Salon’s Joan Walsh: Race Relations, Iraq ‘Arguably Worse’ Under Obama


While many people were out enjoying time off from work, Salon Editor Joan Walsh took Labor Day to do something very rare: criticize President Barack Obama.

The critique, however, came with a lot of anesthesia.

In an opinion piece for Salon, Walsh wrote that many Obama supporters have grown disillusioned, sometimes justifiably, with his inability to fix some of the country’s biggest problems, like racial tensions in Ferguson, Mo., and the instability in Iraq and Syria.

“Now race relations are arguably worse than when Obama took office,” Walsh wrote, “and so is Iraq, and this is a rare case where you can fairly say people on ‘both sides’ blame the president — mostly wrongly.”

But lest Walsh be mistaken for a political moderate, she did the impossible and found the silver lining in both Ferguson (“social progress”) and Iraq (“political progress”):

Yet I would argue (after having been demoralized about both issues) that the unrest in Ferguson is in fact a kind of social progress: Within hours of Mike Brown’s awful shooting a network of new and seasoned activists came together to demand justice, pushing both Gov. Jay Nixon and the president to take action to rein in abusive local cops and drive the investigation into what happened.

Even the ugly situation in Iraq represents political progress, because as painful and outrageous as Foley’s execution was, and as disturbing as it is to see ISIL gain power in Iraq and Syria, the vital debate over what the U.S. can and should do there has actually been strengthened by the existence of intervention skeptics on the left and the right.

Indeed, by the end of the column, Walsh had returned to her normal self: “Democrats have two months to make sure this election doesn’t turn out like 2010 did… The Kochs and their allies are trying to repeal the 20th century. Progressives can’t just suit up for that battle every four years.”

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

[Image via screen grab]

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