Not up to par

Like many other liberal people, I pinned a lot of hope on the dramatic change from a Bush administration to an Obama one as being the end of several policy directions that I saw as abhorrent.

Unlike many people on “the left”, I was consciously being rational about my expectations. I knew that Obama intended to govern as a “centrist”1 and that he wasn’t going to immediately undo everything of Bush’s that I disagreed with.

But… even discounting my expectations with a hard dose of rationalism, it’s really getting to the point where I’m disappointed not in a “huh, that’s more pragmatic than I would have liked” way, but rather in a “OK, seriously, HAVE A PRINCIPLE” way.

I think it started with the “covering up abuse photos” thing; there had been many things before that, but that was the first one that really made me wonder if there was too much pragmatism going on, and really not enough idealism.

Or maybe it was defending DOMA in court. That’s just bullshit.

There have been lots of other cases, but just lately it seems like the flood is unending.

He’s keeping the practice of rendition, but a nicer rendition with no torture (which does kind of beg the question of why prisoners need to be removed from US soil, if nothing illegal in the US would happen to them…)

He’s keeping, and possibly expanding, Bush’s crazy All You Data Is Belong To Me border strategy. (Truecrypt represent, yo.)

And now he’s explicitly extending several of the more disturbing components of the Patriot Act.

Again, those aren’t the only things, but the number of straws on the camel’s back at this point is frankly spine-threatening.

No, I don’t wish the election had gone the other way–if this is where we end up with the smart, sane, centrist President, I hesitate to imagine where we would have ended up with Old Angry Guy and Crazy Narcissist Incompetent–but damn, I am now officially disappointed in Obama.

Oh, and since I’m being all judging, the fact that none of these things generated the same level of national media attention as Obama calling Kanye a jackass–and why shouldn’t he? Dude is a jackass.–is an absolute indictment of American democracy.

  1. For American values of “centrist”, which of course looks pretty “right” from where I’m standing, of course.(back)

  3 comments for “Not up to par

  1. September 17, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Add dragging his feet in Honduras, and that looks like a fine list to me.

  2. Lachlan O'Dea
    September 17, 2009 at 3:06 am

    I didn’t know about some of those, thanks.

    It really is bizarre – he’s liked by Bush haters and hated by Bush fans. But if you compare them in policy terms, it’s hard to spot the difference. Stem Cell research…? Also, Obama’s rhetoric is often identical to Bush’s, but no one seems to mind as long as he doesn’t have a Texas accent.

    The most frustrating thing is that many of the repressive Bush-initiated policies are also completely ineffective. Maintaining them can’t even be justified on the basis of pragmatism, e.g. searching laptops at the border.

  3. Kira
    September 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Add his full faith and credit of Bernanke consolidating money and power in the few financial giants (from what I understand, JP Morgan and others exploited the situation to get richer) and you have indeed a fine list. Like you I was attempting to be measured in my expectations and didn’t realize I was voting for a Republican.

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This work by Chris McLaren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada.