Friday, November 05, 2010

One Fundamental Thing

I think the silliest thing, and the saddest, that Obama said in his post-election speech was, “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we forgot to change the way we got things done.” That, more than anything else, illustrates to me that he has no idea why 14 million young people who helped put him in office stayed home this time and helped create the “shellacking” that his party got this year.

Either that or he is just an unvarnished, unmitigated bs artist.

Glenn Greenwald and Cenk Uygur were on Dylan Ratigan yesterday, and their discussion made some really telling points. It’s worth listening to and the discussion, while at times animated, is very civil and pleasant. No transcript is available, so the quotes may not be entirely accurate.

Cenk Uygur points out the that during the campaign “Obama didn’t fill those stadiums; millions of voters who were hungry to change the way government is done filled those stadiums.” Indeed, and they looked to Obama to be the agent of that change because that is what he was promising to do. He goes on to be more specific, saying that, “we did not send Obama to Washington to do specific things, health care reform, etc, those things are fine, but they are not the goal. We sent Obama to Washington to change the way those things are done.”

Of all the individual policies that he has failed to implement, supporters are pointing to his campaign and saying that he never really promised to do those things; he never campaigned on the “public option” for instance. The most loyal Obamatron cannot claim that he did not promise to “change the way government is done in Washington.”

Obama then engages in deal making with everyone in sight from day one. His signature issue, health care reform, started with three secret presidential deals with the drug, hospital and insurance companies and moved on to twelve full months of deal making in Congress. Obama then comes up with, “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we forgot to change the way we got things done.” A year of catfighting was a hurry?

That’s sort of like saying, “I was in such a hurry to get out of town that I forgot to start the car.” You forgot, Mister President, to do the one fundamental thing that we sent you to Washington to do.

Glenn Greenwald debunks the idea that the problem is an impatient electorate, that changing Washington takes time. He points out that the problem is that Obama is not even trying to change Washington. “Everything he does is by means of secret meeting with the very lobbyists who he vowed to disempower. Everything he does serves to further entrench the existing system.” Exactly right.

He suggests that if Obama were fighting battles and losing them because he was in the process of changing the system then those who elected him would be as patient as need be, and I believe he is right. But he has not tried, and I am among those who are beginning to believe that he never had any intention of doing so.

1 comment:

bruce said...

I was skeptical that he could "change Washington".... one of the largest problems, fears, whatever was that I thought that Washington would consume him, or he'd be subsumed by it. Who'd have thought that?

dum de dum dum.....

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