06 April 2010

Was Anyone Listening in 2008?

From Frank Rich's Sunday column in the New York Times:
...the Obama we see now is generally consistent with the one he presented in the 2008 campaign. Many, if not all, of the positions that have angered liberals since he entered the White House line up with his positions then, including his stubborn and futile faith in the prospect of bipartisanship in Washington.

When the 2008 Obama called Afghanistan an essential war and vowed to take out terrorist havens in Pakistan, he wasn’t just posturing to prove he was as hawkish as Hillary Clinton — which is what some chose to hear. Though he nominally supported a public option as a plank of health care reform, it was not a high priority and he rarely mentioned it, according to a review of his campaign speeches, interviews and debates by Sam Stein of The Huffington Post. Obama never said anything to suggest that he was interested in economic interventionism as bold as, say, the potential nationalization of failing banks. He was unambiguous in his professed opposition to same-sex marriage and largely silent on gun control. And as Jake Tapper of ABC News chronicled last week, Obama had even opened the door to offshore oil drilling in the weeks before Election Day.
Count me among those who can become a bit discombobulated when the President doesn't go the distance on issues I feel need solid liberal leadership. But, unlike progressives to my left (and I count myself among the more liberal progressives), I know that my problems with Mr. Obama on such issues are just that...MY problems.

I was actually listening during the 2008 campaign. And, as Rich notes above, President Obama is governing as the left-leaning centrist he ran as. So, even on those days when I bitch and moan about half-measures and bone-headed decisions, I do not instantly hold back my support. As I have said before, no president is going to make any American happy with their leadership 100% of the time.

So, unless they want to see "President Romney" or "President Gingrich" three years down the road, my fellow progressives will need to come around. You don't have to follow Obama blindly; indeed he insists that you criticize him when you feel it is warranted. But to hold back your support when the alternative is an uber-fascist government led by Fox News would be a bit much, don't you think?