Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama Ain't Done Sheeeeeeeet ... But What Have We Done?

As The Big Brutha prepares to make his first State of the Union address tonight, there sure is a lotta folks wailing at walls and gnashing at teeth around this great land of ours. For the past couple months, the left wing of Air Blogosphere has exploded with vitriol over Obama's seeming lack of accomplishment (especially when it comes to their own particular agenda--whatever it be). And since Republican Scott Brown was elected to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, it's gone nuclear with more fervor and rage than one can really explain.

While the Right wing has been complaining that Obama's been doing too much, those on the Left have been utterly apoplectic, spluttering, "Obama ain't done this. Obama ain't done that. Obama ain't done it with a wiffle ball bat." Because the Live Prez has somehow failed them in one arena or another in his first 12 months, they are starting to view him as an utter failure and are wondering how his Presidency can be "salvaged."

The odd thing about this madness is that all this sound and fury really is being told by idiots (yours truly included) and doesn't only signify nothing--but is pure delusion. Obama has already had five pieces of major legislation passed:

--Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

--Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

--Repealed the stem cell research ban

--An expanded version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program

--The dreaded Stimulus Package

In fact, Obama's accomplished more than H.W., Carter, and Reagan did in their first year. Bush Babee got five, but two were 9/11-related. Clinton also got five pieces through. If you also throw in all the policy initiatives that he reportedly threw into the stimulus, as one reporter put it, he's had the most successful first year of any president since LBJ.

Oh yeah, and remember how we had eight years of deregulation regulators all throughout the government? Remember our poisoned spinach? Poisoned dog food? Poisoned dry wall, for godsakes?

Remember how SEC officials were handing Bernie Madoff their resumes? And how Interior Department officials, who sold mineral rights, were literally caught in bed with oil company employees?

Oh yeah, and what about motherfuckin' Hurricane Katrina?!!!

FEMA, FDA, SEC, ACC, the Big East, and the Big Ten! The past eight years have been an alphabet clusterfuck soup of governmental incompetence with the "You're doing a good job, Brownie" W. stamp of approval. A mess that, if scuttlebutt around town is to be believed, Obama's steadily cleaning up all the while trying his best to shut the "revolving door" between government officials and lobbyists, while Republicans fight damn near his every nomination.

And has anybody heard about how Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's kicking oil and mining interests out of our public lands and putting up windmills?

But none of this matters, of course. None of it is enough. "He needs to focus on jobs." As soon as he stepped into office, he got that $787 billion stimulus package (he'd wanted $1.2 trillion) through to save hundreds of thousand state employees from getting laid off and start or continue public works projects. But that's not focusing on jobs. He saved Detroit (which I was against) and tons of suppliers and dealerships. But that's not focusing on jobs either.

He stepped into office looking another Great Depression in the face while being engaged in two wars. The financial mess was 30 years in the making, but somehow he's supposed to fix it in 12 months. Bush, Paulson, and Congress gave Wall Street a $700 billion check and said, "Do what you want?" And while Geithner's got to go, Obama gets slammed for Wall Street's excesses.

Every time he tries to address these problems, the Right says he's doing too much; the Left, too little. And if he actually accomplishes something, we still say, "Obama ain't done shit."

Sure, it comes with the territory. This is politics, after all. But this all reminds me of that scene from Blazing Saddles, when Cleavon Little dispatches the town terror, Mongo, with an explosive candygram. Gene Wilder says, "Nice idea you had there with the candygram." Whereby, Cleavon Little resignedly sighs, "Yeah. But they probably won't give me credit for it, anyway."

Now, many Lefties will counter that he doesn't really deserve credit for any of it because he didn't get health care passed. So they conclude that, you guessed it, "Obama ain't done shit."

Now, this disappointment is to be expected. As I said before, Obama had been adopted as a sort of Messianic figure (just as Reagan and Clinton before him). We won't admit it, but we really wanted him to deliver us out of the wilderness. And while we didn't expect it to be instant--we kinda did. We set ourselves up for disappointment (as I'd promised), and now we've got it.

The thing is, in all that magnificent oratory Obama delivered during the campaign, filling us with "hope" for "change," there was one message of his we've all conveniently forgotten: we were supposed to be the agents for change.

In speech after speech, interview after interview, Obama said that the only thing that could combat the lobbyists and special interests and get Congress off their payola-plump posteriors was if we got out there and pulled them off their seats--you know, "people power." Yet, during this entire health care "debate," where were we?

When I went to a health care town hall meeting, I saw protesters all right. These people:

Oops. Sorry. I meant these people:

Damn. I meant these people:

Well, you get the idea.

Oh yeah, the Right heard Obama's message and acted. Dick Armey, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann, and the Tea Baggers mobilized the troops. And while they represented less than 20 percent of public sentiment on the issue, they not only paralyzed the debate, they took that sumbitch over.

Yet, where were the 70 percent of folks who said they actually wanted health care reform? Better yet, where were all the people who claim to be liberal, Left, Progressive? Here we had a Democratic White House and Congress being besieged by Republicans, Fox News, lobbyists, and Tea Baggers, and we, the people who'd supposedly "fought" for health care for some 20 years now, were nowhere to be found.

At the town hall meeting I'd attended, there were liberals in the crowd. But we were few and far between, and, when the Tea Baggers started chanting for the cameras, few, if any rose their own voices in counter-protest and, when they did, they were timid and mousy and frankly seemed scared.

The Republicans brought the ruckus. This debate was a street fight, and they came with sticks and knives and brass knuckles and bazookas. We didn't even bring a motherfucking guitar to sing "Kumbayah." Hell, we didn't even bother to show up.

Those who used to call themselves Progressives, etc., back in the day would be ashamed. Unions during the Progressive Era faced cops with their billy clubs and guns, Pinkerton boys and their private armies. They faced Gatling guns, people! Civil Rights activists faced the Klan, FBI, cops, assassins' bullets, firebombs, and lynchings. We today couldn't even bother to get in our cars and go shout down a bunch of rednecks.

No, we'd rather sip on our lattes, watch Stewart and Colbert, get snarky on our blogs, and feel morally superior. Instead of joining the street fight, we tsk-tsked the Tea Baggers, clicked a Cause button on our Facebook, and acted like we did some shit.

So, right after you slam The Big Brutha for not doing anything about health care, ask yourself what you did. Most of you didn't protest against the Tea Baggers. You certainly didn't pull off a March on Washington. But the Tea Baggers did.

Oh wait. I know. You signed that MoveOn petition, didn't you?

Well, it looks like it just wasn't enough, was it?

When it comes to politics in this country, like it or not, we get what we deserve. During that whole debacle last year, we saw the fight. We saw the Republicans and Tea Baggers go at our President with guns blazing. We saw the Dems cringe and go lick their wounds on Corporate America's teat. We saw it all.

I'm not saying that things would've been different. Who knows? But we made it all too easy for everyone involved. None of these politicians had angry citizens banging at their doors demanding health care reform. The lobbyists were at the door. The Tea Baggers were at the door. But not the 70 percent of folks who said they wanted health care reform. We weren't there. We didn't make it uncomfortable for them.

To put it bluntly, people, we didn't do shit.

And who's to blame for that, liberals? Obama? The Corporcrats? The Tea Baggers? Or us?

PS. I know this is what we all were expecting when Obama took office ...

But that shit only happens in movies.


Paula said...

thank you, thank you, thank you. yes, you did have a pretty good writing day!

boukman70 said...

Thanks, Paula.