It’s time to address this once and for all. Here are a couple of things about me that you can count on. First, when I criticize the President, I endeavor to do so in a constructive way. Second, I will give this administration the benefit of the doubt. Third, there is never going to be a time where I will grunt and say that Obama is just like Bush. This is because that would be a lie of the highest magnitude.
I understand that it’s all the rage these days to take anger at Republican obstruction and project it onto the President. I also understand that it’s all the rage, and I do mean rage, to take disappointment that he hasn’t moved whatever heaven and earth he should have moved for your personal pet issues quickly enough.
Gay rights? Yes, despite his DOJ making the decision that DOMA is unconstitutional and despite signing DADT’s repeal into law last year, despite setting policies for government employees that allow same sex partners to be covered by employees’ health insurance, and despite the fact that this president is undoing much of what our last Democratic president did, it’s not enough for some. It’s not fast enough, it’s not right enough, it’s not enough. Period. Fair enough. It’s your right to be peeved, but don’t project that onto me or suggest I’m some kind of robot-being for not shaking my fist hard enough. I prefer to fight that battle on the state level, thankyouverymuch.
Guantanamo? Let’s all repeat after me: Congress killed the Guantanamo closure, not the President. But he didn’t fight hard enough, you say? To which I reply, choose your battles. This was one he desperately wanted to win for a number of reasons which transcend the disgruntlement of some of his left-leaning (former) supporters. But alas, he has an intransigent Congress with a bunch of wingnuts in the House. Everything is a battle. And to be fair, there were some conservadems willing to join hands to block that closure, so he was more or less out of ammo before he loaded the gun. Pick your battles, I say. Anyone who has raised kids knows by the time the second one can talk that every disagreement can’t be a battleground, no matter how much you want it to be.
Tax cuts? Okay, here’s a legitimate gripe. I’ll join in this one. I wanted the tax cuts to expire rather than a deal. On the other hand, it’s difficult for me to toss unemployed folks under the bus when the tradeoff was 13 months of extended UI benefits, which is stimulative to the economy and which makes a huge difference to the long-term unemployed. Still, I hate that the tax cuts were extended to 2012.
Wars? Going back to the campaign promises, which were also part of the overall Democratic platform. I see where he promised to ramp up Afghanistan, hunt down Bin Laden, and end Iraq (Also see this WaPo article with specific numbers. All but 147 out of Iraq by 12/31 unless Iraq requests otherwise). Check, check and check. And now, just as was promised when he agreed to the troop surge, those troops are being drawn down and the transition to Afghan control planned by 2014. Am I happy that we have a presence in Afghanistan? Hell, no. Do I think he’s doing the best he can to unwind that presence responsibly? Yes, I think I do.
Libya? Hate that we have any involvement, like that NATO is lead on it, hate Gaddafi with a passion and have for years, hope that it ends soon. I’m not sure there is a graceful way to decline to participate in a NATO action, nor do I have all of the information at my fingertips to know what led to the decision, but honestly, I wish it would have been a different one.
I could go on and on with this list, but you get the idea. We liberals seem to warm to oppositional positioning and it would appear that we’re not altogether comfortable with having our guy in the Oval office. So when he doesn’t do things exactly the way we think they should be done, the circular firing squad lines up and takes full aim at our side. It happens with every single issue. Forget the fact that we didn’t have the votes in Congress, he should’ve used his bully pulpit! Forget the fact that we have a 100% dysfunctional opposition party; he should just steamroll them and get what he wants however he wants. Like magic, that.
It amazes me — truly amazes me — that we’re having debates about how this president isn’t liberal enough while Republicans are planning to let the economy go to hell in a handbasket by playing chicken with the debt ceiling. You’d think there would be plenty to criticize with that. You’d think watching them walk away from budget negotiations not because they’re not getting the spending cuts they want, but because Democrats won’t take tax cuts off the table would offer a clue as to who the real enemy is.
But no. I know people — good, honest, well-meaning, passionate, intelligent people — who will call you a fascist for suggesting that maybe on a political level it’s a bad idea to take aim at our own when we have so many who stand between us and our aspirations. When corporations and Republicans are colluding to keep the economy stagnant, we have bigger problems than Guantanamo Bay, and it’s really time to quit the self-indulgence and get a clue on that.
Whenever I counter self-immolating arguments with a reminder that President Pawlenty or President Bachmann will surely bow in lockstep to our heart’s desire, scoffs follow, with yet another accusation of Obotics afoot.
To which I reply: If you are really blind enough not to realize that there is a very real possibility that a GOP victory in 2012 could happen, and if 2010 midterms were not enough to convince you, then please, do continue on but understand this about me: You will not convince me, nor will I join the chorus. To do so truly would be robotic behavior, akin to following an online gangbang on a hedonistic and self-destructive pathway to hell on earth for 8 years or so. I refer anyone who might take issue with this pronouncement to have a look at what Republican governors are doing in Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Florida. If you remain unconvinced that such goings-on could be a reality in 2013, look again. Harder. I decline to choose that road.
Like it or not, this guy in the White House right now is the best hope you’ve got. You can batter him or you can back him. I choose the latter. That isn’t OBotic. It’s simply reality.
I’m done apologizing for my support for this President, who has worked hard since the day he took office, done his best, isn’t a slacker, and can’t please everyone. I support him unapologetically and wholeheartedly. That’s my right, just as it is the right of others not to. I respect that right, but will no longer waste time or give attention to self-indulgent complaints. It’s time to be strategic rather than spewing scattershot criticism. If you can’t do that, then really, I’m probably not going to help your cause anyway because I will assume your goal is to elect a Republican, and I will oppose you with all the might I can muster.
We have a Senate at risk, a House that’s winnable, and a President who is strong against the current Republican field. I’m aiming for the big battles, which are with Republicans, not those to the left of me.
Now excuse me while I go make a donation and buy the T-shirt. I’ll see the circular shooters on the other side, hopefully after another win.
“…don’t hurt your human…”