Obama Can Do No Wrong?

Posted on January 1, 2012 by

The election is this year and, like a good soldier, I know the mission.

I will subordinate my doubts about Barack Obama and mute my criticism.

I don’t expect my progressive friends and colleagues to be as extreme.  Whenever I hear musings of disapproval from the left, however, I’m likely to ask (until it sounds like a broken record):

Can we really afford to give our opponents additional ammunition or create confusion among independent voters in swing states?

I sympathize with the case that Obama must face pressure from the left to keep him on track.  (Pointing out, for example, how Occupy Wall Street helped the president frame his message on economic inequality).

But I’ll admit that I’m also cynically drawn to the other side of that argument:

That signs of disapproval from progressives expand his centrist appeal.

I’ve been this way since Humphrey-Nixon in 1968 and I’m too locked-in to change.  (Please don’t ask how it’s worked out for me).

We know what a republican white house and congress look like.  Let’s do all we can this year so we don’t have to face that nightmare in 2013.

Comments (15)


  1. Jon Joyce says:

    I will follow your lead…

  2. Jann Whetstone says:

    Absolutely Lou! There is no doubt a need for all progressives to be united this year! The alternative would be too unbearable– leaving millions more Americans without jobs, homes and healthcare

    We must be diligent in our fight this year!

    Unity for the new year, let us 99ers keep our voice!

  3. Don West says:

    Hooray! Just right. I’ve suffered the same slip of his halo but I’ve also offered to write for his campaign. I think I could sharpen his aim by getting through to the electorate — all parties — with a human dimension. My first problem is getting through to him. I hope he’s reading your blog. Don

  4. Ben Sears says:

    Lou, I am with you one hundred percent on this, of course. My union and I will be working to make sure the President gets a second term.
    I also think that the 2012 campaign will be about more than the presidential election, as important as that will be. It will be about changing the balance in Congress; it will be about showing Obama and the Democratic Party that labor (with its allies) can deliver and is among his most important consituencies and a big part of his support. We should be able to do this, given the almost comical situation in the Republican primary field this year. So I am optimistic, but I know we have our work cut out for us.

  5. Frank Gruber says:

    Good post, but:

    “That signs of disapproval from progressives expand his centrist appeal.”

    Is a rationalization. They only make him look weak and unsuccessful, when in fact he has been tough and successful. Somewhere after 1968 the Left — the New, Boomer, Left — began to think of itself as the permanent opposition rather than the naturally governing power (which liberals and their allies had been since 1932), and lost the ability to govern. Obama is the next generation. Let him govern. We’re never going to have a more liberal president.

    Happy new year,


    • Janet Carter says:

      I agree with you 100%, Frank. I have certainly had some disappointments with President Obama but his accomplishments have far outweighed those few disappointments. We must do everything we can to get him re-elected.


  6. Bruce says:

    I’m a ditto head with you, Lou!

  7. Molly says:

    ”(Pointing out, for example, how Occupy Wall Street helped the president frame his message on economic inequality).”

    You mean how President Obama sat by and did absolutely nothing while peaceful demonstrators were pepper-sprayed and arrested? Yeah, frame that.

  8. nodrama says:

    Wow Molly, cynical much? Anyway, Lou I am glad to hear you say this. It is indeed what Obama asked us to do when he first got elected. He gets pushed from all sides but the direction from which he gets pushed the hardest is what he reacts to. for a long time he was only being pushed by the Pugs while we sat on the sidelines and complained.But if we push him in the direction we want him to go, he will deal. Don’t Ask, Don’t tell is a good case in point.

  9. Ron Morgan says:

    Spoken like a true leader! HNY 2012

  10. Rod Bradley says:

    Thanks for pointing that out, Molly. And let’s not forget our Nobel Peace Prize accepting president’s pension for war and for allowing the treatment of Bradley Manning and for his record deportation and decimation of undocumented families and his appointment of special committees whose main agenda is to dismantle the safety nets for the barely haves and have-nots and his wholesale embrace of Wall Street and his refusal to do anything but window-dressing.
    And the word poverty does not even enter Mr. Obama’s vocabulary but it’s all right to get rich at the expense of the many…

    “Our most liberal president….” Wow, this is astonishing head in the sand denial —

    All that being said, I agree, because of the dominance of a corrupt political infrastructure dominated by two totally corrupt gangs that call themselves parties that completely overwhelm the “good guys” that for practical reasons have to assume the name, and because Barak Obama is the lessor of two evils and not really evil, just weak and unimaginative and without vision and rather disconnected from the depth of the problems and the common man, we still have to hold our noses and vote for him. At least he is not a total embarrassment as a figurehead for the plutocracy and provides some seductive window dressing that makes us feel a bit better and rationalize our votes for so-called decency.

    But I would greatly lower expectations — some say, once he has a second term, he’ll be more audacious. I don’t think so. Men with vision and moral gravitas do not wait to get re-elected to do something. And recall Bill Clinton. His second term was nothing but a continued dismantling of the financial controls that lead directly to further empowering of Wall Street.

    The mission should not be just to re-elect him, but to try and put some sane and uncorrupted people in the congress and hold the president’s feet to the fire and embarrass him into doing the right thing as he doesn’t seem to be able to do that very often on his own. Frankly, Obama out Teflon’s one of his prime heroes, Ronald Reagan. So we better give him some grit so he doesn’t slide to the easy way out, I’ll give a professorial lecture stating the obvious and it’s done.

  11. Goetz Wolff says:

    Why can’t we leverage the Occupation folks, who gave spine to Obama on issue of mass exploitation by his financier friends, supporters, and cabinet members?

    How many of these readers to your blog were in Pasadena today to provide an alternative perspective.

    If you are chicken-shit about some of the “kooks” who are joining in…. ask WHY there are the homeless and disconnected there? It’s thanks to “liberals” who are prissy and don’t want to confront the reality that we really are in a “class war.”

    Obama will continue to be lame until there is a movement to threaten his future.

  12. Shelley says:

    Good ole American common sense! Great on point factual truths.
    ‎”There is a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy” – Bill Maher
    Given the condition the Republicans left our country, Obama is doing a great job. The Republicans have done nothing but sabotage him continuously.
    Remember, we elected one “Man” to lead America, not a Magic Man, not Jesus Christ Superstar and not a Perfect Man. I still believe he is the best HUMAN for the job. America look over your alternatives…. hummm?? Now jump on board! In other words pretty much get over whatever it is you think you know and get on with whatever you are going to DO in support of What You Know Is Best!

  13. John Connolly says:

    The President provided me with a good Christmas present of a renewed suspicion that he’s actually as tough and smart as his legend proclaims.

    I was just glad to see the him get up on his hind legs and fight on the Payroll Tax reduction and Unemployment Insurance extension. He was steely and tough as he whipsawed the Republicans into the arrogance trap of the own making. He backed down the Republican punks and coldly handed Boehner the space — and the rope — with which he hung himself.
    The cowardly Eric Cantor drove the clown car to the hanging, filled with blubbering Tea Partiers in shock to find that everybody doesn’t love them any more.

    And Barack Obama proved to be The President of the United States, and that’s the way I like him.
    I thought I was back on “The West Wing”.

    There is a laundry list of complaints that can be fairly leveled against President Obama from the left.
    No wonder … he’s a Democrat; treachery and mendacity on working class issues are thick and deadly strands in the Democratic Party’s DNA.

    Until there’s a viable working class-based alternative to the Dems, they’re the sole governmental leverage we’ve got against the ruling class. And who governs does make a difference. But do not mistake leverage for a party that governs in our interests.

    And that leverage only works if our side has a massive presence in the streets, unless the organized working class fights back remorselessly against Wall Street government, unless our side convinces the Dems that we’re at wit’s end, have nothing to lose, and will rain down anarchy on the complacent bourgeoise world by any means necessary.

    Of course, if we could put all that together as leverage, we probably would have the juice to create a mass working class party that could shatter the Dems, and give us direct leverage — state power.

    All my adult life I’ve lived those dreams of working class political independence, organization and power. I assiduously worked toward it, and along with the rest of the socialist left, I failed to get us there.

    Even if he could not enter, at least Moses could see the Promised Land.

    I note that my contemporaries on The Right, have succeeded far better than my own comrades in constructing a class-led combat party that chillingly pursues its reactionary ideological aims and regularly threatens to achieve governmental power to carry them out.
    It is known as the Republican Party.

    You see these people on television every day.
    Now THAT’s scary.

    So, yeah, thank you Mr. President for finally acting like The President, standing up to the bullies, and positioning yourself re-election as The Defender of Working Families.
    You may actually believe it.
    Your political pros will probably put up with it.
    Your party will probably sing along with it.
    Your People will probably sign-on to it.

    And we’ll beat back the Bastards, and live to fight another day.

  14. bill says:

    Republican White House isn’t necessarily bad. One party executive and legislative — if its republican, its bad; if its democratic, it could be bad if they could get their act together. Though I imagine that the fire breathers on the right think that ANY success for the left is terrible. (And please, more police that I shouldn’t pay for, and pave those roads that I don’t want to pay for, and get better teachers…you know the drill.)

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