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When we look at the presidency of Barack Obama, we need to keep things in perspective. After Ronald Reagan’s first year in office, people said he wouldn’t run again and his popularity was flattening out. Left or right, people look back now and say he was a very effective president. Whether you liked his policies or not is a different discussion. But no one discounts or says his was a failed presidency. People who don’t like what he did don’t think it was a failed presidency and have to admit he got much of his agenda through. Obama will, too. I think he will go down as one of the greatest presidents in American history. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people on the left, commentators, etc., who are going to have egg on their faces. Twenty years from now their anti-Obama quotes will be remembered as shortsighted in writing him off before he had had a chance to do anything. I think health care will not only pass, but will be improved in the next seven years. Twenty years from now there will be universal single-payer health care just like we have Social Security and Medicare and no one will question it. But we’ll all know whom to thank: Obama. People from the left who are saying, “It isn’t perfect” today, will be a laughingstock then because eventually it will be made better. I think we’re going to get out of Afghanistan in one piece and we will have some success there. I think our economy will be coming back, and unless there is some huge Republican victory that reverses all this, we will be heading into a time of prosperity, because Obama will slowly, patiently, and subtly reshape our national institutions. His agenda, broadly speaking, is going to work. The idiots from the right are going to be absolutely discounted by history, and the progressive critics of Obama are going to be remembered as shrill and crazy in 15, or even 5 years from now, embarrassed at their hurry-up impatience. I also will say something that I believe: There is such a thing as “progressives” who are racists, too. No, they aren’t consciously racists; they are just so damn know-it-all and condescending to Obama that I have to wonder if they would have such a supercilious attitude to a white man or woman. I think some progressives think that they were mighty nice to “allow” their token black of the day to win, and now he should be doing everything their way. I also think that the people who hang in there with him—yes, I’m one—are going to be remembered as correct in our assessment, because Obama is going to turn some big, “impossible” things around. This is going to be a historic presidency. He is a great man. His policies are actually working. The problem is he has had trouble pitching them to the American people because he hasn’t articulated his vision in a slick, dumb, sound-bite way—he’s been trying to tell the truth too much and talk to us as if we were grown up.
- Author Richard Dawkins, who wrote "The God Delusion," stands on a bus in London at the launch of an atheist advertising campaign on January 6, 2009. Photo by Reuters/Andrew Winning.