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Is the Honeymoon Over Even Before Obama's Inauguration?

By       Message Gene Messick     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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Cruising various Progressive blogsites these days is truly disheartening. Courtship was successful, their candiDATE agreed to engage them. But even before a marriage can be consummated with Inauguration, Progressives are having morning after blues.

You'd think that ousting Republicans and the NeoCONs who pull their strings would be enough to allow Obama the opportunity to shift gears. Campaigning is not Governing. They require vastly different skills. Obama came from Legislating. Legislating is not Governing. Fortunately for all of us who voted for him, Obama appears to be up to the task of immersing himself in a rapid learning process for assembling a home team to govern America for the next four years.

Some Progressives deluded themselves into believing they elected a Progressive President. Like during all courtships, your candiDATE is viewed through rose colored glasses. Truly, Obama was the best choice -- the only viable choice -- available for Progressives to rally behind. Although Obama espoused stands on issues that Progressives hailed, he wisely didn't claim to be a Progressive.
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Electing a President in America has become a mind-wrenching experience, where the most awful exaggerated claims and charges dominate all media available. The amount of money thrown at candidates is staggering. Voters barely hear one distortion before they are pounded by three others. While bloggers love to wallow in this snake pit, adding to the confusion, fortunately most voters are not bloggers. It's a miracle that voters bothered to vote at all in Election 2008.

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Now the national spotlight is turned from Campaigning to Governing. Well, not even that: turning to appoint the home team to Govern. Are Progressives pulling in line behind Obama's choices? Hardly so. They are pounding out blogs by the thousands criticizing Obama's choices, as if their whining will make him change his mind. And even if he did, more complaints would be blogged that he was a flip-flopper. Progressives are terrific about pointing out everything they see as wrong. (Terrific: causing great fear.)

Obama's National Deputy Campaign Director Steve Hildebrand posted his observations on a blog, that Progressives should pull behind Obama, in essence, to get with the program. A firestorm of criticism ensued across all media. Some of it disgustingly foul-mouthed, it served to expose the raw underbelly of some in the Progressive Movement.

If you look at a simple bell curve graph of any aspect of what happened in Election 2008, you see what all bell curves show: a thin edge rising sharply to a hump in the middle, descending to a thin edge on the other side.

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Progressives are on the thin edge on the Left side, with NeoCON conservatives on the Right side. Both are small percentages of total voters, who comfortably fall somewhere within the hump in the middle. For eight years, we've seen the disaster of what can happen when the thin Right side has had undue influence over governing all of America. Is there any reason to believe that governing from the Left side would not produce similar skewed results? Progressives religiously believe they possess Truth. But, then, so does the other side. Truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Obama appears to understand that effective government comes from governing from the middle. Many Progressives are choosing to feel betrayed, because Obama is not loading his appointments with many of them. They constantly harangue about appointing Clinton retreads. These are people who helped guide one of the most successful Administrations in decades which accomplished goals Progressives love.

Would Progressives have Obama appoint inexperienced people just because their hearts are in the right place? It would be a recipe for a disaster of another kind, which would slow down the Change Obama promised, as we suffered the mistakes they would make.

Obama promised Change. He did not promise Progressive Change. He promised Change away from all that NeoCON Republicans stand for, and a long road to recovery from the massive damage they caused America. To hit the ground running in January, Obama must have in place, as quickly as possible, a knowledgeable and experienced team of active players.

So what is the role of Progressives in all this? It's always easier to complain than to do something effective. Obama needs the creative backing of Progressives, to get off the bitching cycle and join him in moving things forward. Use the power of the Internet to bring Progressive things to reality. One example: there's already Rep Conyer's Bill 676 in Congress for Single Payer Health Care.  

How can Progressives rally support behind this Bill so that every American can have health care, not just access to health insurance, which 47 million Americans cannot afford? Yet that is all too likely the "compromise" which may come to pass.

If Progressives want to become part of the solution, they have to decide to stop being part of the problem. In the delicate transition period from now through the next few months, a huge amount of stuff will begin to slowly move in one direction or another. If Progressives choose to stand on the sidelines and throw stones, they will have lost every advantage they won in Election 2008.

Time to get with the program, guys and gals! Make something happen.


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For 17 years Gene Messick studied and taught Design at NC State University and Cornell. Co-founding the Visual Design Program at NCSU, he established the Photography Program at Cornell, where he taught in the Architecture Department, most interested (more...)

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