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Lee Gottlieb

I have to admit that after Obama became president, for a long while I couldn't make up my mind whether he was a good guy or a bad guy. All I knew was that he made more than a few surprising appointments.

I'm truly surprised that so few Americans have bothered to research Senator Obama's record as a Chicago machine politician.
He never made a vote that harmed the Chicago Establishment, and now he doesn't make decisions that will truly upset the republic's national Establishment.

Need more be said other than that neither political party seems to be concerned with the welfare of America's working families.

PW

Lee, have you read Bacevich's new book, "Washington Rules..." It lays out precisely who the establishment is. I think you're right about Obama. But just about any candidate faces the same necessity: go along to get along. If we're going to do something about America's working families, we are going to have to do it ourselves!

Curiously, Obama urged that in his inauguration address.

Sam Holloway

PW, I've understood one thing about Obama, especially since his big speech at the Dem convention some years ago. He's a good talker. Not a great talker, mind you, but a good talker. He doesn't have to even be a great talker, much less perform any vigorous policy action, because today's liberals and progressives are fairly worthless on the whole. We can probably agree more or less on whether today's teabaggers are more willfully gullible than yesterday's, or whether their right-wing shepherds have better tools and deeper pockets.

But I think a larger problem is one that is represented by Obama's empty rhetorical challenge from his inaugural address: he knows, as do his corporate and wealthy backers, that the liberal and progressive base (such as it is) stood by and watched a stolen election in 2000, and there was no electoral groundswell to oppose the subsequent criminal enterprise that was the Bush administration. Maybe too many liberals are too deeply invested in the illusory benefits of consumerist empire; whatever the reason, if an empty, imperialist, pro-corporate suit like Obama is the best they could (enthusiastically) come up with as an answer to Bushism, then I can't regard American liberalism with anything higher than a smirking contempt.

Long story short, PW: I agree 100% with your prescription. But I think the medication's recipe will have to include showing the corrupted Democratic Party that there are other places to take progressive votes.

sliderossian

I think most true progressives are as disgusted with this president as a right-of-center triangulator who has a thing for powerful, wealthy people, no matter what their party or platform. His crowing about the health care joke of legislation is a perfect example of how to NOT be a progressive or a true leader concerned for the middle class. Give one to the people, 400 to the rich.

Real progressives want a president whose eyes are fixed on the problems of the masses, not the problems of wealthy industrialists and their families. In almost every decision Obama has claimed victory for, there is a solid element of status quo which sickens the heart and pollutes any chance of true progressive ideals becoming reality.

Jack J.

One can only imagine what complaints you people would have today if McCain and Palin had won the presidency and vice-presidency.

I'd say not many because most of you would have blown your brains out by now.

PW

Thanks, Sam. It's not pleasant to admit to having an almost permanent expression of smirking contempt, but there it is and there I am, too. I promise, when we get together over a beer, I'll smile if you'll smile!

You've probably already seen the Lessig TED talk on "Remix." If not, see it. It probes one area of concern and reveals the hypocrisy of the left.

PW

Beats me why someone like Jack J. (and there are a lot of 'em out there!) bothers to post something which is merely nasty, intentionally destructive, and empty of ideas.

Oh wait, I get it! That's the problem with self-styled "conservatives" these days. Nasty, intentionally destructive, and empty of ideas.

Zach

I think maybe Jack's point is that Obama, while far from progressive, is about a million times better than what we would have had under McPalin. That doesn't mean we have to sit by idly and be complacent, but it is good to reflect on the bullet we deflected and realize that we've made SOME progress.

PW

You've got a point there, Zach!

Seriously for a moment, I haven't changed my belief about Obama's political beliefs at all. I think the only difference between now and the campaign is his manner, his style. But showed himself early on in the campaign -- and in his books -- to have political beliefs which stretch right across the conservative (genuine, not self-styled) to progressive. With which I sympathize.

Many progressives read into Obama's politics a much more progressive position than he ever embraced. From the get-go -- as US senator -- he has shown himself to be an institutionalist of the first order with progressive sympathies but not a progressive mind-set. Not at all.

Go back and read Ken Silverstein's portrait of the new Senator in the ?11/06? Harper's. Break down the sources of the money he got to run for the presidency. It's not that he fooled the progressives; it's that many progressives willed him into being their ideal candidate.

You can find some quotes from and a link to the Harper's piece here.

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