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Putting Off The Hard Things

Friday, May 15, 2009
I like to think of myself as a pragmatic person, one who doesn't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. In fact on occasion I've worried that I'm too practical, too willing to make incremental moves, that I'm in danger of becoming a hack. But now I'm having an experience that alleviates that concern. I suppose in a curious sense that could be a good thing, if the origin of this realization weren't so depressing.

So far, Barack Obama and the Democratic majority has been a big fat disappointment. Just think of the list of issues - credit cards, home mortgages, bankruptcy reform, torture, military commission, the banks, wiretapping, don't ask don't tell, card check, and God knows how many others - where Obama has been co-opted by the very forces we've been fighting so hard against. And then there's issues like global warming and health care, where there's reason to be concerned he'll do the same thing.

It's not that I expect Obama to fight all the battles. He can't. And I certainly don't expect him to win those he does contest. But what I would like him to do, what I think we deserve in a President, is one who fights the battles worth fighting. Openly, fearlessly. Pick an issue, man. Give me something to be proud of. Who knows? You might surprise us all and show that right and justice and wisdom can still count for something.

What I do know is that the present course is woefully insufficient. As it stands now, the changes were are getting are too pathetically small in the face of the challenges we face. Yesterday's Lilliputian efforts simply aren't good enough any more.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 1:34 PM
  • And what makes it so frustrating is that it seems so unnecessary! He's got a majority of the country on the right side of almost all the issues we want him to take on, and the Republican Party is in the toilet for all practical purposes.

    It makes me wonder, though, if he knows something we don't. Although all the polls show most Americans ready to embrace even radical changes (Hello single payer health insurance!), it seems that their representatives - particularly in the Senate - haven't yet caught on to the fact that their constituents are so inclined.

    So, even though the other party's pretty fangless at this point, we've got conservatives in our own party who can still sabotage us. Still, though, I have to agree that it's somewhat depressing. Certainly very disappointing. But, you know what? It's early days yet and he's still the best chance we've got.

    Not that patience has ever been a strong suit of mine but, again, I have to wonder. He's a fairly savvy politician. What, exactly, do you think he's hoarding all of that political capital for? You know it's gotta be for something big. So I think he's trying to massage the timing of something and it's actually working in his favor because he's not causing any waves and the Republicans are getting hung up on mustard and the family dog.

    But still, you're right, all of the rest has been an almost heartbreaking disappointment.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 3:06 PM  
  • I think the sad reality is that the opinions of most citizens just doesn't have that must affect on decision-making. There was a very interesting (and depressing) study that the votes of members of Congress were only influenced by the opinions of their wealthiest constituents. Middle class opinions had a little bit of influence, and the preferences of the poor zero. We really do have a major problem in this country.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 7:50 AM  
  • I don't believe that the results of that study will hold up any more. The grass roots, spurred on by Kos and others, are making a real difference these days. Elections are closer, and more are going our way. Our reps ignore us at their peril these days. If we don't kick them to the curb on the first try, we at least make our presence felt by giving them a scare.

    Things have already changed and they will continue to change. The last election and those special elections have shown that. True, things don't seem to be going the way I think they should as fast as I think they should. But because we have already made our voices heard so unmistakeably, I still have hope.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 12:17 AM  
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