Angry Mouse has a good diary on the rec list right now asking that we not be blinded by "Hillary regret" and that, in our dissatisfaction with President Obama, we not say "I told you so".
But I think the diary overstates the role of frustrated Hillary support in the "disappointment with President Obama" phenomenon.
This diary started life as a comment in Angry Mouse's diary, but it got the better of me and ended up morphing into a diary-length semi-rant on a different, but related, topic.
During the primary, my friends said:
I can't support her, she's such a corporate shill.
I told my friends:
Senator Obama is every bit as beholden to corporate special interests as Senator Clinton...just check out his campaign donor list.
Nevertheless, we supported Senator Obama in the primary and in the general election. We are not HillaryBots.
And Secretary Clinton is doing a superb job at the State Department and on a worldwide stage.
Unfortunately, the Corporate Obama is the Obama that we have in the white house. That is not to say we wouldn't have had the Corporate Clinton had she been elected president; in fact, a President Hillary Clinton might well have had Chief of Staff Emanuel too.
But my disappointment with President Obama does not stem from disappointment that he isn't President Hillary Clinton. No, it is because he is President Big Pharma. President Big Insurance. President Wall Street.
How can anybody excuse the backroom meetings in the white house with PhRMA, The AMA, The hospital lobby, and the insurance lobby? You know, the meetings where deals were struck and promises made that destroyed any hope of health care reform before the first bill hit the first congressional committee?
It's too bad that we have to look to the Republican party for advice on how corporations, Wall Street, and the super-rich should be handled:
I believe that the officers, and, especially, the directors, of corporations should be held personally responsible when any corporation breaks the law.
If our political institutions were perfect, they would absolutely prevent the political domination of money in any part of our affairs. We need to make our political representatives more quickly and sensitively responsive to the people whose servants they are. More direct action by the people in their own affairs under proper safeguards is vitally necessary.
One of the chief factors in progress is the destruction of special privilege. The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows.
It is no limitation upon property rights or freedom of contract to require that when men receive from government the privilege of doing business under corporate form ... they shall do so under absolutely truthful representations ... Great corporations exist only because they were created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions.
Let individuals contribute as they desire; but let us prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly.
No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar's worth of service rendered – not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means.
One of the fundamental necessities in a representative government such as ours is to make certain that the men to whom the people delegate their power shall serve the people by whom they are elected, and not the special interests. I believe that every national officer, elected or appointed, should be forbidden to perform any service or receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, from interstate corporations; and a similar provision could not fail to be useful within the States.
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss ... The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert.
The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise.
The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent, experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
The men of wealth who today are trying to prevent the regulation and control of their business in the interest of the public by the proper government authorities will not succeed, in my judgment, in checking the progress of the movement. But if they did succeed they would find that they had sown the wind and would surely reap the whirlwind, for they would ultimately provoke the violent excesses which accompany a reform coming by convulsion instead of by steady and natural growth.
The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man's making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being.
The vast individual and corporate fortunes, the vast combinations of capital which have marked the development of our industrial system, create new conditions, and necessitate a change from the old attitude of the state and the nation toward property... More and more it is evident that the Stateand if necessary the nation, has got to possess the right of supervision and control as regards the great corporations which are its creatures.
There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done ... Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.
There is something to be said for government by a great aristocracy which has furnished leaders to the nation in peace and war for generations; even a Democrat [sic] like myself must admit this. But there is absolutely nothing to be said for government by a plutocracy, for government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with the "money touch," but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified pawnbrokers.
We can no more and no less afford to condone evil in the man of capital than evil in the man of no capital.
We must have complete and effective publicity of corporate affairs, so that people may know beyond peradventure whether the corporations obey the law and whether their management entitles them to the confidence of the public. It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.
And finally, a few special ideas:
Those who oppose all reform will do well to remember that ruin in its worst form is inevitable if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few and the triumph in both politics and business of a sordid and selfish materialism.
That sounds all too much like the so-called "reform" in health care to which we may all too soon be subjected under this president and this congress.
And, of course, one that should be added to the dKos FAQ:
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.
Yes...as you have probably discerned by now, dear reader...the words of Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican president who not only understood the vast danger and evil of corporate excess, but who actually stood up to it and its practitioners, rather than cutting backroom deals with them and appointing them to his cabinet and closest advisorships.
Health care reform never had a chance in congress...not when the white house preempted congress and promised the evildoers that they would be well taken care of and that they needn't worry.
Why can't our Democratic president take a few examples of leadership from a Republican who held that office a century ago, and who actually did something...and forced congress to do something...about the evil that is American Corporate rule?