I’ve lost my faith in Obama. Here’s why.
I’ve been having a Twitter conversation with @sourceofthought (which you can see by clicking 2 links: Click Me First Then Click Me) which now causes me to want to delve deeper into this than is possible in a series of tweets, so here goes…
I was a big Obama donor – at least as a percentage of my earnings. Around about 2 years ago, I felt that the Presidential Election – and a few other critical races, held out the chance to get this country back on the Progressive path. I felt strongly enough that I stopped all charitable donations and re-routed the money I would have sent to charity into the political arena. It wasn’t an easy decision – and it had nothing to do with losing the charitable tax deduction! For the first time in a long time, I had enough hope for wholesale change – getting the US back onto the progressive path I believe in – that I was willing to risk what little money I could spare on political (wholesale) change rather than well targeted charitable (retail) change. That hope is now (almost) gone.
SourceOfThought and I went back and forth about on Kings vs Leaders. SourceOfThought felt I was urging Obama to be a King, but Kings are rulers – while politicians, especially one holding office should be Leaders – Dragging their people into the future through Rhetoric and political action, not by decree. So where has Obama failed?
Let’s start with Guantanamo. Campaign promise to close it. Once in office he did sign an Executive Order (decree) to close it, but does anyone think it will be closed in the time frame he promised? I can’t recall seeing any leadership on the issue.
Let’s move on to Transparency: Big campaign promise on that. Action? Not so much. His administration’s continuing use of “state secrets” to attempt to suppress civil suits belies his promise. As does his release of White House visitor logs ONLY when compelled by a court, and then only on specifically requested names.
Executive Powers: Please name one instance where Obama has repudiated expanded executive power that was initially asserted by the Bush administration. I can’t find any. I can only find places where Obama is asserting MORE power than Bush did!
OK. How about LGBT issues? Repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act have seen only words, no action. On DADT specifically, as Commander in Chief he has the unquestioned ability to order the suspension of DADT as a “stop loss” measure, yet he hasn’t done so. As an aside – seems a bit strange given his assertion of Executive Power. And why hasn’t he spoken out in strong support of the Employer Non-Discrimination Act? Where was he in condemnation of California passing Proposition 8? Or in opposition to Maine Question 1? These last 2 were a majority (questionable) REMOVING established civil rights? When was that last time that happened?
There are others I could mention, but it’s time to move on to the biggie:
A significant fraction of the people who voted for him want single payer, yet he allows it to be taken off the table before bargaining even started.
A strong majority of voters, including many Republican voters, want a strong public option – available to far more people than the measly percentage that is emerging in the House and Senate bills. Where’s the push? Where’s the Leadership? Where’s the economic argument?
Economic argument, what economic argument? With health care insurance spending trending toward 20% of GDP, controlling these costs is probably the single most important economic issue among all the contributors to our current financial straights. Employer based health insurance is an almost overwhelming factor in our inability to compete internationally. Where’s the waste in health care? If we do nothing else but stop the health insurance companies from draining 31 cents of every health care dollar spent on NON health care items (lobbying, marketing, dividends, and obscene salaries for upper level executives) then we would completely pay for all subsidies that might be necessary to provide health care for all through some form of public plan. Medicare runs around 5% overhead, shouldn’t that be the goal for ALL health care?
How about foreclosures? I’m not going to take the time right now to find a citation, but I recall from somewhere that roughly 1/2 of all foreclosures (and bankruptcies) have, as their root cause, lack of medical insurance or inadequacy of medical insurance. If we take these away, how much better would we be financially? Would any financial institution have needed a bailout?
For those of you who adhere to the theory of “original intent” of our Founding Fathers, I point you to the Preamble to our Constitution (bold emphasis is mine):
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Folks: It’s right there. The Preamble explicitly states the original intent of our Founding Fathers. How is not doing all you can to secure the health of the populace part of “promoting the general welfare?”
Now I’m stuck. I’ve lost faith in Obama, yet his few words are still the best hope I can see coming from an electable politician. Will I vote for his re-election? Probably. Will I work to give Blue Dogs a real challenge from the Left? Most certainly. Should I also look towards supporting RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) as well – perhaps – I’ll take that on a case by case basis. As the Republicans are splintering over ideological purity, is this an opportunity to launch a truly Progressive party whose members (if elected) would likely caucus with Democrats? I think so, and in my next large block of spare time, I’ll be exploring a more definitive answer to that question and opportunities to work towards that goal. The Greens are likely a good starting point.