PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

December 3, 2010

Disappointment in Obama

Filed under: 3Accountability,National Politics,SHAPES platform — rachel @ 1:26 pm

An article I just read on Truthout.org made me think about a spirited conversation we had at our monthly general meeting last night. We were talking about President Obama’s upcoming holiday visit to Hawai‘i, when he is expected to stay in Kailua, O‘ahu again, as an opportunity to express our disappointment in his performance so far. Just as that one woman said so eloquently to the President at a fairly recent town hall meeting, “I am tired of sticking up for you,” we have the opportunity to tell him how we feel about what is going on in our country. While  most of us were realistic enough not to expect things to change dramatically overnight, we certainly hoped that a this President with a Democrat controlled congress might at least stand up for some of what those of us on the left have been fighting for rather than starting negotiations in the middle and then conceding further to the right.

William Rivers Pitt’s article “On the subject of quitting” compares his symptoms of withdrawal from quitting cigarettes to the physical pain he feels from “having to witness a Democratic presidential administration fly apart at the seams.” He summarizes some of the reasons many of us are frustrated by quoting a Paul Krugman article and and a FireDogLake blog posting and then goes on to present his “outside-the-box theory about Obama that may explain all this: Stockholm Syndrome.”

The malady arises when a hostage situation goes on long enough that the hostages begin to identify with their captors, and in some cases, go so far as to stand up for them, and even defend them in public and in the courts. The GOP has been pounding on Mr. Obama since his presidential campaign began almost four years ago, and I think the pressure and stress might have blended his sense of direction. Left has suddenly become right, and the Democratic President of the United States has become the most eloquent advocate for everything he was elected to put a stop to.

One of our members has described Obama similarly, wondering if he got so used to sucking up to his rich Punahou classmates that it became natural to continue to do so as people like them became the leaders of the financial and corporate world. The corporate elite that got us into this economic mess reaped the benefits of the “bailout” while average Americans continue to struggle.

The end of Pitts’ article sums it up well,

In one week, the man certified the viability of Republican economic policy in the face of overwhelming evidence that Republicans have no economic policy beyond “We Like Rich People.” He took responsibility for the crappy tone in Washington while being called a Nazi terrorist Marxist socialist non-citizen. He appeared all too ready to capitulate on the Bush tax cuts, even as an overwhelming majority of Americans want them done away with. And to cap it all off, the Wikileaks document dump exposed the fact that Mr. Obama and his people went out of their way to derail even the most outside chance that some form of justice might be done after eight years of rampant Bush-era criminality.

This is why it is so incredibly frustrating. During 8 years of the Bush administration, we watched as he basically did whatever he wanted no matter what Congress said. Bush managed to push through radical right-wing policies even when Democrats controlled the Congress. Bush stretched, if not out-right violated, the constitution with his unprecedented number of executive “signing statements,” illegal wiretapping of American citizens and lying to get us into war. Now after 2 years of a Democrat in the White House while Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, you might think that we would be standing up for our ideals a little more rather than bending over backwards to please the Republicans who will never be happy with anything he does. Ugh.

What do you think? Can you come up with a catchy slogan to put on a sign? Shall we gather near his vacation home in Kailua to show him that it isn’t just the crazy tea partiers that are upset with him? Some of us have rational concerns that deserve to be heard.


  1. I don’t think Progressives should be surprised at how pragmatic the President is. We knew that during the primaries. Clinton would have made a much more ideological president if that is what the country wanted. And he has passed historic legislation despite strong Republican opposition. I think that he’ll continue to find a way to pass legislation even if Republicans are opposed to all of his policies.

    I know someone who thinks Obama is a muslim no matter what I say. I haven’t given up. I think that he now believes that Obama was born in Hawaii. If Obama can bring some peace to the area of the middle east, then maybe those tea partiers will have second thoughts about whether or not he is a Christian. My theory is that they can easily vilify him if they don’t think that he is a Christian. The arab stereotype makes it easier for them to attack his politics.

    Peace in the Middle East and extended unemployment benefits are good issues to demonstrate for. I’m sure a lot of labor unions will support that.

    Comment by Al — December 4, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

  2. He really sucks. As for pragmatism (cited above), please inform me how a Change presidency can be pursued via lack-luster pragmatism.

    Comment by Shcnitzelgruber — December 6, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

  3. I think this Tom Tomorrow cartoon summarizes it well.

    Comment by rachel — December 8, 2010 @ 9:49 am

  4. The Republicans have held people on extended unemployment benefits hostage to these tax cuts for the rich.

    Progressives need to be careful in opposing this agreement at this time, because it will appear to the public that the progressives are holding the unemployed hostage to the agreement. If Palozi had wanted to negotiate an agreement with the Senate, then she should have acted earlier. It’s too late now.

    Comment by Al — December 11, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress