Time for a Reality Check

OK, if you haven’t looked at your calendar lately, let me remind you that in little over a year the Tea Party-controlled Republican party will be making a serious attempt to gain majority power and take over the White House.  No, it’s not a bad dream… pinch yourself all you want, this is really happening.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Perry or Romney will win the Republican nomination and with the state of the economy continuing to look bleak and bleaker, Obama is in serious peril.  His poll numbers have been in a downward spiral – in part due to an inevitable association with an inherited economic morass, the non-stop, well-financed misinformation campaign from the right, and gradual erosion of support from his progressive base as he repeatedly ceded valuable political territory to the Tea Party in a feeble attempt at bi-partisan compromise.

Obama’s presidency thus far has been marked by both achievements and disappointments, the latter of which seem to resonate the loudest to those of us with progressive views who worked so hard to win his nomination and ultimately the presidency.  President Obama has not been able to fulfill the aspirations and hopes for progressive change following eight years of Bush so eloquently articulated by candidate Obama.

There have been glimpses of candidate Obama and it appears he is slowly re-emerging.  For example, his recent jobs speech (albeit a bit late in coming) finally succeeded in changing the subject from the Republican led chorus of “The deficit [left by Bush as a White House warming gift] is the root of all of our problems but oh by the way we can’t afford to raise any revenue by taxing the damn millionaires and billionaires…”  And his pro-active position in preparing a jobs bill that will put people back to work without increasing the debt and having the chutzpah (Michelle, that’s pronounced huhtz-pah) to tell Congress to “Pass this bill” instead of waiting for the House Republicans and then taking the issue on the road to sell to the American people was definitely the work of candidate Obama.

Hopefully candidate Obama will continue to rise from hibernation and make himself heard once again.  But even if President warts-and-all Obama remains, we can’t afford to stand on principle and sit this one out.  The stakes are scarier than you can imagine.  And if re-elected by a slim majority but accompanied with loss of control in both houses of congress his second term will be a depressing succession of vetoes at best and concession to the Tea Bag fundamentalist Christian political and social agenda at worst.

When Ralph Nader ran as an independent he contended that there was no difference between George W. and either Gore or Kerry and look where that got us. There is only one credible scenario that will allow the Tea Baggers to take the White House: young voters, minority voters, and progressives don’t bother to show up.  Mark your calendars…

Published in: on September 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. As an eloquent and thoughtful candidate, Obama raised all kinds of hopes. But as a President, he has been truly lame. Ineffective. Inconsistent. Politically incompetent. Gone back on most of his promises. Pehaps he was just being an opportunist.
    He hasn’t fought for anything, even something as clearly promised and politically beneficial as ending the Bush tax cut on the rich. The promise to end Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell? Foreclosure relief? Don’t ask. Action on climate change? No, a reversal on clean air. Deportations at a record pace. Make it easier to organize a union? Fuggetaboutit. Why would anyone believe anything he promises during the next campaign?

    Of course, given the choice between lame and insane (Bachman and Perry deserve that label), I’ll have to vote for the lame incumbent. But, other than Supreme Court appointments, would Obama be so much different than Romney?

    I think you’re being very soft on him. I don’t think Obama has tried to fulfill progressive hopes/aspirations, and I’m no longer sure he even shares them. When the Republicans created a debt crisis this summer, he should have been talking about direct spending to create jobs, which would boost the economy now, and thus help reduce the deficit later.

    He hasn’t forced Republicans to vote anything down and pay a political price. He hasn’t used his bully pulpit to force Democrats to stay in line (remember the public option?). He hasn’t been a leader at all at a time when every American – left, right, and center – agrees that the country is in deep trouble.

    This, his own failing, is what makes him vulnerable to electoral defeat by crazy people who at least have convictions, and to someone as unpalatable, even to Republicans, as Romney.

    Any money I donate this year will go to local people who are truly progressive, not to someone who impersonates a progressive to get elected but then tries to please Republicans once in office.

    Editor’s response: Inconsistent and politically naiive (if he were incompetent he would not have been able to overcome racial bias and become the first African American president). Opportunist? It’s a lot easier to get elected as a centrist but (1st time around anyway) he chose a more principled path. Despite the disappointments I do not subscribe to the notion that there is no difference between what the major parties are offering. Obama, like most other dems has not discovered the formula to neutralize the disproportionaltely powerful Tea Baggers and make them irrelevant. Therein lies the challenge.


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