Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The President Who Does Not (Want To) Get It

One of these days, if and when I get past the unbelievable sense of disappointment, I might get around to commenting on the stupidity and the lack of empathy of a president who, after treating the people who were instrumental in his election like the drunk at the other end of the counter, tells them that they are irresponsible and that they should buck up (after his chief of staff called them retarded, and his press secretary called them the professional left-wing, or something to that effect.)

In the meantime, I am going to leave it at Greg Sargent's eloquent rebuke of the White House and its tone deafness on what progressives are "whining about."

OK, I can't resist the urge, such is the level of my frustration and impatience with this White House: The President and the Vicepresident are either playing dumb, or they are dumb altogether, when they say that folks like me are whining because we did not get everything we wanted. (Or, an even scarier and more offensive prospect, "change you can believe in" was all about misdirection.)

I, as many folks like me, am not complaining because I did not get everything I wanted: I am complaining because I did not get anything I wanted.

Obama's appointments have been dis-appointments, from Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor on the Supreme Court, to Tim Geithner and Larry Summers at the helm of the economic ship.

The advice the President has gotten from his Chief of Staff has been dismal, with plenty of critics coming out of the woodwork now that Rahm Emanuel is on his way out, if this Financial Times article is to be believed.

Obama's approach on health care and financial reform, in pursuit of the mirage of Republican support, was comparable in ineptitude and lack of foresight to Neville Chamberlain's foreign policy. He gave up his negotiating strong points before the negotiations even began. The common thread in both instances is the choice of leaving the foxes (Republicans and Democrats) in charge of the hen-house. The last thing I wanted was more insurance involvement in health care, and that is exactly what we got. No price-controls, no meaningful bans on rescissions (you will see), no public option. In financial reform, no caps on credit card interest rates, no sensible barriers to the size of financial institutions, no meaningful help for people in financial distress. The list could go on for pages, but I am too frustrated and too upset to continue.

If the President and his advisors have any sense left in them, they will realize that his favorability ratings have tanked, the Democrats' prospects are grim for November, and my sentiments about his presidency are shared by many, not because we are whiners, but because we thought we had elected not Anthony Robbins, but FDR. And our discontent is not due to a single factor, but to the sum of the President's actions over the two years since we celebrated the most exhilarating moment in recent political history.

If the President's goal was to appease his enemies, he is fighting a losing battle, and a mighty foolish and hopeless one. And if his desire to appease them is so overwhelming that he will go to any lengths, including insulting the intelligence of those who most believed in him, without ever throwing them a bone, he will be a one-term president, and deservedly so.

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