Don’t let the water lily fool you. Tranquility is the last word I would use to describe my mental state these days. Aside from the goings on in my life, which has some disheartening twists of its own, watching what passes for political debate in this country makes me just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head.
Peter Daou lists lessons Democrats should learn from the health care debacle of this summer. Unfortunately, much of what he says is what we unSerious folks been talking about for some time, and I don’t think the Democrats are ever going to get it.
Maven posits that Barack Obama is on a learning curve that none of us would want to be on. Fair enough.
I wouldn’t take on his ‘learning curve’ for all the tea – or money – in China.
Yet, learn he will. This man is a man for the job and the ages. After eight years of a criminal half-wit, that we should be so lucky to have found not only somebody who would take the damn job, not to mention have the chops to excel at it is simply amazing.
We differ on our opinion of Obama’s ability to excel, but the problem as I see it is that we shouldn’t be electing anyone who needs to be on a learning curve. George W. Bush anyone? The job is too big and too vital to allow time for OJT. I wanted someone who had experience (0n day one) and plans and solid internal convictions. Coulda, shoulda, woulda won’t get me much of anything I know, but it’s all just so damned discouraging.
I went into Obama’s presidency with my eyes wide open, but I tried to hold out hope.
I want be wrong about Obama. In my judgement he is an Opportunist with no central core and no burning passion for any issue. But, maybe I’m wrong. I “hope” I am. I sincerely do. The American people have lived through eight years of George W. Bush and the radical neo-con agenda. We are desperate to have “normal’ lives again where words actually mean something. Where “Clear Skies” really are free of pollution, instead of having pollutants no longer considered such, where a “Healthy Forest” does not mean uncontrolled logging, and where Patriot Acts really do protect the patriots rather than subvert western jurisprudence and give untold secret powers to the government to spy on its own citizens and make them afraid to speak in protest.
I have not seen anything in Obama’s record that would lead me to believe that he will be the transformational and transcendent leader that so many proclaim him to be. Heck, he doesn’t need to be transcendent for me to be happy. He just needs to be a real Democrat.
Obama may be smart, but he’s no progressive. Nor is he a liberal. Many “progressive” Democrats assumed that because Obama had D after his name, and because he could give a good speech, that he was FDR, JFK , and MLK rolled up into one. I never operated under that misconception. Why? Because I, like many others, looked past his rhetoric and looked at his record. We listened to what he actually said, and didn’t WORM* his clear and unambiguous statements to fit some faith-based notion of Obama’s almighty progressiveness. We took his words at face value. What’s happening right now, with health care reform going down in flames, is a direct consequence of electing someone with no experience and no core convictions and who, like many of his generation, has internalized the Right Wing Noise Machine’s bullshit as having some essence of truth.
By the way, have I mentioned that I really hate the label “progressive?” From the very beginning of its modern usage amongst the Democratic faithful I understood what that word meant: capitulation to the right wing meme that all things “liberal” were evil. I’ll never run from the Liberal label. Please, don’t ever call me a Progressive. But I digress.
Regardless of the label, be it ”liberal” or “progressive,” when it comes to Obama, there is no there there. When you’ve got White House spokesmen calling people like Maven and me who are calling for Single Payer Health Care or at the very least, a robust public option, the “left of the left” as though we are some kind radical Che Guevara types, determined to take down western democracy, well, I’d say it’s time for all Obama apologists to answer the clue phone.
Greg Sargent parses the WaPo poll on Obama’s declining poll numbers.
Much talk today has focused on Obama’s difficulties with independents. But the drop among Dems and liberals is also a key driving factor in the President’s skid, according to WaPo polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta, who graciously provided the additional data.
This suggests Obama’s conciliatory approach to the GOP, and his lack of clarity around the public option — both of which are presumably alienating Dems and liberals — could be key factors driving his dip.
The more Obama panders to the right and ignores his own party, the worse the chances of turning back the conservative damage of the last 30+ years. Worse, it may set up a resurgence of the very ideology the voters so soundly renounced in the last two elections. Harry Truman had it right when he said:
Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.
…I warned that Republicans could use their skill at being in the opposition and Obama’s manifest failings could lead to a Republican rebound in 2010 and 2012. His failings were clearly visible back then and indeed in the primary campaign. He didn’t turn into a compromising milquetoast when he got to the White House, he was always one. He didn’t turn into a conservative Democrat in the White House, he was always one. Likewise, we knew the Repubicans weren’t going to play ball with Obama’s delusional ideas of bipartisanship and the stimulus package told us he wasn’t interesting in passing effective policy.
He later made his fundamentally (sic) agreement with basic [B]ush principles of civil rights by voting for warrantless wiretapping after promising to vote against it, then made clear that he’d serve financial interests before ordinary Americans when he forced through TARP.
And yet people believed he was going to be some sort of progressive president? Granted, even I have been shocked at just how much his administration has violated progressive and liberal principles, but I was only surprised in degree, not kind, because I knew he didn’t believe in them. This isn’t because I’m brilliant, I’m not. It’s because I looked at the evidence and didn’t let “hope” and soaring rhetoric distract me from his actions and, to a large extent, what he was actually saying. Certainly he lied about some things, but he was very honest about his fundamental governing philosophy. Likewise, who his key advisers were, the fact that he had the right-most policy prescriptions of the late Democratic primary field, the way he fetishized tax cuts and so on, told anyone who was listening without “hope” clogging their ears who he was.
Back in May I did a quick rundown of Obama’s major betrayals up to that point, and I really need to do an update. There’s so much, I lose track. Afghanistan, Blackwater contracts, the Justice Department-DOMA clusterfuck, anti-contraception godbags appointed to Health and Human Services, the appalling Cairo speech (which bravely asserted women’s fundamental right to wear the headscarves that they have to wear so men don’t throw acid on them), and on and on. Just this past week, Obama played footsie with the “faith community” and vowed that public health wouldn’t pay for abortions. I’m surprised he doesn’t just buy a pig farm in Crawford and start clearing brush.
The only people who still believe are the believers, that hard-core 20% or so who never give up. Remember how there was always a rump group of Republican voters who continued to believe that Bush was President Jesus, no matter what? We have those on the left, too; they’re the hardcore Obamabots. The two groups actually have a lot in common: pseudo-religious fervor, resistance to what the rest of us call “reality,” . . .
For a trip down memory lane, who recalls this bit of tripe from Mark Morford?
Dismiss it all you like, but I’ve heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who’ve been intuitively blown away by Obama’s presence – not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence – to say it’s just a clever marketing ploy, a slick gambit carefully orchestrated by hotshot campaign organizers who, once Obama gets into office, will suddenly turn from perky optimists to vile soul-sucking lobbyist whores, with Obama as their suddenly evil, cackling overlord.
Hmmm. I wonder what Mark is writing these days?
Update: from the comments in Ian’s post, Lambert links to a little something he wrote in December 2007. Take the time to click and read.
*What Obama Really Meant