Up From The Comments: A Liberal’s Obama Lament

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In the comments of my post below about President Obama’s 2010 campaign launch, Swampland commenter Square1 gives one personal summary of the reasons why Obama may have some trouble exciting the liberal base next time around.

´╗┐For Obama’s defenders here is a list of what I consider to be the Obama administration’s “major deceptions”. It is not limited to explicit statements of Obama.

For the record, I NEVER, personally, believed Obama was a “liberal”. This is not a “wishlist” of things that I hoped that the Obama administration would accomplish. And I was always aware that Obama had many odious views. I am not going to attack him now for his idiotic support of “clean coal” when he has always pandered to the coal industry.

Nor is this a list of areas where Obama simply hasn’t moved fast enough. Rather, this is a list of area where an honest supporter of Obama could legitimately claim to have been mislead. Where Obama is moving in the opposite direction from what one could reasonably have expected.

1. Transparency in government. In driving HCR, Obama rushed to cut secret deals with PhRMA and the insurance industry. The WH then lied about the deals when pressed.

2. The Public Option. Obama supporters weren’t entitled to believe that Obama would push for single-payer. They weren’t entitled to believe that the PO would be included in a final bill. What they were entitled to believe was that the Obama WH would strongly push for it. Not lie about their support while secretly trying to kill it.

3. Individual HCR Mandate. I can honestly say that one of my primary reasons for preferring Obama to Hillary in the primaries was Obama’s express opposition to imposing an individual mandate until the cost side was addressed. I don’t blame politicians for changing positions sincerely. I blame them for doing so without articulating a legitimate basis for doing so.

4. Iraq. We are still there. What are we doing? Is this even up for debate?

5. GITMO. Said he would close it. Now needs a permission slip from Lindsey Graham to run his own administration.

6. Executive Power, domestic spying, & torture. Too many sub-issues to go into, but the capper for Obama supporters isn’t a specific lie. It has been the failure to get Dawn Johnson confirmed (or to make her a recess appointment) to head the OLC. Most intelligent, outside observers have noted that this failure indicates that the administration has undergone a substantial shift in ideology on national security and spying issues since Johnson was appointed. And, yes, supporters have a right to be disappointed in the shift in ideology.

7. Treasury Department deceptions. Obama like to talk populist rhetoric while Geithner tries to kill issues like executive-pay caps, derivatives regulation, the creation of a financial consumer protection agency, etc. (This is one area that is somewhat grey. On one hand, Obama has never pretended to be anything other than a loyal friend of Wall Street bankers. OTOH, the magnitude of the bailout giveaways, as well as the phony populist pandering, are enough to make supporters justifiably disappointed).

Read the whole comment here. What do you think?