Don't Buy the Right Wing's Argument on Obama (Continuing Yesterday's Discussion):
Every day, the Rude Pundit receives a couple of emails from people writing to mythical addresses, like "firstname.lastname@example.org" or some such shit. They're all about how we were such blind idiots for voting for President Obama because, they say, he's busy betraying everything they want. Yesterday, the Rude Pundit advised a bit of patience with the Obama administration as it opens the windows of the White House and looks out at the destruction left behind by the Bush administration. And, of course, people took offense, as if there's nothing between silence and screaming.
Here's the deal: urging the left to pull back some doesn't mean we don't push for our causes; it doesn't mean we simply roll over like we're being attacked by grizzlies, squinch our eyes shit, and hope that when we open them, the scars and wounds won't be too bad. It's not the activism. That never ends, no matter who's in the Oval Office. It's not pointing out when Obama looks like he's heading towards "screw you guys." No, it's this early hysteria and declarations of the failure of a not-six-month-old administration that the Rude Pundit is replying to.
If, as other problems are addressed, Obama is ignoring your pet one, well, fuck, remember: when he made all those shiny promises initially, he wasn't facing down an economy that's pushing unemployment into double digits.
The Rude Pundit is not naive. He knows well how this can all go to shit. He saw it with Bill Clinton, when some on the left at first mistook the moderately conservative Arkansas governor for a liberal. Essentially, it was buying the propaganda that the right was spewing about Clinton-as-hippie, just not to the purpose that they were spewing it. We went with their storyline because we wanted it to be true just so we could say, "Yeah, fuck you; in your face, assholes." It was exactly what conservatives wanted. If Bill Clinton didn't live up to your expectations, it's because you were too inundated with shit that fed your hopes, not the reality, and it allowed the right to control the storyline.
So the Rude Pundit wasn't naive when he voted for Obama, either. He never expected everything to be solved. And if you ever thought Obama was some bleeding heart liberal, then you were just a pawn of the right's remarkable ability to define the terms of the argument. You bought into their bullshit line. He is more liberal, yes, than anyone in a long, long time, But Obama's heart ain't draining.
None of this is to give Obama a pass. There have been fuck-ups, most prominently on gay rights issues and on issues of government transparency. These are not to be taken lightly. And when Obama's made explicit promises with timelines (as with Gitmo), he should be held to them (although you can bet that every seemingly firm date he mentioned in a campaign speech had a conditional clause near it - this is politics, motherfuckers).
Declaring Obama is "like Bush" or "as bad as Bush" because he hasn't immediately rescinded everything that bastard did is foolish. Maintaining the status quo on something for the time being is not the same as making it worse. (And, again, on things like transparency, where Glenn Greenwald has argued persuasively that Obama is going down the Bush path and laying new track, we should be upset.)
Patience is not endless. It's not like the recent Ted Rall cartoon that has Obama supporters hoping year by year that Obama will change as the country slips into dictatorship. Of course, we can't be idiots. But, hell, Rall already called on him to resign. Such sentiments, at this point, this early, are useless, with so much actually accomplished, with discussions occurring on issues like health care and, yes, gay rights, in ways that were unimaginable less than a year ago.
You will not get everything you want, dear progressive Obama voter. But you need to decide what's the tipping point and when. If you've already reached it, then your support was chimeric to begin with. And the next three and a half years are gonna seem awfully long.