Barack Obama

Is the Left Preparing to Target President Obama? Maybe?

From drone wars to the assault on civil liberties to the strengthening of the corporatist state, Obama leaves much to be desired

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seems legit

After the election, I wrote a blog post that asked if we could talk about the wars now that the fog of partisan politics is lifting. Whether President Obama will be subjected to more criticism for his policies from the left now that he's been re-elected remains an open question, but there are a precious few hopeful signs that intellectual honesty might by applied by some on the left to engage at least some of President Obama's policies.

Last week, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd launched one of the first (limited) broadsides from the left against President Obama, in a column provocatively titled "Mitt Romney is President" (spoiler: of white America). Dowd noted:

If 2008 was about exalting the One, 2012 was about the disenchanted Democratic base deciding: "We are the Ones we've been waiting for."

Last time, Obama lifted up the base with his message of hope and change; this time the base lifted up Obama, with the hope he will change. He has not led the Obama army to leverage power, so now the army is leading Obama.

When the first African-American president was elected, his supporters expected dramatic changes. But Obama feared that he was such a huge change for the country to digest, it was better if other things remained status quo. Michelle played Laura Petrie, and the president was dawdling on promises. Having Joe Biden blurt out his support for gay marriage forced Obama's hand.

The president's record-high rate of deporting illegal immigrants infuriated Latinos. Now, on issues from loosening immigration laws to taxing the rich to gay rights to climate change to legalizing pot, the country has leapt ahead, pulling the sometimes listless and ruminating president by the hand, urging him to hurry up…

…Bill O'Reilly said Obama's voters wanted "stuff." He was right. They want Barry to stop bogarting the change.

No note about Barack Obama continuing George W. Bush's war policies from the author of "Bushworld," but Cornel West, never an outspoken supporter of President Obama, doubled down on his critique after the election last week too. From Mediaite:

During an interview last week with Democracy Now, author and activist Cornel West offered harsh criticism of President Barack Obama, calling him a "Rockefeller Republican in blackface" and not someone who is actually looking out for the best interests of the impoverished. The prominent social critic also lashed out at black MSNBC personalities, accusing them of "selling their souls" in support of a president who has been anything but progressive.

"I think that it's morally obscene and spiritually profane to spend $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion," West lamented to host Amy Goodman. "Poverty, trade unions being pushed against the wall dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well, no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people," he continued.

Perhaps Cornel West missed the Obama campaign's strategy of waging class warfare on the way to last Tuesday's victory, perhaps he knows it was just a cynical tool used to marshal support by capitalizing on envy. Perhaps. Nevertheless, Obama's campaign of drone warfare, as well as his assault on civil liberties, are very real problems, and ones the left has traditionally been at the forefront of condemning. Not so in the age of Obama, where the left-wing critique of American empire has turned into unconditional apologism for that empire, a transformation hinging almost solely on the color of the skin of the man at the head of that empire. Obama apologists may decide to continue on their path. There's no more re-election to secure, but the work to secure Obama's legacy is just beginning. Those people should be careful. Legacies are a tricky thing. By the time his term is over, Obama's apologists may have secured a legacy of their own, as intellectually dishonest and unabashed defenders of a flawed presidency that was always an end in and of itself. After all, what was the Obama campaign about, other than the man himself and the othering of his political opponents?

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  1. The president’s record-high rate of deporting illegal immigrants infuriated Latinos.

    So much that they voted for him in droves.

    Look, this is a personality cult. Sure, a few lefty prog types may carp about Obama not doing much for their pet causes, but personality cults aren’t about results. Their support for their Dear Leader will never be in doubt. They won’t “turn on him” in any meaningful way, no matter what he does, or doesn’t do.

    Count on it.

    1. Obama is a Dem and will give them free healthcare and other shit so all is forgiven. Like with FDR.

    2. Personality cults do turn, but the results tend to be pretty bloody.

      1. If they turn on him it will be because he didn’t do enough.

      2. Sure, they turn, but it tends to be pretty infrequently, and not after only a few years.

        That’s my impression, anyway. A nice overview of personality cults and how they ended would be nice, Reason staff writer people.

    3. Yup. But when Obama leaves the stage, they will turn on the poor bastard they run to replace him.

  2. Friday Funnies is on Friday, Ed. At least it’s supposed to be.

  3. Obama’s campaign of drone warfare, as well as his assault on civil liberties, are very real problems, and ones the left has traditionally been at the forefront of condemning
    When has the left been all that fond of civil liberties or opposed to war? They sure weren’t during the 1940s.

    Not so in the age of Obama, where the left-wing critique of American empire has turned into unconditional apologism for that empire, a transformation hinging almost solely on the color of the skin of the man at the head of that empire

    The left-wing critique fo the American Empire has always been that TEAM RED should not run it and it was bad when it went against Commies.

    1. They certainly weren’t opposed to our “intervention” in Bosnia while Clinton was president.

  4. Whether President Obama will be subjected to more criticism for his policies from the left now that he’s been re-elected remains an open question…

    No, it’s not. Even if some suddenly self-aware civil libertarian liberals decided to speak out, they would back off before their toe got even halfway submerged in the critical waters. The threatened loss of Twitter followers alone would end any such notion.

    The lack of criticism wasn’t about keeping him safe for the election, it was about worshiping at the altar. It was about faith.

    1. No, it’s not. Even if some suddenly self-aware civil libertarian liberals decided to speak out, they would back off before their toe got even halfway submerged in the critical waters.

      Disagree. There are a few progressives who routinely talk out against Obama’s record on civil liberties and his warmongering. And they don’t back down. It’s just that the rest of the clan sides with The TEAM rather than the principle. Think Greenwald. In terms of civil liberties and (in particular) drones and the strikes on American citizens, he’s every bit as legit as a guy like Balko.

  5. As Ted Rall put it, you can’t blame Obama if things aren’t looking all that great by the end of his second term. After all, Obama inherited a huge mess from Obama.

  6. It’s pathological with these people. Even when Maureen Dowd manages to find some nascent lady-testicles to criticize the President, she still has to project a decent motivation onto him:

    When the first African-American president was elected, his supporters expected dramatic changes. But Obama feared that he was such a huge change for the country to digest, it was better if other things remained status quo.

    How the fuck can she possible know that? Oh, I know, it’s an exercise in cognitive dissonance. See, the Wise Obama knew that the country was racist and that it was going to be difficult for all of us rubes to accept him, so he left his Leftists down…but it was for good reason. Damn him, he’s too good for America!

    That didn’t stop him from ramming his shitty healthcare bill through Congress via shady if not illegal means, did it?

    1. He was willing to pass a massively unpopular heath care law that cost him control of the House for maybe the next generation. But he couldn’t close GUITMO, roll back the Patriot Act or scale back the drone warfare because he was afraid of the backlash. WTF?

      1. John, this Racist Country wasn’t ready for his Secret Civil Liberty Greatness.

        God, you’re such a hick.

  7. Maureen Dowd launched one of the first (limited) broadsides from the left against President Obama, in a column provocatively titled “Mitt Romney is President” (spoiler: of white America).

    I actually tried to read that, but it was such an impenetrable wall of incoherent stupid I only was able to skim the first couple of paragraphs.

    1. Same here. And when I commented about it and the fact that all issues of “race” are brought up by the left, I was given some obscure stat that only seemed to confirm what I said as well as a response that the article wasn’t about race.

      If the writer makes the claim that Romney was elected president of “white male America” she is the one who brought race up, yet again. Not me.

      1. When I was a kid, Maureen Dowd and Molly Ivins both had prominent places in the Toldeo Blade, the only big-city newspaper in the area. Even then, they enraged me, although I never knew why. Just an instant feeling of anger and revulsion.

        And now I know:

        But the more they insulted the president with birther cracks, the more they tried to force chastity belts on women, and the more they made Hispanics, blacks and gays feel like the help, the more these groups burned to prove that, knitted together, they could give the dead-enders of white male domination the boot.

        This is what the Left actually believes. Maureen Dowd, like that dipshit from Salon yesterday, is living a high school revenge fantasy. Republicans are the country clubbers who picked on the nerds and the gay kids, and now a ragtag coalition of misfits showed them up.

        1. …living a high school revenge fantasy. Republicans are the country clubbers who picked on the nerds and the gay kids, and now a ragtag coalition of misfits showed them up.

          Except that was nothing like high school for me, so not only is the left living a high school revenge fantasy, they are living one that only existed in their minds and/or on TV.

          I was in the group that was picked on in high school, and I’m not gay, not non-white, not a woman. It didn’t bother me (mostly because I just used those 7 hours of prison each day to sleep or read). I never saw anyone getting picked on for being. The bullies always seemed to go after people who dressed poorly, smelled bad, or were socially awkward. I was probably in that first group, and fashion sense hasn’t happened to me yet, unfortunately.

          But my point is that for all this “bullying” talk, I don’t really recall seeing any of it, or at least not against the groups supposedly targeted.

          1. I learned in high school if a fellow male questioned your attire, you questioned his sexual orientation. It shut people up.

        2. Not a fan of Ivins’ politics but I thought she was at least consistent and, for the most part, tried to engage intellectually in arguments about policy & politics.

          Dowd has always struck me as just vapid. It took her six years to figure out that Clinton was all about Clinton.

        3. Not a fan of Ivins’ politics but I thought she was at least consistent and, for the most part, tried to engage intellectually in arguments about policy & politics.

          Dowd has always struck me as just vapid. It took her six years to figure out that Clinton was all about Clinton.

          1. Squirrels/ damn.

    2. The NYTimes columnists always amaze me.

      1. She still hasn’t made it into the thin air in which Friedman thrives.

  8. There’s not a chance of the progs turning on Obama. We’re going Forward!, remember? Obama just wasn’t aware of the amazing corruption in DC until four years after he was elected President; you can’t hold him responsible.

    Just drink up and keep blaming the Republicans.

  9. Holy crap Ed, they start the drinking early down at

    1. damn it!

      “…they start drinking early down at reason, don’t they. The chances of the democrats turning on the godking are roughly equal to those of the proverbial whelk in a supernova”.

      There, FU squirrelz.

  10. The comments aren’t helpful. Many of them seem to believe, as was pointed out already in this thread, that he just can’t left his actual leftism show, because there are just so many evil conservatives in this country that they hold him back.

    There can be no progress until we are pure as the driven snow, like the California legislature.

    1. There can be no progress until we are pure as the driven snow,

      The excuse trotted out by millenia of religious hucksters.

      1. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely correct.

  11. Michelle played Laura Petrie

    Laura Petrie was married to Louis XVI?

  12. Looks like Cornel West needs to re read some history. Progressivism has been in the vanguard of Prohibition,eugenics,segregation and two world wars (and then some).

    1. Perhaps you didn’t get the memo. It’s no longer cool to pay attention only to Glenn Beck. Diversity of media consumption is the new pink.

      1. S o c k p u p p e t! Excellent…you’re finally out of the dryer….please do tell me more!

      2. Hey, Spacebar.

        Isn’t it time for you to go pray with your ass pointing towards The White House?

      3. Just because Glenn Beck says something doesn’t mean its false. What’s that fallacy called? Ad something or another

        And I’m not a fan of Beck

        1. Confirmation bias.

  13. I was at an Orange County Young Republicans meeting last night, and amidst the general despair and gloom associated with the California Republican Party, I was talking with one woman, a real estate attorney, who was convinced that it was us damn libertarians that were driving the GOP apart and preventing them from imitating the discipline the left has shown in supporting Obama.

    I tried to explain to her that Obama wins because his base is cultish, easily distracted by wedge issues, and bribed by free shit, and that the best the GOP could do was take a principled, pro-liberty stance on immigration, civil liberties, and drug reform if it wants to attract educated, enthusiastic young people such as myself, but she just grew more and more hostile and accused me of being naive and not caring that Obama was destroying the country and fucking over my generation. Tribal politics is disease that is not easily cured.

    1. Sad story….

    2. Fuck her and the rest of the Spineless Party – they consigned themselves to oblivion all on their own and have no fucking business blaming our mighty 1% for that.

  14. I think a notable characteristic of the Progressive Democratic left is their perpetual assumption that “if only we elect a Progressive Democratic president, then we will be able to ‘help the poor! and help minorities!’…. and then are disgruntled and confounded when no such results ensue.

    What they never seem to get a grip on is that their actual *policy ideas* are completely ineffective at achieving any of their noble, social-justice objectives.

    I have heard from people who were ‘pro-bama’ this year, and while acknowledging his actual policy decisions did not jibe with their own imagined ‘ideal solutions’… they would inevitably get to some comment along the lines of, “He shares my values” – or, “he has more in common with me than Mitt Romney”

    Ultimately its a referendum on how their own nascissistic self-image is reflected by TEAM BLUE rather than their actual policies at all. They’ll vote TEAM BLUE forever regardless of what they actually do rather than associate themselves with the “FOX NEWS”-class… the people who voted for GEORGE BUS(HITLER)!!

    Seriously, there are so many kids who grew up during the Bush years, and associate everything about him with pure evil / corporate / racist /sexist /warmongering… so much so that Obama could pretty much set up a Gulag system, start castrating the retarded, drop poison gas on half of Africa, and issue food-ration cards… and most of the progressive young’uns would STILL say, “He’s still better than BUSH!!”

    1. The policies fail not because they are wrong, but because a conservative still draws breath, somewhere.

      Until the cancer of conservatism is completely driven from the body politic, all efforts are doomed to failure. The existence of a conservative in any level of gov’t introduces an inherent flaw to whatever legislation is passed, ensuring it’s failure.

      1. arent you supposed to include /sarcasm tags?

        text doesnt do well at differentiating satire from extremism.

        1. As soon as you start using the /milquetoast tag.

  15. Concern troll much?

    1. You would know, wouldn’t you?

      1. Great, I have to wash the coffee stains out of my shirt.

  16. Cornel West is an hysteric, but his sense of smell is accurate with respect to the bushama administration.

    1. It’s almost as if he wants to see the undercarriage of Obama’s bus. If he keeps yapping away, that’s what will happen, anyway.

      1. Oh, don’t worry – him and henry louis gates will get another free beer and they’ll fall in love again just like the Marlena Dietrich tune.

  17. the survival of the 2 party system is at stake.

    If obama isnt villified into Bush 2.0, it will be the end of our political system.

    Obamabots will vote for his brand indefinitely. The only way to get back on track is to share power with 2 viable options.

    Personally i would rather see the 2 headed monster die. it will be interesting to see if the democrat head has the foresight to defer to republicanism for the sake of its body. optimistically i suspect they cant help themselves.

    Obama drove america head first into a massive recession, and his voters still turned out in enough numbers to reelect him. These people are the unwitting saviors of our freedom. Their evil is virulent enough to extinquish itself, and its connected repub party.

  18. Dude that jsut looks like its gonan be cool .WOw;

    http://www.Anon-Webz.tk

    1. ^Flag as spam.

  19. Not sure why West mentions poverty and trade unions in the same breath. Trade union gains come at the expense of less-skilled workers, who are then more likely to be poor.

    1. Silly person, progressive policies have no negative side effects whatsoever.

      1. I was reading something yesterday about how CA university students are angry about tuition hikes – something they seem unable to connect to the remuneration of the University system’s administration and faculty.

  20. “the left-wing critique of American empire has turned into unconditional apologism for that empire, a transformation hinging almost solely on the color of the skin of the man at the head of that empire.”

    1) It’s ignorant to describe the democratic party as a monolith, or to assume everyone in that party considers itself part of “the left”. Some leftists have consistently criticized Obama’s positions on civil liberties and Drones as vociferously as they did Bush’s (Greenwald).

    2) Obama never ran on a criticism of American empire, nor did he promise to fundamentaly alter it. In fact, he ran on the position that he would violate Pakistan’s sovereignty to kill Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists. Some members of the democratic party are the descendants of the pacifist SDS, but most of us aren’t.

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