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Response to Obama Apologists

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What left opponents of Obama object to are his actions, not some alleged lack of effectiveness. We feel it is the duty of citizens to judge candidates for office, especially Presidents running for a second term, by their record rather than by speeches promising the sorts of things that the candidate has promised but made no attempt to fulfill in the past. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, and the best indication of a candidate's actual agenda.


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First off, Obama is the POTUS, not a powerless victim. What left opponents object to in him is not the oft-cited complaints about "indecision" or "ineffectiveness" which apologists set up, then tear down as an unavoidable consequence of the shared power in U.S. government. The actual reasons for our opposition lie with the ways he has actually exercised the power of his office, not the ways he hasn't.

If I tried to include all the crimes against democracy, our foundational civil liberties, the common welfare, and world peace that this President has actively engaged in, this diary would be overly long, so I'll just mention a few:

During his first year in office, he appointed only people affiliated with international banking to all important advisory positions on economics and didn't even allow access of a single meeting w/ any economist, no matter how prominent and respected, with a liberal or centrist Keynesian viewpoint. He didn't even hear a single argument for any alternative to the second bank bailout at a time when the public was spontaneously breaking out into protests against it all over the country. Many top economists were saying that if such a huge transfer of wealth were made w/o tightly overseen strings on how the money was spent, it would devastate the economy. He made no attempt to examine or follow their advice, and their predictions became reality.

He marginalized and later allowed the DHS to force out the Internet "czar" who wanted to protect the privacy of ordinary citizens while increasing vigilance over actual terror threats. We now have literally 100's of thousands of analysts sifting through the communications of us all, including the communications of news reporters who may be attempting to inform us with leaked news stories about malfeasance in government. This impacts even people who write and say nothing they wouldn't want the government to know, and seriously chills those who want to join with others to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

At a time when he had solid majorites in both houses of Congress, he neutered the ability of Democratic Party members of Congress to advance alternatives to worst of the corporatist agenda. With Obama's approval, his liason pushed the claim that even when there existed a majority in Congress for a measure Obama had supported in his speeches (like the public health insurance option), but not a supermajority, he needed to negotiate away the majority Democratic position with the Republicans, rather than whip the defecting conservaDems.

He showed his contempt for representative democracy by repeatedly and forcefully pressing for executive committees to usurp the responsibility of both houses of Congress to oversee future changes in the health care reform law. The make-up of his planned committee would effectively guarantee that the system could never morph into single-payer, or even allow a state to create a single payer system for itself.

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He has since continued the same course by quite effectively demanding a supercommittee to replace Congress's chief duty--the oversight of the budget, including Social Security benefits. He created the rules of this supercommittee to prohibit Congressional debate on the provisions of the "recommendations". The entire package automatically becomes law unless both houses defeat it by an up or down vote within a few weeks during the Christmas holiday. I can't imagine a clearer indication of bad faith regarding the people's right to representation. These same provisions were included in the earlier attempted Executive committees for annual amendments to the health care reform law.

He has become so smitten with the clearly illegal (by international law and U.S.-signed treaties) drone attacks on populated areas in a country with which we are not at war, that he spends hours personally choosing the targets while our country's real unemployment rate continues to soar. He is quite effective in this endeavor as the bombing goes off as he has dictated.

He is stunningly effective at increasing his own power by signing a law, the NDAA, that abrogates some of the foundational U.S. rights including the right to a jury of one's peers and the right to confront one's accuser in court. It allows him to direct his Justice Dept. to seize and turn over to the military any individual, then detain the person indefinitely without a trial, on the mere say-so by the Executive branch that the person has some connection w/ terrorism (undisclosed to public and the detained person's lawyers). Thus he's circumvented the U.S. Justice branch in its main purpose as he has circumvented the legislative branch in theirs.

He suddenly becomes "indecisive" or "ineffective" in translating into action any speech he has made addressing a widespread concern of the general public, like the bought and extorted members of Congress. When asked, he disagreed with very the unpopular "Citizens United" SC ruling, but it was over 2 years, and only after public displeasure had clearly gained momentum, before he attempted to take even limited action to curtail it. As expected, by that time the composition of Congress had changed to a Republican majority so the very narrow draft Executive Order he'd written requiring disclosure of campaign expenditures by government contractors never became official because the new Congress passed a law prohibiting it, before he could sign it.

It's understandable that people would wait six months or even a year for a new President to gain his sea legs and start using his power to move his agenda. It is incomprehensible for them to hear him say, well into his Presidency, that he would not sign an NDAA that contained the provisions I discussed above, then see him sign it when it got to his desk, and still maintain that in his heart he doesn't favor the measures but for some reason doesn't have power over his own actions. When is his record to be considered an indicator of his beliefs and moving speeches he makes to the contrary evidence of skillful lying? Personally, I won't hold my breath for him to lift a pinkie in support of gay marriage before or after the 2012 election, despite his professed new "beliefs".

I have no idea what portion of his psychological background makes him want to concentrate dictatorial powers in the Presidency or exclude from consideration the measures needed to increase general prosperity, but as a citizen, that's not my job. What I need to do to uphold my loyalty is to become as aware as possible of the actions of my elected officials, including the President, speak out when they are dangerous to the well-being of the people (in this country advancing the people's rights and well-being are ensconced as the purposes of government), and vote only for those candidates I have good evidence to believe will advance that agenda. This year that means voting for a minor party candidate for President.
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Like this country's founders, I believe that the widest political empowerment under the rule of law is the surest way of having its resources work for the long term best interests of us all. The longer I live, the more I see that supports that (more...)
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