- Stuck in a stalemate in Iraq.
- Escalating the quagmire in Afghanistan.
- Gutting the little remaining of the fourth amendment.
- Letting war criminals walk free while trying to re-imprison innocent victims of Rove's framing.
- Allowing loyal bushies to stay in their jobs and undermine the justice department.
- Refusing to repeal DOMA and DADT.
- Continuing to cover up smirky/darth war crimes, secrecy and constitutional abuses.
- Manipulating a health care DEform bill that hands trillions to the health insurance giants.
- Letting Wall Street continue to loot the treasury.
- Continuing to fund abstinence-only education.
- Permitting the long-term elimination of insurance coverage for abortion.
- Planning to strangle the "recovery" by slashing the budget.
- Failing to demand a jobs program.
- Threatening repercussions to Iran.
- Letting Israel eliminate Palestine one settlement at a time .... etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.
Explain to me exactly how this is different from where we would be in a McCain/Palin administration.
This is not a call to abandon Obama. This is a call to stand up and start screaming bloody murder at him.
If despite our demands he fails to turn this death ship around and start being the president the candidate said he would be, and Democrats still lose Congress in 2010 and the White House in 2012, it'll be his fault.
But if we fail to even make that demand, President Palin will be nobody's fault but ours.
Steve Benen highlighted an article by Jacob Weisberg in Slate that claims "If health care reform is completed by mid-January, Weisberg argues, the president will deliver a State of the Union address in a couple of months 'having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency.'"
Weisberg is a putz, but in this he is not completely wrong. He's just irrelevant. Obama's many substantial accomplishments will sink without a trace if he continues to govern like Bush III.
Down with Tyranny on Obama's caving to the warmongers:
Looks like Obama finally found the bipartisanship he craves so much more than just doing the right things for America. He is allying himself with the Republicans in the same way Clinton allied himself with them to pass the catastrophic NAFTA legislation. Except this time it's for a war that will completely undermine him and guarantee that he's a one-term president and that we're delivered back into the tender embrace of the hard core enemies of working families. Jeff Cohen's OpEd at today's truthout goes beyond the story of how LBJ's tragic and wrongheaded policies in Vietnam opened the doors to Nixon.
And on the shameful fucking over of Rove framing victim Siegelman:
This is just awful. Shocking, disgraceful. If it isn't promptly repudiated and corrected by the Obama administration, I'm afraid we're going to be . . . well, exactly where we appear to be -- suffering through a presidential administration that qualifies as "moderate" only by the standard of present-day Republicanism, where "moderate" views are so extreme that not so long ago they would have qualified people who held them as mentally incompetent.
I know I'll be accused by many self-professed liberals as one of those self-hating left-wingers who believes in the old circular firing squad. Well, like a lot of other progressives, while voicing a fair amount of disagreement with the strategy and apparent goals of the Obama administration, I've held back, hoping its policymakers might have some grand plan that might not produce the results I would hope for, but that would at least move the country decisively away from the disastrous directions in which it was driven by the evil genies of the Bush regime.
Of course the crooks and clowns of the right wing of the Democratic Party, which Howie usually refers to as "the Republican wing" of the party, are never subjected to such accusations. Never. They are free to attack the administration, and it goes without saying anyone in the party to the left of Holy Joe Lieberman and Clueless Ben Nelson, at any level of vehemence. It goes without saying too that in Congress the Republican-Democrats are free not only to attackthe president's positions (that is, when he takes positions) but to vote with the "Just Say No" Republicans -- you know, the folks sworn to destroying this administration -- as often as they like.
From the White House's point of view, why not? The only Democrats who appear to have the trust of the administration's political point man, Master Rahm Emanuel, are the ones who were card-carrying Republicans until just seconds before they announced their candidacies --true believers that what's good for the giant corporations who show members of Congress with all those megabuck bribes is good for the U.S.A.
And yet again, on Obama's biggest failure:
Candidate Barack Obama had a unique opportunity during the campaign to use the international and domestic crises brought on by years of conservative misgovernance as a teaching moment, to try to make Americans understand how the conservative philosophy had failed. The explanation was something about his not wanting to be "negative," because voters don't like that. It seems clear that once in office he and his people were consciously working to avoid the onslaught of a culture war.
The result, however, is that he's got his culture war, and no weapons with which to fight back. In my darker moments what I foresee is the wreckage of this administration being used by the forces of darkness as proof of the failure of progressive ideas -- when nobody tainted with progressive ideas seems to have been allowed anywhere near the levers of power. Meanwhle, the "centrists" who are responsible for the carnage will as always conclude that they need to hunker ever farther toward the center, which has moved so far right as to be no longer visible to the naked eye.
Via Zandar, Andrew Sullivan nails the no-win politics of escalating in Afghanistan:
As Obama appears to be intensifying the lost war in Afghanistan, with the same benchmark rubric that meant next-to-nothing in the end in Iraq, he does not seem to understand that he will either have to withdraw US troops from Iraq as it slides into new chaos, or he will have to keep the troops there for ever, as the neocons always intended. Or he will have to finance and run two hot wars simultaneously. If he ramps up Afghanistan and delays Iraq withdrawal, he will lose his base. If he does the full metal neocon as he is being urged to, he should not be deluded in believing the GOP will in any way support him. They will oppose him every step of every initiative. They will call him incompetent if Afghanistan deteriorates, they will call him a terrorist-lover if he withdraws, they will call him a traitor if he does not do everything they want, and they will eventually turn on him and demand withdrawal, just as they did in the Balkans with Clinton. Obama's middle way, I fear, is deeper and deeper into a trap, and the abandonment of a historic opportunity to get out.
I pray I'm wrong. Maybe Iraq will teeter away from a second implosion. Maybe the Af-Pak strategy is credible in a way Iraq's surge never was. We have yet to hear the president's explanation and we would do well to ponder his proposal as thoroughly as he has.
But I fear Bush's wars will destroy Obama as they destroyed Bush. Because they are unwinnable; and because the US is bankrupt; and because neither Iraq nor Afghanistan will ever be normal functioning societies in our lifetimes.
You want empire? Then say so and get on with it - with far more forces, and massive cuts in domestic spending to rebuild thankless Muslim population centers thousands of miles from home for decades into the future.
You do not want empire? Then leave.
Those are the presidential level choices.
And neither Bush nor, it seems, Obama has the strength to make them.
Finally, Aimai gets to the heart of what Obama did wrong.
The Obama campaign was notable for many different things but the biggest, to my mind, was its ability to create and harness a huge amount of creative energy, idealism, and excitement among voters.
What happened to that enthusiasm and that creativity? If I fault the Obama administration for anything it is that they allowed all that sense of voter investment to die off. I don't have the sense that people watched the inauguration--the high point of my life, certainly--and thought "ok, now I can chill." People were hungry to be called to service, and to be trusted with stuff do to, but the Obama campaign put them out to pasture and only weakly appealed to them late in the Health Care Debate. I know because I stopped getting useful organizational materials and started getting annoying vague appeals to "support the president" by "calling my representatives" or donating money. Previously I could have discovered online groups pushing specific policy proposals, or asking me to go door to door with some kind of locally responsive action agenda.
As everyone in the bloggosphere knows a recent poll shows a huge drop in Democratic voter enthusiasm and a drop in people's intention to vote at all during the 2010 election. There are lots of reasons for this drop--I'm experiencing it myself though I will, of course, vote. But the main reason is that the Obama people decided that they could put the voters out to pasture between 2008 and 2010. Did it look like a really long time to Rahm and Axelrod? Too long to keep up the enthusiasm down ticket? Because it looks like a really short time, to me. In effect Obama and his team had one year to get stuff done to make people happy, and one year to let the Democratic Incumbents and Challengers try to reap the benefits at the local level. And that was just to stay even or get a slightly bigger majority to get more stuff done. In other words, as far as I can see, letting the Obama voter lose contact with, and ownership of, Obama's presidency was a really short sighted move.
Perhaps they did it because the cacophony of local, small time, democratic (small d) voices were too difficult for Obama to respond to in terms of policy, whether in detail or speed. Or perhaps they dropped their connection because the first few months Obama and Rahm were committed to demonstrating that they cared more about being beautifully conciliatory and bipartisan than ugly and partisan.
I hate to go for the sentiment but "in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make" goes double for political action. People are hungry to work with and for their own lives--the teabaggers are proof positive that people will heave themselves up out of their easy chairs, stand in the rain, wear silly clothing--if they feel that their political leaders are asking this sacrifice of them, and if they feel that they will be listened to if they do it. The Obama Administration, unlike the Obama campaign, has forgotten this simple fact and true: the more your trust and empower your supporters the more they are invested in you and your goals. Its a virtuous circle. Rather than assuming that the "grownups" were back in charge and that the agitators and voters and small fry should go into cryostorage until 2010 the Obama people should have allowed the original Obama supporters to continue to field organizers, actions, and ideas. If they'd done that we wouldn't be looking at this immense enthusiasm gap going in to the next election cycle.
Inexplicably, Obama and Congressional Democrats continue to behave as if their only hope of salvation is to win over repugs who would rather rip off their own genitals and eat them than lift a finger to help the President and the majority party.
Liberal values and liberal enthusiasm got Obama and the Democrats elected last year, and only liberal values and liberal enthusiasm can save them from making history again next year - in massive defeat.
Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....