Monday, December 13, 2010

Just Sick of It

Tired of hearing about what a shit I am because I don't give Obama enough credit for trying.

First, I don't remember getting any credit for trying when my ass was on the line in school or during a work assignment (and I wasn't even getting paid almost half a million to do it). Second, there's a difference between actually, empirically trying to accomplish something, using every available tool, and simply giving in to the opposition's demands and blowing a goal off before you even get to the table (yes, I'm talking about the public option, but also the federal employee pay freeze, and UC extensions, and so many other moments.) I know he's faced intransigence from the legislature, but he has been remiss in providing any substantial leadership to them, as when he spouted off a bunch of progressive agenda items on the campaign trail. and then tossed the health care reform ball at Congress and said, "Lotsa luck, guys. Call me when you come up with something." He did everything but give the Blue Dogs a handjob, those people who stood in the way of his main goals every chance they got, but pisses and moans about the liberals who fought for those goals because they don't approve of his every golden motion.

Second, I'm tired of being tarred as a spoiled sport by media, who seem to think that if I keep my mouth shut, all the good things Obama promised will suddenly erupt fully-formed from the Capitol dome in rainbow coolers, because he will be freed from my biliousness and be able to tame the Republican beast. We're hearing a lot about triangulation again, and Ezra Klein holds up a scene in Taylor Branch's book between Clinton and William Grieder as an example of how liberals are ALWAYS disappointed when a Democratic president gets in. (Clinton reveals himself a real cad in his overblown response to Grieder's appeal to his humanity--looking every bit the emperor whose subject had the bad taste to point out his nakedness. Obama has similarly indulged himself toward his supporters, only publicly, and at a much cooler temperature.)

Even if such perennial disappointment is true, it suggests that progressive goals have been defeated, watered down, or permanently put on the back burner for so many decades that we on the left have nearly reached a boiling point. Every progressive law or regulation that managed to get into the book since Roosevelt has, in the last 40 years, been either rolled back, rendered toothless, or is currently under attack, while the most unconstitutional of laws are promoted or passed quite regularly throughout the land. Even when Obama merely had to do nothing, as when DADT came up for litigation, he erred on the side of the right-wing and let Holder mount a defense of the very law he said he would repeal. (His defense of this action, that he wanted the legislature that created it to make it go away, is the biggest laugh of 2 years, given the political bent and behavior of those august bodies.) So yes, I am angry, and I don't care if that's oh-so-tiresomely predictable from a liberal with a Dem president.

And at this point, in case I can't be dissuaded from treasonous complaining, NPR and John Cole sound the klaxon that I might be treading close to discriminatory animus, and my bile may scare off the black vote. Except that, lo and behold, it turns out there ARE black people who feel very much the same as me, and one of them was friend and advisor to Martin Luther King:
You don't have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.

It is time for those persons who constituted the "Movement" that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to "break their silence"; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and "hope" for the best.

I know politics is the art of compromise. I understand the concept of compromise. What I don't understand is the concept of belly-flopping one's way through the Presidency, and then yelling at the people who point out that you've spent most of your incumbency prone while shaking hands with the people who have their feet on your back.