Tag Archives: Obama

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

Healthcare reform becomes a law today.

The liberal in me thinks this falls short of where we need to be, that it’s a giveaway to the insurance industry (whose stocks led the rally on wall street yesterday), that without single-payer it won’t change the fundamentals of the health insurance business, that it’s essentially the same plan the Republican party offered up in the early 1990s, or the same plan Mitt Romney signed into law in MA.

The pragmatist in me, though, knows this is a big win for President Obama, and the Democrats. The optics on this are huge — it’s a win, and in American politics, winning is what matters.

More importantly, after eight years of an administration whose “accomplishments” were bombing a country that did nothing to us, and torturing people, we finally have a government whose first major accomplishment is providing a safety net for our fellow Americans. Not perfect, but a start.

Credit where credit is due: This is a big win for President Obama.

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Anniversary of the Guantanamo Closure Executive Order

One year ago:

President Obama signed executive orders Thursday directing the Central Intelligence Agency to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year, government officials said.

One year later:

…the Obama administration is still struggling to find the political muscle, diplomatic dexterity and cash from Congress to implement those tough, often unpopular decisions about the remaining detainees.

As one of his very first acts as president, Obama signed an executive order to close the military prison for terror suspects within a year. The one-year mark arrives Friday, and he will miss it by a wide margin, likely a year or more.

And no help from fellow Dems:

President Barack Obama’s Republican foes unveiled legislation Thursday aiming to restrict his ability to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees overseas, notably to places like Yemen.

The measure, unveiled on the eve of what was once Obama’s target date for closing the notorious facility, was unlikely to attract enough support from the president’s Democratic allies to become law.

Just another in a series of letdowns.

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Nobel Prize Aside…

OK, the NPP is terrific, but we’re still getting nowhere fast on stopping the excesses of the prior administration’s privacy intrusions:

As a Senator, Obama favored raising the standard for issuing an NSL to require a link between the records sought and a terrorist, spy, or other agent of a foreign power. Yet the Obama Administration opposed an even weaker standard – one that would require that the government draft an internal statement of “specific and articulable facts” showing that the information sought was somehow relevant to an investigation. Instead, according to the deliberations of the Judiciary Committee, the Administration favored a mere relevance standard…As Senator, Obama supported an amendment to raise the standard for issuing a Section 215 order to require a link between the records sought and a terrorist, spy, or other agent of a foreign power. The Obama Administration opposed this very change to the PATRIOT Act, dooming its prospects in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The piece is from Leslie Harris, over at HuffPost; please read the whole thing. It’s worth it.

As always, you can follow GetFISARight for more.

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Obama’s Critics

Thers, over at Whiskey Fire, makes an astute observation:

There’s a kind of bias that comes from paying too close attention to the news cycle, with who “wins the week,” and so forth, and this often causes miscalculations — to keep it simple, Obama just is not threatened right now. No matter how many “gaffes” he makes, or is pretended to have made, so what? The GOP has nobody and nothing, and can’t take advantage of them.

The joke is that Obama probably is politically vulnerable right now, but from the left, which is where the genuinely substantive criticism is coming from. That the Liberal Media is unable to even imagine such a reality tells you everything you need to know about our ridiculous public discourse.

I agree!

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The best explanation of the Rick Warren issue

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. As many others have said, the fundamental problem with involving Rick Warren in the inauguration isn’t because of his anti-progressive, homophobic beliefs per se — it’s because under the pretense of having a Big Tent, Obama has accepted someone who very actively campaigned to make a Smaller Tent (in the case of Proposition 8).

Obama knows this now and he knew it before he selected Warren. Jane Hamsher sums up the phenomenon nicely at the end of this piece on CNN:

[Obama] very much knew that it was going to happen, and that’s why I think it’s a very cynical move … This patten is arising, where Obama does things to actively anger the left, and then when leftists do get upset, the right gets happy, and then he tries to avoid the cannon fire. But I think it is the move of a very cynical politician.

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Letdown: No More Special Taxes for Oil Companies

In the short term, this is a minor and perhaps understandable letdown, but a letdown nonetheless. From Salon:

In June, during his campaign for presidency, Barack Obama promised that he would institute a “windfall profits tax” on US oil companies. “I’ll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we’ll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills,” he said at the time.

Of course, crude was above $140 a barrel back then, and U.S. consumers were shelling out nearly $4 for a gallon of gas. Now, with crude prices having dropped more than $100 a barrel, Obama has apparently given up on his idea.

Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle reported that the American Small Business League noticed that language referring to the policy has been removed from the Obama transition team Web site, Change.gov.

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