I didn’t find writing this edition of Inspection pleasant. But necessary? Yes, unfortunately. Maybe it was the recent admission that Barack is willing to compromise away his promise to allow a certain tax break to expire. Maybe it was not even considering single payer, then quickly trashing public option in favor of a big, wet, financial gift to the health care insurance industry. Maybe all of the above and so much more. But this columnist has come to a conclusion regarding Barack Obama…
I cannot escape the obvious observation that the President is doing everything in his power to assure that the title of this edition of Inspection comes to pass. In fact if Barack Obama has a holy mission… scratch that… a “jihad,” the battle in this war… his “crusade,” would be to make damn sure he is a one term president.
After eight years of missing WMD, two never ending wars and declaring a president has all the powers of a malevolent King…
…to torture anyone
…to declare anyone in the world; even a citizen, has no rights
…to declare they can be thrown into what amounts to a concentration camp for the rest of their life all on mere accusation, suspicion
…after eight years of national security is everything, national security supersedes all rights except…
…after eight years of national security means nothing if the administration in power has a personal grudge big enough to “excuse” betraying their own country
After all that it should break the hardest heart that Barack Obama is so determined to be a one term president. You know, he knows, we all know, if we go back it’s going to be even worse next time.
This president is not a stupid man.
He has to be doing this intentionally.
How do you make damn sure you serve one term?
You’re willing, in fact eager sometimes, to compromise everything away: things you promised your base.
Before an election you blame, in advance, your base for the loss. Accuse them of being impatient with the progress when everyone knows damn well you keep inching a little forward, then proceed to turn the family station wagon around and head back towards the other direction whenever those who hate you beyond all reason say, “Boo!” Sometimes you don’t even wait for the, “Boo!”
You’re answer to defeat, or modest success, is trying to compromise with those who oppose you who have made it damn obvious they will never, ever, compromise with you.
…compromise as they accuse you of everything and anything.
…compromise when they take the ball you have given them, supposedly agreeing to head towards a mutual goalpost, and run the other direction: every time.
Sooner or later we will get to the next goalpost…
And when the destination becomes obvious, after giving brief lip service to your “responsibility,” you blame that on your base: every time.
Of course “your responsibility,” if we are to accept the premise you offer as an excuse every damn time, was to be nicer and more giving to those who hate you, will always hate you, and have declared their sole mission is to make you… what was that? Oh, yeah: “a one term president.”
Their sole mission is to make you a “one term president?” Their words, not mine.
I’m beginning to understand how Jesus must have felt when Pilate washed his hands. Want a more “user friendly” comparison, Mr. Obama? OK, even Charlie Brown didn’t blame his fans when Lucy pulled the football over and over again. But if he had, you know Peanuts fans would have abandoned the strip. Just like your base is abandoning you. One wonders if you actually think the rats who have always said they would rather swim than switch will jump on board to replace the crew that is abandoning you.
We have to ask, considering all this, who will vote for you next time, Sir?
I think you know the answer to that. In fact, as paranoid as it sounds, I am beginning to believe you really don’t want a second term. And your attempts to blame it on me, on other members of your base, are shallow at best. They make it appear you have other motives: you want to return to eight miserable years of loathsome. Only this time it will be worse. Intentional, or not, you may be the best friend the extreme Right and the most extreme Bush fans ever had.
Of course you’ll never get the credit from them. You’ll only get abuse.
Are you that much into political S&M, Sir?
I can’t help but consider the possibility these days…
…maybe you’re working for the other team?
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved
I don’t believe Obama is in the back pocket of the corporatists — if so, why would they spend millions to defeat him on every issue? That would be an egregious waste of money the corpos could use to award themselves bonuses — but I do think he’s a ‘pragmatist’ living in the DeeCee bubble who believes all of that MSM/Beltway hogwash about America being a center-right nation and acts accordingly.
Like the general staff during the Vietnam War, he has accepted certain concepts as inviolable truth without question. In the case of the US brass in Vietnam, they believed superior firepower, more troops on the ground, handing out bribes to ‘influential’ South Vietnamese, destroying Viet Cong enclaves, and seizing territory would win ‘hearts and minds’ and force the North into capitulation. Ho Chi Minh wasn’t playing their game — he was fighting a long-term guerilla war against an occupying force and recruiting from all of those displaced Vuetnamese who had been bombed out or otherwise displaced by the Americans, or who had lost family and friends to the war. The North knew they could outlast the American occupation that, through massive body counts and devastation of villages, etc, conveniently kept providing them with new troops.
Obama is surrounded by DLC Dems pushing him to the right and addicted to the smug, dismissive Rahm Emanuel meme regarding his base voters: “At election time, where else are the liberals gonna go?” The few mildly progressive advisors in the Obama inner circle are roundly ignored, as even the not-particularly-liberal, Christine Romer, who resigned a few months ago, confirmed. Although she was head of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, she complained she didn’t have much access to the president; instead, corporate ‘ConservaDems’ like Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers were taking up all the air in the Oval Office.
Obama’s a brilliant guy, but if the people you listen to are the Wall Street/Corporatist slouches mentioned above, your policy decisions are bound to be skewed.
We already know what a horrible waste and humiliation the Vietnam War was; apparently Obama hasn’t learned that lesson from history — not in Afghanistan, and not in his milquetoast ‘private enterprise will provide jobs’ Herbert-Hoover approach to bringing the country out of a depression.
OTOH, it’s possible Obama’s simply been threatened with total ruin or assassination to keep him in line — but that still begs the question of why the corporatists would spend a fortune to counter him if they already owned or had him intimidated into subservience. Maybe he does want to be a one-term president just to get out from under all the pressure, if nothing else.
Obama is through. We expected an FDR, and wound up with a bad imitation of a Clinton. The go-along to get-along thing is going to sink us.
But I don’t know if this is actually Obama’s fault. I suspect that someone or some group is holding something over his head, and he is boxed in.
By now, every other president would have shaken out his cabinet of any previous holdovers. We still have SecDef, and all of Bush’s financial people still in place. Upper management of most of the different departments are also Bush people, and those who aren’t are former Clinton people.
I’ve felt that since the very moment Obama named Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, the progressive agenda was dead with this president. Couple that with Harry Reid as Majority Leader, things were not going to end up well.
I would start to prepare yourself for a President Palin. People are stupid enough to actually elect her now. I suspect that it will be the last president we ever have, because I really don’t see much of a future for us as a united nation. I strongly suspect that we will start to break up into some loosely connected territories and will eventually drift apart.
I suspect you’re right, DJ: The latest cave on Bush’s tax cuts, however necessary, made Obama look even weaker, especially since Gibbs telegraphed the cave even before Dems in Congress had negotiated with the GOP. The Wikileaks material showing Obama’s people, with the help of Republicans(!), prevented Spain from prosecuting BushCo for torture is another nail in the reelection coffin. Even people I know who have strongly supported him through thick and thin now have too many unanswered questions about what he’s doing — it just doesn’t make any sense.
I really want him to succeed, but what can you do with a president who pays no attention to anyone but a small circle of advsors who are usually wrong? Right now, the country needs an FDR who will propose bold new programs to give people jobs, rein in the banks, break up the too-big-to-fail corporations, make Wall Street accountable, and hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire for being willing to drive the country even deeper into debt for their wealthy pals. What we have is a guy who prizes ‘bipartisanship’ and ‘compromise’ — really meaning capitulation since the GOP won’t compromise — over what his base of supporters want. Who does he think is going to vote for him in 2012 if he keeps this up? Doesn’t he realize that the results of this election show much of his base isn’t gong to show up to vote even if the alternative is as scary as the Teabaggers?
I can’t agree about Palin, though — influential segments of the GOP, particularly those with money, know she’s a loose cannon and probably the only Republican Obama could beat at this point. The GOP elite will pull out the long knives to rid themselves of the potential of a Presidential Candidate Mama Grizzly — if they can’t buy her off, they’ll sic the hounds of the Noise Machine on her. Suddenly, all of those stories of her malfeasance and abuse of power as Gov. of Alaska, as well as any new scandals, such as her taking an undeserved tax break on her vacation home, will be all over right-wing media. The righties may not know much, but they certainly know how to smear someone, and the Wasilla Princess is an easy target — they don’t even have to lie or distort, but they will anyway.
I actually just commented on this on FB this morning. Obama has signed his own “get out of town” card. I had hoped he would opt for the possibility of a one term Presidency by being strong and standing up for what the people want. I even gave him cred for trying the “go along to get along strategy”, but it’s not working! Not once. Now that the midterms are over he’s not protecting house and senate seats. Why isn’t he standing up for what’s right?
Maybe he’ll run as a Repub in 2012.
NO, he’s abysmally ENABLING a (JEB) Bush renascence as the “lesser” EVIL incoming 2012 SELECTION!
I think this is in some ways similar to the Newt/Bill face off. Newt held his breath, had his tantrum, and shut down the gov. Clinton told him “go ahead” and made damn sure everyone knew who did it, who was to blame for what followed, and why they did it. That’s the kind of thing that was needed here: how you handle a child who has a tantrum. Make damn sure they find out the result of, “I’ll stomp my feet, hold my breath and make a scene unless you give me what I want.”
Barack gave them what they wanted.
I listened to his excuses today and claim he could still fight for it. With what “capital?” You mean after all this time of playing nicey nice he’s going to hold out the rhetorical spank hand in public?
2012? No one in their right mind would think this can become a good issue during a presidential election year for Dems, even if he tried to hold them up to the light… which he won’t. He simply doesn’t have the ability. His best political talent is the Ali against the ropes move while acting rational. Good luck with that in 2012. Dressing ReThugs down, especially when they can simply flip it back on him and say, “Well you agreed with it…?” Hope you don’t hold your breath election time for that to happen, or work even if it does.
Obama just committed suicide. They’ve been trying to politically lynch him for two years. They have come close to succeeding, but failed… somewhat. Succeeded… somewhat. Now he’s just agreed to put his head in the noose and kicked the stand out from under his own feet.
Prediction: just like the last election he’ll wait until 3 or so weeks before even getting involved in any significant way… and blame us in advance for what’s about to happen. Not realizing for 2 years he’s just been a dangling corpse.
I have been thinking about this all day. I have been listening to the different progressive talking heads, (I can’t wait until Mike Malloy blows his gasket tonight…) and listened to a lot of different people bitch, piss, and moan.
This is what I came away with.
In a perfect world, we would have enough votes in the Senate to not only overcome a filibuster, but have enough votes to extend the middle class tax cuts for 98 percent of the people, let the millionaire tax breaks expire, extend UI benefits, pass START, do away with DADT, and maybe even stuff a Public Option into the health bill.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where there are only 52 votes in the Senate, an entire Republican caucus and even some turncoat Democrats who have no intention of Obama having any kind of victory unless they dictated the terms.
Ideally, we could have fought. To hell with them, let all of the tax cuts expire! But what would that have accomplished? With this crop of Republicans, does anyone honestly think that they would have caved in at the last minute? Seriously?
The Republicans were banking on the idea that we’d fight until the end on the tax cuts — they would have effectively locked up any further progress in this lame duck session and absolutely nothing would have been accomplished. All they had to do was wait until January, re-write the tax cut bill in the House to extend the tax cuts for ten more years or just make them permanent, then find the necessary votes in the Senate to make it so. In order to do that, they would have sweetened the pot by extending the UI benefits for a couple of months to drag some necessary Democratic votes along.
Then they would have gone on to their next project. They would use little piecemeal incentives, (extend the UI benefits another couple of months, or throw in the START treaty in order to get their insanity passed.
What a lot of people aren’t seeing is that Obama has thrown them into a trap.
He gave them everything they said they wanted, along with stuff that they hadn’t really intended to push for yet. In exchange, he got a 13 month extension on UI so that they couldn’t use UI as a carrot and stick in this next session. He also managed to give every one of us a two percent raise on our paychecks.
The gamble is that the economy is going to be getting better over the next two years, and he can point to this as part of the reason. If it turns worse, he can also point his finger at the Republicans because they now own this mess. Either way, it is a win for him.
I think that once the next session of Congress gets seated, there is going to be a major shift in how business is done. Obama will be starting to get into campaign mode again, the Senate will make some fundamental changes in its procedural rules such as the “shit or get off the pot” filibuster where if a member chooses to filibuster, he’d better be prepared to stand up and talk until he drops.
We are as much to blame for this as the Democrats in Washington. We allowed the House to slip into Republican hands by a lot of us choosing not to vote as some sort of a “lesson”.
My Right wing friends love to point out to me that the Dems have had control of both houses and the White House for almost two years now, and that just isn’t exactly true. We’ve held the majority in both houses, which technically gives the Dems control, but we haven’t had the required super-majority required in the Senate to bring things to a vote. At best, we’ve had maybe 53 solid votes at best.
We’ve expected Obama to be another FDR or an LBJ, and he might have been if only he had had the numbers in the Senate that both of them had. LBJ had 66 solid votes in the Senate he could count on. FDR had 64.
Instead of trying to teach the Dems a lesson by sitting out this election, we should have been working hard to put even MORE Dems in there.
All of this doesn’t absolve Obama of a large part of the blame. That man should have been out on the Bully Pulpit on a daily basis pounding home his messages and shouting out all that he has accomplished so far. He should have stood there bragging to whoever could hear him. There are a LOT of people who don’t even know that he has already given them a tax break since he’s been in office. They don’t know for sure what is in the health bill that was passed except that maybe there are “death panels” and that it is somehow going to be a huge burden on small businesses. He needs to learn to not only out-shout the crazy republicans, but continuously keep everyone apprised of all of the accomplishments that have been made. He needs to point out each time the Republicans attempt to lie or distort the truth.
He hasn’t done any of that.
DJ, what you say may be true, but your last two paragraphs are the most important ones. Not only have Obama and the Dems failed to advertise their successes, but Obama has made many promises he hasn’t kept:
— Gitmo is still open, even though Obama could close it with a stroke of his pen, as he promised.
— He has perpetuated and defended the unconstitutional Bush policies of illegal detention, handing over suspects for rendition by other countries, and assassination of perceived threats to our security. He promised this would end.
— He promised high government officials would be investigated and prosecuted no matter who they are or what administration they served in. Now we know that Obama’s State Dept, in conjunction with two Republicans, successfully worked to stop Spain from holding members of the Bush Regime accountable for torture, just as he’s turned a blind eye to public confessions by both Bush and Cheney to authorizing war crimes. This is in direct violation of his oath of office.
— Obama said more than once he would not sign any health care reform bill without a public option, and then did, leaving many who defended him and worked hard for a P.O. hanging out to dry. No one forced him to make that promise.
— By presidential order, Obama could have suspended enforcement of DADT until the Pentagon report was finished, and asked Justice not to challenge the court ruling that suspended it briefly. He didn’t.
— Obama has consistently failed to support even his own staff. I can’t think of one member of his administration that has been smeared by the right that he has bothered to forcefully defend. Instead he lets the Fox Noosers lead him around by the nose. Van Jones was forced to resign due to a baseless Glenn Beck smear; Shirley Sherrod was fired after an Andrew Breitbart edited video, and Obama didn’t even take the trouble to investigate her side of the story first. ACORN likewise went out of business after Breitbart presented a tainted video. He caves every time. Yet he allows nasty Republican dingbats like Alan Simpson to continue in their jobs with an indulgent chuckle. This is just wrong.
Well, I could go on, but you get the idea; on those things that matter, he originally staked out a progressive position and made a promise to keep to it, then he changed his mind and, finally, blames progressives for his inability to keep his own promises.
Even if this latest tax cut cave was necessary for the reasons you mentioned, he did it in the worst possible way — what many Dems are upset about is that he did not consult those in his own party before making this deal.
I realize he’s under a lot of pressure and he doesn’t have the ideal situation, but if he refuses to fight for anything, why should anyone else take their time fight for him?
It’s also not true that Obama doesn’t know how to fight — that it’s not in his personality. I saw him do the ‘full Denzel’ several times during the campaign — he doesn’t yell, but he can clearly convey his anger and disgust nevertheless.
If he doesn’t start placing the blame where it lies, with the Republicans, stop irritating his base, and borrow a few tips from FDR’s playbook, he’s finished in 2012, by a landslide.
RS, have you stopped and considered that a lot of these things might have sounded easy at the time he promised them, but once he got there he found that it was far more complicated than he could ever imagine?
As far as the DADT thing, you cannot use an executive order to overturn a statute. DADT is a codified statute that must be changed either by Congress or the courts. An executive order can be made if there isn’t already a law in place.
As far as prosecuting Bush et al, I can see the wisdom for NOT doing so. Much as almost everyone in the Bush Administration needs to be locked away deep in a prison somewhere, the last thing you want to do is establish some sort of precedence that can be used by future administrations. Imagine Obama pursuing charges against Bush and sending him to prison. The next person who comes into office decides that Obama was a crook and gets him sent to prison. Once you open that door, it lets all of the craziness in. There is a reason Clinton wasn’t convicted and thrown out of office. It would have started a chain reaction where you get mad at a president and you get enough people to kick his ass out — for nothing.
The first time is the hard one. But once you’ve popped that cherry, then the subsequent ones only get easier.
Obama does take his base for granted, and for a great speech delivery, he needs to learn how to communicate. Fireside chats for the 21st century. He needs to assume that the electorate is completely uninformed — which they tend to be. He needs to get out there and tell us what is up — on a daily basis, over and over if he has to. Tell us WHY he is doing what he is doing. Tell us when things change, and where he might run into some difficulties. Keep us informed. Point out the accomplishments, and point out those who stand in his way.
I think that the deal he managed to make the other day is going to be the best that can be attained for right now. It has a LOT of good things packed away in it that will actually act as a second stimulus. But he needs to come out and lay it out in detail. He needs to work hard to convince the public that this IS the best we can do in the short window of time we have, and that we still have two more years in order to set things up.
Is there any reason I’m not getting Es regarding comments on my own post? An inquiring columnist wants to know.
I’d “eagerly” await for this to happen. But I suspect “not,” unless by “campaign mode” we mean insulting his shrinking base again. We’ll see. I have heard this “wait, be patient, he’ll fight…” for two years. In fact when it came to health care he gave them a whole friggin summer to come back at him, make up shit.
The only “box” I see is the one we’re in: vote for bad or get worse.
Luckily at least a few Dems and one Inde are standing up and saying “No” right now.
We’ll see. I expect to be pissed off and disappointed until President Palin takes the reins.
Prosecute? I understand why not. Stand in the way of it and spend more time promoting “let’s move on” than he did single payer, public option and perhaps even going back to regular taxes for the rich when it came to the crunch/the battle? Not so much.
And currently the “let’s move on” meme has made torture and no due process precedents future administrations can follow.
Gee, thanks Barack.
DJ, I think we have some misunderstandings here that need clearing up.
You wrote: “RS, have you stopped and considered that a lot of these things might have sounded easy at the time he promised them, but once he got there he found that it was far more complicated than he could ever imagine?”
I have, DJ, and I never expected Obama to keep all of his campaign promises — he is a politician, after all. But many of those promises were made AFTER Obama was in office — for instance, his promise not to sign any health care bill without a public option was made after he had been in office for more than six months. It’s not as if he was forced to say this, but it was a good applause line. He was also promising to close Gitmo a year after he was inaugurated, but he apparently didn’t want to take the heat from the GOP, which he got anyway. He promised to try terror suspects in open court after he was in office, and he’s reneged on that. Those are just a few of the things he promised he’d do, and he reiterated them after he was president. I hope he’ll revisit some of them in the next two years, but that hope is quickly fading.
You wrote: “As far as the DADT thing, you cannot use an executive order to overturn a statute. DADT is a codified statute that must be changed either by Congress or the courts. An executive order can be made if there isnâ€™t already a law in place.”
That’s true, he can’t strike down the DADT law by executive order, but, with court cases on the docket and the Pentagon’s study in progress, he could have, as commander-in-chief, put a stay on forcing gay soldiers out of the military pending the outcome of the court cases and the study. Congress can challenge that stay but, with the Dems in a majority, such a challenge would have been highly unlikely. Why he didn’t sign a staying action, as many groups wanted him to, remains a mystery.
You wrote: “As far as prosecuting Bush et al, I can see the wisdom for NOT doing so. Much as almost everyone in the Bush Administration needs to be locked away deep in a prison somewhere, the last thing you want to do is establish some sort of precedence that can be used by future administrations. Imagine Obama pursuing charges against Bush and sending him to prison. The next person who comes into office decides that Obama was a crook and gets him sent to prison. Once you open that door, it lets all of the craziness in. There is a reason Clinton wasnâ€™t convicted and thrown out of office. It would have started a chain reaction where you get mad at a president and you get enough people to kick his ass out â€” for nothing.”
What Bush and Cheney did wasn’t in anyway comparable to Clinton dallying with some intern. Bush and Cheney violated the Constitution on numerous occasions, not the least of which was authorizing torture. If presidents and their staffs are not held accountable to obey the rule of law as expressed in the Constitution, then you have a dictatorship, pure and simple. If Obama has done/does anything wrong, then he should be sent to prison, along with Bush and his gang. The Founders intended that the president not be too secure in office and limited in his power, which is why they said he or she could be impeached for undefined “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Violating the Constitution is definitely a high crime; what is an impeachable misdemeanor is left up to Congress to determine. I take your point, but one of the reasons we’re in this current mess is due to the presidents of the past, and especially Bush Junior, acting as if they are above the law. Moreover, if Congress spent a decade just trying to impeach whoever is president, I think the people would quickly tire of it and elect representatives who won’t impeach over an extramarital affair or other such menial nonsense. Is there any doubt in your mind that the GOP-majority House is going to spend the next two years trying to impeach Obama? It needs to cut both ways to stop the madness, and restore respect for the Constitution.
You wrote: “The first time is the hard one. But once youâ€™ve popped that cherry, then the subsequent ones only get easier.”
Bush would not be the first impeachment; obviously there was Clinton, Andrew Johnson and, of course, Nixon. None were removed from office, although Nixon no doubt would have been if he had not quit. Except for Nixon, I don’t think any of them would have ended up in jail, but they could have been prosecuted in civil court. Impeachment is just a means — the only one as far as the president is concerned — to keep our leaders from exceeding their lawful power. Exempting them from being responsible for their actions means we’re essentially Stalin’s Russia without the big May Day parade.