An acquaintance of mine and I were having a political discussion, and I wasn't altogether surprised to hear him praise Obama directly and the democratic-party controlled congress indirectly (he is, excepting when I set him straight, utterly ignorant of history, the constitution, economics--pretty much all of what we call social studies/social science). However, he reads the USA Today and watches The Daily Show With John Stewart, so he considers himself quite informed.
At one point, he tried to reason with me by saying, "Your politics aside, you have to admit that it has been a long time since a president has had such an ambitious agenda."
I took a moment to wonder which pundit fed him those lines before asking him, "Does the degree of ambition in the agenda indicate the quality of the agenda?"
"What do you mean," he asked.
"I mean, while not denying that Obama's agenda is indeed ambitious, I wonder if an ambitious agenda is necessarily a good agenda."
He kind of snarled at me--apparently I annoy him with such qualifications--and said, "By ambitious, I mean that he plans to get a lot of stuff done."
"Yeah, stuff." I said, adding "Ever ask yourself if it's the right stuff?"
"Well, a lot of stuff needs doing, and something's at least better than nothing. Besides, it's the same stuff that got us out of the depression," he replied--and thus indicated that he also reads an occasional issue of Time.
At this point, I began to lecture on how FDR and the New Deal actually made the Great Depression worse and last longer. He seemed somewhat impressed, but not convinced, so I offered him a deal.
"OK Dale, you read my copy of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, and I'll read your copy of The Audacity of Hope."
"Deal," he said, and then muttered, "I don't have The Audacity of Hope."
Smiling, I said, "That's fine. I'll check it out at the library."
After a momentary beat, I noticed that Dale had a quizzical look on his face. It took me only a second to realize what troubled him.
"Obama wrote The Audacity of Hope," I revealed.
He nodded and smiled, saying "Sure, you read that. It's really good."