Why Obama Disappoints

A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both. – – – James Madison

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference. – – – Thomas Jefferson

Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide. – – – John Adams

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Maybe it is just his style. Maybe he is so much smarter than the rest of us, that he bides his time and surprises people with his chess-like end game.

Or maybe, he’s just not doing a good job.

HuffPost has an interesting article on David Plouffe and his book (which I will now have to read). The topic she posed says it all: Obama One Year Later: The Audacity of Winning vs. The Timidity of Governing


One does wonder. Would Candidate Obama recognize this president? I think not.

Yes, we live in a complex world. Yes, the previous occupant left a mess that will take years to fix. Yes, the economy, Iraq Nam and Afghanistan were dropped on his lap like a hot potato. And, yes, the GOP, and enough Democratic congresscritters are allied against him. So what? Every president has problems and often with his own party. (Reagan, Carter, Bush, Clinton, even W, to name a few).

Let’s do a short roster and checklist.

a) Iraq Nam.
Obama has failed on three scores here. First, we are still firmly entrenched in a war of convenience and choice. To be sure, not Obama’s choice, and it certainly inconveniences him, but we have yet to see a rational end game, a plan to leave, or even a substantial draw down.

Second, where are the investigations? Why are we not looking into how we got into this mess in the first place? Why are Libby, Wolfowitz, Addington and Cheney allowed to walk free without a subpoena hanging over their heads? WHY DID WE INVADE AN INNOCENT NATION? Is the answer so simple – that W wanted to show up daddy?

Third, and probably the worst, fraud, theft, and worse has been the norm, not the exception. Starting with that C-130 that unloaded billions in fresh 100s, and ending with construction crimes that would make Chicago city inspectors salivate like Pavlov’s dog.

And to top it off, frankly, I am sick and tired of visiting IGTNT with growing frequency and tears. It burns me up every time I go, yet, we all owe it to the dead and injured to visit, and to visit often. DAMN THIS WAR.

Mr. President? Hello?

b) Gitmo and torture.
At every turn, the Obama administration has dug in its heels on the war crimes of the previous administration. In doing so, Obama has become an accomplice after the fact. Torture is not just unAmerican, it is a war crime that will not go away. Festering like a maggot covered, putrid wound, this issue will not go away. Ever. Not until we investigate and indict those responsible. Putting a smile and a new face on the presidency does not erase those crimes. This administration’s current stance is unforgivable and untenable.

Anyone home, Mr. President?

c) Financial melt down.
I was willing to cut the president a great deal of slack on this issue. And until recently, I was willing to give him time and support. Unfortunately, the president’s idea of change has been “more of the same.”
The appointment of Geithner was extremely disappointing. (Check out his recent TV appearance transcript) Others are beginning to agree:

Yet in the past 9 months, not only has the administration failed to fix anything, they have actually made things much worse for anyone who isn’t a Wall Street banker. Therefore, we are past the point where anyone in power still gets the benefit of the doubt — the process of taking back our country for all citizens must begin now.

This is why I think we must ask if U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is still the right person for the job. It has become clear recently that, back in his previous role as New York Federal Reserve Governor, he unnecessarily gave billions of dollars of US tax money to banks and insurance companies with few strings attached. And it is now becoming clear that his lack of meaningful action is helping many of these same banks steal more by legalizing their most economically dangerous, socially destructive and self-enriching practices.

Even worse was his selection of Larry Summers, one of the miscreants who is partially responsible for the mess we are in. His handling of the Bank of America fiasco is more than negligent, something far more. If any normal citizen tried anything like what Summers got away with, we’d be sitting in jail. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn…

Worst of all, Summers’ economic ideas take us on the wrong path, at the worst possible time.

Instead of demanding an investigation, followed by the indictment and conviction of the Wall Street Mafia who gambled our 401Ks away into oblivion, Obama’s answer has been identical to W’s. Pour more money into Wall and the bankers most responsible for this mess. Even proposing something as basic and simple as re-instituting Glass Siegel protections, is beyond this administration. (For those who forgot what this 1930s legislation created, this statute helped prevent Wall Street from doing precisely what it did with Subprime mortgages since 2005. It separated and kept apart the investment banks ((think of Las Vegas on steroids, except when the bank loses big, Uncle Sam repays its losses)) and the traditional banks which provided credit cards, home loans, auto loans, and business loans, while keeping your savings, well, safe)

Just who are you protecting, Mr. President? The middle class, or your largest campaign donors?

d) Consumer protection
The Investment Protection Act of 2009 was created to fix the problems created by a complete lack of regulation and oversight. Enron’s fake profits and ultimate collapse occurred because our government allowed it to. Now, Rahm Emanuel is working behind the scenes to weaken this Act, exempting large companies precisely when such regulations need to be strengthened. This is a knife in the back of the consumer and small investor. A knife held by Barack Obama, sharpened by the crooks from Wall, and twisted by Rahm Emanuel.

The White House is quietly working to undercut a key post-Enron reform, significantly weakening protection for everyday investors and threatening the administration’s image as a champion for financial regulatory reform.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been telling Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee that he supports amending the Investor Protection Act of 2009 — a bill designed to beef up protection for investors — in order to exempt small businesses from a requirement in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that mandates audits of internal controls. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was enacted in 2002 in the wake of accounting scandals at Enron and Worldcom that rocked investors and damaged confidence in the markets.

Methinks we are seeing a pattern here, Mr. President. And it ain’t pretty.

e) Civil rights or government secrets?
Glenn Greenwald says it all in this article:

The Obama administration has, yet again, asserted the broadest and most radical version of the “state secrets” privilege — which previously caused so much controversy and turmoil among loyal Democrats (when used by Bush/Cheney) — to attempt to block courts from ruling on the legality of the government’s domestic surveillance activities. Obama did so again this past Friday — just six weeks after the DOJ announced voluntary new internal guidelines which, it insisted, would prevent abuses of the state secrets privilege. Instead — as predicted — the DOJ continues to embrace the very same “state secrets” theories of the Bush administration — which Democrats generally and Barack Obama specifically once vehemently condemned — and is doing so in order literally to shield the President from judicial review or accountability when he is accused of breaking the law.


The W administration was very wrong on these issues. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has adopted the worst of their ideas and continue to press them. The problem with this type of behavior is that it is corrosive, and hides beneath the surface. Most of us won’t even notice the constant drip drip drip against our civil liberties, while the growth of a secret government, immune to sunlight and public oversight, continues unabated.

Does the US have enemies? Of course. In fact, that has been the case since the mid 1770s, and has continued to be the case every single day since then. Is it harder for our government to operate in public, with few state secrets, and under the eye of a criticizing public? Sure. But that is precisely why it must be done that way. An informed public may grumble, but an informed public would also provide great support for the hardest decisions. The only conclusion that we can reach is that President Obama does not trust the American public to do the right thing in tough situations.

Mr. President, look at a mirror. Do you like what you are seeing?

There are many more examples. Too many more. Eric Holder as Attorney General seems too willing to push Bush policies, and refuses to investigate the man crimes of the past administration. But the last example is the most telling one: Health care reform.

Perhaps the best word that describes this Administration is “timid.” There are others, but children might be present.

If anything, they learned the wrong lessons from HillaryCare. Letting Congress work its process is fine, but a rudderless ship will always go off course. Recall Obama’s only push last spring and summer? He expected Congress to pass a health care bill before the August recess. And then, he went to an undisclosed location and hid for the next few months. The resulting vacuum caused or contributed to the Tea Bagger movement, and left too many Democratic supporters virtually naked, in the face of a multi-million lobbying and PR effort by K Street.

When Obama did make a move, he usually made things worse. His deal with Big Pharma is unforgivable. His failure to draw a line in the sand gave his opponents the idea that the more they pushed, the more he would give. And guess what? They were right. In his quest for at least one GOP vote, the president was correctly compared to Charlie Brown while Lucy was holding the football. His silence and lack of leadership dismayed the Democrats and energized the GOP. Had he stood up and declared, “SINGLE PAYER” and stuck to it, we’d probably have a decent health care bill passed into law.

Instead, the mild public option grows weaker, while the insurance industry appears to be on the verge of its own Wall Street styled bonanza. That is precisely the wrong approach, and nothing in his leadership style or content gives us any reason to hope for a better result.

Mr. President, the natives are restless, and with good reason. Your candidacy offered us hope and change. The only change we have seen is in your actions. And not for the better.


  1. SearingTruth

    “Our last great hope is doing the same as our last great tyrant.”

    A Future of the Brave

  2. Jim C

    Or maybe it’s because many of us hoped we were voting for someone that was somewhat liberal or progressive ( take your pick of terms ) . But instead we seem to have gotten yet another steaming pile of stinking corporate friendly conservatism . He tries to placate his bewildered base with a few rather meaningless liberal gestures in the social realm while giving away the store by continuing his predecessors policies in economics . Maybe that’s it ?

  3. DejaVuAllOver

    Great piece, Rob, but personally, I think it’s simpler than that. Obama has made it perfectly clear that, in spite of his lies during the campaign, he is a hard-core zionist. The fanatical Jews and Christians who make up this sick lot firmly believe in the racial superiority of ‘God’s Chosen People’ and their ‘God-given’ right to control a piece of land they’ve spent 4,000 TRYING to conquer and subjugate. ‘God’ has nothing better to do than be a racist, warmongering realtor for his favorite tribe. All our filthy wars of late were started by hysterical zionists (aka neocons) and Obama has made it perfectly clear he intends to keep it that way. Obama is spelled LIAR in a size 3,467 font.