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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/4/09

Obama and "Pre-Emptive Capitulation" as a Modality of Democratic Governance

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Message Herbert Calhoun
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Given that Mr. Obama is up against ideological opponents that fight to the death and play dirty in defense of their own (almost always bad) ideas, one wonders what Obama hopes to accomplish with his Rodney King like "can't we all just get along" approach to getting his progressive agenda through. Does he really think he can finesse his way around this minefield of conservative pit bulls (sacrificing those who voted for him in the process), with this sweet talk of empty bipartisanism? Has he not learned that the republicans do not "play the game of bipartisanism" fairly; that is, unless it means that they can "flip" progressive ideas? They will eat the part of his body that Jessie Jackson was going to cut off, for breakfast, and then laugh all the way to the next election cycle, unless he gets busy using those same parts to push through the meaty ideas of those who gave him a mandate.


This is serious business; time to cut deeply into and roll back the regressive conservative agenda of the last twenty-four years, rather than giving us (the ones who got him elected), the gravy and the crumbs trimmed from around the edges (like the limp-wristed credit card protection bill. Please, give me a frigging break?).


We want some "progressive meat," not just the carcass of the old Conservative centrist Bill Clinton programs and ideas. This pussyfooting around the edges has got to stop and soon, or else this "Obama run train to Washington" is going to be short-lived: derailed in the mid-term election. Obama had better "start dancing with the one who brung him," or else he is headed to the "graveyard of one-term Presidency land" and lack of my vote is going to be one of the many progressive nails in his coffin.


I would like to remind him that although I am a black man who followed his career while he was a "community organizer" in the Altgeld ghetto community in South Chicago, and who has reviewed both of his books on, through the years, I am frankly still not all that impressed with his results. I voted for him not because he is black, or edited the Harvard Law Review; or just to see a black family in the White House, but because, I thought he would put his foot on the accelerator and get progressive ideas enacted quickly, and for no other reason. Unless he begins to show some fighting spirit, some moxie, in the next election cycle I'll vote against him and all those limp-wristed Congressional democrats like Nancy Pelosi in a heartbeat, and gladly send them all packing. Unless they get busy doing the business of those who got them elected, their political capital is going to dry up like the Sahara Desert.


So far, even with a mandate and a filibuster proof Congress, all Obama has shown us is a lot of- "TV style" totally devoid of progressive substance. I am frankly tired of seeing him on the TV. -(And don't send me any more of those emails asking for more money and touting these milquetoast centrist ideas: I am not a centrist; I am a progressive!). I'd rather see you twisting a few Republicans arms in the back rooms, and a lot less of this empty media show. In short, so far Obama looks like, acts like, and quacks like a "good old Bill Clinton Republican," "a good ol' boy, pre-emptively giving up his progressive bona fides behind the scenes.- And giving us lots of TV style smiles, and sweet talk. -Lets have more grimaces and a little rough talk; that way, we know you are working for our causes.


Do we need to remind Obama that when the Republicans were in office (with Bill Clinton's help), even without a mandate and a filibuster proof Congress, they aggressively pursued every one of their bad ideas? And got most of them through a democratic Congress? To wit: All of them went to work on the number one "global Republican project:" dismantling FDR New Deal social safety net. Ronald Reagan, GWH Bush, the not too bright, GW Bush, Jr, and even with the centrist Bill Clinton's help, together, all but supplanted FDR's programs with the new existing playing field: the over-arching capitalist model of economic insecurity. Now, that is what we have as the new playing field. That is the "given." That is the new ground zero.

So, Obama begins his presidency on Ronald Reagan's playing field, but with a bulletproof Congress. And what does he do? Forgets about the big ideas and proceeds to preemptively capitulate on the number one progressive idea, single payer healthcare system; gives us a weak-kneed credit card bill instead; a watered down energy bill that even GW would be proud of, and more importantly, has not shown us that he is willing to fight the republicans toe-toe for any of the progressive programs that are important to the people who elected him. -We are now wedded to a worse version of the private Healthcare system than the one we already have. What about the campaign promises of lower cost for everyone and to getting everyone covered? -[Barack, your slip is showing...]



And as an aside, Obama, of course, since he can't even openly acknowledge or be seen championing mainstream progressive causes, would not be caught dead pushing any overt black causes. I suppose that dealing with black concerns, like the inner social city meltdown, the public schools, etc., are either completely out of the question, or, are so far down the Obama agenda that we are not likely to see them until a second term, if at all.

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Herbert Calhoun Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Retired Foreign Service Officer and past Manager of Political and Military Affairs at the US Department of State. For a brief time an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Denver and the University of Washington at (more...)
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