Contemplating the Obama Blues

by on February 2, 2010 · 19 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Election, War and Peace

Blue Obamaby Dixon Guizot

Like many folks on the left, I’ve recently been suffering from PODS, President Obama Disappointment Syndrome. On mild days, my PODS symptoms would include eye-rolling during Obama clips on the news, lack of interest in presidential moments like the state of the union speeches, and on-sight deletion of emails I get from . And when my Obama blues would really act up, I’d find myself dwelling on how the president has let the nation down and turned hope into just another four-letter word.

But when I take an objective look at PODS, I realize that the malady actually is not caused by any chicanery on the part of Obama, who has governed just about how he said he would govern. My PODS is a result of the dreamy expectations that I, like many liberals, had for the guy. I dreamed Obama would hold Bush & Co. accountable for their many misdeeds, though Obama made it clear he would let them off scot-free. I dreamed Obama would end needless war, though he made it clear that he was going to continue the occupation of Iraq and escalate the violence in and around Afghanistan. I dreamed Obama would push for single payer, though he made it clear that he wouldn’t.

Basically, I dreamed that Obama would, once in office, turn out to be more Dennis Kucinich than Obama. Now I see my Obama dreams for what they were – fantasy – and this realization is what’s really causing my PODS. I convinced myself that Obama would blossom as a liberal when he became President, while Obama has always made it clear that he is not a liberal – he’s just a Democrat.

As the late Paul Wellstone pointed out with that brilliant quote in the late 90s — “I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party” — there’s often little contrast between our Democratic politicians and their Republican counterparts. At some point in the last few decades, as liberal became a dirty word, the Democratic party tacked aggressively toward the center while Republicans went further right. So in the voting booths of today, instead of choosing between the liberal party and the conservative party, we find ourselves picking either the pro-corporate party or the extremely pro-corporate party. We pick our preferred shade of gray.

This situation is a damn shame, but it pre-dates Obama. Remember who the veep was on the ticket with Al Gore in 2000? Joe Lieberman. Know who the head Democratic honchos begged to run with John Kerry in 2004, before the party settled for John Edwards? John freakin’ McCain!

Facts like these are what’s really feeding the angst underlying my disappointment in Obama. The president pretty much delivered what he said he would in his first year in office. It’s the system he works for that has misrepresented itself and let us down.

Of course, this realization leads to another one, which helps me get over my PODS real quick: The good fight us lefties are fighting is much bigger than Democrats versus Republicans. And in a scrap as massive as this, we don’t have much time to spend sniveling about Obama. We’ve got to remember the big picture — and then we’ve got to get to work.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry February 2, 2010 at 12:27 pm

If you truely are a lefty Lib…which I doubt…you would be overly thrilled with Obama! The hold up of the dream is the very party he represents. The dumb Dems!


Dixon Guizot February 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Wow, first time in, well, forever that I’ve been accused of not being enough of a lefty Lib.

Terry, you’re implying that Obama is stymied by the Democratic party. As I see it, he sets the tone of the party from the top down. Could you elaborate on what you mean?


Terry February 2, 2010 at 10:47 pm

It’s clear Obama is too far left for the Dems. Their not swallowing his tone. The Dems own the House and Senate, yet no Obama bills get through. This is not because the Repubs are blocking anything. THEY CAN’T. The Dems are caving! Obama knows this. Re-listen to his State of the Union. He’s ordering the Dems not to cave. Our dream is just a dream, and it’s over.

So, I say to my Lib friends…Obama has not really let us down, His agenda goes on. It’s those damn dumb Dems.

That’s all.


Dixon Guizot February 3, 2010 at 9:23 am

Thanks for the additional thoughts, Terry. I agree that Obama is having trouble keeping Dems like the Blue Dogs on board. I also agree that Obama hasn’t let the libs down…as I mentioned in the original post, I think he’s demonstrated since before the election that he is not a liberal.

That’s why he’s struggling with the Blue Dog types. Instead of offering up a progressive agenda – which, if you look under the hood at survey data, a majority of Americans tends to support – Obama has trotted out a wealthy-sponsor-approved platform that more or less maintains the status quo. For example, note how public support of health care reform began eroding as it became clear that what we were going to get was insurance-for-all.

If Obama pursued policies that more closely matched the wants and needs of most Americans, I think Congressional Democrats – not to mention Republicans – would have to think harder about how opposing Obama could cost them their next election.


Danny Morales February 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Shane 2 bad that some folks will use your insightful remarks as an opening to throw labels at U and The Democratic Party. But then again in the land of rove et. al it’s personality and not principles. From the so called “left” even…:>p


Dixon Guizot February 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Thanks for the support, Danny. And don’t worry, labels can’t hurt. Predator Drones, however…those things freak me out!


The Great Unwashed February 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm


You can *run* for the left, but you’ve got to *govern* for the center. Middle America isn’t going anywhere. There’s no hate here but an awful lot of pragmatism. We’ve served in the Armed Forces, we’ve paid a lifetime (me since 1967) of taxes, but still you can’t put us in a neat little old jar. Our “system” may suck, but still it’s the only one that guarantees our right to speak our minds. Middle America despises corporate excess as well!


Dixon Guizot February 3, 2010 at 9:36 am

I challenge the idea that there’s some sort of Middle America out there whose wishes must be catered to by Democratic politicians.

For one thing, Republicans rarely seem to have moderate their policies to win over these mysterious centrists. For another, public opinion surveys show that a majority of Americans supports the stuff at the top of the lefty (or my preferred term, “progressive”) agenda: ending unnecessary war, reducing military spending, establishing health care for all, enacting campaign finance reform, et cetera.

When it comes to establishing consensus, to sticking to what’s practical and politically viable, I’m with Noam Chomsky, who says that those phrases are all codewords used to justify denying policy that the public wants but the big money opposes.


Danny Morales February 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm


You’re to young to remember the coinage of the phrase “Middle America” in the Nixon years. You’re correct, that’s code talk for a demographic that became the Reagan Democrats in the 80’s and was subjected to the Repuglican party’s “Southern Strategy” in the 70’s.

I too have served in the armed services and have been paying taxes since 1967 but am under no illusions about the guarantees of our capitalist system and its governing subcommittee… but I digress. I’ve learned enough pragmatism to know the enemy of my friend and visa versa.

However I do appreciate ALL the straightfoward coments to this and other posts. Kinda like the last scene in the original “All Quiet on the Western Front” where the protagonist reaches beyond his parapet to a butterfly which alights upon the war scarred earth…

Thank You,
Danny Morales


Frank Gormlie February 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Danny, the last -surviving protagonist reaches for a flower – and then is shot.


Danny Morales February 4, 2010 at 8:06 am

Frank- In the 1930 (original) film version its a butterfly, in the 1979 remake its a bird. Haven’t read the book though?


Danny Morales February 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm
Editordude February 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Danny – and anyone else who does this: do not leave long links at the beginning of your comment – it screws up the chatter box on the home page. Thanx.


Ann Finneran February 3, 2010 at 6:48 am

Good to know I have a distant cousin so close in thought!
Your item was sent to me by another distant Finneran who is, alas, very distant in thought…


Dixon Guizot February 3, 2010 at 9:38 am

Great to hear from you, Ann. Cheers from San Diego!


missBee February 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Scrap the whole system. Scrap both sides. More moderates. Less government.

We are so bloated with regulations, laws, and special interest.

It’s a shame, that from my angle I see more and more control based regulations that feed the fat cat business man, while the little guy dies off. CPSIA is one example of such a measure. It is literally killing the cottage industry due to it’s excessive governing. If you haven’t looked into that, and what’s it’s doing to the handmade industry, you should. It’s getting better, as it’s being interpreted by they CPSC. But it’s a long way from perfect, and every day, the handmade alliance loses another maker of children’s items.

I don’t blame Obama for that. But the bill is a democrat knee jerk reaction to the lead scares.

I’m very much a moderate, I’m pro-choice, pro-gun ownership, pro-social programs, and I feel if a person works hard and reaches the top, they shouldn’t be penalized for it. so, I guess that makes me pro-corporations. I support responsible recreational drug use and sales. And I think prescription drugging our children is dooming our future generations.

I’d love to see less government, more personal responsibility, and no more smoke and mirrors.

Calling ourselves Liberals, or Conservatives, or Democrats, or Republicans is demeaning to our vast ability to see things from different angles and not always completely side with our party’s ideals.

How would I even label myself?

I’ve been called every label depending on the issue we’re discussing. If you met me in a bar and we started talking about abortion, you’d assume I’m a Liberal, based on my views. But if you asked me about guns, I’d show you my NRA membership.

When you put yourself in a box, and expect a party to not only cater to your ideals, but also to support all that party’s ideals yourself, you set yourself up for these moments where you feel let down.

I don’t subscribe to parties.
I subscribe to ideals.

And I want a more moderate, smaller government.


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm

miss bee – you do make some good points. Much of the money our federal government spends is via the Pentagon and keeping countless military bases strung out across the planet. Our society needs war to keep the engines running. If we could just harness all those resources, we could pay for health care for all and scale back alot of the waste. I agree that big government and large corporations are marrying up, but I’m also glad that earlier generations of citizens forced the government to create safety nets, like Medicare, unemployment insurance, social security. Plus we need those agencies that monitor large corporations – what little they still do today – and those efforts to keep our food chain clean and garbage out of our water system, etc.


missBee February 4, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Those social services really are essential. And as I watch the healthcare war, I wonder how those services will be affected. All the families that rely on them. When I had my first son, I was young, and I relied on them. I got a degree, and found a niche, and got off the system. The day I said to my worker “I’m done! I’m giving up my spot to someone who needs it.” Was so freeing.

I certainly think that we’d be much better off fighting our own wars, and not other peoples.

Stop outsourcing our cars and jeans!

And while these regulations are needed, over regulation is where the government begins to be more of a parent, than an agency.


Nancy February 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Miss Bee,
Please define what programs and/or services you’d want the govt. to cut, and what you mean by wanting the govt. to be more “moderate.”


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