Monday, April 11, 2011


(from VoteObama 2012)

Paul Krugman is right to be hard on Obama in his column this morning. I, too, want to hear stronger opposition from the White House and the Democrats to the current Republican push to the far right on the economy. Because I want more from him, however, does not mean that I must withdraw my support. All the more reason, indeed, to redouble it.


CHI SPHERE said...

Krugman is exactly on target.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a HUGE disappointment. Of course, we on the Left are greatly responsible for feeling this way. We wanted to feel hopeful that the Bush era was going to end; Obama's candidacy was a historic moment, given that Obama is black, but at this point I am convinced that we were ignorant of who Obama is as a man.

Obama, at the core of his nature, is Republican light. There's no other way to explain how easily he has rolled over for the Republicans, how he squandered opportunity after opportunity when he had a Democratic Congress (despite its blue dogs), and the heartfelt mandate of a people wanting to believe in change.

He has changed nothing. Where we needed a leader, he has been a follower, and what's worse a follower of the entrenched corporate powers that be. He is a servant of the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. He has not shifted the dialogue in this country, has not used his bully pulpit to educate Americans about the serious issues that divide us, some of which cannot be bridged, but have to be confronted. Instead (and this goes to his character), he's of the very misguided opinion that any and all compromise is better than none. Any leader worth naming knows that this is not true. Lincoln, Martin Luther King, FDR, all knew that there are times in history when you have to take a stand, when you must not compromise, because in doing so you become complicit with the dangers threatening core democratic values.

Obama doesn't get this. He seems to believe that making deals is a big deal, and it's not. Standing up for something is far more important. Does it usher in conflict, you betcha, but the unpleasantness that flows from that conflict is meaningful, because it helps to define differences in authentic ways that can lead to genuine change.

Obama has not chosen to stand up for democracy, or the poor or the middle class in ways that are defining. If he had, he would have fought for single payer which 70% of Americans wanted; he would have initiated strong financial reforms on Wall St. for which he had huge popular support; he would not have expanded the unwinnable war in Afghanistan; he would not be keeping Guantanamo open, along with the military tribunals, or support torture (Bradley Manning); he would not have agreed to extending the Bush tax cuts, or be celebrating his compromise around the latest budget cuts. What's he going to do next? Sell out Medicare to the private insurers?

Lincoln ushered in the Civil War deaths of millions of Americans, because slavery was wrong. How about that for a decision? It made us one nation. FDR brought Americans into World War II, because Hitler was wrong, and helped save Europe. Martin Luther King suffered jail, beatings, and death, to make civil rights possible.

Obama is not a man among such men. He is risk averse, and so his rhetoric around change will remain empty. I'll likely vote for him, but without enthusiasm, and only because the alternative is worse. Although, and it pains me to say this, I'm weighing the possibility that perhaps the best thing I can do is allow the worst to happen, in which case I won't vote, at all.