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Obama and the (Disenchanted) Base

By       Message Marc Ash     Permalink
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Reprinted from Reader Supported News

From flickr.com/photos/44124348109@N01/1341978643/: Barack Obama
Barack Obama
(Image by jurvetson)
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Reader Supported News has a vibrant, engaged and outspoken readership. There are things we have consistently been hearing from them for a long time about President Obama. For context, the vast majority of our readers voted for Obama -- twice.

What has been apparent for some time is a sense of betrayal. A sense that Obama talked the talk, but did not walk the walk.

Images of Obama walking rather than riding up Pennsylvania Avenue, as his predecessors have done for decades, on his way to his inauguration gave way all too quickly to images of Obama playing golf with John Boehner. It didn't sit well.

It became apparent early in Obama's tenure that "change" had still not come. While Obama campaigned on on a promise to challenge the status quo, his actions portrayed a man desperately seeking compromise, and thus his presidency is viewed -- by his supporters -- as compromised.

Key to the disenchantment of Obama's base were appointments like Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury. Geithner embodied the very policies and transgressions Obama's supporters expressly elected him to forcefully oppose. Geithner's transparent allegiance to Wall Street's interests became emblematic of an administration that never really had a chance to change anything.

Matt Taibbi's groundbreaking report, "The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare," chronicling Attorney General Eric Holder's mind-boggling coziness with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon -- as the DoJ was engaged in a criminal securities fraud probe of JPM -- provides a picture window into the mindset of an administration that has no intention of challenging Wall Street misconduct, no matter how criminal.

It took Obama four years to admit that the U.S. had "tortured folks." To his credit, he's the only U.S. official who ever has admitted this. But he did it with a Senate report detailing Bush-era acts of torture days from completion, and has never said another word about it since. The people who supported Obama wanted justice; what they got was complicity through silence, and they understood very well the difference.

Sure, the The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is a game changer, and it will survive the Supreme Court's poorly hidden desire to derail it, primarily because it is now beyond the Court's capacity to control.

Obama has tried to do a number of good things. He tried to get so-called Mortgage Cram Down Legislation passed by Congress that would have largely avoided the collapse of the U.S. economy in 2009. He failed, and collapse the economy did. He tried to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. Open it remains. He tried to avoid a return to war in Iraq, but back at war we are.

The base wants change, the base wants a serious challenge to the corruption that has gripped the nation, the base wants fighters for social justice. The base is the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

We want a new deal.

 

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, now the founder, editor and publisher of Reader Supported News: http://www.readersupportednews.org

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