Meh Culpa

My letter to “Organizing America” the former Obama campaign site

(Written while unsubscribing, as a protest.)

I am not a Democrat.

I was a Democrat for a little over 30 years–until Diane Feinstein started acting and voting like a Republican. I told her I would never vote for her again and I won’t.  My point? Barack the president seems to have forgotten the promises he made as Barack the candidate. I have never seen such timid leadership in my life. No, wait:  the Democrats have behaved in such a manner all the way through the Bush administration. They kowtowed to the Republicans (who played serious hardball) while there was a big, wistful to-do in the MSM over “bipartisanship” that never happened because the Republicans were nasty and excluded the Democrats from almost every opportunity to make a difference. Perhaps the Democrats and Barack the president believe they should take the alleged high road and refuse to behave as the Republicans did.

With all solemnity, I adjure you… Now is not the time to abandon progressive ideals because a minority of crazy, hard right, radical Republicans–who don’t have much of a party left, mind you–are playing up the rhetoric and the lies and inflaming the wingnut populace against the president’s erstwhile agenda, inciting the crazies to riot and possibly to assassination.

Elegance and grace will not give us single payer and/or a public option or even decent health care. Besides, it would appear Barack the president and the rest of the Democrats have given up on both. If events unfold as I see they might, the insurance companies will realize even more profits if health insurance is mandated. How middle class and lower class Americans will pay, I don’t know. Tax deductions will not help. They are actually rather worthless. Americans need real help, upfront.

I cannot tell you how sickened I am with the current state of affairs. Single payer (with an option to retain private health insurance as is possible in the UK) is the right thing to do. Allowing Blue Dogs to mark this territory and bark orders to the rest of us is absolutely the wrong thing to do, and slightly insane into the bargain. While Teddy Kennedy was alive, you had a majority and you could have passed a good bill that contained both. Now all you have is mush.

What we Americans needed was an FDR on the economy and an LBJ on civil rights and health care. This administration hasn’t come close to giving us either one. What I see is a money-grubbing party that’s still beholden to big business, a party without backbone.  It’s appalling, truly.

And it’s not just health care. Barack the candidate was worrisome when he voted on FISA. But Barack the president has abandoned all principle on warrantless wiretapping as well as in legal cases concerning Guantanamo detainees, doing precisely what the Bush administration did before him, or worse. Barack the president did not seek to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He has left it to Congress, whose members will do nothing, ever. Barack the president has set up another Guantanamo in Bagram, and created an environment where anything will go by alleging that because Bagram is not on American soil (WTF?! It’s a US air base! Does that mean McCain isn’t really a US citizen? Hmph.), people detained there will have no right to habeas corpus let alone any Constitutional right to due process within the US legal system.  Barack the president still allows extraordinary rendition.  Barack the president has allowed the same people who destroyed the economy (think Wall Street investment bankers, Goldman Sachs, the New York Reserve, and the Fed) to retain control over the economy. Nothing has changed in that respect. Barack the president doesn’t want to do anything about the Bush administration higher-ups who approved torture and created an ethos where it could thrive and become even more twisted than Gen. Miller and John Yoo originally planned. Barack the candidate wanted to remove us from theaters of war while Barack the president is digging in in Afghanistan.

Barbara Boxer might give me hope, but it’s not yet clear she won’t do what she’s told by the White House, by the so-called Democratic leadership, or by the insurance and drug companies. But Barack the president and the rest of his administration? No, I have no hope at all.

I’m writing in the hortatory subjunctive now:  Look to your principles once more, recall the promises you made and work to fulfill them. Think of the people who voted for you, Barack & Company. Think about why they voted for you. It wasn’t simply your “soaring rhetoric,” you made promises that voters wanted kept. I urge you to reconsider your path, which thus far is filled with so many broken promises (after only nine months!). Remember that we who voted you and other Democrats into office can just as easily vote you out of office. Or, as in my case, simply not vote at all. There is no one worth voting for anymore.

Ignore me at your political peril. You will fail otherwise. A pity, but it’s true.

Sincerely yours–

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September 8, 2009 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Abu Ghraib, Afghan War, Afghanistan, Bagram, banks, Bush administration, civil liberties, Congress, corruption, Defense, Democrats, Due process, Economy, far right, Federal Reserve, Foreign policy, gay rights, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, habeas corpus, human rights, Iraq War, Obama, Obama administration, politics, Republicans, torture, Treasury, US Constitution, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bush Hands McCain A Bone

The White House said yesterday that it was McCain’s idea that the presidential candidates to get together with Bush. So Bush obligingly recalled both McCain and Obama to Washington for whatever you call a tête-à-tête when there are three people involved instead of two. A good citizen comes running when the president beckons, so Obama said he’d go. Reluctantly, no doubt.

McCain has said he’d suspend his campaign so as to handle the bailout crisis–as if there aren’t ninety-eight ninety-seven (I forgot about Biden) other senators in D.C. already doing just that. McCain’s also tried to put off the debate tomorrow evening, but it only looks as if he’s running scared. Or hoping the bailout crisis will be mostly over by the time another debate can be scheduled. Obama, on the other hand, said tomorrow was an opportune time for a debate because the American people deserve to know what their next president plans on doing about the financial mess we’re in. Presumably, Obama can unveil a specific plan at the debates and show McCain up. Maybe not, but there’s always that possibility.

Politically, this is not a great time for McCain to debate Obama. The economy is, he has admitted, not his forte. Chances are, he doesn’t know what a credit default swap is, or why it was a bad thing. Not only that, his best buddy, former senator Phil Gramm, sponsored the 1999 bill that put an end to bank regulations created during the Great Depression to avoid a calamity such as the one we’re currently facing. And McCain thought Mr. Gramm should be president. (Imagine that!) McCain, an almost career-long deregulator himself, probably would need to duck quite a few volleys at the debate.

It’s no great stretch for Republicans to (cynically) call McCain a hero for setting aside his personal interest–you know, that whole “Country First” agenda they’re so proud of–to save America from his own party, those deregulating, trickle-down folks who idolize their hero Ronald Reagan. Oh well. Maybe some of the Republicans will mean it, but clearly McCain’s idea was politically motivated, as just about everything has been since his loss to Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign. Despite being royally dissed at the RNC, Bush still has enough party loyalty to hand McCain a bone. And whether or not McCain attends the debate, Obama maintains the show must go on. Too bad for McCain the kerfluffle makes Obama look like an expert–juggler, that is.

I can’t wait for the political cartoons.

September 25, 2008 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Economy, politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s That Black Thing Again

While at lunch, I saw a new McCain TV ad accusing Obama of being advised by the CEO of Fannie Mae.  I’m looking for the ad and will bring it to you shortly now.

What’s interesting:

It came out yesterday that McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, has been taking money from Freddie Mac. The campaign lied about Davis’s connection as well the fact that Davis was taking money as late as last month. Oops.

Here’s Rachel Maddow and Michael Isikoff of Newsweek on the Davis Connection:

Yeah, it’s that black thing: pot, kettle.

Oh, but wait, there’s more!

Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post’s FactChecker* reports that Franklin Raines, the former CEO of Fannie Mae–who is, coincidentally, a black man, which plays well to America’s racist underbelly–denies ever being an adviser to Sen. Obama. Bill Burton of the McCain campaign clarified the matter by saying the campaign hadn’t asked for or received any advice or information from Raines. The Obama campaign has consulted a veritable Who’s Who of intellectual overachievers: Robert Reich, Bill Galston, Austan Goolsbee, Jeff Liebman, David Cutler.

Any Raines? Nope, no Raines.

Hey, so maybe the McCain campaign was indulging in a little projection?


* Not to be confused with FactCheck.org, one of the sites on the McCain campaign’s S-list. For telling the truth, ironically.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Economy, politics, race | , , | Leave a comment