Friday, August 26, 2011

The Obama Conundrum

Once again, I am feeling the strange need to wax philosophically about something significant and important affected the nation. I have no idea why I want to do this, blame it on some disturbing but curious character flaw, a desire to shake off my suburban malaise brought on by the dog days of summer, or just my need to join my fellow Americans in collective whining, the only thing we excel at in the twenty-first century. With that out of the way what will allow me to properly grovel in the verbal emissions of my pomposity? How about something I have been pondering about for several years, the performance of Barrack Obama as president and liberal short sightedness and the conundrum they present for 2012 election.

For conservatives Obama never stood a chance once he vanquished Hillary in the 2008 campaign, they immediately tagged him as something akin to the Antichrist with a certain segment actually believing he is the spawn of Satan. On the other hand, within a few months after taking office progressives began to go rogue when he did not whip out his magic wand and instantaneously transform the country into a social utopia.

Call me a sleazy sycophant but for the longest time I cut the guy significant slack given the dire situation the country faced. For starters, I can mention the two wars going on with billions disappearing into a black hole that had Dick Cheney’s Cheshire cat-like smile superimposed over the event horizon. We also faced a financial apocalypse caused by the finely dressed banking rats eating holes into the nation’s economic ship of state forcing the previous president to bail them out leaving Obama to finish cleaning up the mess and to be call nasty names by the moronic masses for doing so. Top it all off as if two southwest Asian quagmires along with a monetary disaster were not enough millions of Americans lose their jobs before and after he took office.

So excuse me for not jumping early on the progressive bitchy bandwagon and castigating the man for his failure to have unicorns and rainbows sprout from his and Michelle’s ass and cover the country in sweet rose pedals and happiness. The only problem with my early high optimism that slowly morphed into pragmatic realism then to impatient frustration is that while Obama was a great campaigner in all honestly we seem to have gotten a hybrid cross of Hamlet and Mr. Spock of Star Trek. He appears to be a president more interested in contemplating his existence while casting unemotional observations about how Washington is broken rather than getting involved in the dirty business of politics.

Once again, I do not completely blame him, there were disturbing signs and omens during the 2008 campaign that liberals were building him into something he was not. I remember some lady on MSNBC that literally had a religious look of utter rapture talking about how super duper things would be right after Obama took office. Cartoons of Obama wearing a Superman-like costume regularly appeared with him beating up corporate villains and fixing global warming as an afternoon project. In my ever-humble opinion liberals and progressives placed Obama on far too high a pedestal expecting far too much of him given the rules Washington works under.

Another problem that liberals/progressives created for themselves at the expense of Obama was the utter failure to counter the Koch brothers and Fox Noise sponsored Tea bagger movement that sent the country spiraling off the cliff to near default status. We had close to two-million people in Washington attending Obama’s inauguration and had that group stayed organized and vocal the assorted right-wing rubbish that arose to run such fine American intellectuals as Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell would at the very least been blunted. Even better had right-wingers carrying assault weapons at town hall meetings during the health care debate screaming slogans about the tree of liberty needing to be refreshed by the blood of tyrants been met with liberals passing out flowers the public would have freaked at the visual dichotomy.

Now I have come to the point where I have to express my disappointment with Obama. For someone who was the visual definition of high-energy charisma and dynamic action while running for president his lackluster leadership since taking office has been depressing and unexplainable. During the Republican drive to renew the Bush Tax cuts, something that created much of our current deficit, he shrugged off all suggestions to tie the agreement with an extension on the debt limit. The resulting uncertainty the prolonged and ugly battle to increase the federal debt limit threw the country into yet another crisis. This was a failure of leadership on Obama’s part that bordered on a George W. Bush level of incompetence.

One criticism the Republicans have tagged Obama with that I believe hold some merit is that he appears to be quite infatuated with his own celebrity. During the worst of the Gulf oil spill crisis Obama came down to Louisiana on one visit just long enough to have some pictures taken before jetting back to the White House so Paul McCarthy could give a personal concert to him and the family that evening. He did not talk to any locals and never got his nicely pressed khaki pants and bright white dress shirt dirty. Hello! Rule number one to all those hoping to be elected to any office and stay there is to press the flesh and feel the pain of the lowly minions.

My biggest disappointment with Obama has to be his inaction on the unemployment front. Millions of Americans languish with no job or doing their best with underemployment and once again, the president is playing the dithering Hamlet. Several people light-years smarter than me like Paul Krugman of the New York Times and Chris Matthews of MSNBC have been screaming for months about tactics that the president could use to outmaneuver the Republicans on getting a jobs program going. But only very recently have we been rewarded with a pronouncement from the vacationing president that he will present a jobs plan after Labor Day. I just pray that many of the unemployed have the luxury of electricity then so they can hear about his wonderful path to salvation.

Here is where my conundrum comes into play. The Republicans running for their party’s presidential nomination make the aliens in the Star Wars cantina scene look like a white folks country club social gathering. They are the finest collection of paranoid fanatics, religious extremists, and sleazy flip flopping toadies ever assembled and given the comatose American economy Democrats would be suicidally insane to think the eventual nominee could not win the election.

Therefore, the question is do we reelect Obama despite his faults and failures or do we surrender the country allowing the Republicans to continue their assault on the working people? Because while I am seriously asking the question I feel many in the liberal/progressive movement are equally at fault for their apathetic laziness to the tea bagger movement and narcissistic infighting over their own special interests at the expense of the country as a whole.


Oso said...

Hi Beach! Hope your family are safe, feeling better as well!

My gut feeling is this - and let me first say I'm not a conspiracy guy, rather I believe those who control vast amounts of $ tend to favor and influence what bolsters those vast amounts of $, so more like they act in concert rather than conspiracy.

Those who are wealthy don't care about the 'D' or 'R' next to the name, rather what keeps the compound interest coming in.So I don't think it's coincidence that the Republicans seem to putting forth lunatic candidates, each more fringe than the next.

This allows Obama to consistently move further to the right while still appearing to be the better choice to most people.

Thru his legislation he's shown himself to be a friend to the banks and wall st. Partisan Dems consistently state he's not at fault, it's all Dino's and evil Republicans and every other excuse his supporters can put forth - but ask yourself this - if Obama really favored progressive policy, why did he use the bully pulpit and behind the scenes armtwisting only to reconfirm Bernanke, support TARP and to get a debt ceiling compromise that allows him to target entitlements?

One can either await a Deux ex Machina or one can admit that the Obama administration has pursued an agenda which supports asset markets over jobs,and is every bit as pro war as the previous administration.

Akelamalu said...

Politicians are the same the world over IMHO, they talk the talk but very rarely walk the walk. :(

Lowandslow said...

Politicians care about one thing, and one thing only: getting themsleves re-elected. That takes money, and they will whore thmeselves to anyone, any cause, for enough money. NONE of them are looking out for you or me.

With possibly one exception. The only one I trust....I didn't say "agree with" Ron Paul. At least he will tell you what he thinks, even if it is an unpopular position. I respect that. Of course, such honesty will guarantee he'll NEVER be elected President. Heck, his own party here in Texas has gerrymandered him out of his own district because he won't play along like all the rest will.

Neither party has a candidate I can support. Sad, huh?


squatlo said...

Given a choice between a weak middle-of-the-road progressive and a rabid-dog-frothing-at-the-mouth teabagger, I'll take Obama any day. Those who are so frustrated that they sit on their campaign donations, sit instead of organizing, and sit instead of voting will get to sit and watch as America becomes the theocratic oligarchy the Koch Brothers have wet-dreams about.
Personally, the whining from the left is even more annoying than the baying hounds on the right.
Suck it up, organize, take a vibrant and strong message to the polls, and push back against these merchants of evil, 'cause they intend to own your ass if you don't. (you can have the soap box back, now... sorry)

Windsmoke. said...

I agree with you that those greedy bankers and their obscene bonus payments should never have been bailed out by your government, because they are the ones who created the GFC in the first place which created havoc across the planet :-).

Ranch Chimp said...

Greeting's Bum ... Interesting posting on your view's, of course you also read my view's as far as the "blame" Obama thing, and we ALL knew from the get- go that Obama or whatever President was in office would get total blame, and I never seen a President in my 55 year's of life with a workload and agenda as heavy as this President had ... of course I was disappointed as I posted in a few move's he made as well ... but not to "hate" the Guy ... after all ... I supported this Guy, back when he was Senator ... and actually I wrote so much about this stuff before he was even elected as far as what he would face, and later of the game's and trap's he was falling into.

I also want to add here that "Oso" make's some really good point's as well ...

Other than that ... Ya'll take care brother, I hear on "PBS Jim Lehrer NewsHour" on the tele as I write this that Irene is right in Ya'll's back yard, fixin to pay Ya'll a visit them mozy on up the coast, even maybe to the Apple (NYC)

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I like Matthews's suggestions, too, Double b. I just wish that Obama and the Democrats had instituted something similar in 2009. Instead we got a stimulus package that was loaded with budget-busting nonstimulative tax rebates and a filling up of the state coffers to repair their mismanaged bottom-lines. Right from the get, we should have started fixing bridges, roads, schools, etc.. So, will Mr. Obama get another bite at the apple here? We'll just have to wait and see, now won't we?

Red Nomad OZ said...

I wish I could say we don't have such problems downunder here in OZ! Maybe politician school has scrapped the bit about actually doing stuff to focus on campaigning, political advertising, maximising media coverage, wardrobe, judicious use of social media etc etc etc. Talking up what you plan to do and commissioning feasibility studies are now seen as actions in their own right!

So now, we no longer have the luxury of voting 'for' a party - rather we vote against what will be most disastrous. Your conundrum is really who NOT to vote for.

Commander Zaius said...

Oso: Hey buddy, after the recent tragic events I'm fine but my wife is still taking the loss of her father pretty hard.

Frankly Oso, Obama puzzles the Hell out of me in several ways which lead to this post. First off, yes I agree big corporate and banking money has poisoned the workings of government all through this nation but honestly I view Obama less as a semi-compliant member of some quasi-conspiracy and more of some naive fool either unaware or unwilling to play the hardball needed fight these guys.

I'll be honest with you while I claim no special powers when I watched the inauguration back in 2009 Obama looked scared as Hell sitting on that podium and about ready to run. To some extent I actually believe Obama got caught up in his own hype.

I have to add this statement as well, like I wrote in the post and while this is no excuse for several reasons I have heard nearly every pundit and college professor teaching political science say whenever some idealistic person comes charging into Washington proclaiming his or her desire to change that town Washington and the rules that city works under always wins.

That is where I place the blame on progressives! Instead of keeping the heat on the Democratic-controlled House and Senate they kicked back and went on with their lives.

Commander Zaius said...

Akelamalu: This is where I believe some form of world government is going to be needed. While the vast majority politicians all around the world have always been liars looking for some way to line their pockets now we have entered an age where multinational corporations that jump from country to country at will looking for the best place to land can influence for the worst the rare statesman or woman looking out for the people.

LowandSlow: I agree, its all about getting reelected and like you said that takes money. Paul is a curious fellow, its unfortunate that he has taken such an extreme literalist tack with the Constitution. He blew me away yesterday after I read statements he denied FEMA should even exist.

Squatlo: BRAVO!!!!!

You made my exact point in far fewer words than I could have ever hoped to make. Strictly giving the ignorant Devils their due even though they were backed by Koch money the tea baggers did not whine, bitch, and moan like progressives do and instead they went out and marched.

Windsmoke: Frankly I was so angry I felt those banking bastards needed to be hanging from lamp posts all down Wall Street in New York. That none have been charged with any crimes clearly states who actually owns the American government.

Ranch: There is something to be said about the mess Obama had waiting for him when he became president.

Oso does make some excellent points but that still does not let progressives off the hook for not keeping pressure on the Congress.

The hurricane is a bust for my area, and we really needed the rain.

Will: Yeah, the stimulus would have been far better spent on rebuilding infrastructure than the convoluted and byzantine plan that was passed.

Red Nomad: Your conundrum is really who NOT to vote for.

Oh my God! You are so right, I did not see that angle.

Randal Graves said...

Neither party gives a flying rat's ass about anyone but big looters. One just tosses a few extra bones, the other ratchets up the crazy, more money shifts, wash, rinse, repeat then play the back nine with your ostensible enemy.

Don't get hurricaned!

Commander Zaius said...

Randal: Yeah, and while it will take years eventually people will get pissed off enough and make the fuckers pay. Its just a question of a "peaceful" transition or will they hang from lampposts on Wall Street.

Glen said...

not one I feel I should comment on really so I won't.

oh damn...

Grung_e_Gene said...

By the way it has been Trillions lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, not Billions. Trillions. However, to be fair not all of those Trillions ended up in KBR's Dubai based accounts only Billions did...

My biggest disappointment has been learning Obama really is an adult who *hopes* compromise and debate will move us forward instead of coming to the conclusion that no matter what he does they won't compromise with him but fight.

Of course, having an entrenched foe on the other side who views a middle-of0the-road fiscal conservative as the reincarnation of the child of Karl Marx and Mao Tse Tung doesn't help the country but that's what we've been facing since the Reagan Revolution brought the John Birch Society to the forefront of the conservative movement.

sure, they've relabeled themselves the Tea Party but it's Confederate States of America newest branding.

Jim said...

Where's Trotsky when we really, really need him?

Cloudia said...

I would vote for YOU!

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >


< ° ) } } > <

Pink Liberty said...

Hi Beach Bum, nice to see you blogging, I've returned after a long time away. This will be the summer of discontent for liberals and progressives. The debt ceiling and his next move on the environment will lose all those rational and scientific that he had left cheering for him. This will be a fall of massive protests about poverty and joblessness. I can't even believe Obama's got a "plan" to propose something "every week." What? He'll just keep popping out one "jobs" idea a week? That seems so unfocused and unserious it's bizarre! Waiting for a leader...

Commander Zaius said...

Glen: No problem, everyone's two cents is equally respected here.

Grung: Welcome, and I have to say I completely agree.

Badger: Given some of the pigs on CNBC in the morning I'm ready for Stalin.

Cloudia: What Groucho said: "I DON'T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB

Groucho Marx

I have too many skeletons in my closet, foot locker, and other places.

Pink: Welcome back: I'll drop by your place later today.

Yeah, I agree.

archiebird said...

IMHO, "less evil is still evil" I would surely support a primary challenger from the left of Obama to pull him back from the right of some teabaggers even if it meant putting a frothing, rabid dog back in office. Maybe by that time, enough lazy, apathetic Americans will have ran out of beer money and have had their electric turned off long enough to get involved in the running of their 'democratic' country. I will not support Obama in the 2012 election.

GJ said...

The President doesn't make the law, he executes it. If people are unhappy with Obama's legislative achievments, they should look to the composition of the House and the Senate. If you want Progressive legislation, elect Progressive legislators. I don't think Obama would veto a single payer plan, a jobs bill, or immigration reform if it came across his desk.

Mitchell J. Freedman said...

1. Carolina should realize more deeply than he does that it is precisely Obama's style of leadership that made the top portion of the photo applicable. It was and is the progressives who wanted to march in lockstep on public policy proposals, and wanted to punish Blanche Lincoln and other renegades, for starters.

2. The theme Obama fans are pushing is there is nothing to do but walk with Obama into further failure, and that resistance is futile. Contrary to such thinking, it is time for a prominent progressive to mount a primary and push Obama out of the way, as he will fold as he folded against Republicans. Gene McCarthy first announced against LBJ in Oct or Nov 1967, and that was when it was hard to disseminate information in a horse and buggy era of media. I see no reason for people in the Democratic Party who believe in the New Deal type of governance and policy not to mount a challenge this fall against Obama.

3. It is also time to stop blaming progressives for being lazy, when in fact many people in the progressive community did stand in the rain and sunshine to protest and did actively engage through MoveOn and other organizations to get Obama's and the nation's attention. Unless Carolina Parrothead and CP's friends tell us what they did to move a humane agenda forward, and tell us who in the progressive community was sitting on the sidelines, that criticism of progressives is as bad an ad hominem attack as from the likes of Ann Coulter. And you folks doing that need to stop that garbage right now.

The fundamental problem we have is without unions, there is no broad based institution to organize working people. The Democratic Party leaders had an opportunity, under Obama, to expand and promote unions, and from a political perspective, increase their ability to filter information to the rank and file, and get out the vote. That was fritted away because unfortunately, the Democratic Party is controlled by leaders and financiers who are culturally "liberal" and economically "conservative." They don't believe in the New Deal, don't defend it and don't want to move the labor cause forward. As Pat Robertson said on television the night Bush overcame Kerry in 2004, unions used to be the vehicle to turn out workers' votes for Democrats. Now those folks are in churches like his across the country, and that bloc is mobilized for Republicans. It is why Republican governors knew how to use "budget deficits" Republicans largely created to attack public employee unions, which fund Democrats far more than Republicans.

If there is any reason to jettison Obama, Hillary and Biden, it is because of their inability to understand the mechanics of politics which matches their passivity to the issues of labor and capital. Americans are starting to get this message about this Second Gilded Age in which we live, but it's only being filtered through the frankly fascist rhetoric of a Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann....And that is scary.

But that is also why stopping Obama now makes more sense than marching with him as if we were the Borg. To march with the individual who has failed is not what the second drawing is about. It is simply lemmings going over a cliff.

Personally, I'd like to see Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO start an economic populist campaign inside the Democratic Party. It might not speak to the wine sippers, brie eaters who are really in the Obama camp, not the rank and file. But it sure would restore to the agenda the best New Deal values we so deeply need right now and give people outside the Beltway and elite circles a reason to seek true change with true hope.

Mitchell J. Freedman said...

One more thing:

To those commenters who say the Congress legislates, and the president is some passive vassal: You are wrong about the way the world works. Presidents propose the legislation and push for it in the real world. That is called leadership.

Obama's approach is so damned passive that he has caused his fans to forget how executive leadership has worked in this nation almost since its founding, and in fact since its founding, since Washington and Hamilton proposed the national bank and other strong federal government actions.

imatalkaboutit2u said...


I'm flummoxed. On one hand we have an imperfect President who has achieved much in three years who also disappoints liberals. On the other hand we have a pack of crazy people running for President that are Republicans. Look, we've done crazy and we are still trying overcoming him and his crazy administration. Let's try flawed but sane...I'm going to vote for Obama regardless as to how mad at him I may be. He's not crazy and I appreciate that.

Sierra Volk said...

Good stuff. Reposted.

Commander Zaius said...

Archie: Hey fine, its a free country if you want to cut your nose off to spite your face there is nothing anyone can do to stop self-destructive behavior.

Frankly, it may take a worst case scenario to wake up the country but given the hugely selfish and narcissistic nature of Americans that is a big gamble. Hopefully I can have my family out of the country when it comes to that.

DHeckman: I completely agree! Don't blame the man for the crap polishing seats and padding their wallets in Congress.

Freedman: You wrote: he will fold as he folded against Republicans. Gene McCarthy first announced against LBJ in Oct or Nov 1967...

Excuse me but Nixon won that election dickhead.

It is also time to stop blaming progressives...

Sorry, I still DO NOT see the same level of commitment that the Tea Baggers have put in NATIONWIDE.

The fundamental problem we have is without unions, there is no broad based institution to organize working people.

I happen to agree with you on that one.

Presidents propose the legislation and push for it in the real world. That is called leadership.

I partially agree with you on that one and yes, Obama has not taken the lead by purposing legislation. I think I even mentioned something along those lines in the post.

Obama's approach is so damned passive that he has caused his fans to forget how executive leadership has worked...


imatalkaboutit2u: In a very imperfect world I will vote for Obama in 2012. The idea of Perry in the White House should scare the crap out any sane person.

Sierra: Thank you! I'm just a humble country boy who is inspired by the likes of the late Joe Baegent.

Mr. Charleston said...

I said it before and I'll say it again, I should have voted for Hillary.

Unknown said...

"finely dressed banking rats"
I think right there is the answer to the lack of performance on barry's part. He found out when taking office that there is no government except the rats in business suits representing banking concerns worldwide. These bankers playing their game of monopoly have made the government obsolete. And meanwhile Barry will continue to dance for the rats who call the tune.