Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"ULTIMATE FAN BOY?"

That's a term used by "Butch"—a regular commenter on this blog—in questioning what may be seen as my uncritical stance toward President Obama.

Well, I am a big fan. Obama has proven himself to be not only very smart but very clearheaded and practical in his approach to using his office to accomplish several policy shifts that I believe are necessary if we are going to get this nation on a more healthy—economically, environmentally, educationally, diplomatically, and literally, as in physically—trajectory.

Do I think he's perfect? No. No one is. Do I think he was the right choice in the past election? Absolutely. Do I think he can accomplish everything he has set for the goals of his administration. I doubt it. Do I agree with everything he plans to attempt to do and every policy position he has taken? Not entirely (for instance I thought his dismissal of the top suggestion in his internet town hall meeting that legalizing marijuana could help the economy was wrong, but I also understand that given the intensity of the rightwing attacks on his presidency his agreeing to that idea as legit would have caused a rightwing firestorm and distracted from the more important policies that need to be addressed first—and the same with gay marriage, which I am for and Obama has sidestepped, etc.).

Unfortunately, there is no room, or little room, for nuance in politics these days. Obama brings a nuanced intelligence to bear, but the rightwingers cannot abide it. They believe, obviously from their actions and their loudest representatives, that to take a stand against anything they are for, or for anything they are against, is to invite an all out war of words if not actual rebellion, including the taking up of arms against our legitimately democratically elected government. This from people who didn't see their man, Bush Junior, who LOST THE POPULAR VOTE AND THEREFORE WAS NOT ELECTED DEMOCRATICALLY, as illegitimate!

All this is dangerous, as was illustrated by that young man who shot and killed the three police officers recently because he was convinced by various rightwing talk show hosts and other rightwing rabble rousers that Obama was coming to take away his guns and he had to defend his right to own those guns by using them against these three family men and killing them cold stone dead to prove his fealty to the rightwing perspective he had been fed incessantly by Rush and Glen Beck and the lesser known but often equally influential rightwing commentators (like say Mark R. levin whose rightwing tirade LIBERTY AND TYRANNY topped the NY Times nonfiction bestseller list this week and who describes Obama as "dissatisfied with the condition of his own existence" and that's why he's out to take away our rights etc.!).

These and their ilk have been inciting their followers to view this administration and our government as illegitimate and therefore justifying any kind of opposition to, from libel to physical attack. A very dangerous trend, as it is proven from historical reality that rightwingers are much more prone to physical violence than lefties (the one leftwing "terrorist" the right constantly points to is Bill Ayers, the SDS "Weatherman" who planted bombs in unpopulated places causing some physical damage and almost no human harm, whereas the rightwing "terrorist" Timothy McVay (sp.?) and his cohorts blew up way too many innocent people in their expression of rightwing dissatisfaction with anyone other than rightwingers holding any kind of power in our society).

Just because these rightwing Republicans have tried to co opt Ron Paul recently, does not make them "libertarians" (ala their "teabag" demos today). Libertarians (as amorphous as that group of voters is) have a set of values they pretty much adhere to, whereas rightwing Republicans have shifting values depending on their use in getting them power. They have proven through their words and actions that power, the gaining of it and keeping of it, is their main concern.

What the rightwing accomplished in the past eight years in particular and in the past several decades in general (since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980) is the dismantling of almost everything that made this country "great' and "exceptional" as the rightwingers constantly insist it is! Given the chance to prove our greatness and exceptionalism, they created much more economic and educational inequality (taking measures to insure that a tiny minority, around 1% controlled most of our wealth, not seen since the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th Century), they reduced and almost eliminated the power of workers to unionize and use those unions to better their economic lives (what created the prosperity of the 1950s that made it possible for working people to own homes and put their kids through college), they alienated most of our allies and most of the world, they overturned or completely dismissed laws and principles upon which this nation was founded (eliminating habeus corpus for instance, allowing detention without trials, condoning torture, etc.), and so much more, proving that all they care about is getting and maintaining power at any cost.

As for Obama, his very life as well as his politics and policies reflect the idea of compromise and consensus, of doing what's best for the common good rather than the party or ideology etc. I believe that's exactly what we need right now, and in fact, may be our last best chance. Under the rightwing Republican influence in politics and the media, it has become almost impossible to have a reasoned discussion about any of the important issues of our day. I watch the media's idea of balanced reporting, i.e. having talking heads representing the right and the left, supposedly, give their opinions about, well just about anything in the news, and the rightwingers always imbed their comments with a criticism of Obama and his administration, and have been doing it since the first day he took office let alone the first weeks, and months, which we are still in. There is little actual dialogue or give and take, if any, it's all ideology based on whatever tactic will make it possible to create anger and resentment toward Obama and his administration.

The Democrats were too frightened or too "liberal" (meaning humanist and able to consider more than one perspective as possibly the best one) to respond that way to Bush Junior until well into his second term. But the right is relentless in its constant attack against any opposition, whether they're in power or out of it. That's why I'm so grateful to have a person like Obama in the presidency, a man who can keep his head and not get too distracted by all the red herrings the right throws out to try and distract the public from number one the great job Obama is doing (the economy had gone over the cliff when he came into office and his administration has at least gotten it back up onto the cliff, miraculously) and the ways in which his policies reflect the general feelings and wishes of the public and the common good.

Yeah, I'm a fan.

[Here's an article from today's Huff Post I don't entirely agree with but makes several good points re: today's tax demos—and here's another]

[And just for good measure, yet another Huff Post article that further articulates some of the above points I was trying to make, only this time in relation to the Al Franken win on every level and despite some of this blog's rightwing commenter's with Republican vote counters not just agreeing but certifying.]

28 comments:

JIm said...

"This from people who didn't see their man, Bush Junior, who LOST THE POPULAR VOTE AND THEREFORE WAS NOT ELECTED DEMOCRATICALLY, as illegitimate!" M Lally

Is this further evidence that Mike does not think much of the Constitution that requires the Electoral College to choose the President. This part of constition was done very deliberately. The Founders had great respect for the Greek city of Sparta, a Republic and feared the mob rule of democratic Athens. Thank goodness, we have that or fly over country would have no political influence.

It is nice to see Texas Governor Perry join the fight for respect for the tenth amendment. Disreguard for it has allowed both parties to enlarge the Federal Govt. to the detriment of state government. There is much to the thought that government that is closest to the people governs best. Also the fifty state political laboratories allow new ideas to be tested. If those ideas are bad, limited damage is done.

The idea that Obama is attempting to compromise with Republicans is ludicrous. There is zero Republican imput into his budget or stimulus package. It is all Pelosi, Reid and Obama.

harryn said...

ditto michael -
from the vast majority of voters that agree with you and continue to support obama's clean up efforts after the ruinous decade of republican deceit, mismanagement, and corruption ...
i think you hit on a point that deserves a lot more attention - especially in these unprecedented times - and that is, the language of coercion [which becomes all too obvious - albeit annoying - from some of the people who insistantly comment on your blog] ...
at the end of the day, the joe the plumbers [and dumber] react emotionally - for the most part, they're not debating policy or concept or intellectual or global impact -
all the babel syphons to a few memorable bytes:
- difficult times ...
- drastic measures ...
- revolt, revolution ...
- less safe ...
- fight for freedom ...
- patriots ...
- enemy ...
- plus that which accompanies the usual closet rascist or homophobe consciousness ...
they sleep on it, breed and bully it, and it's growing at alarming proportions while being fed by one of the most efficient right wing fear mongering propaganda machines since goebbels ministered information for hitler ...

the power of sound and words never ceases to amaze me, but the essence of what they plant in our brains is even more profound ...

if it isn't nurturing and gentle on the soul and flourishing with hope, tolerance, and love - it's probably doing something other ...

i'd like to hear more words that sound true ...

thanks for your thoughts ...

JIm said...

The Denver Tea Party II

I attended the first party at the end of February. We had maybe 200 people. Today we were gathered on the west steps of the Colorado Capital Building and were 8-10,000 strong (my estimate, but many), which is not bad for a grass roots effort. There was great enthusiasim for reining in govenment spending, taxing and its intrusion into every day life. The crowd was decidely Conservative. Both free spending Democrats and Republicans were criticized from the podium. If the growth rate 200 to 8000 continues, high tax and spend politicians will have a problem next election cycle.

JIm said...

So according to Michael Republicans:
1- made workers lives miserable because unions lost power
2- Alienated allies
3- acted to eliminate freedoms; habeus corpus, detention without trial etc.
-----------------------------------
Average US unemployment rates went down in the period 1960 - 2000. US rates were higher relative to Europe and Asia earlier in the period but were considerably lower than Europe and Asia later in the period. Real earnings per employee were also higher than other countries. During that period of time union membership declined.
SOURCE http://www.bls.gov/search/?cx=011405714443654768953%3Aoetfsd6qb3w&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=UTF-8&prefix=&query=GDP+1960+to+2007&submit.x=27&submit.y=7&filter=0&sa=Search#1069

Liberal Governments ruled France, Canada and Germany when George W came to power. When those governments became conservative relations improved. Spain had been led by a Conservative government. When it was replaced by a Socialist government relations deteriated. The make up of the foreign government more determined the cordiality of US relations with it.

Lincoln, FDR, George W. all imprisoned foreign combatants without trial. Hopefully Obama will continue. He at least show promise on that score by saying one thing to his liberal base but acting similarly to the previous administration.

Caitlin said...

Jim, the "tea party" was not a grass roots effort. Sorry, do your research, it was funded and planned from beginning to end by people w/power, that's not my definition of grass roots.

Lally said...

There's no point Cait in trying to reason with Jim and his ilk. He won't accept anything that doesn't fit into his ideology. The three points he lists as mine are in fact completely historically supported by the facts, statistically, and anecdotally.
Unions made it possible for workers to own homes and send their kids to college. Diminishing the power of unions was a goal of rightwing Republicans from the emergence of unions in response to the Great Depression, when workers suffered the most.
It was finally realized under Reagan, after whose election homeless families became a reality for the first time since that Depression, and after which the real earnings of working people stopped growing (except under Clinton) until now, (unemployment figures being totally deceptive since a union worker making twenty-five dollars an hour losing his job and going to work at MacDonald's is employed but not economically meaningfully in comparison to his former union job) until it became impossible for working people to own a home or send a child to college without both parents working fulltime at often even more than one job and going into debt.
It is factually supported by endless polls and demonstrations around the world that "America" under George Bush Junior went from being the most admired nation in the world to being one of, and in many cases, THE, most despised. More people demonstrated against George W. Bush than against any leader in the history of the world. And he was more despised worldwide than anyone since Hitler.
As for point three, to compare Bush Junior to FDR and Lincoln because they all suspended habeus corpus in certain cases during wartime is as phony as most of these rightwing points. I believe FDR and Lincoln were wrong to do that and they did it to much less an extent than Junior did and it represents less than one percent of what they accomplished in their tenures that helped this country survive tough times including wars, whereas what Bush did was part and parcel of his entire tenure of ignoring laws even as they were being passed by Congress (with his "signing statements" or just plain lying about what was really going on) and doing whatever worked to keep him and his cronies in power no matter the damage to the country. And neither FDR nor Lincoln condoned torture, and when George Washington was confronted with that option he declared that this country would set a different example and treat even war criminals from the enemy nation as we would any other citizen of our own country. I hope Obama follows his example.

Butch in Waukegan said...

I was trying to figure out if I could contribute anything useful to this thread when I read what Michael wrote about unions (which I completely agree with):

Unions made it possible for workers to own homes and send their kids to college. Diminishing the power of unions was a goal of rightwing Republicans from the emergence of unions in response to the Great Depression, when workers suffered the most.It reminded me of an article I just read that illustrates the problem I see with many Obama idolizers - an image is created that doesn’t conform to reality, the image takes on a life of its own, never letting actual facts intrude.

Read this and think about how union friendly Obama is likely to be:
http://harpers.org/archive/2009/04/hbc-90004778

JIm said...

Michael continues to get the facts wrong .

“It was finally realized under Reagan, after whose election homeless families became a reality for the first time since that Depression,…” M Lally

In fact liberal homeless advocates reversed years of protective custody for mentally impaired folks which dramatically increased the number of homeless.

“ I believe FDR and Lincoln were wrong to do that and they did it to much less an extent than Junior did and it represents less than one percent of what they accomplished in their tenures that helped this country survive tough times including wars, whereas what Bush” M Lally

“In fact FDR and Lincoln imprisoned multi thousands. George W. imprisoned hundreds to a couple of thousand enemy combatants.” M Lally

FDR hung German spies and Lincoln shot them. If I were an enemy combatant, I would rather be alive in sunny Gitmo than dead at the hands of Lincoln or FDR.

As far as Obama following a former president’s example, he seems to be following George W’s example, if not in words at least in action. Maybe he will be like FDR; flawed in economic policy but accomplished in war.

Butch in Waukegan said...

From Waukegan, 60 miles south of Milwaukee.

Recognizing that Michael is cursed with a squatter who turns just about every political post into his own personal space - dumping comment after comment of “free market” mythology - here is a bit of history that illustrates what many of us want for America’s future.

http://prorev.com/2009/04/what-milwaukee-can-teach-us-about.html

JIm said...

Caitlin,
Rick Santelli on CNBC was the one that got my attention in February. I did a web search for parties which led to a late Feb. party that was lightly attended. I signed in at that first party and left my email address and was contacted via email on the time and date of yesterdays party. It seemed to be organized locally by
people who had attended the first party. I believe our party was organized by people who felt empowered by a cause,namely,THE OUT OF CONTROL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

Caitlin said...

Yeah, grass roots always start on CNBC, or any other media franchise. Uh huh.

John M. Lally said...

The republicans in the Senate are filibustering nearly every bill passed by the Democratic majority, and nearly every one of Obama's appointments that are up for consideration. Mitch McConell states to the media that it takes 60 votes to get through the Senate. Not so. It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster. It takes a simple majority to pass a bill.
This from the party who whined about not getting an "up or down vote" on Bush appointments.

JIm said...

The Senate was designed to slow down and temper the excesses of the House. The Senate was modeled after Sparta a oligarchy and the House was modeled after Athens a democracy. The American system is a hybrid system that is the the oldest elected representative government in the world. It is remarkable in its longevity and its adaptability. The filibuster has been a tool of both parties when they have been the minority party. Like it or not, it serves its purpose as a check on what can be the excesses of a democracy.

JIm said...

JMLally,
I forgot to mention that the balance of power in the Senate lies with the 12-15 Blue Dog or moderate Senators. They will decide whether Pres. Obama's agenda will pass. Hopefully the Tea Party movement will continue to grow and influence the very powerful Blue Dogs.

JIm said...

It would be nice if they could nail her ample rear end, but I suspect nothing will come of it.

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that yesterday evening it filed a federal lawsuit ( click here to read) against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawsuit claims that her Department’s “Rightwing Extremism Policy,” as reflected in the recently publicized Intelligence Assessment, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” violates the civil liberties of combat veterans as well as American citizens by targeting them for disfavored treatment on account of their political beliefs... Read More.

John M. Lally said...

Jim: I hope they have "Tea Parties" every week from now until the next election. They are certainly entertaining, if not coherent.

On this issue of Senate Filibusters, the last Senate overwhelmingly broke the record for the most filibusters. The current Senate looks likely to go even further. The same republicans who are filibustering every scrap of legislation before it then go in front of the TV cameras to whine that there is no bipartisanship. It's pitiful.

With regard to right wing extremist groups, and the potential for domestic terrorism, you wingers make me scratch my head.
- On one hand, you demand that Homeland Security be allowed to do racial profiling, to investigate people for terrorism based solely on the color of their skin, or the origin of their name.
-But on the other hand, the government is not supposed to connect the dots between groups who stockpile weapons, organize into militias, advocate secession and/or rebellion, recruit veterans for their weapons expertise, etc., and a potential Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing.

Shortsightedness is why Bush was caught off guard on September 11, 2001.

JIm said...

jmlally,

I am anti abortion, anti out of control federal spending,anti socialist,anti high tax, anti earmarks therefore I am a potential terrorist according to Obama's Homeland Security Dept. I guess I would be over the top if I was a former military but the navy turned me down for health reasons. Do you think I would be a double threat because I applied to the navy. That would be a badge of courage in Obama's America.

PS Prop. 13 the tax CA. prop. lead to Republican control a generation ago. It was also ridiculed initially. We shall see, but I think politicans of both parties ignore it at their peril. 40% percent of the earmarks in Obama's budget were Republican. The folks at the Denver Party that I attended were not amused.

JIm said...

A REVOLUTIONARY IDEA
1 million attend tea parties in 50 states
'Obama has awakened a sleeping giant'

Posted: April 17, 2009
12:00 am Eastern

The Million Man March that Obama attended, supposedly only had around 250,000 attend, but recieved huge media coverage. Conservative rallying does not have the same appeal for media types.

John M. Lally said...

Lee Harvey Oswald was former military.
John Allen Muhammad was former military.
Eric Rudolph was former military.
so was Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nicols.

Our military men and women are to be honored for their service. However, they can be dangerous if they become disgruntled or otherwise turned against America.

JIm said...

The liberals taught that profiling was not nice. It seems that I must be concerned about driving while conservative.

Butch in Waukegan said...

The proprietor of the Alley might find this report of the Tea Bagger’s protest in Santa Monica interesting:

http://newstalgia.crooksandliars.com/gordonskene/flying-under-radar-john-birch-societyHardly a mass turnout.

There appeared to be a few more people at the Madison rally.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/calistan/3447473218/Of course, having millions of people on your side doesn’t guarantee, in this democracy, that your message will be heard.

http://formaementis.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/on-this-day-february-15-2003/

Lally said...

Butch, thanks for those links. I don't know why at least on my version of these comments it doesn't work to just click on them (have to cut and paste). But it's worth it, even if it is a little disheartening—the level of plain idiocy of some of these people, how easily manipulated they are by the various rightwing propaganda groups to believe in obviously impossible scenarios and threats as well as just basically racist beliefs.

John M. Lally said...

If we cut through all of the crap, all of the fake outrage, and all of the victimization fantasies, the real problem becomes clear:

Right wingers will not agree that abortion clinic bombers are domestic terrorists. To them, people who bomb clinics are holy warriors. The people who post the names and addresses of doctors on their websites are doing something noble. Abortion opponents should be free to exact their own justice through vigilante-ism.

That's what all of this is about.

JIm said...

Abortion clinic bombers are domestic terrorists. They may think they are acting out of justifiable rage but they are not. Opposition to abortion is best handled politically. I believe it should never have gone to the courts but should have been an issue for the people of each state to decide with an election.

The assault on the US Constitution is real. The push for the fairness doctrine, the expansion of the federal govt. and the perception that the Democrats want to do away with the 2nd amendment rights are real. The push by the Obama administration to change the US into a European style socialist govt. is also real. People that were with me at the Denver Tea Party, were concerned that many Republicans and Democrats were threatening America with huge spending that will eventually lead to huge tax increases and loss of freedoms.

John M. Lally said...

The only people talking about the fairness doctrine are old right wingers who still listen to AM radio.

JIm said...

I am seasoned and I am conservative. I hope you are correct that we do not see the Fairness Doctrine again. However there seems to be a push for co ordinated local rules to limit talk radio.

John M. Lally said...

Jim:

I think the liberals find concentration of media ownership to be more of an issue than "fairness". With media giants like Viacom, GE, NewsCorp and Disney- each with their inevitable conflicts of interest, and each with incredible power over what we see and hear in the media, that's more of a threat to the marketplace of ideas than the old "fairness doctrine".

JIm said...

As one conservative, I find both to be a potential problem.