Left Wing Radical?
Barack Obama is - at best - an ever-so-slightly, left-leaning centrist. He is not a Liberal. Neither were Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for that matter. With Democrats like these guys, who the hell needs Republicans? The last true "Liberal" to occupy the Oval Office was Lyndon B. Johnson. Had it not been for the Vietnam war (which irreparably harmed his legacy) Johnson, I believe, would today be remembered as one of the greatest presidents of the twentieth century - second only to the heavyweight champion of American Liberalism, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
NOW IT CAN BE TOLD!
The New Deal was packed-to-the-rafters with Left Wing Radicals. These were men (and one woman - Francis Perkins) with a serious agenda. Their main concern was for the welfare of the common man and woman. Not until (and not since) Johnson's Great Society a generation later would the betterment of the American people be the chief focus of the executive branch of our government.
There aren't many people left who even remember the Great Depression. All but a few of them have since passed on. A child born on the day the stock market crashed in 1929 would have turned eighty this past October 29. The problem is that hardy anyone alive today has a first-hand appreciation of what true progressive policies might mean for this doomed country - if only they were allowed to be put into practice in 2010. Liberalism saved America once. It could do it again. If only....
If only we who are blinded by the extremes which now run rampant through our national political discourse could wake up to the possibilities of real government "of the people, by the people, for the people", we might actually see the day where we become that mythical shining city on a hill. At the moment I'm not too optimistic. It's going to take a catastrophic shit storm to wake this silly country from the coma it's been snoozing under for the last three decades.
If only the electorate would come to appreciate the fact that they have been played for suckers by both parties for too many years to even count. The politicians don't even try to hide this fact anymore. They know only too well that the "informed citizenry" envisioned by the likes of Jefferson, Franklin and Adams are too obsessed with their ipods and reality TV shows to give a hoot-in-hell about the workings of their representatives.
If only the silly American people would stand up and heed the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:
"Governments are instituted among men [and women!], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it...."
If only we could have kept our government out of the hands of blind reactionaries, hellbent on the accumulation of financial profit for the very few at the expense of the needs of the many.
If only assholes like Mitch McConnell would just go away.
A year ago tonight I was looking forward with great anticipation to the presidency of Barack Obama. I thought that this may very well be the "new age" that I have been looking forward to for most of my life. What a difference a year makes. Thus far, as you might imagine, I have felt let down by this president. That is why it is so funny to see him labeled by the Right a "radical socialist". If Obama were half as radical as the Conservative media is trying to portray him, people like me wouldn't be one tenth as disappointed in him as we are.
Don't misunderstand, I am still grateful that he was elected last year. I thank God every day that John McCain will not be sleeping in the Executive Mansion tonight and that Fascist Barbi will not be a heartbeat away from the presidency. While it is true that he has not yet given us the "change we can believe in", it is still too early in his term to make any final assessment. There is some time for optimism - although that time is dwindling rapidly. Still, the alternative to Obama's election last year is just too weird to even contemplate. We should be grateful for that - I guess - and for the fact that Dick Cheney is no longer running the country. Oh, and speaking of Dick Cheney....
"As I watched the events of the last few days, it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think that if he has a low-key response to [the attempt to blow up an airliner] that we won't be at war."
Richard B. Cheney
GOOD NEWS! Someday Dick Cheney is going to go away, I promise you that. Is that the best argument du jour he can come up with regarding Obama - that he does not express sufficient emotion or anger? That he is too cerebral? Isn't that what we want in a president? In this way he is much like Jack Kennedy. The angriest statement JFK ever made while president was when he lashed out at "the utter contempt" of the executives at U.S. Steel toward the American people. But even in this instance, Kennedy's tone was measured and restrained. He was not a man given to freaking out. Seriously, would we like a repeat of the shoot-from-the-hip, cowboy idiocy of the Bush/Cheney years? Look at all the good that did us. Obama's seeming, contemplative demeanor is one of the things about the man that reassures me. Call it a silly quirk in my psychological make up, but I like my presidents to think things through. What can I tell you, I'm kind of funny that way.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said of the American Plutocracy, "They hate me and I welcome their hatred." Obama needs to take a cue from FDR. Instead of trying to "reach out" to the right wing, he needs to understand that they are not his friends; that their political fortunes rest on a single strategy: that his administration is a complete failure. They don't care a thing for the welfare of the people they are supposed to represent. The only thing that concerns them is the corporate constituency they act as handmaidens for. You would think that after almost a year in office the president would have learned this lesson, wouldn't you? Perhaps he has. We shall see.
by Robert Kuttner