Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 5, 2014

What did we get wrong in 2013?

Every pundit gets something wrong: Your RedBlueAmerica columnists are no exception. We’ve written about health care, gay rights, religious freedom, and every other imaginable topic this year. And since there are two of us, opposing each other most weeks, that doubles the chances of making a bad prediction or offering faulty analysis during the year.

What did we get wrong in 2013?

Joel Mathis

The biggest mistake I made as a pundit in 2013? I didn’t give Barack Obama enough credit.

Yes, I’m liberal. But I’m never automatically in the president’s corner. Which is why I made two mistakes in appraising the his actions in recent months: First, I said in September there were “no good options in Syria” for the president to choose from. Turns out my own imagination was far too limited: All I could see then was a choice to commit to war against the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons-thus drawing the U.S. into another Middle East quagmire — or to stand down and let the use of such weapons go unpunished.

Turns out there was a third way, which Secretary of State John Kerry stumbled into with an inadvertent press conference suggestion: That Syrian turn over its chemical weapons to a third-party, but that otherwise the regime would be left unmolested. The solution drove conservatives crazy; they felt Obama squandered U.S. credibility by not attacking. Me? I think he achieved U.S. goals without squandering lives. It was an act of imagination inconceivable under our previous GOP president. I was wrong; the president did well.

Second, I think I conceded too early that “Obamacare” might be failing, and suggested the president might have been wiser to pursue “small ball” solutions for liberal priorities.

Yes, the initial launch of the Obamacare website was a disaster. No getting around that. But that disaster has largely been fixed. Lots of people are signing up for health insurance. And yes, some folks have had their policies canceled; in the long term, they’ll be a tiny minority, and this moment of painful transition most likely forgotten.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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