Friday, January 28, 2011


It seems like now that the president has taken a turn to the right, or at least toward the center, politics have become somewhat boring. The president has appointed two new cabinet members that are saturated with connections to business, thereby locking in the president's pro-business turn. Don't get me wrong, I still support Barack Obama in theory, and there is certainly a recognition (as there has been all along), that political realities make it impossible for a president to snub certain sectors of society that a) have a major impact on the economy (think "jobs, jobs, jobs..." and "it's the economy, stupid"), and b) that fund elections for not only the president, but congressional candidates as well.
But, recognizing political realities does not mean that it makes me happy. I'm not saying that I want the pre-midterm election partisan rancor, but at least progressive policies were still being pushed by the president and congress. It seems as though the president is now going to ride out the next two years of his term by reaching out to republicans, and campaigning to the center, for president. We'll see how this works out for the president, but I think (as I've thought before) that he's making a big mistake in pandering to the Republicans in congress, because the hard line stances that they held in the previous two years have not been softened since the midterm elections, but instead have been hardened by the fact that they have more power. I think Republicans actions over the last two weeks is evident that the Republicans are not looking to work with President Obama the progressive democrat, but instead want to work with President Obama the guy who needs to become more centrist to reach out to independant voters to win a second term.
The problem is that Republicans want Obama to move to the center/center-right, not because they actually care about passing policy, but instead because they want to confuse the electorate about who Barack Obama is politically, who his base is, and why would you vote for someone who has drifted around politically during his first term in an effort to appease whoever it was he needed to appease for a particular bill. The president would say that this illustrates the fact that he is not a president for liberals, or a president for conservatives, but instead a president of everyone in the Unites States. While that's definitionally true, is a little insincere, because the president knows better than anyone what it takes to win an election, and that is not necessarily being the president of everyone in the United States.
I've asserted since early on in the president's first term that I think he will win re-election. I stand by this contention, but I think that the president's insulation in Washington, DC has caused him to become less politically adept than he was during the 2008 election. Therefore, he's thinks his drift to the center is a politically astute maneuver, but he's doing exactly what he always said he didn't want to do, which was sacrifice policy for politics. He's giving up progressive policies for the next two years to get re-elected.
Do we need business to get the economy back on track? Certainly. But that doesn't mean that businesses should be the only focus, because we need to remember that the same people that are now suppose to help us crawl out of the mired economic situation, are the very people that caused it in the first place. Therefore, I think it would be better for the president to be tough on business, by telling them that he supports businesses expanding, creating and exporting more goods, and hiring more employees, but at the same time they're not going to get a free ride (we need industry regulations), and they should not be receiving such huge tax benefits for their efforts, when we're in the current situation because of their practices.
The old Barack Obama will be back, I believe, but it won't be until November 7, 2012. I believe his second term will be launched with a progressive agenda that Democrats and progressives will be very happy about; we just need to hold out, and make sure to get the president re-elected. It's frustrating that politics stand in the way of a president governing in his first term, but that's unfortunately the reality of every president for a as long as anyone alive can remember. So, Democrats and progressives will be disappointed for the next couple of years, but I think we'll be much more disappointed if we don't re-elect President Obama, who will be our bastion of progressive politics in his second term.

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