Shocked and Persuaded


Separating Fact From Fiction

What’s Worth Losing for Mr. President?

Given the recent announcement by President Obama that he will be upping the ante by 30,000 troops in Afghanistan I was left to ponder for what seemed to me a logical question: Mr. President what in your portfolio of beliefs and objectives is worth losing an election for? Do you not have any ideologies that you feel so passionate about that you are willing to sacrifice all or most of your political capital to steward such beliefs across the finish line? I voted for you sir and I am not sure at this point whether you have any convictions you feel so strongly about that you would put your political neck on the line for. That is quite disheartening to me because when I saw you speak on the steps of the Ira Allen Chapel here in Burlington, Vermont in March of 2006 I was convinced that you were a man with a spine, conscience, and an intellect unsurpassed in modern day politics. I still believe that the latter is true but as for your spine and to a lesser degree your conscience I am left wondering what you stand for and what you will fight for to the very end, whether it means political suicide or not.

Show us some fight sir! Show us that the issues you campaigned on are part of your very fiber and not simply the populist rhetoric you knew would get the vote of people like myself. It is beginning to feel like you are ashamed that the left supported you and your “progressive” agenda. That is not the man I saw speak in 2006. That is not the man I promptly told my friend Dennis Ailor would win the presidency in 2008. And that is most assuredly not the man I thought was capable of thinking through some of the most complex issues ever to face an incoming president. Sure you were handed a mess but are you going to continue to compare your administration to the one that preceded you? I would caution against such comparisons given that the bar could not have been set any lower.

Sir you know that the right would gladly fall on their sword for issues like abortion, the sanctity of marriage, gun rights, and the military industrial complex. That is a given and that for better or worse is one thing I respect about the neoclassical and neoconservative movement. When they give speeches in Portland or Corpus Christi you know what you’re gonna get and they make absolutely no apologies for their beliefs. It is time you get a little neocon in you Mr. Obama and by that I mean pick an issue any issue, whether it be health care, climate change, FISA, bank reform, or torture and go to the wall for it. Own the issue sir. Take back any one of these issues from those in your party that are self-hating Democrats. Just like Iraq and Katrina will define George W Bush (and no one else!!) one of these issues will define you and it would be a shame if you let the spineless wing of your party co-opt your presidency.

I and many like me – and I would hasten to guess those on the right – are anxiously or should I say nervously waiting and wondering if you will ever stand up and be accounted for with respect to some of the aforementioned issues. I would suggest firing Geithner, Summers, et al as a start. The left rightly sees them as an extension of the Greenspan-Rubin virus that has infected the nation’s financial services regulations for far too long now and the right won’t support them because….well who cares they just won’t because you do and that is reason enough for them.

Apologizing for our hegemonic history and bowing to Emperor Akihito shows that you are sensitive to our fragile status as a global power and more importantly the proper way in which you interact with others when on their turf. However, tacitly apologizing for being liberal or in any way concerned with the appalling trend in wealth, health, and education distribution in this country makes those of us on the left wonder if we were sold a bill of goods and those on the right question your leadership capabilities, both from a foreign and domestic perspective.

You may be wondering at this point why we don’t have your back on some of these crucial issues? Well all is not lost and believe me if we see fight emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue we will most assuredly get in the ring with you but until then you’ll have to rely on the likes of the Blue Dog Democrats. BTW how’s that working out so far?