The Realignment That Isn’t

Posted on June 18, 2010 by

Politics is as much about action and reaction as ideas.

Obama has ideas.  But on the big stage, I’m afraid, he just doesn’t know how to act.

So what we thought was transformational may only be transitional.

The man who seemed larger than life now seems too small for the job.

Republicans made a mockery of his crusade for bipartisan governance.  They spawned and cleverly cultivated tea party activists.  They deflected their own responsibility for economic and environmental catastrophe.  And they weakened his “reforms” to the point where the finished product may confirm opponents’ predictions for failure.

All the while the president implored them to “play nice.”

Now Obama is trying to wash the oil off his presidency.

(Read E.J. Dionne on the “new” malaise).

Maybe it’s just all the chatter;  the cable tv / internet echo chamber?

So we wait for the count in the November mid-term election. Hoping that the right has overplayed its hand.

Well, everybody knows that a president’s party loses congressional seats two years into his first term.

Except it’s not true.

George Bush picked up seats in 2002 as did Franklin Roosevelt in 1934.

Sure we’re disappointed.  But aren’t we tired of the ‘Obama should have done it this way’ game?

Watch Rachel Maddow’s fake oval office skit on the spill.

It’s entertaining and very depressing.

A year ago I argued that we should give the guy a chance and watch his back. 

How does that sound now?

Comments (6)


  1. Glen Arnodo says:

    Up to this point I have not been one to heap much criticism on President Obama. While it’s easy to criticize him, those on the left — whatever the hell that means — have less idea than he does about how to get to 60 votes in the Senate. And much to my surprise, he did get some basic healthcare reform passed.

    However, it doesn’t take 60 Senate votes to fight an oil spill. It does take decisive action. And on that, he’s fallen woefully short. This spill, the worst environmental disaster in our country’s history, should have been treated like an attack on our country. Instead, President Obama took his usual cerebral approach.

    The people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast deserve every penny — and more — of the $20 billion the President extracted from BP. But the oil keeps flowing into the Gulf. That’s like getting one country getting another country to pay for the damages of war while the war is still being fought. Stop the oil, for christsakes.

    Bush’s handling of Katrina was an abimination. President Obama’s handling of this oil spill is even worse.

  2. Salvador Sanchez says:

    It is indeed, government by the corporations, for the corporations and of the corporations. Letting these assholes have a tax write off for the $20 billion fund is just another bailout!!

  3. Greg says:

    Wow, how cynical you all are. Get a grip. What does anybody expect him to do about the gushing oil in the Gulf. He is not an oil man. The oil men don’t know what to do about it. There is no technology to fix it and yes we hate it, but who among the Republicans would have done better. Different yes. But how badly would that have exacerbated the problem. As far as a tax write off? BP is not an American company. They don’t pay taxes anyway. None of this was his doing. If you recall, Cheney, at the very beginning of his first illicit terms he had all those secret meetings with the oil men and they rewrote the rules and regulations. Then they lied about what they were able to do. Had we had something in place like Canada has things would have been different. They requre that a relieve well be drilled at the same time the original well is drilled. It’s more expensive but safer. What ideas do you people have for stopping the gush?

  4. Toby Higbie says:

    It’s interesting to compare what the Gulf Coast disasters Katrina and BP-Oil revealed about our government and society. Katrina was a disaster for Bush not simply because he failed to respond but because it revealed the continued existence of deep, and racialized, poverty in the America of “compassionate conservatism.” The BP disaster reveals that after 30 + years of systematic deregulation there is no state capacity for regulation or response to disaster.

    I agree that Obama was slow to respond to this. Maybe the federal government could not have taken over the response from the beginning (and been accused of big government socialist takeover). But I do not agree with the criticism of the $20B fund. That was good work done by someone with a keen sense of negotiation. Normally, people would have to wait decades for the litigation to run its course. This will help real people. And there is another $100M for laid off oil workers.

    Transformational vs transitional? These are not the only options. I’ll take transition over more of the same. I’m not opposed to criticizing Obama, but I think we need to be thinking clearly about realistic strategies. He’s not the end of the game. He might be someone who makes space for our kind of game to get going again.

  5. Greg says:

    Glen, I am with you. “Stop the oil, for christsakes” Whatever it takes, no matter the cost, we need to stop this mess from ruining about 1/3 of our coastal waters for generations to come. We need a leader now more than ever. Both sides or should I say ALL sides of our government are failing us. STOP it, FIX it, and BILL B.P.!

    President Obama has transformed the face of politics forever and I am very proud to have been a part of that. I do not want to just settle now with a transitional administration. Transition to what? A an even more radical conservative administration? President Obama needs to step up now or we will be fighting the back lash in November 2010 and even more so in two years.

  6. Greg says:

    Lou, The Rachel video was GREAT! A skit… I guess that is what it is called. Anyway it’s what we needed to hear and is a course of action that needs to be under taken by the “real” leaders of the greatest country in the world.
    Way to go Rachel Maddow. I for one do not mind a passionate, weepy, blotchy leader. Maddow/Oberman 2012

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