SOUTH PORTLAND – I rarely read the Press Herald on the day it arrives. Nothing against the paper. It’s just that I can’t deal with bad news with my first morning coffee. If I wait for the TV news, my husband reading aloud the things that are interesting to him, I’m more prepared to deal with whatever waits for me the next day.

The real problem is that there is so much to react to, like the caterpillar who was immobilized because he couldn’t decide which leg he needed to move in order to start walking. I guess this means that the Press Herald is a pretty good paper.

But one day recently, I decided to actually read the paper when it arrived. Again, there was so much to react to or write about. The news was mostly not great.

There was an upbeat story about Portland’s positive reaction to the Occupy camp. But stories and editorials concerning sex abuse, Fannie Mae allotting bonuses to mortgage companies (who knew?), the post office going broke, the suicide of a public figure with a secret life, made my coffee go cold. And on the local scene, there was news that I may be living next door to one of the 1 percent.

Of all the stories in the A section, the one that really attracted my attention was Congress’ opposition to school lunch standards. It makes one wonder what that’s about. Who doesn’t want healthy children? Why are school lunches an issue?

I understand why the Maine delegation doesn’t want to eliminate potatoes. In fact, potatoes are a healthy food. And if the only way they can be presented is as french fries, that’s not so ominous. Just ask Meredith Goad. If they are cooked in the proper oil at very high heat, they absorb very little fat. And what kid doesn’t like french fries?

But the real reason this story caught my attention was the implication that whatever President Obama proposes must be denied him. He has taken the blame for many things that are definitely not his fault. He didn’t start the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor did he incur the debt of these wars, which will continue for generations.

I believe that every president who preceded him knew that invading the Middle East had to be a losing proposition. The British tried it, coming up with artificial borders that ignored tribal allegiances. Recent history includes the Russian invasion, which ended with their withdrawal. George H.W. Bush knew that invading Iraq was a terrible idea. In fact, he reportedly tried, through intermediaries, to persuade George W. Bush to cease and desist.

President Obama’s stimulus plan was a good idea. Unfortunately, he didn’t include a provision that the money had to be used immediately to create jobs instead of lingering in the accounts of the recipients. It’s hard to imagine that much greed, but now we have a very good example of what people are capable of.

There is a lot of opinion stating that Obama is not a good president. But has anyone given him a chance?

There is the “R” word. Is the real subtext as simple as racism? Or is it his approach to solving societal problems that causes people to call him a socialist (whatever that means these days)? Did anyone call Franklin Roosevelt a socialist when he instituted the New Deal to put people to work during the Great Depression?

I don’t know what the expectation was when Barack Obama was elected president, but if you look at the Republican hopefuls, it doesn’t seem that any one of them will be able to solve our problems. Discarding the departments of Education and Commerce and one more unstated agency looks like a prescription for disaster. But some people always run on a “smaller government” platform.

Isn’t the presidency a government job? Does the president need the help of government agencies in order to do his job? In my darker moments, I wish an anti-government candidate would actually win. Would they suspend the Constitution?

As an unashamed Democrat, I hope that President Obama will be given a second chance. I believe that he, as a very smart man, has learned from his mistakes and will not repeat them. And I believe he’ll emerge as the true leader he is.

— Special to the Telegram