Greetings Progressive friends!
Let me start by re-defining the term No Man's Land for the purposes of this entry. When referencing Obama I think of No Man's land as the place between sanity and La-la land. The Democrats would be sanity and the Teabaggers La-la land. Now that we have that out of the way, I'll get on with it:
I am a supporter of President Obama (may be past tense soon) but I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated with him as of late. Why can't he act more like Bernie Sanders? Let's do a quick comparison of the two: Bernie Sanders stands for every Progressive, middle and working class person and value in this country. He fights for the little guy and makes no bones about how he feels. He's not ashamed or confused about who he is. In fact, he's a self proclaimed socialist and he fights injustice at every turn. Interestingly, the right likes to paint President Obama as a socialist but he is actually a moderate corporate Democrat. Let me re-phrase that, I don't know what the hell he is right now. He campaigned on many of the same values I mentioned above when speaking of Bernie Sanders. I want candidate Obama back! Where did that dude go? He should govern like he campaigned! He made sure to tell everyone how he'd be there on the picket line during union fights and would defend the big 3 (Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid) while John McCain wouldn't. Candidate Obama talked a great game and then he got elected. Now, he's practicing what some call Neo-liberalism. I don't know what the hell to call it.
For one thing, his lack of spine frustrates the heck out of me. His Republican-esque educational policies drive me crazy. His selectively blind Department Of Justice is maddening. He's a mixed bag on the environment. He's not ending the wars as quickly as he should. His propensity to bend over and grab his ankles for the Republicants before they even ask him to is probably the most disturbing. At the very least he's a terrible negotiator, at worst he's a wolf in sheep's clothing. The positive references to Reagan, a freakin' disaster of a President except in creepy Reagan-obsessed right wing circles, are very unsettling. We need another Reagan like we need a hole in our heads!
Yes, this is a Progressive web site and for all those rabid Obama supporters, sorry to deliver this dose of realism but there are some things that are undeniable no matter how much you like the President. Now, I DO think he has notched some notable achievements and I will obviously vote for him in 2012 (unless Bernie or Hillary run) because the alternative is off the rails. Remember that La-la land thing I mentioned earlier?
Let's take a quick drive down debt ceiling lane for a moment, shall we? Why are we in this position many months after the start of this whole debt ceiling debate? I'll tell you why, because our President didn't take the bull by the horns early. Invoking the 14th amendment and making the courts rule on the validity of it would've been a GREAT first step. Heck, Bill Clinton said if he were still President that would have been his choice. If it worked, we'd get right around the morons who want to play political games and at the very least he could rattle some right wing cages! Next, hold weekly prime time media blitzes with detailed updates and historical facts on raising the debt ceiling. Explaining what it means to default in layman's terms (think FDR's "fireside chats") would also be great to garner public support. He should be exposing these petulant brats on the right for what they are - disingenuous jerks who care about nothing else but their rich buddies and corporate campaign donors. The American people who? It's obvious with the passage in the house of such gems as the Paul Ryan budget and Cut,Cap and Balance what they care about. Republicants always refer to "The American People" like they really give a crap about any of us but the top 2%. How often do you hear them talk about "the middle class"? They're waging an all-out war on the middle and working class, unions and any other entity that looks out for the little guy. If you don't see that, you're blind as a bat.
What in the hell was Obama's obsession with the "Grand Deal"? Some say his advisors tell him polling shows independent voters care very much about the deficit. More than jobs? Really? Crappy advisors, those. I think every type of voter in this country cares about jobs and the economy most with the deficit a distant 3rd, at least that's what all the polls I've seen show. Maybe there are some others from Fox Noise Misinforpinion or Newsmax that say differently. Jobs and the economy at the very top with healthcare and the deficit further back. The other thing that's frustrating as all get out is that Obama continually ignores the fact that an overwhelming majority of the country (70-90% depending on the poll) DO NOT WANT ANY CUTS TO THE BIG 3!!! I expect this from the Republicants and the Teabaggers but from a Democratic President that ran on Progressive middle and working class values? How does one make this transformation? He seems all too eager to put these programs on the table without regard for the life and death consequences it could have for some. After countless meetings and hours and wrangling and gnashing of teeth, where are we? The same place we started, with no deal to raise the debt ceiling. What a colossal wheel spinning waste of time that turned out to be. All in the name of delusions of bi-partisanship by Obama.
He's losing his base support, a much larger chunk of the voting population than independents (72 million Dems vs. 42 million Indies according to statistics), all because he thinks independents want him to do a deficit deal? Really? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! A super majority in this country are behind him all the way on the Progressive values he campaigned on but he won't stand up for them in the face of Teabagger dipsticks like Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor? REALLY?? Heck, they're fanatically standing up for their La-la land ideological obsessions without the support of the American people. What's his excuse? He's extremely intelligent but he won't fight like we need him to. His political strategy leaves a lot to be desired and may be a product of inexperience. We need another Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt or Harry Truman. When people used to say "Give 'em hell Harry" he'd always say "No, I give them the facts but they think it's hell." I think Obama needs to read the book of Harry Truman quotes. I own a copy, Mr. President! If you're reading this, give me your address and I'll send it to you. Oh yeah, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. For how much longer I don't know.
Obama can stick with the facts and the sentiments of the majority of this country and he'll never go wrong. FDR used to deliver "fireside chats" periodically to the American people to make his case or relay important information. Obama should do the same thing but not in the usual milktoast, information-only delivery style to which he seems so attached. Instead, he should get passionate and be who he was elected to be - a champion of the people. You know the slogans, "Yes We Can" and "Change You Can Believe In". They're starting to ring hollow.
Obama seems to be the skinny kid who always gets beat up by the bullies. I've got news for ya big O, you can use that bully pulpit to get things done. As much as I despise George W. Bush (typing the name irritates me) he somehow found ways to ram through every last stupid and destructive program his buddies and campaign donors wanted. Obama needs to grow a set before next year's election. He talks a great game and gives scathing press conferences but then you hear in the news that he's selling us down the river with 4 trillion in spending cuts while getting loopholes closed sometime in the next decade. Huh? He needs to find his inner FDR, Truman or even Clinton. Why is it so hard for him to stand up for shared sacrifice? Forget just getting a couple of egregious loopholes closed. That should have been done long ago as should the tax breaks for outsourcing American jobs overseas, corporate subsidies for advertising abroad, the bloated defense budget or any number of other ridiculously expensive programs that don't help create jobs.
No, we should also raise the top and corporate tax rates back up to Clinton-era tax rates. Forget compromise and trying to "work with them". That was over at the inauguration, he just never got the memo. Enough with the bi-partisan delusions, it's not producing anything but watered down legislation that really doesn't do what we need it to do. You need to put on the gloves and get in the ring. QUIT LETTING THE RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS HIJACK OUR COUNTRY!
Try listening to Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson, Dennis Kucinich, Ed Schultz, Mike Pappantonio or any of the other voices on the left that really care about the people of this country. It's a shame to think how far into meaningful job legislation we could be if we weren't wrangling over a historically ho-hum government function, a sad state of affairs indeed. I'm still holding out hope for Obama but the campaign slogans are fading fast!
I'll close by deferring to Bernie Sanders, who said it best in his letter to President Obama last week:
In my view, the President of the United States of America needs to stand with the American people and say to the Republican leadership that enough is enough. No, we will not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor, who have already sacrificed enough in terms of lost jobs, lost wages, lost homes, and lost pensions. Yes, we will demand that millionaires and billionaires and the largest corporations in America contribute to deficit reduction as a matter of shared sacrifice. Yes, we will reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending at the Pentagon. And, no we will not be blackmailed once again by the Republican leadership in Washington, who are threatening to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States government for the first time in our nation's history unless they get everything they want.
Instead of yielding to the incessant, extreme Republican demands, as the President did during last December's tax cut agreement and this year's spending negotiations, the President has got to get out of the beltway and rally the American people who already believe that deficit reduction must be about shared sacrifice.