Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Obama Report Card: FAIL

It's been almost a year since Obama was inaugurated, and, now that the excitement has worn off, it's time to look critically at what he has done for progressives.

Economy/Recession: Obama has filled his administration with Wall Street insiders. He then gave enormous sums of taxpayer money to the same Wall Streeters who destroyed the financial system. He gave this money with few strings attached, and very little protection for the taxpayer. His administration has intentionally sweetened these deals even further, while hiding these actions from the public. He has allowed Wall Street insiders to write the important parts of the financial reform bill, and has turned away from serious reform at almost every opportunity. The Obama Justice Department has done absolutely nothing to hold accountable the people who destroyed our financial system. A charitable view here would be that he was simply out of his league; at this point, however, this view would appear naive, as the administration has actively assisted Wall Street, and while acknowledging that unemployment is unacceptable, has done very little about it. Grade: FAIL

Health Care: After proposing that we reform our health care system, the president left the details of the reform entirely up to Congress. The result is a bill which is stripped of just about everything that would make it appealing to liberals. This bill will force 30 million Americans to buy health insurance from private insurance companies, who will be allowed to make 25% profits on the premiums, and who will often have no competition. It is the biggest giveaway to the health care industry that one could imagine, and it goes hand in hand with the secret agreement Obama made with the pharmaceutical companies. The president has claimed that he wanted a more progressive bill, yet he did absolutely nothing to make this happen. It is now becoming apparent that he got the bill that he wanted. Grade: FAIL.

Foreign Policy: While it would be almost impossible to design a worse foreign policy than his predecessor's, being slightly better than Bush is nothing to hang your hat on. It's commendable that he hasn't tried to nuke Iran, but he has continued to show unconditional support for Israel, a nation that is clearly endangering American security. Afghanistan has been the big issue so far, and he has sent 30,000 troops into a war that has no hope of being won, and for which there are not even any objectives other than a vague desire to make the world safe from terrorists who do not live in Afghanistan, and for whom an Afghan escalation will be a first rate recruiting tool. Grade: FAIL

Civil Rights: Obama's administration has covered up torture, has continued to torture, has claimed the right to hold people in preventative detention without trial until they die, and has now actively and successfully convinced the Supreme Court to rule that the president literally has the power to decide if someone is a "person", and if the president decides that that someone is not, then he literally has the right to imprison, torture, and even kill that individual if he so chooses. He has, in almost every area, been worse than President George Bush, as unbelievable as that may sound.* Grade: FAIL

I realize that this is not a complete account of everything that the president has done. But these were the big issues this year, and in every one of them he has sided against the American people. On health care, he let the insurance lobby write the bill. On foreign policy, Israel and the American military-industrial complex has had its way. On the economy, well, his own administration is full of Wall Streeters, so he didn't even need to lobbied to side with Wall Street over Main Street. On civil rights, he has sided with his own administration against the rights of the citizenry.

It appears that Obama's main goal is to make sure that the campaign contributions keep coming in for the Democrats. If you believe that having the Democrats in control is a good thing in and of itself, even though the policies they pursue are truly terrible, then you will probably disagree with my grades. And if this is the case, then I would say that your love of donkeys some from looking in the mirror at one.

I personally couldn't care less about Democrats. We need real health care reform, we need to stop trying to project power around the world, we need to reform our financial system, and we need to pay attention to civil rights. If the Democrats, and Obama, aren't willing to do this, then I'm ready to find someone or some party who can.

Because the president and the Democrats have failed.

Jameel Jaffer, head of the ACLU's National Security Project, said that while "the Bush administration constructed a legal framework for torture, the Obama administration is constructing a legal framework for impunity.”

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