My feelings about Barack Obama are complicated. As a man, he is about as impressive as they come. He rose from humble origins as a mixed-race kid from a broken home in a deeply racist nation to take the highest office in the land. His path is strewn with achievements equaled by few. His intelligence and personal competence are beyond question. In addition to all of that, I am extremely proud of our country for having elected a person of color to the presidency, not only once but twice.
So while I am full of admiration for the man, I could not be more disappointed in the presidency. He swept into office on the backs (and votes) of rank and file democrats only to promptly fill his cabinet with Clintonites, Bushites and known serial assholes. He acted from day one to quash the hopes and dreams of those who put him in office, and to prop up the status quo we had elected him to change. Progressives were “retarded” and needed to shut the fuck up, we were told.
Yet we were so thrilled with him for all the reasons listed in my first paragraph that we continued to rationalize and explain away what seemed an awful lot like abject betrayal. It was too soon to judge. He was playing a wicked game of 11th dimensional chess that we were too simple to appreciate. What seemed like betrayal was really a clever trap to ensnare and trounce the right wing conservatives he appeared to be caving in to, whose agenda he seemed to be serving. Those who dared criticize were told not to believe their lying eyes.
He let the torturers, war criminals and Wall Street pirates slip away unscathed as he admonished us not to look back. He bent over backward to do the bidding of the very banksters who crashed our economy, bailing them out with our money. He escalated in Afghanistan. He doubled down on extra-judicial assassinations and dramatically stepped up the death-by-drone program. He grew and empowered the surveillance state and unquestioningly did the bidding of the Military Industrial Complex. He not only tolerated the neocons and gave them 'get out of jail free' passes, he threw in with them.
When he first put social security on the
table chopping block, I had this to say. It was heated and angry, and for good reason. This was an unprecedented attack on democratic principles by a democratic President. This was coming all along. This is what Barack Obama will be remembered for – dismantling the hard won human progress of the New Deal and serving up the poor and elderly on a platinum platter to the ravenous greedmonsters in the 1%.
It took a Democrat to do this. And now the brand will likely be tainted forever. They call it the third rail of politics for a reason. Who could ever again believe the empty promises?
“Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security,” Biden said, per a pool report. “I flat guarantee you.”Reid, Pelosi and others made similar promises. It has been the party's most solemn promise since the New Deal was enacted. It is axiomatic, or was, that Democrats support defending and strengthening the social safety net, no matter what. And yes, I know that Obama said he'd cut entitlements all along just as he said he'd escalate in Afghanistan. Having said it still doesn't make it right. In fact, it is still every bit as wrong as if George W. had done it...and even more shameful that it came from an ostensibly Democratic president.
Republicans ought to love Obama. He's the best Republican president since Bill Clinton – and not even Clinton could have pulled this off. The 1% must be very pleased with their President.