I don’t know how many “groups” there are on Facebook, but I know I’m a member of too many groups to keep up with them. I’ve got to tell you there’s a virtual plethora of groups supporting the Democrats. There’s “support Democrats.” Then there’s “Say no to the party of hate. Vote Democratic!” Then there’s “The Democrats 2012 Game Plan,” and “I’m Voting Democratic November 2…and You Should Too.” Then there’s the groups supporting Barack Obama. There’s the “Michelle Obama Fan Club.” And then there’s “I’m Voting for President Barack Obama On November 2, 2012,” and “I’m Voting for Barack Obama in 2012.” I’m probably voting for Barack Obama on November 2, 2012 also. That’s because there isn’t a decent Progressive out there to challenge him, and I never vote GOP. And that’s the only reason.
Here’s the rub with all this support Democrats crap. If you’re a member of these FB groups, you get a ration of shit and then dropped if you dare criticize Barack Obama. And I really don’t give a shit if they drop me because I’ll be damned if I’m going to forfeit my rights as a citizen just so I don’t give “aid and comfort to the enemy.” Yes, that is the reason I got dropped from one of these groups: Because in their twisted little minds, I was giving aid and comfort to the GOP by criticizing our president. Get real, people. This is America, not Amerika. Theodore Roosevelt got it right when he said:
“ The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”
I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be happy with what he’s done with his opportunity. Because, frankly, I am not. President Obama is a far cry from Candidate Obama. And, please, I understand that the GOP is loaded with fuckwits who are impossible to deal with. But who said any of this was going to be easy or pleasant? The fact is that Barack Obama had the majority for the first two years and, instead of “change we can believe in,” he decided to dance with the devil and try to win the GOP over. That’s bullshit. We elected this guy to make change. To hell with the GOP and bi-partisanship. If we thought the GOP had the answers, McCain would have won. He got trounced. Any number of things could have been accomplished when Obama had the opportunity.
You know, political writers from every walk of life have written about Sarah Palin being nothing more than a “caricature” of everything Americans believe a small-town girl should be, and that’s why she was chosen for the McCain ticket…to rally the Republican base. And that’s what she did. (Of course, she’s one of the dumbest women and ill-prepared public servants in America, but that doesn’t matter because to GOP voters it’s all God, Guns and Family.) But let’s face it, Barack Obama was a “caricature” for the liberal side as well. He was simply a more pleasant “caricature” than Palin. He’s smart. He’s a great orator. He’s young and vital. Everyone was swooning because he’s the first black president and it was ground-breaking that he was elected. He sold himself as a Progressive (and he is not a progressive in any sense of the word). Nobody looked beyond the surface. Me? I voted for him in 2008 because he was the last Democrat standing. Period. I held no illusions. (No swooning here, folks. I really wanted Dennis Kucinich to win.)
So, how has Barack Obama disappointed me? Let me count the ways.
Health Care Reform
The health care reform package that came out of the Obama administration is, at best, anemic. Right off the top, when he started negotiating with the GOP on the package, he coughed up the “robust public option” he built his campaign around. He was adamant prior to his election that the public option was a necessity in any reform package. Suddenly, when the GOP whined and crowed, the public option wasn’t so important any more. Obama barely fired a shot. He simply threw up his arms and threw down his weapon. He never introduced the single-payer health care system he promised as a candidate. Basically, what we have nationwide is what Mitt Romney touted here as his Massachusetts Miracle: Buy health care coverage from private insurers or pay a fine. And drug companies won more protection for their brand-name drugs (vs. the cheaper drugs) in Obama’s package. Some reform. There’s no need for the private insurers to break a sweat improving performance because there isn’t any reason to. “Obamacare” benefits the Fortune 500 health care and pharmaceutical companies, folks.
Let me do some bubble bursting here: Barack Obama received $20 million from the health care industry in 2008. He’s ahead of the GOP pack now in donations from the health care industry at about $1.6 million. So let’s dispel the notion that we elected an “outsider.” We did not. We elected just the opposite.
Reigning in Wall Street and the Banks
“The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has led us to a financial crisis as serious as any that we have faced since the Great Depression.”
He wanted reform, damn it! He wanted oversight. He called for a systemic risk-regulator. He called for a consumer financial protection agency. And what we got was, again, anemic. The areas of rating agencies, lobbying and compensation weren’t even addressed. And that’s because most of his senior economic advisers created the Wall Street crisis to begin with. The list looks like a who’s who at Goldman Sachs.
His first Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, made $320,000 on the board of Freddie Mac. Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers are two of the biggest high-rolling dirtbags imaginable. Yet, Obama managed to appoint them as his Treasury Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser respectively. As President of the New York Federal Reserve during the economic meltdown, Geithner was instrumental in getting AIG to pay Goldman Sachs 100 cents on the dollar for betting against mortgages. Under Bill Clinton, Larry Summers was instrumental in the deregulation of derivatives, which have made financial markets very unstable. While a professor of economics at Harvard University, Summers raked in millions consulting on hedge funds.
With all of the Wall Street mess, not a single executive has been criminally prosecuted. There has been no prosecution of a single financial firm for securities fraud or accounting fraud. In February of 2009, Barack Obama promised to “take the air out of golden parachutes” by limiting executive compensation to companies receiving bail-outs at $500,000. That has never happened, and it never will under Obama.
That’s why Obama’s “great friend” and ally, Jon Corzine, former governor of New Jersey, will be able to receive his $12.1 million severance package (read: golden parachute) for engineering the collapse of commodities and derivatives brokerage house MF Global…the biggest failure ($40 billion in liabilities) on Wall Street since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
When it came time to nominate someone to head the consumer financial protection agency, Barack Obama turned his back on Elizabeth Warren, its chief architect. And that’s because Elizabeth Warren scares the shit out of the GOP, and she’s the last person they want there. Why? Because she’ll do what they have failed to do from Barack Obama on down: Protect the public. And let’s face it, Barack Obama’s legacy will be his caving in to GOP demands. On a selfish level, Obama’s failure to back Elizabeth Warren is fine with me, because now she’s running for Senator in my state (Massachusetts) against Scott Brown, who somehow managed to win a special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat. The guy isn’t fit to wash Ted Kennedy’s soiled underwear. We didn’t have a chance in hell of unseating him until Warren jumped into the race. But still, the failure to stand by Warren goes to Obama’s character (or lack thereof). Sorry.
Here’s another great Theodore Roosevelt quotation:
“Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”
If he thought there was a problem back then, imagine what Roosevelt would think about our present system of government. Face it, folks. It’s not just about the GOP anymore. We’ve got this problem on both sides of the aisle.
Helping the poor and middle class
We’ve got the trifecta here. Again, in a major cave-in to the GOP, Obama extended the Bush era tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. You know, the ones he promised to end. So many promises turn into so many lies. That’s what they are at the end of the day. To add insult to injury, Obama has put Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security “on the table” as a way to cut the deficit, but he’s still spending millions of dollars on wars. Now we’ve got Libya to add to the tally. And don’t give me the bullshit about the U.S. leaving Iraq at the end of the year. We’re leaving behind plenty of military personnel and putting plenty of money on the table. It’s not going away. He has already agreed to $1 trillion in vital budget cuts (read: programs that would actually help Americans). Now he’s talking about the possibility of lowering corporate tax rates. Are you kidding me? It’s disgusting.
Here’s how we got into the deficit mess to begin with: Bush era tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can you hear me now, President Obama?
A Disaster in the Making on Civil Liberties
If you thought Bush was bad, take a good look at Barack Obama. He not only kept the Bush policies, he expanded on them in many cases. We should have known right off the bat that he was bad juju on this issue. It was reported that Obama promised Bush in private that nobody from his administration would be investigated or prosecuted for torture. These assertions aren’t just rumors and innuendo. The information came from various government and military officials. It’s hard to restore the rule of law when the laws aren’t applied. It’s ridiculous to criticize other governments when we cannot hold our own accountable, yet we’ve managed to do that.
Remember his promise to close Guantanamo? It’s still open. And he has continued military tribunals that deny defendants basic rights.
Warrantless surveillance? Still ongoing.
Barack Obama has also decided that it’s okay to assassinate any American citizen the Executive Branch deems a “terrorist.” This was actually a Bush policy which was never implemented by the Bush administration. However, it has been confirmed that Obama authorized the assassination of American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. So much for the rule of law.
President Obama gave the Patriot Act (which he opposed as a Senator) a four-year extension in May of this year, calling it “an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat.” Where have we heard that before? Perhaps it was George W. Bush? Obama was in France at the time the deadline rolled around, so he signed it by autopen. Unbelievable.
I could go on, but I won’t. The disturbing thing to me is that all these “support Obama” groups and all these Obama True Believers refuse to look at his performance for what it is. They are still smitten with his persona to the point of denial. His supporters can’t separate fiction from fact, dream from reality. The dream is over, folks. The reality is that Barack Obama never intended to deliver “change we can believe in.” That was a campaign slogan. Barack Obama may be better than anything the GOP has to offer, considering the line up of losers running around the country making fools of themselves. I’ll give you that much. But considering that the GOP is trying to replace one fool (George Bush) with another (name one), the bar hasn’t been set all that high.