12 November 2010

Re-elect Obama in 2012 ... for now

I supported President Obama, of course, and continue to support him, although I have been critical, as any of the one to two people who read this blog regularly know. But it's time for him to make clear that he will double down on ... I will use the L-word...a liberal agenda. The signals that he is willing to allow the Bush tax cuts for the very rich to be extended, without even a fight (hopefully that's not true, but Axelrod's comments leave little other interpretation open); that he is more interested in deficit reduction than economic stimulus or infrastructure investment; his inability to extricate this country from Afghanistan (so far), failure to close Guantanamo, failure to dismantle the unconstitutional surveillance state that grew up under Bush, and his too-cozy relationship with Wall Street; among other things... are all very, very troubling to me.

I hope things get better. Because if they don't, I, along with a lot of other people who love this country and hate what's happening to her, are inevitably going to start wondering if we can't do better. If there isn't, in other words, someone else who could challenge Obama in the 2012 primaries and rally support for Liberal Populism FDR style, to counter the Know Nothings on the Right.

I hope not, frankly, because I doubt it would work. But what I really hope is that the President gets the message that the election wasn't about a shift of the electorate to the right. That's just not the reality. It was a backlash. People are angry... angry at Big Banks. Angry at Health Care Reform that didn't do nearly enough to bring the cost of health care down. Angry at the lack of success in bringing jobs back and restoring the production economy. Some of this anger is inarticulate, and misdirected by successful right wing propaganda. But a skillful politician can and should be able to channel it into a mandate for progressive changes. If Obama can't do that, if he continues to give up before the fight on issue after issue, if he seems to care more about Washington dealmaking than standing up for the people... it's inevitable that someone will challenge him from the left.

I hope he realizes this, and really thinks long and hard about some major strategy and policy changes before it's too late.

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