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. 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.

  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. SearingTruth

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

    A Future of the Brave

  4. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Rob for the great indictment list against our star “non performer”.

    All of this in our face lack of campaign follow through on the part of this administration is not simply happenstance.


    “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.”
    …extract from commentary


    Yep, there’s an end game alright and it seems this President’s last winning move will be to pull the plug on the United States of America.

    I do not trust him or his entourage of ever-scheming retreads from previous administrations to do what’s right for “We the people”. To me he was groomed to be a smooth talking “judas goat” to lead us all to our collective slaughter.

    Things are not going to go well for this nation in the next three years. He will not get reelected, but possibly there won’t be anymore elections if we end up living in a perpetual state of declared national emergencies along with the possibility of martial law put in place. There’s a high probability of nationwide civil unrest coming to the forefront with four years of Obama dragging his feet as now on issues most dear to the American people.

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. almandine

    The Big O only disappoints those who believed all his misguided pronouncements before the election. Many are rightly glad that he’s unable to press his collectivist agenda any faster.

  6. Don Quixote and Company

    It will be in only three more short years that we will return a republican to the rotation….so they can finish the job of destroying America. Obama has not been in office for even a year, but he is expected to cure America’s Republican-induced ills in less than one-eighth of the time it took W and The Chain Man to wreck total havock. I don’t know if I will be able to stand to listen to the Reps blame the four years of Obama’s administration for all our country’s ills, but the truth is that game playing and rhetoric do not solve problems. Tax cutting does not work, but we will be returning to it real soon. Personally, I am gearing up for 2012 by obtaining a second citizenship in the land of my father(he became a US citizen), and getting a visa with my other citizenship to live in Canada after 2012. Apparently, the Mayans foresaw the devastation that the Repbulicans would wreck on the world in 2012!

  7. sherry

    Isn’t there someplace for an independent to go?
    I know I am not the only one who can’t stand EITHER party.

  8. issodhos

    As I recall, there were several hollywood celebrities who promised to leave if George W. Bush was re-elected, but they did not. Of course, there is the old saying, Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.:-)

    Trying to hang the nations “ills” on one administration or on one party indicates that you are either a party partisan or prone to political folly. With a bit of study, that can be corrected without going to the trouble of skipping out.;-)

  9. Rob Kezelis

    On the other hand, if the White House realizes that sitting back, without pushing its agenda is a road to success, I think they learned this morning how wrong that is. He has three years to get it together, but he better start now.

    The race that I find fascinating is the New York -23 race for the empty congressional seat.

    Sarah Palin, the neo-conservative idle, pushed the conservative candidate, only to see this ultra conservative district go Democrat for the first time in 100 years. Her fingerprints, as well as Fred Thompson, Billo, Sean, and Rush, are sending a message to the GOP. You better change, or else.


  10. Don Quixote and Company

    issodhos, can you tell me honestly that if the policies of GWB continued for another four years you would have felt elated, secure, a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart? Please do not tell me that 4 more years of tax cutting would have staved off the downward spiral that it had already created! Stop drinking that juice, brother! I am a 30 year Independent. Long before it was cool and trendy(?) Why…..I have the voting registration records on file with my county to prove it!

  11. griff

    Just thought I’d point out that GWB’s policies are being continued for another four years. Name for us one that isn’t.

    In fact Obama is carrying them further.

    And why is it that opposition to Obama is automatically considered support of Bush? Or the Republicans for that matter?

    Independent indeed!?

  12. Don Quixote and Company

    almandine….aside from the quasi-socialism that unfortunately had to be implemented to save our economy from annihilation, what socialist laws have been implemented? Please tell me? I know you are espousing the Fox/Clear Channel rhetoric, but since you are the closest I will get to the Murdock clan….give me some examples please. And, I do not mean any disrepect by the request. Besides, last time I heard the radio this morning the Crying Man was calling Obama a communist?

  13. almandine

    Saved from annihilation? Don’t even go there, cause you ain’t seen nuttin.

    And the govt takeover of all things economic is exactly enough evidence.

  14. griff

    “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day. But a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly proves a deliberate systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.” – Thomas Jefferson

  15. Thomas Bonsell

    Apparently few people study political science any more.

    If they did, they might realize that the first year of any administration is mostly a carryover from the previous administration. The record spending under Obama is really a result of Bush policies.

    Bush had one year of budget surpluses in 2001 because that was the fourth year of Clinton’s budge surpluses.

    Kennedy suffered the Bay of Pigs disaster because it was Eisenhower’s plan and Clinton’s Branch Dividian disaster was a carryover from George Bush the Daddy’s administration. Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War took seven year to be implemented because he inherited the war from Johnson just as Obama can’t do a hell of a lot about the Iraq and Afghanistan fiascos because they are Bush’s doings.

    The lessen here is that a new administration should scrap the plans of old administrations whenever possible,.

    Obama’s cautious approach seems to result from him having a better memory than those of the people commenting here. He let Congress handle the healthcare reform effort rather than doing it himself, trying to avoid the failure of the Clintons who did try to do it themselves only to be shot down by Congress. Obama recycled some of the same old same old Washington insiders because he remembers Jimmy Carter going to Washington with a crew of outsiders only to be met with hostility for any outsiders and his presidency was destroyed by members of his own party.

    It appears to be a situation of damn if you do, damn if you don’t,

  16. woody188

    Hmm, cap and trade is a result of Bush policies?

    Bush was against Kyoto and any carbon tax. Probably the only smart thing the man did.