There was an interesting article by Andrew Sullivan in The Daily Beast about President Barack Obama showing how both the left and the right have underestimated him and his supposed mastery of fourth dimensional political chess.
Andrew Sullivan has done some compelling work and often displays a very unique perspective.
This article, however, is nonsense.
Not in its entirety, mind you. Mr. Sullivan does a nice compilation of the Obama administration’s achievements from a fairly objective point of view. It’s an argument not made nearly enough in the media, forcing Obama to make it himself. Sullivan is also effective contrasting the rapaciousness of the right’s attacks on Obama’s every word (even when they agree with it) and the left’s “unjustified” dissatisfaction with the rate and quality of progress.
However, he uses the actions Obama is criticized for on the left to show conservatives why Obama is not a capitalism-squelching Marxist/Leninist. Sullivan then ignores everything he just said and uses issues like the passage of Healthcare and Finance reforms into law as proof that Obama is achieving liberal objectives, pishawing the fact that most of the legislation his administration has passed has been gutted of the elements most dear to lefties and much of it by Obama’s hand.
The problem is, Sullivan seems to be going by the conventional wisdom that progressives are a bunch of wide-eyed stargazers infuriated that Obama hasn’t delivered nirvana. It’s a gross generalization. Are there dreamers on the left? Absolutely. That still doesn’t make it fair, or accurate, to portray all of us in that same light.
I’m liberal because I’m on the left side of most issues, not every issue. Plus, its a sliding scale. My spectrum ranges from far left to center right depending on both the issue at hand and the state of affairs at the time. I didn’t agree with every position Obama took in his campaign, but I agreed with him more often than not. Since’ he’s gotten into office however, that ratio has inverted.
The problem isn’t what he gotten done or the compromises he had to make. The problem is that he constantly gives in to the right. Before the negotiations even begin he hands the republicans the left-wing’s heart. He runs from almost every fight. He never even makes the argument.
- He put Social Security and Medicare on the table for budget cuts. He never made the point that Social security had a surplus that the Federal government raided for the general fund and now doesn’t want to pay back. He doesn’t talk about the seniors and disabled that have been kept out of poverty by Medicare.
- He “loaned” money to the banks (at 0% interest) with no strings attached, allowing millions of people to go underwater on their homes or lose them outright while the banks raked in billions.
- He torpedoed the public option in his healthcare reform legislation.
- He’s kept the prison at Guantanamo Bay open.
- He “asked” for the resignation of Shirley Sherrod. ( The administration wanted Sherrod fired before Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News went on-air.)
- He stared at his shoes while Republican Governors went to war with the unions all over the country despite promising to march with unions if they were under fire during his 2008 campaign.
- He signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, allowing for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without a trial.
- His administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president in history while offering no immigration reform in return. (I guess he did give Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 a good finger-wagging.)
- He told Bernie Sanders that the problem with “us” liberals is that “we” always see the glass as half empty.
Does this sound like a president that liberals should be happy with? Fortunately for the President the Republican candidates are comically absurd. No reasonable, free-thinking candidate is going to make it through this Republican party’s primary seasons (As illustrated by Jon Huntsman being criticized for simply saying he defers to science on things like evolution and global warming).
The Republicans are insane and a vote for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote. These are facts the president is acutely aware of. According to Joe Biden, Obama is fond of saying, “Don’t judge me against the Almighty. Judge me against the alternative.”
…Obama 2012. Damn.
(President Obama image from:(http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama). Shirley Sherrod image from: (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0729/Shirley-Sherrod-Does-she-have-a-case-against-Andrew-Breitbart)