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. If President Obama continues to pandering to the conservatives, and continues a slide into compromise that dilutes necessary social justice legislation instead of trusting the millions who voted for that change he promised, especially when he has both the power of the presidency and the votes in Congress, he will be a one-term president, hated by both the right and the left.


by Walter Brasch

The Obama administration is a welcome change from the Bush–Cheney years. Against severe Republican opposition, President Obama has kept campaign promises to reform health care, curb Wall Street excesses, create a federally-funded stimulus program to help bring the nation out of the recession, and to remove American troops from the needless Iraq war, which has already cost Americans more than $740 billion and 4,400 lives. He has also pledged to eliminate the Bush–Cheney tax cuts for the rich, while not raising taxes on the middle- and lower-classes.

However, much of what the President is doing appears to be little more than an extension of Bush–Cheney values. And that is not what the Americans voted for when they elected him to office.

Candidate Obama ran, and won office as an anti-war politician. President Obama has increased American presence in Afghanistan. In July, 66 American soldiers were killed, the highest number for any month during the war.

Candidate Obama pledged to end the PATRIOT Act, which has done little to protect American safety and much to destroy American Constitutional rights, including freedom of expression, due process, and protection against unreasonable governmental invasion of privacy. However President Obama signed legislation to extend the Act for yet another year.

During the 2008 campaign, both candidates Barack Obama and John McCain promised to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. However, President Obama, apparently scared by the right wing paranoids, hasn't transferred any prisoners to maximum federal security prisons in the U.S., any one of which should have little difficulty dealing with suspected enemy combatants among the general population of killers and rapists.

President Obama had failed to clean up the corrupt Minerals Management Service of the Department of Interior, which under the Bush–Cheney administration had become little more than feckless advocates for Big Oil. About a year into the Obama administration, the MMS exempted BP from filing a full environmental impact statement. Against the advice of environmentalists, and his own statements while a candidate, President Obama allowed continued deep water drilling in the Gulf, claiming that safety concerns were met. About a month later, the BP oil rig ruptured, killing 11 workers and leading to the worst oil spill in U.S. history. It took five weeks before President Obama finally placed a six month moratorium on deep well drilling, only to have that moratorium overturned by a Louisiana judge with financial ties to the oil industry. The Obama administration appealed that order and issued a broader moratorium. By then, more about 200 million gallons of oil had spilled into the gulf, killing wildlife, the fishing industries, and tourism.

Although Candidate Obama  promised better transparency in government—and to a certain extent has succeeded—as President he allowed BP and his own government to place severe restrictions upon the media that were trying to give full coverage to the spill.  

The transparency credibility issue surfaced again this month when the Defense Department rejected the application for Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings to accompany troops in Afghanistan. Hastings had accurately reported the political statements by Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led the President to fire him for the nature of his comments that "undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of the democratic system."

Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama had said he believed in gay marriages. However, President Obama, although extending the rights of gay couples, has yielded to the fears of irrational conservatives and says he opposes same-sex marriages, but believes in civil unions. Unlike President Obama, supporters of same-sex marriage include Bill Clinton, Laura Bush, and Cindy McCain.

The Republican leadership tried to block extending unemployment benefits during the Recession; it was weeks until President Obama spoke forcefully against the Republicans, which has earned its label as the "Party of 'No.'" Hopefully, President Obama will be quicker to denounce the prattle of Republican leaders who are mounting a campaign to reduce Social Security benefits.

Solely for political reasons, the Bush–Cheney administration took gray wolves off the endangered species list one week before Barack Obama became president. Slightly more than a year after taking office, President Obama officially continued the Bush–Cheney policy. The action by both administrations allowed the killing large numbers of the 1,600 wolves in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho and Montana, often by state officials from helicopters and often into the dens that housed pups. No matter what the federal government said about wolves not being endangered, there were two realities. First, the Cattle Industry lobby wanted wolves removed, although federal subsidies reimburse ranchers for any livestock killed by wolves. The second issue is that wolves are competition for hunters, a majority of whom tend to be conservatives or supporters of Republican philosophies. While wolves kill for food or to protect their pack, human hunters may claim they hunt for food, but go to extraordinary lengths and expense to stuff and display their "trophy kills," and often will kill animals, such as bears, prairie dogs, and coyotes that have no food value. Unlike their human competitors, wolves usually don't use guns with telescopic sights, buy all kinds of whistles and electronic calls that mimic the cries of other animals, use elevated shooting stands, send out decoys, or even create elaborate steel-jaw traps. They never take their prey back to a cabin, consume 6-packs, and tell stories with other wolves. A federal court this week ruled that gray wolves in the Rockies were not only an endangered species, but stopped state-supported wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, against severe opposition, pushed through some of the most critical social legislation in the nation's history. Harry Truman stood up for his principles and for the benefit of the people when he lashed out at a "do-nothing Congress." Candidate Obama was elected on a forceful campaign mantra of "Change you can believe in," and not "A slight variation of present policies that you can maybe live with."

President Obama is known as "No Drama Obama" because of his quiet intellectualism.  He needs to be more forceful, both in fully supporting social legislation he and his base believe in as well as attacking the vicious smears, lies, and distortions from the extreme Right Wing. If President Obama continues to pandering to the conservatives, and continues a slide into compromise that dilutes necessary social justice legislation instead of trusting the millions who voted for that change he promised, especially when he has both the power of the presidency and the votes in Congress, he will be a one-term president, hated by both the right and the left.

[Assisting on this column was Rosemary Brasch. Walter Brasch's latest books are the witty and probing Sex and the Single Beer Can, a look at American culture and the mass media; and 'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina, which discusses governmental neglect that magnified both the damage from the hurricane and the BP oil spill. Both books are available at amazon.com, and other stores. You may contact Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu.]

Originally posted to brasch on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 03:40 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hang in there (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, Detroit Mark, lightshine

    Two more years and this Obama nightmare will be over.

    "Barack Obama volunteered to be the captain of the Titanic AFTER it hit the iceberg" (Van Jones)

    by blackwaterdog on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 03:54:07 AM PDT

    •  From your lips to god's ears (0+ / 0-)
    •  I love your sig, BWD Except... (0+ / 0-)

      for it to be accurate it would read:

      "Barack Obama volunteered to be the captain of the Titanic AFTER it hit the iceberg ... and hired more musicians."

    •  Let me guess (0+ / 0-)

      -tremble as you think of the alternative.

      Your  blind uncritical slavish devotion to Obama is an insult to the man. He is potentially a great president yet you insist on setting the bar as low as you possibly can.

      You insist on protecting him for good constructive criticism at all times which suggests that you do not think he is up to the job.

      Why have you such a low opinion of the president and his capabilities, I really don't understand.

      I intend to explore this in more depth in your future diaries along with the motivation behind an unflinchingly uncritical approach.

      The Teabaggers are the GOP base

      by stevej on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 05:28:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gay Marriage (0+ / 0-)

    Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama had said he believed in gay marriages...

    Civil Unions. Source what you've written.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 04:01:51 AM PDT

  •  Translation; Obama is not kissing my ass so he (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loquatrix

    must go.  I guess if Obama got a blowjob in the oval office, then he would be a great President.

  •  'a slight variation of present policies'? (0+ / 0-)

    you are not paying attention to the facts.

    you're gonna get what you give

    by chicagobleu on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 04:43:10 AM PDT

    •  What a shame (0+ / 0-)

      that one has to pay such close attention in order to notice the subtleties.

      Seems like if had been the 180 degree turnaround we expected we could just go back to what we were doing because it would have been obvious.

      •  'we' (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Loquatrix, lightshine, hardhatmama

        I don't know who 'we' are, certainly not me. If you expected a 180 degree turnaround, I'm sorry your unrealistic dream did not come true. Perhaps you need a review of basic civics to understand how government runs.

        you're gonna get what you give

        by chicagobleu on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 04:56:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  180 degree turn around? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Loquatrix, lightshine

        Did you really honestly expect this to happen quickly? I would be amazed if we got to 180 degrees in the first term let alone 20 months. The ship of state is an unwieldy beast that always fights a change of course  making course corrections slow on ponderous.

        And since you seem to be hoping he only serves a term please do tell who you want to replace him that you think can change course with the flick of the wrist.

        In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

        by jsfox on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 05:05:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you're talking about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hardhatmama

          the reversal of job hemmorrhage?

          Yes!

          We knew then if it didn't happen quickly we'd be fucked, not only as a nation ... but as a party backing someone who dealt with it by just throwing money at it.

          So here we are.  Fucked.  Surprise!!!

  •  Just a heads up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loquatrix

    wolves were put back on the endangered species list in Montana and Utah last week and were never taken off in Wyoming

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 05:07:51 AM PDT

  •  Unfortunately, Obama's avoidance of drama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock

    will be reflected in the lack of enthusiasm of a significant part of his base.  Watch how in 2012 there are fewer campaign workers, campaign donations and, yes, voters for Obama.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 05:09:53 AM PDT

    •  Governing Democracy is Part Performance Art (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      accumbens, laker

      Which is why the last Depression president ran his fireside chat series the entire time he was in office. Every exec has his own circumstances and style, but somehow you have to keep making the sale.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 05:37:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and unfortunately, Obama seems (0+ / 0-)

        to be selling to those who wouldn't vote for him under any circumstance.  One thing I can say in the Republicans' favor: the keep pandering to their supporters after the election.  To the extent that they have principles, they stick to them after the election.  Have you ever seen a Republican become more liberal after elected?  But I bet you've seen plenty of Democrats, including Obama, become more conservative after election.  Continuing disappointment.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 06:10:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yet when Obama tries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lightshine

        to make the sale he's accused of:

        1. Campaigning nonstop
        1. Making pretty speeches (We want action!!)
        1. Being over-exposed.

        Do you remember how much criticism he received for making a decision to go on the "View?" Morning Joke couldn't wait to get a Democrat to slam him BEFORE he went. You see Gooserock, it is obvious that Obama is NOT the problem. FDR did not have a 24/7 right-wing and "liberal" MSM machine DEVOTED to taking down a democratic president. And,quite importantly, FDR was not Black.

        If Obama had to hold the 2010 equivalent of "fireside chats," he would be criticized ad nauseum.

  •  Hmm, really? (0+ / 0-)

    Against severe Republican opposition, President Obama has kept campaign promises to reform health care, curb Wall Street excesses, create a federally-funded stimulus program to help bring the nation out of the recession, and to remove American troops from the needless Iraq war, which has already cost Americans more than $740 billion and 4,400 lives.

    Health care reform? - yeah, by repackaging various Republican ideas from the past 15 years.

    Curb Wall Street excesses? - I assume that was included simply for it's humor value.

    Create a federally-funded stimulus program to help bring the nation out of the recession? - every day I read more and more diaries right here at DailyKos how we're sinking deeper and deeper into a new/continuing recession

    And to remove American troops from the needless Iraq war, which has already cost Americans more than $740 billion and 4,400 lives? - yes, all but 50-75,000 of them, plus uncounted mercenaries.  

    But hey, to Rahm and you, they're all accomplishments, aren't they? That's the main thing, to get a "win" for it's own sake, nevermind if anything substantial has been accomplished or not.

  •  God, Daily Kos is stuffed with whiners (0+ / 0-)

    these days.  I can't stand all you hand-wringing armchair quarterbacks and gleefully self-defeating purveyors of "He'll be a one-term President".

    Do you know what your problem is?  Your problem is that you sniff a close election in the air this Fall, and because you have no spine or stomach for a fight, you're preemptively slinking off to the sidelines so you can (a) pretend you're not responsible and (b) pat yourself on the back with all the other people around here who are preemptively slinking off to the loser's hut.  You're just scared of a fight, that's all.

    Rubbish diary, full of smug self-importance.

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