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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/14/10

Knowing 'whose ass to kick.....

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Recently, President Barack Obama, in a failed attempt to appear forceful over the BP oil spill disaster, referred to the process of deciding whose ass to kick over what has become one of the worst disasters in U.S. (and perhaps world) history. In truth, there is a double-entendre here: since the donkey is the Democratic symbol, that particular ass might well be the one we progressives should be kicking. Or, even better, with some moderate contortions President Obama might be able to kick his own hindquarters--as, to paraphrase Harry Truman, the buck stops with the president, or at least it should.

In the early days of the Obama presidency, many progressives were disappointed with his failure to take real action on many of his campaign pledges and positions, from the closing of Guantanamo to making real progress towards ending our two long and fruitless wars.
As the health care proposal was weakened and whittled down to almost nothing -- some would say, worse than nothing -- disappointment at the Presidents lack of firm leadership turned to dismay. Since that time, for me at least, dismay has become disgust.

It is not so much the big issues which have been mishandled by the Obama administration -- in such areas as reversing the decline in our economy, attempting to hold Corporate America responsible for its abuses, and trying to deal with the Federal deficit and its consequences, the President and his staff may have handled matters as well as could be expected, particularly given the continuous Republican attempts to eviscerate his proposals and actions.

It is truly said, though, that the devil is in the details -- such details as the strange lethargy at the Obama Justice Department in protecting civil rights and voting rights of all Americans, the sleazy attempts of key Obama staffers to get candidates to drop out of elections, the tacit endorsement of the torture techniques of the Bush Administration, the total lack of the government transparency promised during the 2008 campaign, and the total ignoring of the criticism by progressives of all of those aspects of the Obama administration -- and many more.

This is far more than just a lack of leadership by President Obama --
it represents a lack of backbone as well. But then again, perhaps it is easier to give ones own hindquarters a well-deserved kick if there is no spine to get in the way.

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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)

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