On Obama

Now is the time when people like me are supposed to turn on Barack Obama.

Read the NY Times liberal columnists — Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd and Bob Herbert —  and you’ll come away with the impression we have the most toothless, ineffective, spineless leader ever in the White House (Krugman, of course, has been loudly hating on Obama longer and louder than FoxNews, and never really forgave Obama for beating Hilary Clinton).

The torrent of legislation passed the last two years — health care reform, financial reform, education reform, deep investments in clean energy and transportation funding, not to mention efforts to keep the economy from falling into the abyss? None of that really matters. That Obama has gotten more progressive policies put in place than any Democrat since LBJ, or FDR, to help the poor and the middle class? Doesn’t matter. These folks don’t really care about achievements (or, they’ll be glad to nitpick and tell you why a particular reform or bill wasn’t quite perfect).

What appears to matter to the liberal pundit class is theatrics. Fiery, “principled” rhetoric. We’re having a love affair with Bill Clinton again — “he had the balls to stand up to the Republicans!” But riddle me this: what was the signature, progressive achievement of his presidency? I’ll be waiting with baited breath for your answer, Mr. Krugman (or from your acolytes).

I actively, proudly supported Obama — and still do — because I wanted an adult in the White House after eight years of being governed by a miscreant. And that’s pretty much what we’ve gotten — an intelligent, cool, and collected man who has dealt with a greater array of crises than any president in decades and done his best to fashion coherent and sensible policy responses.

The only disappointment I have is with the ideologues of both the left and the right; my liberal friends who assume every compromise is just a sell-out move or the result of some nefarious conspiracy (“Geithner is a Goldman Sachs pawn!”) and conservative Republicans who can’t seem to take any ownership for any of their disastrous policies over the past 30 years and have never encountered a problem that couldn’t be solved with a tax cut.

Where did the adults go?


One thought on “On Obama

  1. “Where did the adults go?” They never really made it back to Washington in the first place; they’d been compromised and finagled and shouted at until even the staunchest of them were ready to bolt, and the utter cave that Obama has done on civil liberties and on Israel just welded the door shut and nuked the driveway.

    Obama was the last great hope, in the eyes of a lot of people, including me. Despite the real and valiant efforts documented at http://whattheheckhasobamadonesofar.com/ and others, on the most important domestic and international issues, the inmates are even more firmly in control of the asylum than they were during Bush II. Too many of the same players, playing the same games, lying the same lies, glorying in their imagined cleverness in serving multiple masters.

    He was our last great hope for peace. He failed. But out of the coming chaos may come something greater: our last great hope for victory, and self-redemption as a nation. But the world is going to be a much, much more painful place until and unless we recover from this drunken tea party we’ve been on for a generation, and start making sense. It’s not going to happen with any of the currently entrenched players; that’s been made so clear even I can see it.

    Someone else will eventually have to stand up, and do epic battle against the propaganda and lies and hidden interests and moral prostitution and pandemic corporatism and Zionism that have replaced our body politic. But after thirty years of waiting and hoping and praying and writing and speaking, I can’t tell that it’s done a lick of good. It would be so easy to lie down and give up, just like they want us to.

    Hell, yes, I’m angry. And almost terminally depressed.

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