I like to think that no one was more engaged and energized than I was during the 2008 Presidential campaign and election. I followed the primaries, the conventions and the debates like never before. I was never more proud to cast my vote for a Presidential candidate than I was when I cast my vote for Barack Obama. It was such a good feeling to vote for someone rather than against the other candidate. After all, my first political memory was seeing Richard Nixon resign on television when I was 9 years old.

That being said, I am having more and more trouble reconciling the chasm between Candidate Obama and President Obama. More and more people seem to be having this trouble with each passing day. In the span of two years, Barack Obama has gone from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Walter Mitty.

As Candidate Obama, he bragged to us how he would end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. It was one of the cornerstones of his campaign. But now, he’s perverted his position by employing weasily lawyer language, saying he’s against “permanently” extending those same tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. No serious political observer is suggesting that these tax cuts for the richest be made permanent. As a matter of fact, Ronald Reagan’s own budget director, David Stockman, is all over the airwaves saying the Bush tax cuts should have never been instituted in the first place, let alone perpetuated. But what does he know, right?

Under the Bush tax cuts, America saw it’s slowest rate of job creation since the end of WWII. If the Bush tax cuts created jobs, unemployment wouldn’t be at 9.8%. Case closed.

If we don’t let them expire now, what reason is there to think they will expire after the next two years, when the GOP’s hand is even stronger. Makes about as much sense as freezing federal workers pay.

It was poetic justice that Obama went into the “Slurpee Summit” with a fat lip as he received the following letter the next day from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“[W]e write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers,” the letter reads. “With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate’s attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.”

After receiving this ransom note, President Obama should have countered this threat with a threat of his own, telling them that the matter of tax cuts wouldn’t even be addressed until the unemployment benefits were extended. This is how you stand up to these kinds of tactics.

Extending unemployment benefits in an economic climate like we have now has never been a political football.  It’s a winning issue and does not need to be used as a bargaining chip to appease the GOP.

President Obama is letting the GOP re-litigate the failed case for trickle-down economics just because he is so afraid taxes will go up on the middle class. Good thing he wasn’t President during the 1995 government shutdown; he wouldn’t have even got a blowjob.

There are those who say Obama isn’t given enough credit for two of his biggest legislative accomplishments: The Stimulus Bill and Health Care.

But both of these signature issues prove exactly my point.

What his defenders ignore, however, is that both bills were sufficiently neutered in order to gain GOP support. In its final form, 1/3 of the Stimulus Bill contained tax cuts; the GOP’s solution to EVERYTHING. When it was passed,the finished product garnered no support from Republicans. So what did this accomplish? The GOP designed it, didn’t vote for it, then trashed it as a failure.

During the Healthcare debate with a majority in every house, President Obama set up a bipartisan commission to reach a consensus on fixing our broken health care system. With a majority in both houses, why did this President put the GOP on equal footing with his own party on such a critical issue? When do Republicans ever do that when they control both houses?  Although poll after poll showed the American people wanted a public option, President Obama threw this away in yet another effort to get Republican votes. And what happened? Not one Republican voted for this bill. Einstein’s definition of insanity comes to mind.

And then came the mid-terms.

The President and his party took what even he called a “shellacking” at the polls. This was just another reward for all of his GOP appeasement. His base stayed home and yet his solution to everything is STILL to treat the Republicans as honest brokers, rather than those bent on his political destruction. As Ted Kennedy once pointed out, we don’t need two Republican parties. If people want to vote Republican, they will vote for the actual Republican, not an incredible simulation.

When will he ever learn?

Mr. President, we voted for Hope and Change. Now we hope YOU change.

If you stand up and fight these bullies, we’ve got your back. It’s not too late.

Comes now the time to find your spine.

  1. NJ Paust
    February 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Respectfully I say, (as one who voted for none of the above last election) – why are you surprised? Didn’t you see that President Obama’s biggest campaign supporters were not *us* on twitter or in the grass roots – it was the BANKERS that he subsequently bailed out at taxpayers expense. It seems impossible for anyone (who becomes POTUS) to fulfill the campaign promises due to the special vested interests. Plus, nobody wants to become the next *Kennedy*…I am sincerely sorry to say this so bluntly…but he just seems like another cog in the wheel.

    Please someone, prove me wrong – I’d be so happy and grateful.

    As an immigrant from Germany (post WW II by less than a decade) who is a U.S. citizen, I can’t begin to articulate my feelings regarding what is happening in this great nation.

  2. Thepragmatist63
    December 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for being the most loyal of my Followers.
    Depending on who I rub wrong from day to day, I gain ’em and lose ’em. But, as a stark realist with labor liberal leanings, I’ve tackled both side, moreso hard right conservatives and their year end, year out (unfunded) “tax cut” propaganda which keeps them in power. It’s phony, but folks buy it. Don’t know when the public will catch on. Thanks again, Bruce Erwin

  3. janice m. hartman
    December 6, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Exactly. I don’t want to pile on but something’s got to give here. The President has got to lift himself out of this funk he’s in and come through. It kills me to see Republicans gloat over their recent wins. They want to rub his face in it and he is allowing it to happen. So unfortunate and disappointing.

  4. December 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Excellent post. I was never expecting Obama to be a “liberal,” as he never was one. Far from being a radical leftist, Socialist etc., he’s a moderate Democrat who leans almost imperceptibly to the left. That didn’t stop me from voting for him, or for Democrats down the line in the midterms, and it won’t stop me from voting for him again in 2012, should he be the nominee. I’m disillusioned, but I’m not stupid. I know even the most moderate Democrat is always a better choice than any Republican.

    I don’t blame him for the economy, or for unemployment, or for the childish and un-American behavior of the Republicans in Congress whose only goal is to see this country fail and its people become as miserable as possible, so they can seize power and once again control every aspect of our private lives.

    However, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that his positions are increasingly UNclear. I am no longer sure where he stands on anything, except that more and more, what he says in his stirring speeches doesn’t match up with the things he does. And for the past two years, I haven’t felt like my party was in the majority, or that my president–a member of that party–has been fighting for me or what I believe in.

    I completely understand what he’s up against; the lies, the racism, the calculated plan to destroy the country so he’s a one-term president, and perhaps the biggest hurdle of all: the Blue Dogs, who have effectively given the Republicans a majority in the Senate, especially when you factor in the new paradigm of “60 votes or nothing gets passed.” I totally get all that, I do. But my feeling is, even if you fail, Mr. President, I want to feel that you went down fighting tooth and nail. I want to feel like you stubbornly stood up for Democratic values and the wishes of your electorate, even if you didn’t succeed. I want to see every lie publicly debunked, every misleading story publicly refuted. And I’m just not getting that from Obama. Republicans, on the other hand, are getting everything *they* want from Obama.

    Sing it, Alanis…

    • NJ Paust
      February 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      Obama is a corporatist, not a socialist and beholden unto the banking interests of this nation. The “Yes We Can” came from the old farm workers movement of Cesar Chavez and their motto “Si se puede.”

      It is unrealistic to think that in this day and age, that anyone can do what’s right for the people, when the special interests have them by the cojones.

  5. Joe
    December 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I’m frustrated with Obama, but I’m still a supporter. By nature, liberals are too damn nice. I wonder what Obama would’ve done if he’d had the true support of his own party. The democrats are a watered-down bunch of dirty dogs.

  6. cat48
    December 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Actually, we needed 3 Republican votes to pass the Stimulus thru the Senate b/c we only had 58 seats then & Kennedy or Byrd was ill. This is always ignored by “supporters.” If the hcr bill was weakened, it was the bluedogs in the Senate who are just like Repugs. He’s the president; not a Dictator. Sorry! The Left has fought this prez & attacked every step of the way & I personally don’t believe anyone “HAS HIS BACK.” HIS BASE DIDN’T VOTE! HE WAS SLAUGHTERED IN THE ELECTION! An adjustment in behavior; a bit of humility might be expected in a mature adult like him right now. Since everyone’s psychoanalyzing the prez, I’ll analyze the base. Things changed Nov 2 and I really don’t see any acknowledgment yet! I just see hissy fits. We begged the House & Senate to vote on tax cuts before the election; but they didn’t want to do that after he had campaigned for it across the Country in 09 & 10/10. The House & Senate refused to take a vote. Only 53 in the Senate voted for Obama plan yesterday. Put the blame where it belongs for a change! There is no Political Capital left to use!

    • Larry Kelly
      December 5, 2010 at 11:11 pm

      I think you make some very good points. That said, I do understand the frustration of those who saw a new Democrat president take office with a filibuster-proof majority in Congress. After two years, not much to show for it, and likely decades before another such oppertunity.

  7. December 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm


    You wax poetic.

    I am getting a lot of High 5’s and a lot of handshaking with your PALIN 2012- 10,000 MAYANS CAN’T BE WRONG sticker down here in Mayalandia. Most actual Mayans just laugh and tell me they would love to see PALIN again on the ticket proving once and for all that all gringos are mad. I am the exception. The Shamans just turn the page in 2012, End of a bactun, one of the long counts.

    What you have written above is both so true and sad.

    Cajones POTUS now.

    Thanks O’Toolefan for your well versed TWEETS

  8. Pam
    December 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm


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