Back during the heated days of the presidential primary race, just after I moved to Barack Obama when my first choice Dennis Kucinich dropped out, the whole “Obamabot” thing was born through the steadfast insistence of Hillary’s more creative supporters. I tried to get “Obamaton” off the ground since I thought it rolled off the tongue a little smoother, but it never really took off. I guess it’s hard to get political “enemies” to call you by a preferred insult, even if it is easier to snap off.
No matter. I am not bitter. The primaries are over and my man won the prize. Obamabot it is.
So here we are on day one of the second year of his presidency, yet very little has actually changed despite the super snappy video so many of us watched in 2008. (That song still makes me smile with naive optimism, giddy as a school girl. Don’t judge me. I don’t know any of the Jonus Brothers first names!) I don’t really blame the president. He is a principled man with a enormous burden none of us could ever truly fathom. He took office with a recalcitrant Congress full of plutocratic mosquitoes fat on the blood of the Republic and a special interest swamp of epic proportions.
Hope must be tempered with patience and pragmatism if the end goal is sustainable progressive change.
The America President Obama inherited on January 20, 2008 had just pulled back from the brink of insanity and was still in need of serious, long-term therapy. The man was starting the work of multiple generations yet was met with the unrealistic expectations of a fast food nation raised on instant gratification and an Oedipus Complex that would make Freud reconsider his thesis as too provincial. Our new president made some mistakes to be sure as he staffed the cabinet and rolled out his priorities, but some inspired choices as well and was trying to set a new tone.
Barack’s learning curve was always going to be steep given his relative inexperience in national politics, yet his most reluctant supporters immediately joined his fiercest critics in yanking the ladder out as soon as he started climbing. The democratic caucus then stepped up to kick him in the teeth with a series of legislative fait accompli masquerading as bipartisanship because their naive new president thought governing for the whole country, right and left, was a good idea.
So here we are again. Bloodied noses. Split lips. Faces pulled back in a snarl, wondering why nothing has really changed. Why? Because WE haven’t changed. The second Barack pulled his hand from the Lincoln bible and stepped to the microphone, we began our perennial turning away. The sheep went back to sleep, right on cue. Ding. The dinner bell called us back to our over-sized value meals and 500 channels of television.
Where do we go from here? I’ll make a couple predictions for our president’s thirteenth month in office, but the aberrant data point of We The People Who Bleat makes it hard to get beyond that.
The House will pass the Senate bill intact and Obama will sign it before Senator Brown is seated. They don’t need a single republican vote to get that done. All it takes is Nancy to crack a couple liberal heads and Steny has her back. That will be a huge win for the democratic party and will put the Brown victory into perspective. Speaking of what Brown can do for you, I suspect he will govern much like Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe, which is a good thing for progressives.
Well, good for progressives who actually value progress which means bringing this country’s divergent halves back together in order to create a harmonious and sustainable whole.