The Blog Politicus USA, which bills itself as “Real Liberal Politics ~~ No Corporate Money, No Masters” just ran a piece by “Rmuse” entitled Obama Bashing: The Art Of The Self Defeating Intellectual Elite. The article uses the decision by Jane Hamsher, whose own blog Firedog Lake has been particularly hard on Obama from the left, to side with Lt. Dan Choi in attacking Obama for not making Gay Marriage legal by caveat as a jumping-off point to attack the so-called extreme left for bashing Obama for differentiating between the possible and the righteous yet impossible.
I have my own problems with Hamsher. I think that overall Firedog Lake is an excellent blog, but that she is in fact an extremist who sometimes expects miracles. I also think she serves a purpose in pulling the conversation towards one direction albeit from the extreme end of that direction. I have also read several great pieces on Politicus USA, and applaud them for their efforts to apply reason to some of the more volatile differences in policy today. Besides, the last thing I want is to get involved in a blog-to-blog catfight ( though THIS blog is so small that I am sure neither side will notice my swats). However, I cannot allow the Politicus USA piece to go by without commenting here in the same manner that I did on the site itself.
I can live with the things that Obama hasn’t done. I knew going in that he was a moderate, not a liberal, and that there would be a lot of compromise. I can live with health care not being all it could be. I can live with the stimulus not having been all it could be. I knew he would have to go slow, that he would never go as far as I would like, and it would take him at least into his second term to do the most important things which still wouldn’t be left enough for me. I get that – always did.
What I cannot understand is being called a crybaby, unreasonable, or “lefty extremist” for not supporting the decisions made not out of compromise or under duress, but of his own volition.
Geithner, Summers, and Bernanke – three of the architects of the great recession are in his cabinet. Why? Was it really too high an expectation that he would do nominally better than that?
Until Obama the Espionage Act had been used to charge Americans three times. Obama has used it five times – three for leaking information to the press and two for the press using it. Charges, maybe, but the Espionage act? Lawyers on both sides the country over are flummoxed. How is the treatment of Bradley Manning the result of what he inherited? How about over-ruling the Attorneys for the State Department, the Defense Department, and his own White House Counsel on the War Powers Act? What about the previous administration or a rebellious Congress forced that action?
I hear the Politicus USA supporters who praise the understanding the reality of politics, but after awhile that becomes a left version of Kissinger’s “Real Politik”. Throughout the history of this country the reality of politics has been what we have chosen it to be. Often that choice has been accompanied by a lot of hard work, great resolve, and the occasional bashed skull. Still it is through these choices that we affect change.
It is not “extreme left” to refuse Obama a pass for behaving like the extreme right. Is the Health Care Act a leap forward in medical care for all? Yes, absolutely. Is ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell a great step for civil rights? Again yes, absolutely. That we will all be getting this health care and right to serve in a country that has become more secretive, more militaristic and more repressive under Obama, things I thought impossible, should be of concern to anyone who cares about this country. He renewed the Patriot Act (which would have failed a veto over-ride), awarded new warrantless surveillance powers to the FBI by executive order, and is using evidence gathered by the CIA on American soil (a violation of law) in one of the most egregious Espionage Act cases. The Irony is while the Tea Partiers are certainly the enemy when it comes to economic policy – the libertarian bent of many of the Republican freshmen makes it easier for him to end this behavior, yet instead he expands it.
I didn’t have blinders on when I voted for him. I’m sure as hell not going to put them on now to avoid being accused of “playing into the hands” of people who he is emulating.
What are you supposed to do when you try to hold the President accountable and he refuses to be held to account? Does knowing what Nixon wound up doing make the left retroactively wrong for going after LBJ for Vietnam? We need to stop thinking left or right, Democrat or Republican, “realism” or “idealism”, and start thinking Right and Wrong. It is the only way we have ever pulled this nation back from the abyss – as we have had to do more than once in our brief history.