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Angy Obama Sycophants Strike Back

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We knew this was coming, though I'm surprised it took so long. The Obama sycophants have started targeting progressives who are not afraid to criticize a Democrat.

I was alerted to this by a wall posting from Mark Doty on his Facebook page, but it is the kind of thing that David Sirota has been writing about and is reminiscent of Clinton's progressive defenders during the 1990s.

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Jeff McMahon, an environmental reporter writing on Truth/Slant, attacked the poet Mark Doty for slipping into a lefty version of no-nothingism. Doty, he says, ignores the facts about the Obama administration's response to the Gulf oil spill (McMahon, apparently, is ignoring his own set of facts, which include failures by the Obama administration in the permitting process for Gulf drilling).

Populist anger inspired and perpetuated by ignorance of the facts, remaining undeterred by the facts: it's not terribly different from those who believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya and who continue to believe it even when shown his birth certificate. The certificate is probably a forgery, they insist.
But is Doty the lefty equivalent of a birther? Is he walking away from Obama because of a misreading of the facts? Or, as I would argue (and I think Mark would concur), is the Gulf spill just the final cut of a thousand cuts, another sell-out from an administration that is far less progressive than many had expected.

McMahon acknowledges that the left has to apply pressure, but he undercuts his own argument by raising the specter of a return of the Bush crowd to office:

It's not a bad idea to put pressure on the government. It will probably be met with more attention to the Gulf and more vigor from the White House, if only in the form of better management of information. But it goes too far to categorically withdraw support for Obama based on BP's disaster.

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What no progressive seems to consider is that a weakened Obama probably will not be replaced by Ralph Nader or Jerry Brown. Only two years ago, we had a White House full of oil company executives, who are far more likely to return to power than the "Uncompromising Man" or "Governor Moonbeam."

If Bush's men do surf back into power, it will be on a wave of populist anger.

This argument -- as David Sirota makes clear this week -- has the effect of stripping the left of what little power it might have, making it appear to be little more than an adjunct of the Democratic Party.

I've written before about Obama's abandonment of the very people who got him elected, about how his commitment to bipartisan consensus -- which I believe stands in for ideology and leaves him without a governing philosophy -- has allowed him to cut loose gays and lesbians (16 months into his term and all the LGBT community has to show for a friend in the White House is a minor executive order and a promise on DADT), civil libertarians (read Glenn Greenwald's excellent dissections of Obama's Bushian turns in this area) and economic populists (a smaller-than-necessary stimulus, corporate health-care plan, and so on).

The appointment of Ken Salazar -- one of oil's best friends in the Senate -- to the Interior post, which is part of the story of what is happening in the Gulf as I write this, is very much a part of this lackluster record.

Democratic sycophants who are unwilling to acknowledge this are not doing anyone any favors, least of all the president they claim to support.

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(Originally posted to Channel Surfing.)

Read poetry at The Subterranean.
Suburban Pastoral, a chapbook by Hank Kalet, available here.


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Hank Kalet is managing editor of the South Brunswick Post and the Cranbury Press. His column, "Dispatches," appears weekly in the Post and the Press and he writes a semi-monthly column for the Progressive Populist. He also is the editor of The Other (more...)

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