Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Obama And The Democratic Left

Photo: The deck garden at Liberty Bell.

Yesterday's temper tantrum at the White House directed at the base of the Democratic Party, the progressives and liberals, may be the last straw. If a real progressive runs against Obama in 2012 he or she will get my vote, and the vote of a lot of other disgruntled people who supported Obama and wanted him to succeed. Why do many of us on the left feel the way we do?

Here's Jacki Schechner on AmericaBlog:

I'm paraphrasing here, but a wise boss of mine used to say the way to lead was to "energize the base and inspire the middle," and instead, President Obama has been "alienating the base and confusing the middle." ...What permeates is the sense that the President has compromised his alleged values and backtracked on his campaign promises in a way that jaded insiders would say was to be expected but the general population hoped wasn't the case. We wanted to believe. We really did. I know I did...Had Obama run the first two years of his presidency the same way he ran his campaign - with guts and gusto - he would have solidified the full support of his base and the middle. They would have been ecstatic to get what they voted for. But when the President almost instantaneously cloaked himself in compromise and became the guy who just wanted to be liked, he showed a weakness that disenfranchised those of us who truly believed.

Actually, I was not among the true believers. I did not vote for Obama because of his stated opposition to marriage equality. That he continues to oppose the existing legal marriages of gay men and lesbian women makes me very angry. It's unlikely that I would have voted for him anyway, even if he had been better on a whole range of issues where he has let his supporters on the left down:

1. Fails to close GITMO.
2. Fails to quickly end Iraq War.
3. Escalates the war in Afghanistan.
4. Backs lifting ban on commercial whaling.
5. Opposes marriage equality.
6. Refuses to sign on to international treaty banning land mines.
7. Excercises no leadership to end DADT.
8. Argues in favor of DOMA with hateful anti-gay DOJ brief.
9. Gives only partial spousal benefits to federal GLBT employees and no health care benefits.
10. Fails to nominate a strong liberal to the Supreme Court.
11. Fails to advocate for a strong enough stimulus to create jobs.
12. Fails to press for real energy independence with tough conservation.
13. Favors offshore drilling.
14. Continues biased policy of unconditional support for Israel.
15. Continues improper Bush policies on secrecy, wiretapping, etc.
16. Keeps Bush appointee Gates on as Defense Secretary.
17. Refuses to cut defense spending.
18. Maintains Reagan era ban on gay men donating blood.
19. Failed to fund worldwide anti-AIDS programs as promised.
20. Failed to push for real immigration reform as promised.

Just being "better than Bush" is not enough. That's not what Obama promised. He promised real change, but what he has delivered during the past year an a half is little better than what we had under Bush. Health care "reform" with no public option is no great acomplishment. Escalating the war in Afghanistan is right out of Dick Cheney's play book. Announcing an expansion of offshore drilling 20 days before the BP disaster in the Gulf was a body blow to environmentalists...and so forth, and so on. Your enemy is not the Democratic left, Mr. President. But it may be too late already to repair the damage you've done to your most hopeful and enthusiastic supporters.

No comments: