From Family Guy:
Congressman: There is no just cause for an invasion..
Peter: Well that may be, but what were all forgetting is anyone that doesn't want to go to war is gay.
Congressman: I want to go to war.
Congressman: I want to go to war.
All of Congress: I want to go to war.
Dick Cheney: I was the first one who wanted to go to war.
The most insidious of the right wing's rhetorical coups in the last century has been its successful framing of progressivism as passive, bleeding-heart, effeminate, even "gay."
Democratic politicians have too often answered the framing not with scorn and scoffing, but with incremental retreats toward "centrism," which is another name for Shock Doctrine fiscal policy minus all the race-baiting, homophobia and creationism (Bart Stupak notwishstanding). Because this move seldom squares with Democrats' early campaign rhetoric or the Democratic platform, it reads like cowardice, not conviction.
The joke of course is that the GOP just gleefully re-loads the "weakness" trap. That's why they never let up on the namecalling and accusations, no matter how far to the right a Democratic leader moves. Clinton, signer of NAFTA, the Telecom Act and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, was one of the "best Republican presidents" we've ever had. The GOP rewarded him with impeachment. The more Obama inches to the right, the more threats he gets, and the more he gets teabagged with Hitler and Mao posters. The GOP smells blood in the water, and know they can win more ground and more concessions if they get even more vicious and crazy.
Many of us chose Obama's message of "change" over Hillary's message of "experience" because we didn't just want another "best Republican president." We wanted a true Democrat who would not buy into the right-wing's bullshit framing of progressivism, and would not compromise merely for the sake of appearing "not-too-leftist." (Read: Not-too-gay/weak/bleeding-heart/effeminate.)
Obama's vote on FISA, his championing of the (ultimately) oversight-free bailout, his refusal to release torture photos, his Bush-style coverup of information, his balking at prosecuting war crimes, his hiring of Wall Street banking hacks, and his bargaining style on health care that compromised just about everything on the opening bid, made something clear.
The "change" Obama means to effect is less about radical progress toward the good, and more about being slightly less evil than, but still appeasing and "cooperating with," the neocons that got us into the mess we're in. Sure, when the legislative sausage is done, the health insurance industries might be compelled to be slightly (but just slightly) less evil, but their reward will be 40 million more people forced to buy their snake oil.
And now the war. Of course the Pentagon professional warmongers and their contractor cronies would advise Obama that we HAVE to escalate the war, or all is lost. And Obama, ever the dutiful "centrist," will kick the can down the road.
This is a twofer for the GOP. The contractors and Pentagon war pigs get another huge influx of cash, and Obama will take the occupier's albatross off of Republican necks, and wear it himself into 2012.
No, nobody is calling Obama stupid. Kennedy and Johnson weren't stupid either, but they took us into a stupid war under pressure from the right. It remains that it takes a lot more courage to walk away from a stupid fight and risk being called a coward, than it does to fight the stupid fight out of fear of being called a coward.
Especially if someone else does the fighting.
We're eight years into this goddamned war in Afghanistan. Yes, it was the right move when we had a shot at getting bin Laden. Now we hear that was never really the plan. Now that al Qaeda is in Pakistan and our man Karzai turns out to be corrupt, we're sending MORE troops in to bolster a fake government? Didn't we just star in an Iraqi version of this bad movie?
The Soviets were there for ten years, and committed 120,000 troops, all their financial resources, and they lived right across the border. They not only lost Afghanistan, they lost their entire nation.
If we can learn anything from other occupiers' experience in Afghanistan, and our own adventures with invasion and occupation, it's that this is a colossal waste of blood and treasure, at a time when we can spare neither. Basically, we're putting more hundreds of billions into Afghanistan to MAYBE, hopefully make Americans safer from some imagined, potential future harm.
This will be money and brain-power we don't spend on critical health care, green energy jobs, infrastructure and education, the absence of which will absolutely, positively guarantee harm to Americans right away.
Weak sauce, Obama.
There is one bright light in all of this. Obama clearly responds to pressure. If "we" are the ones we've been waiting for, we need to put the lie to the right wing characterization of progressives as "weak," and fight hard against the continued squandering of our nations's resources. We need to make it exceedingly uncomfortable for Obama to make common cause with the neocon imperialists.
Cheney's cabal was full of evil men. McCain/Palin both made it clear that they were willing to embrace evil if it made them part of the (country) club.
Obama is not remotely evil. But not-evil is not good enough. Weakness in the face of evil is not good enough.