I do, that various liberal leaning policy prescriptions are not in the best interests of the country or its citizens, I wish him no success in implementing them

    Same here. I wish him well in the Chris Rock sense of a president’s job: peace and prosperity for the country. If al Qaeda destroyed a major American city, it’d be good for the Republicans’ chances in 2012 but bad for the country.

  12. James says:

    It *would* be great if your site offered some intelligent, substantial “loyal opposition.” So far, however, it appears that you are just rehashing stuff already on Drudge. And he’s having to dig deep. I mean, c’mon, crying about a picture of the Obamas giving out food? That’s really reaching, don’t you think?

    Do let’s remember, too, that the conservatives had an unfettered four years to implement your “policy prescriptions” and every one of them turned out to be an abysmal, catastrophic failure. How about some new thinking on your side? Fact-based this time?

  13. Drew says:

    “conservatives had an unfettered four years to implement your “policy prescriptions” and every one of them turned out to be an abysmal, catastrophic failure.”

    Uh, er…….you were saying something about “intelligent” opposition?

  14. sam says:

    I can only hope my party takes its time out of power to recalibrate its platform and provide a viable alternative for the years ahead. For 2012, I’d either like to lose in a landslide because the Obama administration is doing such a splendid job or win back the White House with a candidate who can match Obama as a spokesman for his cause, besting him in a spirited, civil debate

    Well, I wish you luck, James. But when I survey the current GOP for possible candidates in 2012, I’m somehow put in mind of the casting call for the lead in “Springtime for Whatisname” in the original The Producers.

  15. Steve Verdon says:

    I too wish Obama well…I hope he turns out to be a medicore presiden–i.e. one who does little to expand the size and scope of our government. At the same time I hope the economy rebounds, and we can get our troops out of harms way.

    I have my doubts however on the economy and government. I think Obama and his team will see the current economic crisis as an opportunity to do exactly the opposite–expand the size and scope of government. This has been what virtually all President’s want to do, Bush included.

    I also doubt that another round of $700 to $800 billion will “jolt” the economy out of its current doldrums. That kind of money, spread out over a few years just wont amount to much when compared to the whole economy. Further, that money will have to come from some place, and most likely it will be out of private capital markets meaning less money for others to borrow and put to productive use. Thus, there will likely be some crowding out effect.

    Further, people who lend to the U.S. are not, as a whole, idiots. They will look at this current economy, the unfunded future liabilities (Social Security and Medicare) and may not want to lend us that much at the rates the U.S. has typically gotten.

    The overall outlook isn’t terribly good right now, and based on Obama’s complete lack of an answer about medicare during the election….well lets just say I’m not very optimistic about our young and rather untested new President.

  16. just me says:

    I want Obama to do well on the things I agree with, but he holds some policy ideas that I really hope he is unable to succeed at.

    I hope he does well in the area of foreign policy-but that is one area where I think it is much easier to be the guy attacking the president to actually be president. I am sure things look much different when you are the one in charge of those decisions.

  17. Franklin says:

    I look forward to the next four years of debates.

    I disagree with Verdon that Obama seeks a larger government just for the sake of a larger government (although that one quote you always give from Rahm Emmanuel is a bit irritating to the both of us). My opinion, based on everything I’ve read about him, is that Obama is more interested in making government work, and cutting out the waste. I think he will push for more efficiency, with little regard for any subgoal of smaller or larger government.

    Regarding Medicare, McCain didn’t have an answer either. But it has at least been acknowledged by Obama as the biggest long-term budget problem.

  18. tom p says:

    brings a natural evolution in the editorial perspective of this blog.

    I hope not James. I come here for an intelligent analysis of things from many center/right points of view… I’d hate to have to try and find another such place.

    I can only hope my party takes its time out of power to recalibrate its platform and provide a viable alternative for the years ahead.

    and some people think we liberals are dreamers who beleive in the tooth fairy…

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  19. Michael says:

    brings a natural evolution in the editorial perspective of this blog.

    I hope not James. I come here for an intelligent analysis

    Was that a creationist joke?

  20. tom p says:

    Was that a creationist joke?

    HA! We find our puns where we can…

  21. James says:

    Uh, er…….you were saying something about “intelligent” opposition?

    I doubt you are able to point to a single policy success from the 8 years of the Bush Administration. But feel free to try for an “intelligent” fact-based answer.

  22. mannning says:

    Let us hope that the liberal administration and Congress of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Murtha, Kennedy and the like represent loyal Americans who will honor the Constitution and retain our freedoms.

    Let us hope that permanent socialism for America will not become a reality in our time.

    Let us hope that the loyal opposition will dig deep and find all of the contemplated changes in our governance early enough to effect the outcome.

    Let us hope that our American culture and way of life will not be harmed in the next years by such things as continued amnesty, marriage evolution, open porn, and disintegration of the classic family unit.

    Letr us hope that new justices of the court will be even-handed, and not wrapped in liberal clothing.

    Let us hope that the 900 billion dollar additional stimulus Obama wants will not be used to further socialism and cultism of the liberal kind.

    So please be an intense loyal opposition in this era!

  23. HiItsNino says:

    So basically your admitting to being a water boy for the republican party? I couldn’t imagine altering my principals or point of view for a particular party that is in or out of power.

    In effect – if Bush had website up at whitehouse.gov a day before being sworn in with pictures of his family doing some kind of service you wouldn’t have done anything. But had the Obama site been up without working links after the inaugeration you would have written the opposite opinion than you did. Thats just plain weird!

  24. Hal says:

    My god, I hope that Mannning’s gravitar is a real picture of the dude.

    who will honor the Constitution and retain our freedoms.

    The irony is thick.

  25. mannning says:

    Yes, indeed, it is thick, because we are heading in the wrong direction from the outset.

    Barring Republicans from key meetings on critical legislation regarding a near trillion dollar “stimulus” in order to jam it through the House is undemocratic, ultrapartisan, and fascist.

    This is especially so when the so-called stimulus is in reality a gigantic pork pot for the Dems, not targeting the real fiscal problems we are in at all. We have one-party rule now, and the sweetness and light is gone. What an ugly term we are facing!

    What is more, we face a crowd that is dedicated to converting America to socialism, to government control instead of private control of business, which is a failed idea. It is strange that all of these socialists are themselves rich beyond the average man’s understanding. The have theirs, and their riches will not be affected, I will posit.

  26. mannning says:

    This stimulus bill of the democrats contains provisions ensuring that over 60% of the population pays no taxes, and receives a stipend, called a tax rebate, of some thousand dollars. Pure welfare, it is! Thus the majority of citizens will not care about how high taxes go, and we will have become dependent upon the government for employment. It is a diabolical plan to wrest control of industry by the government.

    Now, if Obama sees this and stops it, he will get enormous credit, but few believe that he will have the real clout to rein in Pelosi and Reid. So poor Obama faces a really catastrophic failure to the nation in the first weeks of his presidency.

    Then will come the Mother of them all: Medicare. Universal health care will seal the socialists dream. Watch for it.

  27. James Joyner says:

    So basically your admitting to being a water boy for the republican party? I couldn’t imagine altering my principals or point of view for a particular party that is in or out of power.

    Not at all. The point is that having a president with whom I basically disagree in office will naturally lead to a more critical view than I had with a president with whom I generally agreed on principle, if not on execution.