Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"What Happened to Obama?"

This is on the opinion piece in the New York Times by Drew Westen. I actually read this one week ago today, but am only now getting it into a blog post.

I don't have a lot to say on it, other than I found it to be a very good piece, and I recommend everyone read it. Cenk Uygur covers much of the important parts, so instead of taking a bunch of time writing myself, I'll direct you to his video instead, which you can see at the bottom of the post.

The one thing I will actually write on are the two parts that I have personally found most disappointing with the president.
  1. "Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama — and by extension the party he leads — believes on virtually any issue. The president tells us he prefers a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, one that weds “revenue enhancements”...with “entitlement cuts”... But the law he just signed includes only the cuts. This pattern of presenting inconsistent positions with no apparent recognition of their incoherence is another hallmark of this president’s storytelling."
  2. "The president is fond of referring to “the arc of history,” paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous statement that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics — in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time — he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation."
In short, it has become hard to know what Obama stands for because he doesn't seem to stand for anything! Just like on this debt ceiling issue--he said he wanted revenue increases, but then accepted a "deal" (in which Republican John Boehner "got 98% of what [he] wanted") without those increases. So does he really want revenue increases or not? Now he's been out around Iowa on this recess telling union workers that they need to sacrifice one minute (as if they haven't already sacrificed), and then saying (after Warren Buffet asked for his taxes to be increased) that the rich need to share in the sacrifice. Yet, we have failed to see the rich sacrifice. It's been the middle class and poor (groups that contain union workers) that have seen all the sacrifice. Mr. Obama, if you're going to say that the rich need to sacrifice, prove it by fighting to increase their taxes!

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