In response to the endorsement of Obama’s re-election by the All Pueblo Indian Council, I suggested on Facebook that that endorsement was inconceivable. One commenter simply replied, “OBAMA 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D” I asked, Why? Her very enthusiastic response basically boiled down to, “Because he’s not a Republican, and he got a Nobel Peace Prize.” She named not a single accomplishment.
Likewise, I have seen erstwhile critics of Obama who are now prepared to jump on the bandwagon for his re-election, and the most common reason, if not the only one, is that the Republican would be worse.
My own feeling – and I volunteered for his campaign, and voted for him in the Democratic primary – is that no one with so abysmal a record in office deserves to be re-elected. That’s a gross over-simplification. I know the subject is fraught with complexities, but I want to get to one particular thread in the whole issue, and that is this:
What has he done – not spoken eloquently about, but accomplished – that you think justifies his re-election. Or, on the other side, what has he done or failed to do, that you think disqualifies him from re-election, or would, at the very least, make it hard for you to vote for him?
Please make up your list first, before reading mine, so you can follow the thread of your own priorities. And please make this a dialogue. I want to know what others think.
Here’s what I give him credit for, with qualifiers where necessary:
> (Belatedly) ending the war in Iraq (more or less).
> Getting health insurance reform that admittedly covers millions more people (while making government the enforcer, bringing new clients to insurers, who by all rights should have been eliminated)
> Makes damned pretty speeches.
> He sometimes greets the bodies of KIA soldiers when they return to the US, and allows their caskets to be photographed
> He got bin Laden (but did not bring him to trial)
Here are a few of the problems I see:
> No coherent environmental policy, or even posture, at a time when we should be operating on a state of environmental emergency.
> No energy policy that would take us away from Old Carbon or from dependence on other nations
> No effective use of the largest party majority (Democrat OR Republican) in Congress since, I think, the 1930s
> Constant capitulation to Republicans on budget talks
> Opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – and now tries to take credit for it because it happened on his watch
> Guantanamo is still in operation
> He appointed Geithner AND Summers to positions of leadership in his administration
> No prosecutions of those who crashed Wall Street have happened, and no investigations are apparently underway
> Has not ended Bush’s tax cuts for the richest, nor increased taxes or reduced subsidies on companies recording record profits
> Has not supported marriage equality
> he may (reports differ utterly) have requested the power to indefinitely incarcerate Americans without trial. It’s bad enough that we do this – still – to foreign nationals in Guantanamo. But this would effectively make this a police state. Obama supporters: you want the next Republican president deciding that Occupiers or environmentalists are terrorists and can be held indefinitely?
Unless the president accomplishes a number of significant – I would say revolutionary – steps in these matters before next November, I have no more intention of voting for him as I would any other president with a largely corporatist, anti-environmental track record.
How about you?