Friday, November 27, 2009

How I Feel about President Obama

Let me begin by saying that, of course, I am happy that the scary McCain-Palin team of unintelligent weirdos was not elected. And I am still very glad that it is finally possible to live in the United States and discuss the country's president with people from other countries without a profound sense of shame. And I still believe that of all the options we had in that election campaign Obama was definitely the best.

However, being better than Bush is not enough to qualify one as a good president. A houseplant would be better than Bush, but we still hope for a president who can do better than a cactus. After a year of Obama's administration, my feeling of disappointment with our new President is growing. I have a strong feeling that Obama is transforming into another Bill Clinton. I was afraid he would do it but hoped that Obama would remember how silly, contradictory, and useless most of Clinton's policies were.

Recently, Obama's actions remind me more and more those of a person trying to sit on two chairs placed in the opposite corners of a room at the same time. He ends up achieving nothing but looking pretty ridiculous to every one. The reason for Obama's vacillation, lack of clarity on his goals, and endless, destructive half-measures is the long-standing conviction of most Democrats that they need to be centrist. This is the most pernicious, misguided and wrong thing the Democrats could do for their own party and for the country at large. Nobody holds centrist views in this country. Americans are profoundly polarized. That's our reality, and we need to learn to live with it. The Republicans have learned this truth a long time ago and are manipulating it to their heart's content. The Democrats, however, are still in the grip of their delusional visions of centrist America.

When the Republicans come to power, they proceed to implement the policies wanted by their base, the people who put them in power. No amount of protest from the progressives manages to distract them even for a moment from their goals. Their single-mindedness and resolve are to be applauded. At least, these people know what they want and how to get it. For some reason, the Democrats can never do the same for their base. The second we, the progressive part of the US population, put them in power, they start caring more about the opinions of the conservative whiners and screechers and go out of their way to pacify them. As a result, the agenda that helped them win the elections in the first place gets diluted to the point of becoming utterly unrecognizable.

Women and young people have done incredibly much to put Obama in power. In response, he proceeds to create even more anti-women policies in his hugely misguided healthcare plan. The system of higher education keeps falling apart, while even more kids are being pledged to be sent to fight a losing war in Afghanistan. And the Democrats keep worrying about the conservatives' rage a lot more than they worry about ours.

President Obama still has at least three more (and, hopefully, seven more) years in power. Maybe with time he will realize that his desire to please every one is wrong. He will never please a certain segment of the population, no matter how hard he tries and how many concessions he makes to the conservatives. The people who turn on Fox News because they think they will actually hear news there should not be placated and pacified. They are a lost cause. We just need to let them stew in their impotent rage at the fact that the world is changing. Whatever we do, they are not going to like us. These people want to live in some mythical, fictitious past. Since we cannot make this vision of the past real today, they will continue hating their daily reality and everybody they see as complicit in creating this reality.

The Democrats are obviously headed for a huge loss in the next year's congressional elections. There is still time to save the people who voted for Obama from complete disillusionment and make that loss not as glaring as it will be if things continue as they are now. The only thing that the Democrats need to do is to start doing something for their own voters, the people who elected them. Let's stop worrying about hurting the conservatives' feelings so much. They have their own party and their own representatives in power. Our president needs to think about us and our interests.


Anonymous said...

I feel the same about Obama...deepening disappointment combined with the hope that he can do better.

You're right; centrism will not gain the Democrats anything, and most of them do seem to have forgotten how to put up a fight.

Also, it appears that Obama is pretty firmly in the pocket of the financial industry now and that may explain a lot of his behavior.

In my dark fantasies, I pretend that McCain and Palin won, and that caused things to degenerate enough that real change was inevitable.

Not the best option, or even a palatable one, but maybe that was the only way forward. A dangerous one, though.

On a side note irrelevant to this post, what I really appreciate about you and your blog is that disagreement is allowed, and it doesn't offend you.

That's really rare these days.


Clarissa said...

Disagreement is more than welcome, Mike. Unless of course it's disagreement over my dislike of opossums. :-) :-) :-)

I want to keep believing in Obama. On the days when I ddon't read the newspapers and blogs, don't leave the house and don't turn on the television, I even manage to do it.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe the picture the republican media are painting of our president. Most of what they say is lies. Obama is doing a great job and we should all be proud of our president.

Clarissa said...

Anonymous: if you could tell us what it is that Obama is doing great at this point, we would all be very grateful.