Friday, November 27, 2009

The Abject Failure of the Obama Administration. Or not.

You know, as I wander around this series of tubes, occasionally heckling some poor deluded right-winger (and by "heckling," I mean "pointing out facts to someone with a limited grasp on reality"), I find myself frequently called by some variation on the term "Obamabot."

The reason for this is fairly simple (as are many of the people who use terms like that) - the Far Right tends to view the entire world in black and white terms. Every Muslim is an extremist and a terrorist. All atheists are violently opposed to all religion, everywhere. All gays are sexual deviants, and will cheerfully perform any other sexual deviance, whether it's beastiality, pedophilia, prostitution or incest.

It's the foundation of their entire world-view: America - love it or leave it. (Unless a Democrat is in charge, of course.) You're either with us, or with the terrorists.

The Bush/Cheney White House exploited this simplistic outlook to push their neocon agenda as far as they could. Fox "News" is still eating from the rotting carcass of that mentally (and often morally) bankrupt philosophy.

Black and white. No shades of grey. And so, following this simplistic and twisted "logic," if I don't immediately condemn everything that Barack Obama does or says, I must therefore support every action taken by the president. I must worship at his feet and call him the Messiah. And I must have a shrine in my living room with a bronze statue of Obama gazing off into the socialist future that the Right likes to imagine he sees.

No middle ground. Black and white.

But let's be real: there is fuck-all in this world that isn't actually some shade of grey. In the end, there are very few saints and only marginally more sociopaths: most people are simply self-centered, venal creatures with lusts they barely control and damned few positive traits. The trick is that some of us hide these traits in ourselves better than some others can manage.

So, do I believe that Barack Obama is the Chosen One, who brings the dead to life and craps gold bars? To be honest, not so much. I do, however, compare him to the previous tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and find him to be superior in pretty much every measurement.

Do I agree with everything Obama has done, though? Hell, no.

While I believe that Dick Cheney is dithering about that craniorectal surgery he's been putting off, I don't see Obama's measured approach to a complex situation in Afghanistan to be a problem. I would prefer if American troops were pulled out of what has historically proven to be an amazingly truculent piece of real estate, especially since my son (the Marine) has just deployed to that ugly, nasty, and excessively frigid country.

On the other hand, I can't figure out why we still have troops in Iraq. Every measurable mission that's been given our military in Iraq has been fulfilled. We didn't go into that hellhole for any particularly good reason, and I don't believe we need to stay.

And moving in from the bigger, strategic picture, I don't like all of the tactical decisions that have been made. For example, we have a program using unmanned predator drones targeting potential terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I support the fact that it keeps our troops out of harm's way. But if we had "actual" people (as opposed to "virtual" people) doing that job, they would be referred to as "hit squads." And Obama has approved this program. I do not like the fact that the White House has endorsed a program of assassination by proxy.

Since the GOP has shown that their definition of "bipartisan" is "we get our way on everything," I think that Obama is wasting his time trying to appease the Right. Just ram your agenda through Congress and move on. For example, America needs a real, robust public option, and I'm disappointed that Obama isn't pushing harder for it.

I have problems with some of his choices for advisors and cabinet positions. I think one of the best examples would have to be Islam Siddiqui, a former pesticide lobbyist, as chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The potential bias implicit in that choice makes my balls itch.

There's plenty of other things I disagree with. But that's the difference. I see the president as a talented man in a difficult situation, and I understand the bigger picture: nobody does everything exactly right. I have no problem with that.

Do I think Obama is the Messiah? No. But then again, I also believe that anyone who wants to see the president fail must love their politics more than they love their country. Because if the president fails, so does the United States.

Those on the right see America's first black president, and a Democratic president at that, and actively search for any tiny mistake (or anything that they can twist and suggest might be a mistake), because they can't stand the thought of him succeeding. This became most obvious when, six months into Obama's presidency, the Right was already calling this administration a failure.

They have an instantaneous, knee-jerk response to anything that Barack Obama does: they oppose it, and it doesn't matter whether this hypothetical "something" is what would be best for the country. They're stuck in a feedback loop: if they see anything done or said by Barack Obama, they immediately search for the worst possible interpretation, despite all evidence supplied by reality.

It's a simple, mindless reaction process, performed almost automatically. They receive input labeled "Obama" and they respond to it. They will then continue in that direction, even if they end up running into a wall. And if the path that their minimalist programming lays out for them runs them off a cliff? Then they'll heedlessly march over the edge and keep right on marching until physics abruptly brings to an end what logic couldn't change.

Obviously, what we need is a better definition of "Obamabot."


Diogenes said...

One line from Big Dick's interview with Politico hasn't gotten enough play, in my opinion:

"“One of their top people will be given the opportunity — courtesy of the United States government and the Obama administration — to have a platform from which they can espouse this hateful ideology that they adhere to,” he said. “I think it’s likely to give encouragement — aid and comfort — to the enemy.”

That's the formal legal constitutional definition of treason.

This joke of a former VP -- this guy who by rights ought to be facing a prison sentence himself -- is accusing the sitting President of the United States of treason.

How downright despicable.

Nameless Cynic said...

But it's in line with Dick's usual line of garbage. I think it's time for the President to answer appropriately.

Something like, "I've listened with great interest to Mr Cheney's characterization of my actions the past few months. And to be honest, it's possible that I'm too close to the situation to view it objectively. Therefore, I am asking the Government Accounting Office, the CIA and the State Department to perform a joint audit of all foreign policy decisions undertaken by the US government. Of course, to be entirely fair, as many decisions have been predicated on actions which came before them, this audit will extend back through January 20, 2000."

I would be fascinated to hear whether Cheney would be rushed to the hospital immediately following such a statement.

(Oh, incidentally, I did a brief update to this post - mother post is a month old, so you probably haven't seen it...)

Diogenes said...

Dang, e-boy's losing it big time... not only has he convinced himself that I am every poster on his blog, but now he's threatening my life! Watch your back, NC.

Nameless Cynic said...

Ah, and here you miss the glory that is the small mind of eBoy.

He's trying something different. I'll give him that much. He finally figured out that he couldn't win on your playing field, so he's trying to find a new one.

I tossed a few comments his way, just to see what his reaction would be. And he's still fixated on you and me, for whatever reason. But now he's trying to appear sinister.

Of course, if he could actually manage to think something through, he'd know that tracing an IP address will give you about 100 square miles, plus or minus. At best.

So he's trying to be cute with it. Really, since he doesn't know anything about you other than you call yourself "Diogenes" online, he's being a moron with statements like "I want to ask his neighbors..."

Me? Hey, I'm a lot easier to track. I'm in the phone book. And if Chubby wants to play tough, he can come on down. I'll be happy to kick his ass and send him sobbing back to his mom's basement in Wisconsin.

Feel free to keep annoying him. Personally, I'll go back to paying no attention to him, since we've pretty much proved that by doing that, I seem to be driving him even crazier.

He's not worth my time. Go ahead and keep kicking him if he's worth yours.

Diogenes said...

I'm so ashamed. It's like driving past a highway accident.... I just can't resist poking that bear cub. :-)