Presidential Perspective

I’m as excited about the Obama presidency as everyone else seems to be. But I have to say… all of the hype about Obama kind of scares me.

I thought it would be good, 24 hours before Barack Obama kicks off the biggest party in Washington D.C.’s history, to reflect back 8 years to throw out some cautionary perspective. Come on the wayback machine with me…

# 1 President Bush took office with high expectations. He was the no nonsense conservative outsider who was going to bring pride back to the White House. Sound familiar?

#2 We were all sick of Bill Clinton. OK, maybe not everyone. But the news hounds were crying about last minute pardons and whether or not Bill Clinton would be further prosecuted for his breaching the law while in office. Sound familiar?

#3 Bush was a reformer. He had a proven track record in Texas. With a republican majority in Congress and a couple of Supreme Court justices getting ready for retirement, happy days were ahead for the republican party. Sound familiar?

#4 Bush was a centrist. He talked a lot of trash about working with democrats. His “No Child Left Behind” action was right out of the democratic playbook. (Minus the money to make it happen.) But when it came to picking his cabinet it was all hard core conservatives. Sound familiar?

#5 Bush was a populist. As Bush took office, people celebrated! Inaugural balls “for the people,” tax cuts for everyone, and magical checks in the mail were very popular moves. Sound familiar?

#6 Clinton was openly mocked on every channel. As the Bush presidency began Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, and Jay Leno all lined up on a regular basis to make fun of Bill & Hillary. As Bush took office the media showed a lot of respect. The Bush twins were off-limits to the media and seen as innocent lambs. Sound familiar?

#7 Democrats hung their heads in shame. In 2001, the democrats were clearly not in power. The more they fought for Al Gore and the more they complained about how Bush stole the election, the more the public said the democratic party is out of touch. Sound familiar?

This all reminds me again of God’s people. Our hope isn’t in government. Our hope isn’t in a leader. Our hope isn’t in our church. Our hope isn’t in the economy. Our hope isn’t in our family. Our hope is only in Jesus.






7 responses to “Presidential Perspective”

  1. marko Avatar

    hmmm. while i don’t find much to disagree with on individual sentences of this post, there are a couple things in the broader sense i’ll push back on:

    first, i thought your final line was a bait and switch. the whole post in a cynical jab at why we should temper our excitement and expectation of change; but then it suddenly flips the whole thing and intentionally or unintentionally implies that any optimism right now is putting our hope in something/someone other than jesus. not true, and not fair; and i’m sure, when i write it this way, you would agree. but that’s the essence of what you wrote, adam. is it not fair to BOTH have our hope in jesus, and be hopeful about positive change that the new president could bring? (of course, yes.)

    2. while i can appreciate your reasonably fair attempt at realism, by reminding all of the climate 8 years ago (even though there are so many factors that AREN’T parallel), i’m not sure this week is the time for cynicism. there’s a fine line between realism and cynicism, and this feels like the latter to me, primarily due to the timing (one day before the inauguration).

  2. marko Avatar

    do you like how i made a list with “first”, then “2.”? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. adam mclane Avatar

    I actually didn’t notice that discrepancy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Funny you caught that orphan last paragraph as out of context. I had 3 paragraphs between #7 and that paragraph that I removed last night, last minute style. Without them the closing paragraph is out of context. In this case, shorter wasn’t better.

  4. Mandy Avatar

    I think that considering that both the media and the population were split and debating over whether Bush was even legally elected, it is safe to say there was nowhere near the same optimism and excitement about his presidency. Also, never has a president taken action so quickly and efficiently before his presidency. Bush certainly didn’t. Part of the excitement about Obama isn’t just residual from the election, it’s because he is legitimately getting to work and it turns out his demeanor and diplomacy weren’t just show for the campaign. I haven’t seen Bush being mocked more than usual (if anything it’s less), but he has been rendered irrelevant.

  5. adam mclane Avatar

    Mandy, maybe that’s what is behind these thoughts? You bring up good points. I do like GREATLY what we’ve seen from Obama thus far.

    This post isn’t anti-Obama in the least. It is exciting, I am excited. If I could be in Washington I would!

    Perhaps the treatment of Bush has me feeling guarded about my excitement? I dunno.

    Good thoughts, thanks!

  6. Mandy Avatar

    I know you’re not a hater ๐Ÿ™‚
    I think Bush is irrelevant by his own making. I don’t think the media has done this to him. If anything, they have made him seem more harmless by highlighting his buffoonery (is that a word?). He is the lame duck not just because he is leaving his second term but because he has been inadequate in almost every way. The country has turned almost in unison to what has every evidence of being infinitely more capable leadership. Bush has made a show of defending his legacy over and over again in the past weeks and it isn’t even enraging people. They are just done with him.

  7. Todd Tolson Avatar


    Great post! I think you drew together some nice parallels. Happy Inauguration Day (EVE)

Leave a Reply