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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3 Comments

Filed under Letdown, politics

3 responses to “Obama Letdown Watch — Final Post

  1. Thank you for this recap. You echo so many of my sentiments. We at GFR have sort of lost steam, too, for whatever reason, at least on that blog.
    Like you, most of us are still engaged. I hope that I—make that we—didn”t fall for a bill of goods in 2008—that it is just harder than can be imagined, and that the crumbs we got were really all that we could get. I am not enough of an insider to know.
    What I do know is that your blog has been very helpful lin getting necessary information out. That you are right that there have been accomplishments, however much we wished for more. And, sadly, that there are some events—or nonevents—that trouble us deeply.
    Be well, my friends, and see you elsewhere on the Web.

  2. Sunday, June 19, 2011
    “Happy Father’s Day, Mr. President…….

    ,,,,,,,Happy Father’s Day to You.”
    You have a beautiful smile, Mr. Obama. You have a beautiful family. That’s about the only positive thing I can say about you. Your presidency has been an utter disaster.

    Did you ever actually believe your own rhetoric? Did you believe you could keep your promises? Because it seems like you never even tried. You hauled in money from the same old vested interests, surrounded yourself with the same old people and advanced the same old policies and priorities. You won the election. The bubble burst. And then came what is called “the day the music died.”
    NO CHANGE AT ALL
    This was “change” we could believe in, all right, because it was the change we always get: No Change At All.
    You never even put up a fight on our behalf, or on behalf of the values you claimed to cherish. For months, your most sincere, ardent, devoted believers waited for you to call on us all to HELP YOU enact the sweeping and fundamental changes that we must have to survive as a functioning democracy. People were ready to rise up, to back you up, to screw up business as usual — and start over, with a mindset of equity, peace, honor and enlightenment.
    RINGY DINGY
    You never called.
    You never called — why not? You knew how much righteousness was out there, committed to what you portrayed as your vision. You knew that we realized it would require effort and sacrifice. You knew we were ready and waiting. You knew we were counting on you to help us save our country and to RECLAIM our country.
    You gave birth to a powerful euphoria, and then you let it die from neglect. Way to go.
    Like George Bush, who famously blew the goodwill of the globe after 9/11, you squandered the finest swelling of American energy and determination and goodness that we have seen in decades. You left it to deflate back into the apathy that had been there before.
    You broke countless hearts, apparently without giving it a second thought..
    GREAT EXPECTATIONS
    Millions had waited at their computers for their marching orders. They held their breath for the moment that your Leadership would flow forth and gather us into a force that the massive interests that RUN THIS COUNTRY could not repel.
    You just stayed in your office, door closed, with all those Wall Street and Pentagon titans and plotted the path that would keep them fully entrenched as The Powers That Be.
    Like some kind of bad-boy tease, you seduced us, and then you dropped us. You dismounted your white horse, and all you could do was stumble around. You are hapless, you are hopeless. Were you some sort of Manchurian candidate?
    SERIOUSLY, WHO ARE YOU?
    Who are you, anyway? Why did you bother? At this point it seems as if it was nothing more than a lark: to see if you could win the presidency. Once you got it, the charisma fell right off, like the ballgown at midnight. The principles you had articulated with such effect were never mentioned again.
    Black people loved you. White people loved you. It was a beautiful thing.
    Then you left us all at the altar and ran off with the Wicked Witch of the Wealth.
    I hated the Bush Administration. I can’t hate you, but I probably should. You lied. You have no balls. Your wife would probably do a better job than you.
    BRING ON THE MOOSE SLAUGHTERER
    Sarah Palin couldn’t do a worse job! Seriously — how could she possibly have created a bigger disaster than what we’ve got? At least it would be amusing to watch the nightly news.
    That positive, sparkling thing you brought out in us has evaporated, disintegrated, died.
    And in its place, we have a furious, mobilized right wing with no countervailing leadership. Those who believed in you have nowhere to go.
    We are in a huge mess in almost every aspect of our nation’s life, and basically EVERYTHING IS GETTING WORSE. Not only did you not stop this decline. Not only did you not fight against this decline. You contributed to this decline.
    A BILLION DOLLARS FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
    As far as I’m concerned, you’ve been a disappointment from the git-go. You single-handedly destroyed campaign finance reform by refusing to participate in the hard-won public-financing system — which was intended to eliminate exorbitant spending — and now we are told your next campaign will be the first billion-dollar steamroller in history. Why do you insist on buying your election? What is the moral framework for that reasoning?
    You must think you’re one of those Teflon politicians who can get away with anything. You’re not. People are watching. People are crestfallen. People are pissed.
    I didn’t see what all the swooning was about, even during the campaign, but I was moved by the joy of those, of all races, who believed in you. I voted for you in a show of solidarity with their happiness and their hope. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have voted at all.
    LET THEM EAT CAKE
    You just couldn’t resist throwing a lavish inaugural extravaganza, despite a brutal economic crisis that afflicted millions across the country. It was funded almost entirely by the very vested interests you told us you would spurn.
    You knew it was unseemly. Surely, it hurt a lot of people’s feelings. You didn’t care. You were so thrilled by your victory that you could have danced all night.
    So you blew it from day one in setting the tone, but people just thought, oh well: we can let this one pass. You missed the opportunity to demonstrate at the outset that things would be different. Your inauguration could have been simple, dignified, inclusive and essentially free. Instead, you were bathed in more Big Money than ever. But it was just a party — pretty harmless, right?
    No: not right.
    HE DID IT FOR THE CHILDREN
    Then you just had to put your girls in private school, insulated by a posh, elitist environment that is like a foreign country to most of your constituents. Of course, we all know your babies are smart and adorable. There are thousands of smart, adorable little black girls in D.C.’s public schools. What message were you sending to them?
    But this, of course, is the minor stuff, although symbolic gestures are powerful. I remember when Jimmy Carter put his daughter in public school and hired a black ex-convict to be her “nanny.” That made me proud.
    Your girls are too good for the outside world and too good for the schools everybody else has to go to. That doesn’t make me proud. In fact, it embarrasses me.
    THIS TOO SHALL PASS
    But that’s just the surface stuff. Across the country, people’s lives are falling down around them. There is so much suffering that it’s mind-blowing. It keeps piling up. Millions of people are looking pretty shell-shocked these days. When everything you’ve ever worked for is in peril, that happens.
    You have done NOTHING to reverse this tragic and terrifying trend. You seem to regard it as an unpleasant little phase that will surely be over soon if we’ll just live in our cars for awhile and be patient, but there is no indication whatsoever that that is the case.
    It is endemic It is progressive. It is global.
    You don’t have the courage to get into the whole haves and have-nots dialogue because all it takes is for one right-wing prick to utter the words “class warfare,” and all your rich friends start having a fit. How dare you call yourself a leader and blithely ignore this most fundamental of issues our country faces? Do you not see the problem? Do you not care?
    WHOOPING IT UP
    The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and you shoot hoops. Where is your passion for the suffering and the deprivation that are everywhere around us, and that are literally built into the status quo?
    “Equal opportunity” has probably never in our history been such a lie.
    We know there is no economic justice in our country, that our rich/poor divide puts us in Banana Republic territory, that we are losing our middle class.
    It shouldn’t require class warfare to rectify the situation — to dramatically alter the discrepancy in incomes — but if it does, BRING IT ON.
    NO MORE POVERTY WAGES!
    String up the bazillionaires if you need to — Tear Down This Wall of all those walled communities — but we have got to redistribute wealth, we have got to give a good day’s pay for a good day’s work, no matter what that work is. There should be NO WORKING POOR. Those who do the dirtiest, most dangerous, boring, low-status work should get a premium. We who have exciting, rewarding, creative, prestigious jobs should give a little up for those who scrub the toilets and dig the ditches.
    There should be no CEOs making 400 times what their workers do. There should be no million-dollar bonuses. There should be no “golden parachutes,” unless all of us get one.
    And there should be no more of these stupid wars that produce nothing but debt, death, corruption and hatred. How is it that all the other countries manage to stay on the sidelines while we stomp all over the globe, blowing everybody up? We are as morally and fiscally compromised by Iraq and Afghanistan as ever, and now you’ve gotten us embroiled pointlessly in Libya. (Just last night, an airstrike destroyed a house in Tripoli occupied by civilians “by accident,” our government admitted.) Our recent incursions into Pakistan, Yemen and Syria will only ignite more hatred and militancy in the Middle East. We face greater threats now, because of these wars, than we did 10 years ago.
    Your own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said this morning that he is “weary of all these wars of choice.” For god’s sakes, there should be no such thing as a war of choice!
    PROFOUND MORAL NEGLIGENCE
    You’re still doing extraordinary renditions, which you know very well involve torture. Guantanamo is still alive and well (actually it’s sick — utterly perverse). You’ve permitted continued expansion of our “national security” apparatus, which infringes on the rights and privacy of all of us.
    You have accelerated the classification of documents that the public has a right to see, and you’ve ordered an unprecedented crackdown on those who dare bring those “secrets” about what our government is doing to light.
    Your Justice Department taken the wrong position on case after case, in blatant violation of the principles you espoused during your campaign. And, as today’s New York Times notes, the F.B.I. — under your “leadership” — is implementing overreaching new rules for surveillance that threaten Americans’ basic rights.
    MORE ASSES IN THE MORASS
    You have overseen the expanded use of contractors whom you know to be ruthless, murderous and corrupt, but who are acting in our name. You continue to glorify our wars and our “warriors” for “defending our freedom,” when in fact they are jeopardizing our freedom and our very lives by engaging some “bad guys” who will never surrender. You need to deal with their grievances, and stop blowing up their wives, their children, their homes and their mosques.
    You have done nothing of consequence to address the national debt, the deficit or the trade imbalance. You haven’t asked the American people to make the sacrifices we all know will be necessary to save ourselves. Everything is falling apart, but you don’t dare raise taxes. We borrow trillions to stalk ‘the enemy’ overseas, but we can’t seem to scrounge up the funds to take care of our own people.
    POISONED WATER, TOXIC AIR
    Even the “gathering threat” of environmental devastation has gotten no attention from your administration. One reform after another has been rejected, delayed or gotten lost in the bureaucracy.
    Somebody said something about health-care reform. I have seen no evidence that anything has happened.
    There was this rumor for a long time that you are articulate. WTF? If someone hands you a well-written speech and a well-functioning teleprompter, you are adequate — on par, I’d say, with a local news anchorman.
    YOU LIKIN’ THEM RIBS, BRO?
    But when you are on your own, you stammer, hesitate, say “you know” incessantly, drag out your “uhs” interminably and get a helpless look in your eyes when you realize (or maybe you don‘t) how limp and lifeless you seem to be. (Your body has caved in, as if it knows what your brain can’t accept: You’re wasting our time). When you’re out among “the plain folks,” you’re as pathetic as Mitt Romney, trying to “relate” with inane remarks (“you likin’ that burger?”), and a lame attempt to inject a bit of black preacher into your tone and cadence. It’s not you, man. You ain’t pullin’ it off, so to speak. You ain’t spent enough time in the ‘hood, you dig? Just give that shit up.
    WHERE ARE YOU?
    In your TV interviews, there’s no force there, no confidence, no substance. There’s no “there” there.
    There is no leadership there.
    There’s no president there.
    But there is a daddy — probably a good one.
    Happy Father’s Day.

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