This is a Leader?

Okay, so it’s only a few days after the election, too early, some would say, to get a bead on where Obama is heading for the next four years. During the entire election cycle, we were hearing from the Obamapoligists that, freed from having  run again, Obama would suddenly become the populist that “we all knew he was.” To my mind, that’s just as much magical thinking as the right believing Obama’s a Socialist. I wish he was!

Well, here are, after the election, and Obama has made his first speech. It was on the “grand bargain” that has to be negotiated between the White House and the Congress on the budget and tax plan, in order to avoid draconian cuts to many different programs, agreed upon last year. A few days ago, Glen Greenwald published an excellent essay on Alternet, wherein he laid-out six steps that this negotiation would probably take, if it was like most of the other negotiations the Obama administration has carried-out with the House and Senate. Here is Greenwald’s prediction of the first step, which Obama and other’s took last week: Continue reading “This is a Leader?”

The Next Four Years – Just Like the Last Four Only More So

It’s four-thirty here in Ajijic, five-thirty in the east, and I was too old to be that naive even four years ago. I let myself get caught-up in the Obama fever, just after the beginning of the primary season. I wanted so badly for the guy to be the real deal, that I didn’t want to hear about his adventures in Illinois, his “career” in the Senate, or in fact anything about his prior history. For all I cared, he could have arrived from another planet six months before.

In 1969, I went to work for an unknown company in Maynard, Massachusetts, called Digital Equipment. They built computers, mini-computers, in a time when the only computers anyone had ever heard of were massive devices that wouldn’t fit in the average supermarket of the day, let alone a private home. I felt that I was a very small part of an industry that was going to change the world — and I was right. There’s a feeling you get when you are in on the ground floor of something like that that’s like no other. You walk around like you know a secret that no one else knows, you would work for them for free, in fact, you would pay them if they asked. I waited for many years to feel that feeling again, and I thought I had it when Obama came on the scene.

I worked tirelessly for the campaign, doing everything a volunteer could do. Knocking on doors, hours on the phone, registering voters, and GOTV activities once balloting started. I thought we were changing the world, especially after eight years of Bush. I had many of the same feelings I had with Digital, and for many of the same reasons. I was convinced, in spite of some contrary evidence, that he would do, or at least try to do the things he campaigned on.

What came of that wasn’t merely disappointment, that’s what we feel when someone doesn’t quite “measure up” to our expectations; what resulted was betrayal — what we feel when someone does the exact opposite of what we expect, as though they had a different agenda from the beginning. Continue reading “The Next Four Years – Just Like the Last Four Only More So”

Obama Takes a Dive?

Judging by some of the comments that followed my last blog post, Obamapoligists are kind of touchy when someone messes with their worldview. I doubt if this one will receive any better a reception among Obama supporters, although it does suggest a credible reason for their man’s miserable performance during the first debate.

I think the generalization can be made that many of our elected officials and most of our Presidents have not been…well…very bright. There are, of course, some notable exceptions: Kennedy comes to mind, the prescient Jimmy Carter, and Clinton, although the latter sold-out to the banking interests, and became the catalyst, if not the cause of the 2008 meltdown. For the most part, we tend to vote for the candidate most like ourselves, at least the one who most reflects our values and worldviews. The results get interesting in a country where large numbers of the electorate are conditioned, almost from birth, to be wary of anyone who appears to be more intelligent, or better educated than themselves.

When Obama came along, I was struck by his calm self-assurance, and quiet self-confidence. I was somewhat reminded of Kennedy, but Obama never had Kennedy’s warmth and personal charm, he appeared somewhat aloof, as though he was above the struggles the rest of us are engaged in. There was a marked contrast between Obama and not only his opponent, but his predecessor as well.  Obama was intelligent, articulate, and a hell of an orator.

Like Matt Taibbi, I didn’t watch the recent debate, I read the transcript instead. I agree with Matt’s take in this excellent piece, that one of the candidates lied his butt off, and the other candidate decided not to show up. Why was this? Why did Obama decide not to participate in the debate? There are all manner of speculations floating around, everything from “a no good, very bad day” to a case of the flu. My favorite is this piece from Dave Lindorff on He presents a good case that the Obama no-show was more of a political tactic than anything else, one that could have far-reaching consequences. Continue reading “Obama Takes a Dive?”