The Liberal Case Against President Obama
Between The Right and a Hard Place
Since his status as President elect was verified in 2008 the right wing members of congress have vowed to obstruct every executive endeavor in which he engages and the right wing media also seem committed to obfuscating any true personal reflection of President Obama. The ardor with which both the former promise and the latter smear campaign have been pursued and the effectiveness of the general endeavor is truly a commendable combination of self-imposed government decrepitude and manipulative public relations by the conservative right.
The tremendously small amount of positive legislative action undertaken by the congressional classes during Obama's administration has rightfully led to it's description as the least productive congress in modern history if not American history. The scores of repetitive attempts to repeal Obama care and the general opposition to any action which he takes has led to a congress, dominated by tea-partyers in the house and sufficiently obstructed by a corresponding group in the Senate, that has rightly brought it's approval rating down into the low teens.
The conservative media mouth piece, FOX news, meanwhile keeps us inundated with non-existent executive scandals and general musing about Obama's supposedly anti-American sentiments. We have seen his citizenship questioned, his faith, his economic philosophy, his character, and his judgment in the most exuberantly ignorant way over the past six years. It would seem that whatever the Republican party does stand for can be instantly altered if it is simply endorsed by the president. The systematic campaign of misinformation, conjecture, and flat out lies leveled at this President is unprecedented and alarmingly vitriolic considering his extremely centrist tendencies. I hate to concede the point, nor level the accusation, but when the actual politician is examined and the distance between his record and the record of the boogeyman manufactured in his place by conservative media is considered one can only wonder if this is the result of a thinly veiled, urgently tacit racism.
The Man, Not the Myth
When viewed with any degree of actual political objectivity Obama's actions place him squarely within the domain of a highly centrist Democrat, something akin to a Rockefeller Republican of the middle-late 20th century. The Characterization we get of a socialist, highly progressive, anti-American figure who is soft on terrorists is simply not grounded in any factual basis.
He has engaged in unilateral drone strikes, approved the mission to assassinate Bin Laden, kept Guantanamo Bay detainees in limbo, and shown a level of bellicosity that we progressives had hoped to move away from after 8 years under George w. Bush. The fact that he accepted a Nobel Peace prize based on campaign promises oriented towards peace and increased international amiability and has not followed through on a single promise is one of the most legitimate condemnations that can be leveled at the President.
His supposed assault on freedom, the Affordable Care act, also known as Obama Care, is so far from the progressive hope of a public option or single payer system as to be an embarrassing tentative step away the insurance company enervated health care system that is bankrupting everyone but itself and the very rich. Whatever he originally intended with this act has suffered from so much Republican invigilation and Executive capitulation as to leave the end result as nothing short of a mess.
His economic policies show a staunch bent toward capitalism, with only modest tendencies toward anemic regulation. His ready bail out of the large equity firms, banking conglomerates, and hedge fund shareholders and CEO's has been the most Socialistic act he has performed. His lack of a strongly vigorous push for improved regulation or criminal procesution for any of those responsible for deliberately allowing the world economy to implode betrays either a Pollyanna like faith in the free market's ability to self-regulate or another area in which his seeming inability to fight for what the country needs betrays an overly centrist orientation in his extreme zeal to mollify the Republican party.
The myth that Obama is coming to disarm the country is another pernicious untruth that has come to constitute Republican wisdom. Though he has done nothing to restrict gun access, decrease illegal gun sales, or even commit funding to examine the epidemic of violence in this country, the sales of guns and ammunition have climb steadily as this false meme floats dangerously throughout conservative radio and the internet.
After the passage of the Patriot Act in October 2001, what was already a time bomb of 4th amendment infringements and government overreaches led to escalating abuses perpetrated under this ill-conceived, knee jerk reaction to 9/11. These have only increased under Obama. On this issue we may have a valid bi-partisan gripe.
As for social politics, Obama spent his first term as anti-gay marriage and only "evolved," his position on this in response to Vice-President Biden's comments. He has infringed upon states rights on only one issue effectively and this has mainly taken the form of federal raids on California licensed Medical Marijuana dispensaries. This is not progressivism.
Every conservative attempt to paint Obama as a radical is either a whole cloth fabrication or an extremely well calibrated and carefully orchestrated attempt to undermine the truth of what President Obama actually is as a Politician and an attack on his ability to affect any real social or political change.
I would classify Obama most strongly as a...
A Liberal Gripes
As a progressive Liberal who voted for Barack Obama, not once but twice, I have found him to be an extreme disappointment. But, of course, for none of the reasons espoused by my Conservative counterparts, in fact for precisely the inverse reasons. Obama campaigned on a platform of change, peace, and reform in a time in which the country desperately needed all three. And yet we have seen none of these; whether due to obstruction or over-zealous capitulation I'm not sure. In actuality probably some combination of both.
Regardless, the actual facts remain as actual facts tend to remain...annoyingly true. Barack Obama, half-way into his second term remains a highly centrist politician with neither the will nor the ability to pursue the progressive reform platform upon which he was elected. If you see him as anything else, I suggest you take another more objective look at the record as it stands.