January 20, 2010

Obama and the Democratic Party

I knew that he wasn't as radical as many people wanted him to be. He is a good politician, and we've seen that. Just when the right started painting him Red, I think some people on the left started to believe it too. The fact that he has accomplished a lot is true, but there are many groups that supported his candidacy who feel left behind and not supported over the course of the last year.

E.G. Gays hate that DOMA and Don't ask - don't tell are missing; unions hate that the employee free choice act is out of mind; economic liberals think the stimulus was too small; healthcare advocates are angry that single-payer was abandoned without a fight; anti-corporatist balk at the handouts to finance, healthcare, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries; many deep-blue democrats hate that the republicans are dictating what is going on. And these are people who voted for him.

Obama sold himself to the American people I feel as more of an image than a specific set of policies. A vote for Obama was a vote against Bush (Makes me think of the escalation in the wars; pacifists hate that he has extended foreign conflicts) more so than a vote for anything particular. In that setting, the real Obama and his actions will be a disappointment from whatever your ideal Obama was. ... See More

People are coming to terms with this. I for one, who didn't vote for him, am much happier that he is in there and not his closest challenger. That being said, I understand the panic from the left as they lose their nominal supermajority needed to pass anything it seems. My two biggest villains right now aren't amongst the Democrats in Mass, but the two-party system that keeps centering the economic and moral problems somewhere to the right of center, and the antidemocratic parliamentary rules in the Senate. And this is not just a stance from expedience, wanting to see my own personal agenda to pass, but I spoke out against the filibuster in 2004 when the democratic minority was using it to block judges. Also holds placed on nominees and seniority rules erase the myth of egalitarianism in our republican chambers (small 'r'). It makes me think of that old chestnut: "If pro is the opposite of con, what's the opposite of progress?"

And now we are left with no good options on passing a watered-down healthcare bill. It looks like the public interest will lose out again, in the face of the possible.