Blaming Obama

Posted on May 25, 2014 by

In a recent critique of Barack Obama, Jeffery St. Claire derides the president for “piously” lecturing African-Americans on the “state of their lives.”

According to St. Claire – editor of the Left Wing Counterpunch – Obama is a “master of casual condescension.  His true gift as an orator” he writes, “is in making you feel as if your misfortunes in life – losing your job, being evicted from your house, going bankrupt – are the products of your own lack of initiative or some moral failing.”

Have you heard that from Obama?  St. Claire doesn’t just accuse the president of failing but of outright betrayal:

The returns are in on the Obama economy.  He saved Wall Street, bailed out the banks, declined to prosecute felonious executives and redistributed billions upward into the off-shore accounts of the mega rich.  Pretty much everyone else got the shaft.  But no community has fared worse under Obama than urban blacks.

I’m offended and disgusted by this view and prefer to see Obama’s lack of success as a result of a malicious, fanatical and racist opposition determined to destroy his presidency.

We’ll be arguing about this, I suspect, long after Barack Obama leaves office.  Was he inept, unprincipled, a tool of the elites or a leader with tremendous integrity who faced the most vicious attacks in modern political history?

I want to believe that the Obama presidency – despite its deficiencies – will be recognized as transformational.  I realize many or most progressives are cynical about this, but it’s possible that this president’s conduct in office has and will realign the electorate for generations.

At a recent fundraiser, Barack Obama – with characteristic cool and understatement – called out his “ideologically rigid” rivals:

… committed to an economic theory that says if folks at the top do very well then everybody else is somehow going to do well; who deny the science of climate change; who don’t think making investments in early childhood education makes sense; who have repeatedly blocked raising a minimum wage so if you work full-time in this country you’re not living in poverty; who scoff at the notion that we might have a problem with women not getting paid for doing the same work that men are doing; [and have] refused to budge on bipartisan legislation to fix our immigration system, despite the fact that every economist who’s looked at it says it’s going to improve our economy, cut our deficits, help spawn entrepreneurship, and alleviate great pain from millions of families all across the country.

We can criticize his temperament and tone, acknowledge his miscalculations and mistakes, but still believe that Barack Obama’s civility, intelligence and sense of direction are a huge national asset.

And that critiques like Jeffrey St. Claire’s are just zany and out-of-touch.

Comments (2)


  1. Don West says:

    I quite agree in general and specifically. He will emerge as a great President and we may never see his equal.

  2. Ron Alcalay says:

    –Totally agree, Lou.

    Thanks for publishing.


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