One of the reasons liberals have such a difficult time in the political arena (and if you don’t think we do, then we have something else to talk about) is because some of the loudest and highest-profile liberals out there demand that everything be fully 100% “liberal.” Every liberal in this country needs to understand that no one gets 100% of anything in a democracy. Learn to accept and embrace those things that move the country in a progressive direction. The 200 or so groups whose claimed mission is to “unite liberals” need to understand that the only thing we all have to agree on is that we must move in the direction of progress. Whether we move forward at 100 miles per hour or 10 miles per hour, it’s better than moving in reverse. And we’ve been doing just that for most of the last 32 years.
Part and parcel of this attitude is the constant negativity shown the current President by so many loud, obnoxious liberals. President Obama could very well be the most progressive president in our lifetimes, and yet there’s a group of clueless liberals who seem to love to trash him and who refuse to give him credit for anything.
On drones in Yemen and Pakistan, for example, this group of liberals basically claim he’s more bloodthirsty than Bush, and they make him out to be something of a warmonger, when reality is just the opposite. A warmonger wouldn’t use drones to carry out relatively precise hits on bad guys; they’d send in troops The main reason for drones in Yemen is because the Yemen government asked us to help them root out the terrorist threat. In Pakistan, drones are being used to root out terrorism, as well, without accelerating the Afghanistan “war.” And by all indications, the current Administration seems to be working with Pakistan. It’s certain they haven’t exactly had a lot of interference from any of the Pakistani governments. The drones are essentially Obama cleaning up another Bush mess, and doing what Bush promised to do back in 2001. He’s been working his ass off to lessen the terrorist threat, and declare Bush’s war on “terrrrr-ism” over, and he’s doing so without sending in troops and waging a full-scale war. Yet, the rhetoric coming from some quarters on the left has been to declare Obama as being the same as Bush, and falsely claiming that he supports Bush policies. He doesn’t. Period. There is absolutely no resemblance between the Obama and Bush Administrations on much of anything, but especially when it comes to foreign policy and war. And when you claim there is, you’re simply lying.
What’s worse, whenever the President does something the drone maniacs should be happy about, there either don’t mention it, or make some cynical comments about it. For example, on August 1, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a short-but-unspecified (to us) timetable for ending drone strikes in Pakistan altogether. But how many active media-level liberals and bloggers who have been complaining about drones for years even mentioned it? There were short mentions all over the “mainstream” press, but there was little mention and almost no editorializing on the part of the “liberal blogosphere.” In fact, the “usual suspects” on Twitter continue to whine about drones, as if there has been no development at all.
It’s always puzzled me why so many liberals can complain so vehemently about President Obama day in and day out, then refuse to even notice when he does something they supposedly want him to do. Why is that? How can progressives expect to be taken seriously when some of the loudest voices on our side do nothing but complain, and refuse to give the most progressive president in our lifetime credit for being progressive, because their image of “progressive” is perhaps a caricature of a black man wearing a dashiki, with his fist raised in a black power salute. Or at the very least, they imagine him as the liberal version of George W. Bush, where it’s “our” turn to
I wonder how many of the progressives who have been whining about the NSA spying program and hailing Edward Snowden as some sort of hero even noticed the bold and unprecedented steps President Obama announced at his press conference Friday, when he announced that he would allow outside voices to have input into the surveillance process, and he proposed new rules that would actually result in less power for the Executive Branch when it comes to surveillance activities like PRISM.
I’ve been following the political process for years, and I cannot remember a time when a president willingly gave up a measure of power on anything, but especially surveillance.
But, what was this portion of the left wing focused on? Obama’s statement that Snowden “is not a patriot.” Year! Way to focus on the important stuff, guys! You know, because Obama’s opinion about Snowden means everything, and his decisions about how to handle necessary surveillance means nothing.
One of the most striking things most liberals should note about his decision to increase surveillance oversight and to change the Patriot Act a bit was that he didn’t have to do it at all. While most of the far left who think Obama’s a “sell-out” believe everyone thinks as they do, or should, the fact of the matter is, only a smattering of voters seems to be concerned about the NSA program at all.
And before the libeals I’m talking about give the credit for this to Snowden, might I point out that Obama actually proposed these changes a full two weeks before Snowden and Greenwald appeared on the scent. Here’s a transcript of a speech he made on May 23 of this year at the National Defense University:
The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old. The Afghan war is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.
So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.
He didn’t get credit from media-type liberals that time, either. Not even a little. It’s like an obsession. In point of fact, President Obama has done a lot of progressive things, not the least of which was using his political skills to get us closer to universal health care than ever before, and to see the end of the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He’s also facilitated our switch to alternative fuels farther along than anyone since Jimmy Carter, and everything progressive that he has done has largely been in the face of the most right wing and obstructionist Congress in our history. Basically, most of the progressive things he’s been chided for for the last four and a half years he tried to do, but was blocked by Congress.
Strangely, many of the things some far lefties expect Obama to do, they expect him to do in spite of Congress, and often against the law. That’s exactly what we need, huh? A progressive President who simply ignores the law and does what he wants? I can’t imagine how the next right wing president could possibly abuse that power, could you?
Look, folks; if we want people to listen to us regarding this country’s politics, then we need to have credibility. And it’s not possible to be credible when the loudest of us is always complaining and exaggerating the effect of every single event. President Obama is as progressive as he can be with the current Congress. Get a clue…