Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Criticism of Obama from the left

I have been trying to say, in comments on other blogs and in general, that legitimate criticism of Obama is perfectly reasonable and in fact important. Glenn Greenwald at Salon seems like the answer to my statement (I should H/T Spork in the Drawer, although I have been reading Salon for a while). He has been issuing damning critiques of Obama for continuing Bush era policies and refusing to address the past Bush misdeeds and on Monday (June 7th) of the press for going to a Biden "Beach Party" (complete with Super Soaker squirt guns). It's very tough to defend Obama against Greenwald's attacks. I mean, although neither Obama nor anyone else has ever said it, I believe Obama is charting a moderate (or dare I say conservative) approach towards governing precisely because as the first African American President he doesn't think he can do anything too extreme. Maybe so, but by now everyone else is crying out for Obama to try to do more.

We have the two examples of Democratic Presidents in the last forty years to look at, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Carter ended up not well respected even while in office, in part because his administration (and the Fed) was unable to adequately address the economic problems of the time. Clinton lost his majority in Congress through an unsuccessful bid at health care reform, and there after followed center right policies.

So far Obama seems to be combining the worst of these two examples. I have read press accounts that now say the stimulus was too small (and relied too much on tax cuts), and I say the health care reform Obama did manage to pass is essentially the least that could be done that might still have an impact. Obama has deferred to both Wall Street and BP in terms of actual operations, which would be reasonable except that Obama seems to want to say he is in charge. Meanwhile, conservatives can still claim Obama's agenda is radical, that he has wrecked America's health care and the economy and is in bed with/trying to nationalize our nations corporations, and the Press only halfheartedly protests (Jon Stewart does, but only for laughs).

But Greenwald's criticisms of Obama are something else, biting but largely unanswered by the administration. The thing is, hard core Obama supporters will read them and wonder why these things are happening. Which could spell trouble in two years.

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廖淑凡 said...
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