I wanted to like Obama. I hoped he would be all he promised. Today I am disillusioned and cynical. We've waited almost 4 years for Obama to prove he is the man we thought we elected, the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize who would set things right.
Well, I'll give Obama another 2 months to convince me his promises were genuine and my support was not betrayed by a poser. Frankly I don't expect much, but I've waited this long, I might as well give him the rest of the rope.
Okeee. find a comfortable armchair. I've got 4 years worth of points and gripes to cover. It should prove to be worth the read.
Why as a Democrat Obama is not working
As a Democrat, I look at the future and see Obama running for re-election. Regarding the president's re-election campaign, I'm not excited; nor am I particularly happy. Sometimes I wonder what happened to the man who promised Democrats he would make sweeping changes to address problems and steer America in a new direction away from the failed policies of the past.
I look at America and see Guantanamo still open. I see America involved in more wars than president Bush started. I remember a candidate who promised to close Guantanamo and end the wars. I see vacant buildings and storefronts on the Main Streets of America and remember that conservative economic policies and lax regulation of our banking and investment sectors helped contribute to the economic downfall of 2008.
Tax cuts on Obama for the record
I remember strident conservative arguments that tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs for Americans. Over the 8 years of Bush's presidency, those "tax-cut jobs" never materialized and millions of good-paying US manufacturing jobs were lost as Wall Street invested it`s wealth in cheap foreign manufacturing. I think about Obama and I wonder why he has allowed the Bush tax cuts to remain in effect.
In hindsight, I realize that Obama has not pursued the promises he made to progressive democrats with any discernible degree of enthusiasm, and I wonder why that is.
Obama and his record on foriegn wars and the Nobel Peace Prize
I look at the world and see wide-spread social and political unrest spreading across many states of the mid east. This unrest has spawned conflict that President Obama has openly encouraged and in some cases directly supported with funding and military operations. Obama took advantage of America's desire to end it's involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but has effectively doubled the number of wars we are involved in. The governments of several mid east countries, including Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya have collapsed and been replaced, while Obama continues to act against the governments of Syria and Iran.
Obama claims his decision to use direct military force in Libya was intended to protect civilians. That tired old argument helped get us into the Vietnam War. You would think if Obama was going to lie, he could be more creative than that. Obviously he couldn't re-use Bush's dishonest claim about WMD (in Iraq), since Libya agreed to give those up a decade ago.
Regarding those "civilians" Obama spoke of protecting, I remember TV video footage from Libya of men driving pickup trucks with giant machine guns mounted in the back. I remember seeing men brandishing AK-47s and RPGs. Such men would have been deemed battlefield combatants and mercenaries if they were fighting us in Iraq and Afghanistan, but since they were fighting Gaddafi in Libya, they are "civilians". This is intellectually dishonest. It angers me to think President Obama believes the public can be fooled and manipulated so easily.
Americans have no idea how much involvement the CIA may have had in these countries, although the developments seem unlikely to have come about by pure coincidence, and more likely to be the result of careful planning and coordination. Like Iraq, none of these countries have attacked us. Remember when Bush said "Saddam must go, he must leave Iraq"? Obama said the same thing about Gaddafi in Libya. It was a Freudian slip. Now he's saying the same thing about Assad in Syria. It's unbelievable. Does he think we are blind, or just stupid?
Regarding Libya, Obama has argued that the war powers act does not apply to him because we were not involved in "hostilities" as the legal term was intended to be used. The bottom line is Obama involved the US military in operations that were killing people in a foreign country that did not attack us, and he did so without the constitutional approval of Congress. In addition to this, Obama presides over a CIA drone program that targets and bombs groups deemed unfriendly in Pakistan and Yemen. Each of these individual acts tie together like a row of dominos leading ultimately to military action against Iran. Taken together, this strategic agenda seems to follow Dick Cheney's plan for the mid east more closely than it reflects the will of the democratic base that elected Obama.
Is this what his Nobel Peace Prize was for? War and mass murder for OIL and for Israel? I'm sure of one thing: We didn't vote for this.
Again, we dit not vote for this
Obama is not progressive
Many progressives have asked themselves where the change went. This man who rode a popular wave of change to the White House has applied that mantra of change almost entirely to Arab countries in the middle east, while little to nothing substantial has happened at home. Obama promised he would force a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, but after 2 years he has not even gotten Israel to honor the obligations of it's previous peace agreements.
Israel and Washington
In particular, the Road Map Agreement signed under GW Bush requires Israel to Stop all Settlement construction activity. This was Israel's obligation under Phase 1 of the Road Map. Phase 2 would commence direct negotiations between the two parties for core issues and final status.
Obama's insistence that the Palestinians go to direct negotiations with Israel without a complete stop of Settlement construction CONTRAVENES the Road Map Agreement that he pledged to honor and uphold when he was sworn into office. Worse, Obama used his veto in the UN Security Council to protect Israel's Settlement construction from a resolution that might have stopped it so that legitimate peace negotiations could proceed as per Road Map stipulations.
Lastly, Obama has used the US leadership position in the Quartet to cripple it and prevent advancement of the agenda for peace it was formed to pursue.
More evidence that Obama isn't a democrat: He said he would end the war in Iraq. He didn't, although he had 2 years to do so. Finally the government of Iraq threw us out when the "Status of forces" agreement expired, and now Obama wants to claim credit for ending the war. He didn't end that war, it literally expired. Guantanamo is still open. Obama promised to close it. We all know that Obama promised to end the Bush tax cuts, but they are still in effect almost 4 years after Obama took office on a promise to end those tax cuts.
Barack and national policy
Obama also slow-walked DADT (don't ask, don't tell) for more than 2 years. He appealed a court verdict on a civil case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans that over-turned DADT as unconstitutional, warning of "significant and immediate harms on the government" if enforcement of DADT were ended.
And Obamacare you say? What about the health care reform legislation? Obama removed the public option from that bill. The rest is a recycled Republican plan originally proposed by a group of 20 republicans, including Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley, Robert Bennett, and Christopher Bond.
More than anything else, political arguments related to Obamacare have been used as a distraction to divert our attention from what Obama is doing in the mid east, his failure to close Guantanamo, and his failure to investigate allegations that POWs and war detainees were tortured.
Obama seems to operate on the premise that Democrats have no choice but to re-elect him because the other guys, the Republicans, are worse. Well. I've got to tell you I'm not ready to re-elect Obama without a careful analysis of what he promised to do and what he has actually accomplished for the party that sent him. From my perspective, that analysis does not produce a favorable result.
We voted for a man who would end the wars, close Guantanamo, investigate allegations of torture, repair the economy, create jobs, reign in the un-regulated and immoral behavior of Wall Street, protect the middle class from job losses and mortgage foreclosures, and adjust our income tax system to better address the incomes of the wealthy that completely outstrip the current tax table brackets.
We got none of that.
Economics of bailouts
After generously bailing out the banks, Goldman Sachs and Wall Street, and big corporations including General Motors and AIG, and after extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Obama has done almost nothing for working class Americans who can't find jobs and are losing their homes to foreclosure. In fact, if you look at the net results of the first 2 years of Obama's administration, what you actually see looks a whole lot like George W. Bush's third term.
Obama's political tactics
Let's be honest: We need an aggressive leader in the White House for the political war that is consuming this nation. We need someone who knows how to take the fight to the opposition, someone who is willing to fight fire with fire. We DO NOT need a Compromiser in Chief, and frankly we are sick of Obama's polite exasperation when it comes to the tactics of conservatives who oppose our interests.
Instead of leading, Obama has consistently offered to compromise by taking the middle ground. Unfortunately, the political "middle ground" is utterly worthless as a descriptive term because conservatives have taken the middle ground and moved it several miles to the right. The middle ground is no longer in the center of the political spectrum. Obama has done nothing to take that middle ground and move it back to the place it used to be. Thus when he compromises, they move the middle further to the right, he compromises again, they move it again.
When that happens, we lose.
Aside from that, the lack of presidential words of leadership from Obama on issues like the right-wing attacks against Acorn, Planned Parenthood, women's reproductive rights, worker's rights, public radio, union rights and collective bargaining, and new voter-ID laws that oppress or prevent hundreds of thousands of legitimate minority votes are unforgivable. Obama has sat quietly as Republican governors in several states attempted to destroy some of the most prominent political organizing arms of progressive democrats.
Are you up for a sports analogy?
Regarding the economy, employment, banks, and Wall Street, Obama has operated like the ineffective coach of an arrogant football team that does not like him or his policies. This football team has become accustomed to making their own rules and serving their own corrupt interests, including fixing and betting on games for profit. They have no intention of allowing the coach to end their little party. To be rid of the coach and his progressive policies, once and for all, the team has chosen to intentionally lose until the coach gets fired.
Think about that for a moment. What can the coach do? How far is he willing to go to assert the authority of his office and regain control of the situation?
In order to overcome this situation and be effective, the coach needs to walk out onto the field and shoot a couple of those players. Right there, under the lights, in front of the crowd. An example needs to be made of real consequences for disrespect of the coach and his position of authority. Otherwise, these "football players", who are over-paid, arrogant, self-centered, and in many cases corrupt, will forget that they play to defend their home field, their school, and the honor of the men who came before them, and they will continue to place greed and personal profit ahead of fidelity and patriotism.
In my example above the football team is a metaphor for Wall Street and the corporate establishment. I'm sure some would ask me just how this "football team" has chosen to lose. Easy answer. Failing to produce American jobs while allowing more and more American worker's homes to fall into foreclosure puts pressure on the middle class, who the "team" hopes will ultimately fire the coach. That's Obama. These groups, including the US Chamber Of Commerce and dozens of corporate-funded PACs, have gone out of their way and spent millions of dollars to destroy Obama and the reforms that a majority of American voters supported.
We can not allow that.
We need a real leader
For all of this, Barak Obama, the man we elected to lead us, has sat quietly, never raising his voice, never shouting, never using visual aids, charts, or graphs, never pounding the podium, never behaving as an angry leader. Working class Americans are angry. Many are calling for blood to run in the streets. And Obama? You'd think he was up there getting a political enema. So why isn't he as angry as the democrats who sent him? Is he secretly working for the other side? Was he sent to betray us and gently compromise away all of our hopes and dreams? At this point, that's almost the only thing that makes sense out of what he has done.
It seems to me that Obama's real agenda for the 2008 election was to eliminate Hillary Clinton in the primary, get elected by hitting the "demographic sweet-spot" as a black democrat who was opposed to the wars, then accomplish little to nothing for democrats, compromise at every opportunity with Republicans, complete Dick Cheney's unfinished agenda of regime change for every Arab state in the mid east, prevent any investigation of torture of POWs and war detainees, and basically run out the clock on all the hopes and dreams of Democrats and working class citizens who voted for him.
He is either an ineffective leader who should resign, or he is a poser, an imposter, a fake copy of Martin Luther King who betrayed his own party by secretly working for republican interests to advance a conservative agenda. He is systematically destroying the democratic party from the inside. If he won't resign, he should be impeached by his own party. At least then we would get to see republicans who claim to despise Obama vote to keep him in office.
The sad thing is Republicans win if Obama gets reelected, and they win if he isn't reelected. Right now they are getting practically everything they could have asked for from a third term of the Bush administration. The Bush tax cuts are still in effect. Guantanamo is still open. Allegations of torture were never investigated. The war in Iraq ran its full term. Worse, Obama just signed an agreement committing the USA to roughly 12 more years in Afghanistan.
Washington supports illegal foreign policy in the Middle East and involvement in foreign wars
Finally, Obama has done more to protect Israel's illegal Settlement construction than George Bush ever did. Bush insisted in the Road Map agreement that Israel must stop all Settlement construction before negotiations begin for final status and core issues. Israel never honored that obligation. Obama has called on the Palestinians to renew negotiations even though Israel has refused to stop Settlement construction. That contravenes the Road Map agreement.
Obama was supposed to enforce the Road Map agreement. Instead, he has used his veto in the UN Security Council to protect illegal Settlement construction from a resolution that might have stopped it so that legitimate negotiations could proceed as per Road Map stipulations. This is an outrage for progressive democrats, but if you're a republican, what's not to like?
Does anyone wonder why Donald Trump trots out the birther story whenever Obama's poll numbers show support from his base is low? This is how Obama manipulates his base to shore up support from a group whose interests he has largely dismissed and betrayed. Can't let those lying birthers win, suckah.
The same goes for a complete lack of Republican campaign advertisements calling out Obama for failing to uphold his campaign promise to end US involvement in foreign conflicts. The evidence is on video tape. Obama was very clear as a candidate. He said he would bring change, that he would end US involvement in wars and foreign conflicts. He even won a Nobel Peace Prize for this promise. We assumed that meant in his first 100 days. Failing that, then surely in his first 2 years, right? Well, here we are 4 years later, with secret wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and Syria. Obama also ordered direct US military involvement in Libya to topple Gaddafi, and he just signed an agreement to keep US forces in Afghanistan for another 12 years.
Worst of all, Obama has demonstrated a desire to support regime change in Iran. This includes an implicit threat ("all options are on the table") to attack Iran over the issue of Uranium enrichment. So what happened to ending US involvement in foreign conflicts? Republicans have a giant opportunity to rub this lie in his face, but they have passed. Ask yourself why they would do that. The answer is they don't want to draw attention to Obama's ongoing work to complete Bush and Cheney's unfinished agenda of regime change for every Arab state in the mid east.
Instead we get political theatre on Obamacare, class warfare, and tax cuts for the wealthy. It's like the establishment is saying ~"Hey, no, no, don't look at that, look over here: Let's argue about health care and taxes! Let's question Obama's citizenship and investigate his fake birth certificate!" Folks, we are being played for suckers.
Allow me to tell you what keeps me up at night. I wonder if you ever paused to consider the possibility even the most remote possibility that some part of what I allege might actually be true?
Let's evaluate whether it is possible that such a thing could actually happen, that a "Manchurian candidate" could be foisted on the electorate in the current state of our system of government. For instance, is there anything that prevents one party from running their own people as sleeper candidates on the ticket of another party? No. In fact, recent news reports confirm that Republicans have gotten several "double agent" candidates on the ballot as democrats in the recall election of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and there's no reason to think this is a unique case.
Republicans like to talk about voter fraud to justify their "photo-ID" laws passed recently in many republican-controlled states. They claim these laws will prevent a problem that is pervasive in our political system, that one voter could pose as another to fraudulently cast more than one vote to help a candidate get elected. Oddly the statistics do not back up their concerns. In Georgia, there has not been a single conviction on a charge of voter fraud in the last 14 years, yet republicans claim this fraud is so significant it could affect the result of our elections.
Let's analyze that assertion about the election and how it is won
According to the 2010 census, Georgia has a population of 9,687,653, of which approximately 6,907,296 are of voting age. According to the state of Georgia, 5,804,812 of these people are registered to vote. Of those, let's assume 47 percent actually participate in an election by voting. That percentage would be 2,728,261 voters. Given that number, to affect the total vote count by just one half of a percent, the number of fraudulent votes cast in a single state-wide election would have to be 13,641.
Of course, elections can be lots closer than that. In the 2000 election, after the US Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount, George W. Bush won the state by 537 votes. Still, 537 votes is a mighty big number if you live in a state where there hasn't been a single conviction of voter fraud in the last 14 years.
Of course, voter ID laws do have an effect on elections. Everyone knows they tend to reduce the number of legitimate ballots cast from demographic groups that are likely to vote democratic like minorities, the poor, and the elderly. This is what the law actually does, but Republicans insist it makes elections more secure. On the other hand, it is apparently not a crime for republicans to fraudulently place one of their own operatives on the democratic ballot to pose as a Democrat during a primary election.
There was a case in South Carolina in which Alvin Greene, the surprise winner of the democratic primary for senate, refused a request by state party leaders to withdraw from the race after court records were revealed which indicate he was arrested for allegedly showing obscene photos to a college student. More telling, Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed veteran, couldn't explain where he got the money ($10,400) required to file with the state and qualify himself to be on the ballot.
State Democratic party officials said as far as they knew he had done no campaigning, had not attended any local democratic events, had not responded to invitations to local stump meetings, and they had no idea how he won. Greene later told Fox News he had no staffers and ran the campaign entirely on his own.
Questioning from reporters indicated Greene was ill-prepared regarding experience and knowledge of issues. Greene was completely unaware of the biggest political issue of the day, new federal legislation frequently referred to by it's acronym "TARP" the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as the Wall Street bail out.
Not coincidentally, Greene's competition for that senate seat was republican Jim DeMint. Most pundits decided Greene was paid by conservative political agents to run and was elected in the open democratic primary with crossover votes. The consensus was republicans feared some democrats might be swept into office that year on Obama's "coat-tails", particularly in states with large percentages of black constituents likely to vote democratic. South Carolina would be one of these cases, and if a qualified candidate were nominated on the democratic ballot, DeMint could lose his seat. The solution was to eliminate the possibility that a qualified democratic candidate might be nominated by electing a sleeper candidate with crossover votes in the open primary.
So clearly this kind of thing happens with some regularity, even though it should never happen. And it could very well have happened in the democratic primary for the top political office of the United States. Remember that Alvin Greene had no prior political experience. Likewise, Obama's prior federal experience (2 years in the US Senate) was uncharacteristically short for any legitimate candidate to the office.
Once that primary hurdle was cleared, the rest would be easy. The political winds and public disenchantment with the wars were making it more likely that a republican candidate would lose, so the alternative would win. All that was necessary was to *be* that alternative.
This was already accomplished in the primary, when the following series of events gave Obama a sufficient number of delegates to capture the democratic nomination.
(A) Significant numbers of crossover votes helped Obama win the democratic ballot in open primary states, and
(B) caucus states unexpectedly went for Obama when polls indicated Clinton was leading, and
(C) political sabotage resulted in the primaries of Michigan and Florida being "nullified", which affected voter turnout as well as ultimately allowing the two states to realize only half their normal number of delegate votes at the democratic convention. This damaged Obama's rival Hillary Clinton. And
(D) a deluge of unexpected switched votes from super-delegates who switched from Clinton to Obama at the very last-minute.
Here's more background regarding the political sabotage alleged in (C) above:
In August 2006, the Democratic National Committee adopted a proposal by its Rules and Bylaws Committee that only four states - Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina - would be permitted to hold primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008.
In the Spring of 2007, the Florida Legislature (controlled by Republicans in both chambers), passed House Bill 537 which moved the date of the state's Republican and Democratic primaries to January 29, a week before the earliest permitted date of either party. The Florida Democratic Party tried to amend the legislation and make the date February 5; however, the Republican-controlled legislature refused. Thus the Florida republican party, in control of both the state senate and house, intentionally moved the date of the Florida primary election so that it was too early to be counted in the democratic primary. They knew that Obama's competition Hillary Clinton would win Florida, therefore they fixed things so that the Florida vote was nullified.
And what of Michigan? The Michigan Legislature passed a similar bill to move the date of the state's presidential primaries to January 15. Just as in Florida, the move-up bill originated in a Republican-controlled State Senate and passed by a 21-17 straight party-line vote with every Democrat casting a "no" vote. Again, Obama's competition Hillary Clinton was projected to win the Michigan primary, and in fact she did. This vote was also nullified.
This is solid evidence that republicans wanted Obama to win and engaged in unethical political actions to sabotage his competition in at least two states. In hindsight, we now have a better understanding of why they did this.
So is there any legal recourse for constituents if a candidate, once elected, breaks practically every promise he made to them, and in fact does in practice the exact opposite of what he promised to do? Well. there's impeachment, but that would require a majority in the Congress to vote for impeachment, and after trial, a majority comprising at least two thirds of the Senate (67 votes) must vote to convict.
In Congress, Republicans have enough seats to block any vote for impeachment, and in the Senate they would not vote for a conviction. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is a universal political truth that if party "A" has a problem that hinders it's popularity, party "B" is not likely to help party "A" rid itself of that problem. Thus if Obama is hurting the long-term health of the democratic party, republicans are not going to help democrats remove Obama from office. The second reason relies on my personal conviction that Obama is directly aiding republicans in their implementation of a conservative agenda. If Obama is their "man on the inside", they can't help democrats throw him out while he remains pivotal to their larger agenda. Maybe after that, but not during.
So impeachment is out as an option. What does that leave? Nothing. Sorry, you're screwed. At least until he comes up for reelection. So when that happens. are you then going to swallow his hollow argument that no matter how disappointed and betrayed you may feel, you certainly don't want those other guys the Republicans- to have the White House? -Are you going to fall for that fear-based argument?
Consider how far to the right the Republican party has had to steer itself in order to keep some daylight between themselves and Obama. That alone should tell you something. Obama has become so conservative in practice that republicans have had to redefine themselves with insane positions on the crazy fringe of the right so that voters can differentiate between the two sides. We didn't vote for that.
We didn't vote to waste our biggest chance in years to make the changes Obama talked about when he was a candidate. Sadly, that is what has happened. As a leader, Obama has presided over the biggest disappointment this party has ever seen in terms of what could have been and what actually is. In fact, I'm convinced he is secretly working for republicans to complete the unfinished agenda of the last administration. For example, Obama has done more to topple the governments of Arab states in the region surrounding Israel than he has done to help middle class American families facing foreclosure and loss of their homes. We didn't vote for that either.
Do we have to repeat history with the 2012 Presidental election
Lets get to the bottom of these questions in order to determine if we elected a Democrat, or just a lying Republican poser who fooled us into throwing away our future. Change? These days that's a bitter word to me, a cruel joke. It describes more what was done to us than what was done for us.
Obama has intentionally lied to the American public. For me that one thing is unforgivable, regardless of whatever the alternative may be. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against Obama because he's black or because some idiot questioned his nationality. Far from it. I'm against Obama because I think he's red. Obama has kept more of George Bush's campaign promises than he has kept of his own. I didn't vote for that, and I sure as Hell won't vote for it a second time.
To paraphrase an infamous Buddhism, fool me once, shame on you, We won't get fooled again.