Monday October 22, 2012

This letter is not addressed to those who do not share President Obama’s social policies. For those supporters who have found themselves disappointed in the president’s policies, and that he has come up short of your expectations, take heart -- and vote.

The president has a strategy, and an agenda, that requires eight years in office, not four, and he has had to choose his battles carefully during his first term (health care, fair pay for women, repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," credit card protection for consumers, rejection of the Keystone pipe line, ending the war in Iraq ... ) and all this despite the monumental fiscal crisis he inherited, two wars, and the singular intent of Repub lican representatives to block every single measure he proposes. It’s a small miracle that he has achieved so much in so short a time against such odds.

Yes, the president was forced by his vice president to support same-sex marriage during his first term. He had obviously already arrived at that point in his evolution, but he also already had the gay vote, and taking a policy position now risked losing undecided voters and a second term. The same for immigration reform: he has the Latino vote, so why risk his re-election -- and the chance for a final aggressive push of his agenda -- by again alienating undecideds? The same applies for enlightened energy reform. He already has our vote; why risk alienating yet more undecideds? If you haven’t noticed, this is a close race.


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Expect to see a more aggressive push for sustainable energy, just immigration reform and, yes, working toward a peaceful solution in the Middle East. Historically, presidents turn their attention toward Middle East negotiations during their second terms. He’s also been saddled with a Nobel Peace Prize that he needs -- and very much wants -- to earn. You want single-payer health care? Then throw your weight behind the Vermont effort. Let’s get a working model up and running because Congress isn’t the place to start.

Do I support all of his initiatives? No. But Obama’s supporters placed an "S" on his chest as soon as he was elected, and that was naive. How could you help but not be disappointed? I expect a hell of a second term of significant achievements, unfettered by election concerns.

JEFFREY REEL

Becket