January 23, 2010

Musings on Obama's failures

EB Misfit has a post this morning in which she apologizes to Hillary for mean and nasty things said about her in the primaries. I started to comment, but got carried away, so I wrote a blog post.

Many of my friends suffer from some sort of delusion-inducing cerebral edema, causing them to think that far right conservatism or far left liberalism is good, and that anyone wearing the mantle of their choice is the person for whom to vote. Not so much so for me. We need a degree of conservatism in our leadership, but we need progressiveness, reason and pragmatism as well.

I’ve supported some of the so-called “fiscal conservatives” in the past because they were making more sense at the time than their election opponent. I wonder why the Republicans no longer field such candidates. The 2008 field of Republican hopefuls had nothing but wingers of one stripe or another, and although they nominated one of the least kooky, there was no way I could support McCain.

Picking a candidate these days seems to consist of choosing the one who stinks the least, so I supported Hillary in the primaries and accepted Obama by default. Harsh reality told me the country had to get away from government by corporations, and leadership by ideology. Barbarians had gained the Oval Office, and that had to change or our country would end up a pile of smoking ruins.

I watched all the debates, and the Republican field of hopefuls was a rogue's gallery of corporate pocket rats and family value bozos. There were none fitting any rational criteria, with each claiming either the mantle of Bush or of Reagan and all spouted the rightwing hemlock of “social conservatism.” That kind of political philosophy had led the country down the primrose path in the recent past, so there was no apparent help for the country coming from the right.

Of course there was Ron Paul...

So a Democrat was my alternative. Somehow we had to move away from the previous, disastrous eight years, but my fear was and remains that an Obama win would be a short-lived victory… that he would be a single-term President and the forces of evil would again, in 2012, gain the Oval Office.

Hillary, in my mind, had the better opportunity of maintaining the White House for eight years and perhaps sowing seed that could carry rational political thought beyond that time. But Hilary ran a faulty campaign and lost the primaries. Left with no other choice, I voted for Obama and I was glad he won.

He did so rather handily too. Hillary would have experienced a greater struggle to achieve a win in the general, but I have little doubt that she would have won. A large enough majority of the people were just sick of Bushism, and McCain was running on Bush coattails. Adding an extremist to the ticket, in an attempt to mollify the wingnuts, doomed that campaign.

Obama energized voters who had never before even registered to vote, creating a handy win. Hillary had women voters on her side, but couldn't have accomplished the landslide Obama did. A great many Obama voters would have stayed home if Hillary had won the nomination, but I think Hillary voters came out for Obama for the most part.

So she would have won regardless, but maybe with a lesser margin of victory, and not so much of a "mandate." A win of lesser magnitude may have even been in her favor, as expectations might not have been so lofty.

Although my friends on the right still cling to power as a means of maintaining American Exceptionalism, and the Shrub was playing their tune, I felt the country needed to establish our exceptionalism in the world by means of moral, not ideological leadership. Anybody, including Obama, would have done better at that than any of the Republicans.

Obama might have been okay under other circumstances. He got handed a mess bigger than he has been able to handle, and he keeps making mistakes, surrounding himself with advisors certain to create a fail (Think Geithner). Hillary as President, I think, would have done better, and in State is Obama’s greatest asset. But unfortunately, that is not enough. Obama is catching it from both sides. His former supporters are becoming discouraged and teabagger wingnuts are marching in the streets.

Hillary as President, with Obama perhaps as VP, would likely have ensured someone of reason in the Oval Office for more than a single term, but that is crying over spilled milk. I’m expecting the independents to abandon him and guessing those first-time voters of 2008 will stay home in 2012 too, so the corporations will regain the White House in 2012 and the country will resume business as usual.

Maybe some rational candidate will step up to the plate by then and capture the imaginations of the electorate, but more likely the pendulum will just make another swing and it will be generations in the future before reason has another chance.

The religious extremists and corporate rats are already gloating.



Old NFO said...

Good post MD, all I can say is the Democrats are doing it to themselves by playing the SAME game, only adding the 'tinge' of Chicago back room politics and even less transparency than Bush et al.

Comrade E.B. Misfit said...

You've made some good points, MD.

mw said...

Two points. First, a nit. You may want to correct your dates. The next presidential election is in 2012 not 2014.

While in general agreement, I subscribe to a different voting heuristic based on the principle that we get better governance when neither party is given all the keys to power by the voters (executive and both houses of the legislature).

It seems likely that the GOP will retake both the House and the Senate over the next two election cycles. So, although I voted for McCain in 2008 to avoid the One Party Democratic Rule we are suffering under now, I will likely be voting to re-elect Obama in 2012 to avoid the One Party Republican Rule then.

Presumably by then, Obama will have matured into an effective president, which he is not now. Certainly he will have the most experience to be President. This is my new HOPE™.

Mule Breath said...

NFO, the D's are certainly being their own worst enemy right now. But wasn't it the R's doing the same, and at the same cost in '06 and '08? They are all a bunch of clowns and ideologues.

Yes, mw, of course it is 2012. That was an embarrassing brain fart. Thank you for the correction.

TOTWTYTR said...

It's neither religious extremists nor corporations who are leading this change. It's the vast majority of slightly right or slightly left of center voters. Many of them voted for Obama, including many Republicans that I know. They feel betrayed by Obama, who promised so much and delivered so little. If you think he's not a tool of para-religious extremists, those who bow at the alter of liberalism, and corporate interests (what else are trial lawyers and big unions?).

The Tea Party movement, much derided by Republicans, Democrats, and big media, is emerging as a true political force. Whether it evolves into a true third party remains to be seen.

I don't like to predict, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Hillary resign as SecState sometime later this year to organize her primary challenge to Obama for 2012.

Mule Breath said...

Can't completely agree with you, TOTWTYTR.

We centrists have a good bit of power, but not nearly enough to overcome the polarizing effects of the viral right or the loonytoons left.

Religious extremists are part and parcel with the right wing extremists. The left wingnuts depend on the great, unwashed masses but that segment of the population is apathetic and lazy. It takes some riling up to get them to the polls.

Corporations are fickle and just want to buy favor. They'll give their money to whichever whore gives the best head.