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The Story of “O”: Submission to a Cruel Minority, and the Betrayal of America’s Hope for “Change We Can Believe In”

Publié le 30 juin, 2010 | Pas de commentaires
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In one of then-Senator Barack Obama’s first campaign speeches (Feb 2007), he remembered his early days in Illinois, telling a constituency that had been battered and bamboozled by two terms of the Bush Administration, that “it was here we learned to disagree without being disagreeable – that it’s possible to compromise so long as you know those principles that can never be compromised; and that so long as we’re willing to listen to each other, we can assume the best in people instead of the worst.”

Now we know that while he can still disagree without being disagreeable, he has no principles that can never be compromised. His absurdly protracted attempt at bipartisanship with the Party of No has made him one of the most ineffective first-term presidents in modern history, and he has been beating the waves ever since.

His first days began with a triumph in Congress that did give hope to the progressive base that elected him when he signed the Lilli Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It’s been all down hill from there. To look on any given day at a news-montage website, from The HuffingtonPost to The Drudge Report, is to see a wide spectrum of failure and impotence, and what is worse, a seemingly aloof unwillingness by the President to take charge in addressing the catastrophic problems of the day with anything like presidential authority and strength – or at least like a man whose « principals can never be compromised ». We want to see the best in him, but are consistently reminded of the worst.

While Republicans are certainly to blame for just about everything but the weather, the fact that President Obama has been such an ineffective leader in opposing their madness is down to him. He needs to be far more disagreeable towards Wall Street, and downright hostile to those who oppose any and all sorts of legislation that eases the burden on the multimillions of unemployed, those bilked out of their homes by unscrupulous lenders, and the sick and dying who are still at the non-existent mercies of a medieval healthcare system. This is not the spirit of « bleeding-heart » liberalism; it’s what was called, pre-Reagan, the American Way.

Now, the oil spill has become metaphoric of his presidency and those who oppose him: they are the toxic filth streaming into the helpless ocean, while he can find no way to stop it.

Unless Mr Obama can bring some powerful “change” to the scene, it is hard to see the United States succeeding in avoiding a “third depression”, as Economist Paul Krugman has direly warned. With the tsunami his inattention to reforming the Minerals Management Service has unleashed, and the McCrystall debacle that throws into question the entire American war effort in that region, combined with the snowballing power of the right-wing lunatic fringe which threatens American freedoms more than any terrorist cell could ever hope to do, Mr Obama looks like a young antelope being systematically separated from the herd by slavering jackals in close pursuit.

At the very least, Mr Obama must immediately engage a new Cabinet that is not in the pocket of Wall Street, advisors who could not double as lobbyists for the war-machine (or vicious 17th century Puritans), and stop relying on “consensus” for decisions which he has been empowered by the voting public to make himself – in other words, “change Washington”, for real. The ruthless watering-down of his healthcare and financial reform bills reflects the treacherous disunity in the Democratic Party, who look at times as though they are pulling away from the straggler, almost sacrificing him to the GOP/Tea Party jackals so that they can escape to compromise another day. Mr Obama must go from being the hunted to the hunter, the pursued to the pursuer. FDR has shown that it CAN be done – all that remains is for Mr Obama to finally wake up and begin to do it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/10/barackobama

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/us/politics/30ledbetter-web.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/opinion/28krugman.html

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