Obama Letdown Watch — Final Post

Obviously, this blog has not been updated in quite a while. Which makes it much like many other, if not most blogs…they start off strong, enthusiasm abounds, but, over time, the spark fades, the updates become less frequent, and the blog becomes another dead end street, a micro-statistic on a Google Analytics dashboard.

But rather than just let it wither, it seemed better to write up one last post, on the eve of the 2012 campaign, with the President’s numbers in recent opinion polls not looking all that great, and explain why we’re no longer keeping the Obama Letdown Watch updated.

What was particularly frustrating about the two and a half years we spent on this blog was documenting the slow and steady march Obama took towards becoming just another politician. This began with the FISA vote — the primary reason we got involved with the Obama campaign and started this blog — and continued in so many areas, from GITMO to climate change to Executive power and more. It became tedious, and depressing, to see this. We found it difficult to find the energy to write what become a never-ending list of areas where he really did exactly the opposite of what he said he was going to do as President.

But even more than specific campaign promises, which we all know aren’t realistically kept, what was most frustrating that, back in 2008, we had the idea, the possibility, that we may have found someone who wasn’t the typical politician. Someone from the outside (or as outside as a somewhat-newly-elected Senator could be…) who might be able to stir things up in Washington enough to change it.

Turns out, one of two things are true: Either Obama wasn’t the guy to do it, or it just can’t be done.

Because what has not changed in the last two and a half years is what’s referenced at the top of every page of this blog: the business as usual of Washington goes on.

So, for those reasons, this blog has simply faded out.

But we’ll end on a brighter note. Obama did a lot of things right. He did make progress. He’s got a laundry list of accomplishments that he’ll be able to bring out for the debates, and television commercials, and the campaign stops along the way.

He’s got our votes still. But it’s disappointing that it won’t be a more enthusiastic one.

– CS and JJB



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Credit where credit is due, the Democrats got this done. Here’s the President’s statement:

Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend. By ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.

As Commander-in-Chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known. And I join the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of service members asked by the Pentagon, in knowing that we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness.

I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done. It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.


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Paul Krugman tells it like it is.

Oh snap!

Krugman pulls no punches in his last column, Freezing Out Hope. Some choice excerpts:

After the Democratic “shellacking” in the midterm elections, everyone wondered how President Obama would respond. Would he show what he was made of? Would he stand firm for the values he believes in, even in the face of political adversity?

On Monday, we got the answer: he announced a pay freeze for federal workers. This was an announcement that had it all. It was transparently cynical; it was trivial in scale, but misguided in direction; and by making the announcement, Mr. Obama effectively conceded the policy argument to the very people who are seeking — successfully, it seems — to destroy him.

So I guess we are, in fact, seeing what Mr. Obama is made of.

…America’s long-run deficit problem has nothing at all to do with overpaid federal workers…employee pay is only a small fraction of federal expenses; even cutting the payroll in half would reduce total spending less than 3 percent.

So freezing federal pay is cynical deficit-reduction theater.

Mr. Obama almost seems as if he’s trying, systematically, to disappoint his once-fervent supporters, to convince the people who put him where he is that they made an embarrassing mistake. Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse — a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction

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Obama: a little bit greener than other presidents (other than Jimmy Carter and Teddy Roosevelt)

Obama is pushing forward science-based environment policy that sort of keeps us up to speed with other industrialized nations and that a republican president probably would not have done. Yay. I guess.

Climate regulations coming for trucks, buses

The Obama administration will propose the first-ever greenhouse gas emission limits for heavy trucks and buses next week.

The proposal will call for a 20 percent reduction in heat-trapping emissions from trucks’ tailpipes, according to Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign.

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What the f*#k has Obama sone so far?

You have probably all seen this website. If not, go take it for a spin.

Two comments:

  1. It’s overly abstract and vague on all its points. They all sound nice, but are they getting implemented? Did their passing require horrible compromise pork attached to the same bill? Simple example: Gitmo. The site basically claims that he closed it. Well, he didn’t.
  2. It’s a nice reminder that in spite of the administration failing to be the progressive administration we had dreamed of, and often also failing to be even competent at driving a marginally populist agenda, it is still way, way better than what a republican administration would have been.

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An amazing tweet on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

I haven’t been following the DADT issue super closely, but was surprised and pleased by this pointed tweet:

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A couple autumn Obama Letdowns

Read ’em and weep.

1. Government Seeks Back Door Into All Our CommunicationsAdministration Seeks Easy Access To Americans’ Private Online Communications

The Obama administration is seeking to expand the government’s ability to conduct invasive surveillance online, according to a report in The New York Times today. According to the report, the administration is expected to submit legislation to Congress early next year that would mandate that all online communications services use technologies that would make it easier for the government to collect private communications and decode encrypted messages that Americans send over texting platforms, BlackBerries, social networking sites and other “peer to peer” communications software.

2. Robert Gibbs, hypocritical transparency crusader

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