Friday, January 13, 2017

Why I Think Obama Was Adequate At Best


Being POTUS is a nearly impossible job. Those who were great at it in our history have had a number of things going for them that were extraordinary, had accidents of history on their side in some sense, and still made enemies who were bitter thirty years later. Like the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, a great Pope or a great President is very hard to predict in advance, and even they make enemies.

I do not think Obama was a great president; I think he was an adequate president. He and his administration was certainly better than any Republican administration since Eisenhower, and possibly better than any Democratic one since LBJ, but that is faint praise. LBJ, as flawed as he was, had elements of greatness in him.

In the following, I admit that there are many issues below that quite possibly could never have gone “our” way, or at least the way I would have liked. But I felt that he could have tried harder, made more of a stink, rallied the troops, and generally raised hell. This is the POTUS after all, it is an impossible job and judged by impossible standards.

The following is in no particular order.

1. He needed to fight harder for our supreme court position. He should have raised bloody hell in the morning, and then complained about it at night. He should have shut the government down, pulled our troops home, and stopped spending money until the Congress did its constitutional duty. The damage to our republic will last for decades and may never be repaired.

2. Someone needed to lead the Democratic party to deal with redistricting in the states. That is only part of the problem that the Democrats need to face to regain control of Congress but it is an important part. He needed to lead the Democrats to at least formulate a plan.

3. He continued the bipartisan neoliberal economic policies that have destroyed manufacturing, destroyed employment for whole sections of our people, and destroyed the unions. He tried to pass the TPP which represented everything bad about the discredited neoliberal policies. The Democrats abandoned the working man and woman. Some say this was inevitable and nothing could be done. Fine, then enjoy your time with Trump because that is what you get.

4. He squashed criminal indictments against Wall Street for the economic meltdown. No new laws were passed to see that corporate malfeasance was punished.

5. The decision not to prosecute the Bush administration for their use of torture disgraced this country and set a bad precedent.

6. He did nothing to address inequality in this country.

7. He did nothing to address the way the tax code, exemptions and loopholes favor the rich.

8. He did nothing to address economic inequality in this country.

9. He did nothing to improve support for the poor.

10. He did nothing to improve how we finance education for the poor and middle class.

11. He did nothing to stop the civil asset forfeiture insanity that is being perpetrated by our local police forces. The Justice Dept briefly halted it, but then allowed it to continue.

12. The Affordable Care Act was adequate at best but did not address the issues of greed in the medical and pharmeceutical industries. These industires need to be nationalized or become not-for-profits. Doctors should be paid what teachers are paid.

13. The policies towards Russia were, in my opinion, unrealistic and certain to cause more conflict.

14. His response to China's cyberattack on this country was inadequate.

15. His response to Russia's cyberattack on this country was too little, too late. 

16. Finally, he was behind that UN resolution that is causing so much glee for those who would destroy Israel. He did so against objections in his own party and as a deliberate f*ck you to some of his strongest supporters.

I have a problem with these things.

I liked his style and manner. I thought he was a first class communicator. And compared to what comes after him, I thought he was a bloody genius and a saint. As our first African-American president, I think he is a credit to his nation.

But he was not the advocate of change that I feel we needed then and now.

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