Thursday, December 10, 2009


What kind of pressures must President Obama be under? Guys like LBJ and Ronny Reagan could handle it. It appears Obama cannot!
by Charlie Leck

When progressives went out looking for a Presidential candidate to run in the 2008 national elections, they had, in the end, three choices who seemed competitive enough to give the Republicans a run for it – Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. How and why did they (we) come down on the side of Barack Obama? I’m as progressive (liberal) as they come, so let me use myself as an example of just want happened – as, perhaps, what went wrong. Or, in other words, how did we end up with such an indecisive leader? What happened to change? Where did the audacity of hope go to? What happened to the utter belief in “yes we can” and the other catchy, inspiring slogans of the Obama campaign? What was I looking for? Let me lay out the answers in brief form and then I’ll try to explain why I and others thought Obama was our hope.
  1. End the war in Iraq as soon as possible if not immediately!
  2. Clean up the mess in Afghanistan and refocus us on the original goal of capturing Osama bin Laden, which would mean working out border arrangements with Pakistan.
  3. Reform the U.S. health care system and make universal health care available and affordable to every single citizen of the nation.
  4. Protect women’s right to choose and all women’s rights in particular.
  5. Make sexual preference choices a constitutional guaranty.
  6. End tax protection for the rich and make the national taxation system more fair.
  7. Make government and the actions of government more open (“transparent”).
What happened? If you read the newspapers regularly and follow the news in any depth, you know the answer to that question. If I had to do it all over again, I would have thrown my support and my monetary contributions behind Hillary Clinton. Hind-sight, as we know, is powerful.

Barack Obama has failed on all 7 of the above priorities that I held when I cast my vote. I was mesmerized by Obama and his promises. I loved the way he looked and the way he talked. His wife was (is) spectacular and so were (are) his children. And, his promise of change seemed more than sincere – it seemed absolute and resolute. In fact, he has turned out to be not so tough. He caves easily. Unlike Lyndon Baines Johnson and Ronald Reagan, he is not willing to bring Congresspersons to heel – to jaw-bone them and threaten their political survival.

We were bedazzled by Obama's eloquent turn of phrase and his magnificent strength in public speaking. We translated that strength into strength of character and will. We were over-powered by his style and gracefulness. His humor seemed something we needed after so many years that lacked humor in the White House.

Instead, we sent to the White House an amateur who does not have the savvy it takes to pound, push, pull and pry legislation through bodies like the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Hillary Clinton had seen, for eight years, how that process worked. I can't, of course, say that she would have gotten us closer to the goals we all have for the nation, but I think she would have stood a better chance.

As a result, the war in Iraq continues to be a tangled mess; the President has committed us to a long-term continuation of our entanglements in Afghanistan; and he has compromised away any chance at universal health care; and he has ignored a woman’s right to choose; and had abandoned those who do not choose to be heterosexuals; and ignored tax reform; and actually made tax reform an utter joke; and, finally, has made government less transparent than it was under George W. Bush (and none of us believed that was possible).

These are, indeed, serious condemnations for a Sunday morning. The seven points could be taken one by one and laid out in a way that would show the President’s failures during these first 10 months of his Presidency. I’m not going to do that here. I’ll deal with them one by one in the coming weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment