Saturday, February 13, 2010

Howard Dean Is Right: Obama Isn't Tough Enough-- Democrats Need A Spine Transplant


Doomed from the first day-- Emanuel only knows how to be tough with liberals

This morning I read a sad editorial by Michael Payne at OpEd News, Barack Obama has severely crippled his presidency and the Democrat Party. I get a sense that Michael is expressing what millions of Americans-- primarily, though not exclusively, the ones that voted for Senator Obama in 2008-- are thinking or will soon be thinking.
The stage was set, the expectations high; he entered office with a clear mandate from the people of America who also gave him control of both houses of the U.S. Congress. Millions of Americans were in a state of euphoria, eagerly awaiting the birth of a new era in this nation; anticipating the start of a massive cleansing process that would erase the previous eight years of deceit and lies.

America eagerly waited for that cleansing process to begin and then nothing happened, there has been no cleansing process, and the dark days that this nation had experienced during the years when Bush/Cheney ruled were not swept away by a creative, visionary agenda that would begin the transformation of America.

Instead we got notorious Wall Street shills like Rahm Emanuel and Lawrence Summers put in charge of economic and domestic policy and a continuation of the discredited Bush foreign policies wrapped in snazzier paper... and what looks more and more like incompetence in everything the administration attempts. Bush had no mandate whatsoever and was probably not even legally elected. Obama had a virtual landslide with a huge mandate. Bush ran the country as though the whole nation was behind him; Obama seems scared of his own shadow, as though, down deep in the depths of his soul, he's internalized the Republican talking points that he isn't a legitimate president regardless of what the voters said in 2008. He wants to govern by consensus, although the opposition has clearly stated their only goal is to make sure he fails at everything he tries.

When is he going to tough up and be the leader we thought we were electing. Apparently, not soon. When even the mainstream media started realizing GOP mass and mindless blocking of all of his nominations was looking a little over the top, Obama meekly threatened to use the recess appointment powers presidents have-- and which Bush used liberally-- to overcome the latest spate of pork-hungry filibusterers from the Old Confederacy. The result-- Miss McConnell deigning to allow a few of the nominees he judged to be uncontroversial pass-- was celebrated by the White House as a success... instead of like the disgrace it was. Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, saw exactly what it was-- and he explained it at Huffington Post yesterday:
Senate Republican obstructionists are working overtime to block the interests of working people. Today we hear the White House and Senate have cut a deal with Republicans that will keep President Obama's nominees off the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for even longer.

The NLRB's job is to protect workers' rights-- but for more than two years it has been functioning with only two members instead of the five it should have. Working people need an NLRB that can enforce the National Labor Relations Act-- not one hobbled by vacancies.

President Obama's nominees-- Craig Becker and Mark Pearce-- are highly qualified, well-respected labor lawyers who were nominated seven months ago, in July.

But Senate Republicans have ignored the working people they represent and blocked the appointments.
Yesterday, in a deal with the Republican minority, the Senate confirmed 27 non-controversial Obama appointees. The White House apparently has agreed not to make Presidents Day recess appointments-- a process that allows the president to temporarily appoint his own nominee while Congress is out of session. That means NLRB nominees-- and working people-- are out in the cold.

A big win for the Republicans. A big win for corporations that want to file down the teeth of the NLRB. A big loss for working people... President Obama has to end this farce... [and g]ive recess appointments to Craig Becker and Mark Pearce during the Presidents Day recess so the NLRB can do its job.

Trumka is being very respectful of the president and the presidency. Most progressives are. But that could start changing very soon. In fact, I think it probably will. Beyond the apparent symbolism-- perhaps the best we can hope for anymore-- Obama was the wrong man at the wrong time. Obviously a better choice than John McCain but I don't know a single person who isn't wondering how Hillary Clinton would have done as president. And imagine if we had had it together to elect a proven friend of working families... like Howard Dean:

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At 6:47 PM, Blogger lawguy said...

The only thing that convinced me to vote for him was Sarah Palin, otherwise I suspect I woud have set it out.

Don't forget that he favored and voted for TARP with no controls and voted for the Patriot Act both while running for president. At this point it looks like the democratic campaign slogan in 2010 will be: "Well It Could Be Worse."

I'm not sure that McCain would have been much worse. It looks like Obama's poised to go after Social Security and one might ask Trumka how that card check promise is working out.

The interesting thing is that he appears to be personally popular with the average voter, much like Clinton. A lot of good that will do most of us or the democrats in general.

I suspect that Obama just lied through his teeth as a candidate. His gifts to the banks and to PhARMA show that.

The question is what do we do now? I wish I knew.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

The problem is not so much Obama's spine, but how much leeway Obama has with the actual rulers.

The example I have used was the FISA legislation in 2008 (when Obama flipflopped after the Secret Service turned off the metal detectors IN DALLAS and his plane had "mechanical difficulties"). The Republicans, who were almost positively going to lose the White House, gave the NSA all sorts of invasive powers, powers that could be used to spy on them.

Why would the Repubs vote for this power to be handed over to the soon-to-be Democratic Administration? Because that power doesn't accrue to Democrats. It accrues to the NSA. The President doesn't have power over the NSA. Nor does he have power over the military. Nor does he have power over the Department of State or the Department of Justice either.

These units of the Executive Branch are no longer under the control of the President. The military clearly has been able to dictate its budget for decades. Intelligence agencies function without Presidential control.

The long short, having a Democrat in the WH is an opportunity for anyone paying attention to recognize where actual power in our government lies. The President is only a figurehead and elections are pretty much just a distraction from the actual business of the plutocracy.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Don't fall into the trap of thinking a Hillary Clinton presidency would be some bastion of progressivism. She IS a member of "The Family" and the DLC after all.

It's very easy to say "What if..." and turn her into something she never was. We've already done that with Obama (except I didn't...I supported Edwards in the primaries, which shows you what I know).


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