hope springs eternal

9/29/11

I think liberals have to cop to something: we have a bit of cognitive dissonance as well. Deep down, I don’t think we can fully let go of the promise we felt in the days after Obama’s election, and many of us are clinging to one hope: that the President and his team only planned to “survive” through the first term, and are saving their progressive gunpowder for the second.

Yes, that sentiment looks even sillier in writing, but for those of us who can’t bear the thought that we were only projecting what we wanted onto Obama, it’s pretty much all we’ve got to look forward to.

We expected more out of this Administration, and we didn’t get anything close to what we wanted. We compare it to Bush’s administration, when those motherfuckers came in and took whatever they damn well pleased, and got more than they asked for. I realize we aren’t supposed to “stoop to their level”, but you have to admit, their level was pretty damn effective.

As we approach the countdown to another Election Year (and we recommit ourselves to a Total News Blackout), these are the things I’ve been wondering:

• Did Obama really underestimate the level of hate-filled, partisan obstruction he was going to get? Or did he expect it, and thought he’d come off as the “adult” in the argument?

• Will Obama ever come out and say “the Republicans have done everything they can to ruin the economy in order to gain power in the 2012 elections”? Or does he still believe them incapable of such atrocity?

• Are Democrats going to get lucky in 2012 because the Republican candidates are all so shitty? Would a charismatic, smart, not-crazy conservative wallop Obama next November?

• Can Americans elect a Mormon, once they truly know everything a Mormon believes?

• Did Obama and his team ever have an overarching plan, a basic framework and timeline for his Presidency, and if so, is the present situation anywhere on it? Or did they have to crumple it up and throw it away by the second month?

• If he wins next November, is there any chance he’ll actually end the two wars, try to suspend the death penalty, fight for a woman’s right to choose, champion a truly effective environmental policy, or do anything that would make progressives happy? Or – cognitive dissonance be damned – he truly isn’t the person we wanted him to be?

TessaLucyCapitolNightDC(bl).jpg

Tessa and Lucy the night after the Inauguration, Jan. 2009

0 thoughts on “hope springs eternal

  1. John

    “Would a charismatic, smart, not-crazy conservative wallop Obama next November?”
    The GOP nominee has to be a “crazy” and hard-core conservative. The GOP base has DEMANDED it!!. right now there is an internal struggle between the ‘Elites’ and the Tea (bag) party about who this nominee will be and with any luck will tear them apart driving Independent to ANY Dem candidate on the ticket (From my mouth to God’s ear LOL)

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  2. kent

    Obama took office with the USA in the midst of several crises, at a point where the economic, political, and geopolitical situation was as dire as when FDR took office in 1933. If anything FDR had it easier, as he wasn’t fighting 2 wars, and had congress with him, and the economy had fewer moving parts and international entanglements.
    If you look at the list of things he has accomplished instead of the things he has not, he’s more impressive.
    The GOP’s combination of blind obstructionism and lack of any credible plan of their own is a major problem but Obama has not yet found how to thread the needle between what he wants — to build a constructive consensus — and what he has to work with — a GOP completely without scruples.
    The Republican party isn’t about ideas, or ideals, it’s about seizing power by any means necessary. If the plunge a few 10s of millions into poverty in order to win Congress & the Presidency, that’s perfectly OK by them, because none of that touches their true constituency, which is the moneyed oligarchy.

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  3. Mom

    I’m practically the only person I know who is not mad at Obama or, at best, disappointed in him. Having lived through every election since FDR, heard enough political bullshit to last a lifetime even half as long as mine, I did not expect Obama to be God. I didn’t even expect him to live up to his own expectations, because I know how futile that is. Just HOW futile, given the blind, racist, greedy, unfeeling, and truly ignorant the right wing conservatives would be (not even the Repubs, though they are bad enough.. I mean the current right wingers, and how destructive they have become.
    I even have a few friends, people I used to think were smart, who have truly fallen into the dark place where the tea-party operates. One, who does not believe Obama’s birthplace, STILL, and who thinks Sarah Palin has good ideas, and who mistrusts Romney because he is not conservative ENOUGH “and besides, he’s not even a Christian.” (For the record, Mormons are, above all and in spite of a lot of goofy theology, devout Christians). I really don’t understand where this new right-wing insanity has come from. Fear? Avarice? racism? I really don’t get it.
    But as I said, I’m not disappointed in Obama. I didn’t have those high expectations. No one could have done any better… hell, as WELL under the circumstances he inherited. Sure, I want him to grow cojones. I want him to be more confrontational with people who will destroy the country just to destroy him.
    But you can only be disappointed if you have unrealistic expectations, and I didn’t. I think Obama is learning, growing into the job, and doing better than I expected actually–especially since he started fighting back. Reelected? Who knows? But I will vote for him and work for him again.

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  4. Angry Groler

    • Did Obama really underestimate the level of hate-filled, partisan obstruction he was going to get? Or did he expect it, and thought he’d come off as the “adult” in the argument?
    No… he was part of it before he was elected President and comes from the hard scramble political reality of Chicago. Remember, he had both the house and the senate and a mandate when he was elected. He chose to work on health care, which was good, except that the package that passed was written, front and back, by the insurance companies and despite my liberal leanings I have to agree that it is clearly unconstitutional (and if it’s not be prepared to be screwed in the future more ways that you ever thought possible)
    • Will Obama ever come out and say “the Republicans have done everything they can to ruin the economy in order to gain power in the 2012 elections”? Or does he still believe them incapable of such atrocity?
    No, he will not say it.
    • Are Democrats going to get lucky in 2012 because the Republican candidates are all so shitty? Would a charismatic, smart, not-crazy conservative wallop Obama next November?
    Hard to say but keep in mind that things were so bad when Obama was elected that the US elected a left wing black man and the democrats turned their back on the best and most qualified woman candidate ever to run for the demo nomination. Even a crazy may beat Obama.
    • Can Americans elect a Mormon, once they truly know everything a Mormon believes?
    People vote for christians (including myself)and I, knowing 50% of the crazy shit they believe, still manage to vote. Hell, a good portion of the problems in our political situation today are tied to christians and their political organizations
    • Did Obama and his team ever have an overarching plan, a basic framework and timeline for his Presidency, and if so, is the present situation anywhere on it? Or did they have to crumple it up and throw it away by the second month?
    We elected a amateur who got his ass handed to him and is now being kicked down the street. Just thing of how former president Clinton would have handled this situation versus Obama and you see the reality of obama’s presidency
    • If he wins next November, is there any chance he’ll actually end the two wars, try to suspend the death penalty, fight for a woman’s right to choose, champion a truly effective environmental policy, or do anything that would make progressives happy? Or – cognitive dissonance be damned – he truly isn’t the person we wanted him to be?
    No.
    He is not and will never be the person you thought you were getting. I did vote for him but after working hard at trying to get Hillary nominated and voted for him because the options were….well, there was no option.
    Time for a third party?

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  5. bridget

    • Did Obama really underestimate the level of hate-filled, partisan obstruction he was going to get? Or did he expect it, and thought he’d come off as the “adult” in the argument?
    Yes – I think he did underestimate the degree of hate-filled nastiness and obstruction. I also think once it became clear the depths of obstruction his opponents would go to – his first inclination was to do what comes naturally to him – try and conciliate, achieve compromise. The advantage of that is now it is clear to everyone that Obama has tried to work with Republicans and they’ve revealed their own base cravenness. They are pretty much bat-shit crazy and will do anything they can to stop him.
    The sheer amount of crap he’s had to deal with in the past 3 years is incredible. From what he inherited from Bush through to the cynical and willful destruction by Republicans who would rather see the country destitute so that their own chances are better. I actually think he’s managed to accomplish quite a bit despite all of it. — I’ll be happy to vote for him again in 2012.

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  6. dob

    I set a bar for evaluating presidential administrations during the darkest days of the Bush years. My criteria for success are minimal competence, and not being actively evil.
    Our political system has too many veto points in control of the powerful status quo to permit any substantive change absent a true crisis, and even in a crisis, I would bet against the powerful status quo.
    Sure, I think Obama could have negotiated more effectively in several of the political showdowns, but his track record overall is very good. In a better world, he’d be a B- president, but in ours, he’s a solid A.
    Oh, and Angry Groler might want to actually revisit the political history of the Clinton administration. Who signed DOMA? Introduced DADT? “Reformed” welfare? There’s a fine argument to be made that Clinton and his DLC allies did more harm than good to the party in general and its liberal wing in particular.
    And before you run off and go third party, consider that the mathematics of a winner-take-all voting system render that a futile gesture that harms the major party which better represents your interests. Unless we move to an instant-runoff or other preferential voting system, and we should, but unless and until we do, you’re a fool if you don’t vote for a major party candidate.

    Reply
  7. Bob

    • Did Obama really underestimate the level of hate-filled, partisan obstruction he was going to get? Or did he expect it, and thought he’d come off as the “adult” in the argument?
    There’s probably some truth to both of these, but I think the central issue is that Obama is, at the core, a sensible person who believes that compromise is an essential part of the political process. As admirable as that might be, this isn’t a particularly auspicious time to try making that principle work.
    • Will Obama ever come out and say “the Republicans have done everything they can to ruin the economy in order to gain power in the 2012 elections”? Or does he still believe them incapable of such atrocity?
    He’s already started calling them out, although not as baldly as you have (not that I disagree with you).
    • Are Democrats going to get lucky in 2012 because the Republican candidates are all so shitty? Would a charismatic, smart, not-crazy conservative wallop Obama next November?
    Forget “smart” and “charismatic;” non-crazy (-seeming) will be sufficient. The American people are about to use their patented “no one could be worse than the guy we have now” theory. Funny, though, how often we manage to find someone who is worse, which we almost certainly would in this case, unless there’s a sane Republican in cryogenic storage somewhere who’s about to be defrosted.
    • Can Americans elect a Mormon, once they truly know everything a Mormon believes?
    Every religion, mine included, is an amalgam of good, Golden-Rule-like principles wedded to a big bag of deep crazy. I don’t think that knowing more about Mormonism is going to affect my feelings about, say, Romney.
    • Did Obama and his team ever have an overarching plan, a basic framework and timeline for his Presidency, and if so, is the present situation anywhere on it? Or did they have to crumple it up and throw it away by the second month?
    Don’t know. I wasn’t going for the overall plan, but more for a good captain for the ship of state. Steer away from the rocks, don’t do anything patently stupid, that kind of thing. It’s not a terribly ambitious vision I have, but it beats the alternatives currently available.
    • If he wins next November, is there any chance he’ll actually end the two wars, try to suspend the death penalty, fight for a woman’s right to choose, champion a truly effective environmental policy, or do anything that would make progressives happy? Or – cognitive dissonance be damned – he truly isn’t the person we wanted him to be?
    Progressives won’t be happy. Like it or not, the numbers just aren’t on their side. When 20% of the population identifies as progressive and 40% as conservative, that doesn’t give even a good politician much wiggle room. And that brings us to the heart of the problem: sure, we have our share of terrible candidates, but the real tragedy is that the electorate has devolved to the point where people like Michele Bachmann aren’t laughed out of the race immediately.

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