You remember Bob Herbert, right? The only New York Times columnist who wrote about poor people in America? What he said:

There is always some excuse, some reason for not bringing all of the president’s energy and resources to the fight.

On jobs, the biggest crisis facing the country, the excuse for not having done more has been Republican obstructionism. There is no doubt the Republicans have tried to thwart the president every which way from sundown. But Obama never fought back in kind. He never found his inner Harry Truman, never took his case forcefully to the people. He kept trying to accommodate the other side long after it was clear that no accommodation was possible.

In the face of the worst economic calamity since the 1930s, the United States needed a mammoth job-creation and economic revitalization program, a New Deal for the 21st century. But that would have required presidential leadership capable of challenging the formidable opposition mounted by the very folks who caused the crisis in the first place. Instead we got a woefully insufficient stimulus program and a failed effort at some kind of grand bargain between the president and the retrograde Republicans in Congress. That grand bargain would have imposed austerity measures that would have further crushed the poor and the black and the middle class.

On Wednesday night nearly 60 million television viewers got to witness this chronic unwillingness of Barack Obama to fight. He did not hammer Mitt Romney for his ugly, all-too-revealing comments that demeaned nearly half the population as slackers and ne-er-do-wells. He did not go after Romney’s terrible job-creation record as governor of Massachusetts. He did not assail Romney for his callous contention on 60 Minutes that people who don’t have health insurance actually do get care — in the nation’s emergency rooms. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die,” said Romney. “We pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and give them care.”

Obama never bothered to bring up that cold-hearted comment during the debate, never bothered to explain why the reliance on emergency room treatment is one of the worst possible approaches imaginable to providing health care.

One of the more remarkable things about the debate was Mitt Romney’s absolute contempt for anything resembling facts, truth or reality. Deliberate deception was the bedrock foundation of his strategy. He wouldn’t even come clean on the tax cuts that are a cornerstone of his campaign. And yet it was Romney who had the chutzpah to look Obama in the eye and assert: “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts.”

How in heaven’s name could Obama let him get away with that?

The harsh truth is that President Obama seemed unprepared for the debate. He came off as a man who didn’t really want to be there, who wondered why he should have to be bothered fending off the impertinent attacks and serial untruths being flung at him by his opponent. The millions of Obama supporters who wanted to see flashes of passion and fire from their guy — from a president fighting effectively on their behalf — were left with nothing but the bitter taste of disappointment.

Romney, in contrast, seemed not just confident but in command. He was dynamic (as he fashioned one falsehood after another), while Obama seemed flat, uncomfortable and unwilling to vigorously counteract the falsehoods. Most important, Romney was the one far more willing to fight.

There will be more debates. And the election has not been decided by any means. But Obama’s supporters need to make it clear that the time for excuses is over. The president had no right to show up for a debate unprepared and offer an expectant nation an embarrassingly half-hearted performance. Progressive leaders, who represent Obama’s strongest and most faithful supporters, have an obligation to convey that message in the strongest possible terms.

The president let his people down. And if he’s capable of doing that in an election that is clearly so important, it means he’s capable of doing it again if he wins a second term.

See, this is my problem with Obama, and why I’m so unwilling to get on the Blue Team bandwagon. Obama’s policies (or lack thereof) have been just as bad for the poor and unemployed as if Republicans were in the White House. And he seems to be fine with that! He wasn’t being funny when he told Romney how they agreed on Social Security — he’s a corporatist asshole who sees his job as herding us meekly into our new Third World reality.

Well, I won’t be quiet. This man doesn’t care enough to fight for us. He only fights for himself.

15 thoughts on “Yep

  1. Maybe we were badly fooled back in 2004 (whadda speech!) and 2008.
    Maybe Obama was a Trojan horse for the 99% all along.

  2. “He only fights for himself.” Always has. Always will. If you watch what he does, and always has done, you don’t get fooled by the magic show.

    Of course, that’s depressing as hell and much less fun.

  3. What on earth makes anyone think Obama has an “inner Harry Truman”? I don’t understand Obama supporters and I never have. He “accomodates” the Republicans because he agrees with the Republicans. He fails to fight for ordinary people because he doesn’t give a shit about ordinary people. He only fights for himself because he only cares about himself (and occasionally his family). This isn’t rocket science. He is what he does.

  4. Well, y’all all know what to do: don’t vote, stay home, vote for Romney and lyin’ Ryan, or vote for the Green candidate. Pissed with Obama are you? Do any of the above and we’ll all be amongst the most-fucked Americans since the pilgrims invaded the land with no knowledge of how to plant food. Catfood my ass………..

  5. There was no fight in the debate because there is nothing to debate. They agree on 80% of the issues. Obama was too embarrassed to fight back against Romney’s platform, because he would essentially be fighting against his own platform.

    He won’t fight, and he will never fight, because he can’t fight against what he really believes. It’s all just a choice between personalities.

    And, BTW, there is no chance Obama will lose, no matter who you vote for. He was put into office to do a job, and he has done it exactly as the money people wanted it done. They will put him right back in for a second term. Romney is too unstable, a loose cannon, and there is no telling what damage he might do to the status quo.

  6. dandy, I’m actually planning to vote for Obama this time (and I didn’t in 2008). I’m just not willing to delude myself that he’s something he’s not.

  7. Dandy, I don’t appreciate your telling me it’s MY fault if Obama is not reelected. I didn’t vote for him in the first place. So this mess we’re in is most certainly not my fault. Now that Obama has verified everything I suspected – an incredibly weak corporatist whore with not an ounce of integrity or principle – I will not vote for him this time around either. Oh, and not to mention that he is now a war criminal, something that supposed Dems seem to think is just fine. Maybe all of that doesn’t bother you – it does me. I’m a Democrat. I’ll vote for the Democratic Party when it decides to give me a Democratic candidate.

  8. Oh please, stop the bullshit! I could give a rat’s ass who you vote for, mjames. While you’re spouting the Mafia’s talking points go ahead and kiss Romney’s lyin’ ass.

    ….and btw, speaking of war criminals, what was Johnson or Nixon when they carpet bombed innocent Vietnamese in the 60’s and 70’s? For that matter, let’s discuss dropping the atomic bomb on the Japanese, killing hundreds of innocents. The results of these actions supposedly made us a ‘free’ people, but the ‘war criminals’ who authorized these historic killings (or are they considered murder in any way????)now have portraits and statues in the halls of Congress and elsewhere. So, get off the bullshit about Obama because he’s keeping us ‘free’. Remember?

  9. dandy, if you insist on always taking one of the two choices you get, how are you ever going to get a better choice?

    You aren’t.

    The choice is not currently between an awkward policy wonk and a lying sac. It’s between one corporate shill and another corporate shill.

    Maybe things would be way worse under Romney, but it seems to me hysterical to expect the apocalypse without Obama. The two of them are too similar. Plus, the Democrats roll over and give Obama every single Republican thing he wants. At least when there’s a labelled Republican in the White House, the Democrats make faint bleating noises of protest.

    Go get a nice cup of tea and try to calm down. And don’t worry about Johnson or Nixon. They’re not running.

  10. Dandy, If you don’t give a rat’s ass, then I don’t understand your first comment, since you seemed to be saying that this country will be done for if we don’t vote for Obama. All I was saying was don’t dump that guilt trip on me. Try dumping on the Dems for putting an incompetent, inexperienced, spineless know-nothing with an agenda to cut Social Security and Medicare in charge. (And if you don’t give a rat’s ass, why are you commenting at all?)

    You also seem to be saying that, because Johnson and Nixon may be war criminals, what’s the big deal if Obama is one too? And, I suppose, following that logic, what’s the big deal when Obama, on his own say-so, kills a U.S. citizen? Do I have that right? And that makes us free?

    Finally, you do not seem to be able to understand that a person can despise Obama, yet also despise Romney. It’s not necessarily an either/or. And they’re pretty much both the same anyway. Obama’s promises in 2008 are a far cry from what he delivered. Eisenhower was a liberal compared to Obama.

    As for the Mafia reference, I have no idea where you’re coming from. I respectfully submit that your rage is misdirected. And, with that, I’m outta here.

  11. Best comment on the debate: Well, from all appearances it looks like Obama is planning to vote for Romney.

    BTW, great to hear from Bob Herbert. Onliest guy who wrote about those people, oh geez, I forget, what are they called? The poor, that’s it, poor people. Damn sure we won’t be hearing about them from either candidate.

  12. Yeah! It’s about time Obama the angry nigger showed up! All his pandering to honkies has to stop! His shuck’en and jive’n to whitey ’bout this and that is bullshit! You folks crack me up. The system is the way the system is. If you don’t like it then you have two choices. Blow it up with guns and bombs or take it apart Peacefully. Standing out in a cold rain complaining about what Obama is or isn’t doing FOR YOU is useless. Do something for yourself. The first thing to do is to get yourself enlightened so that you know what it is that you’re talking about. Dandy is about the only cat here who has any clue at all about the illusionary world in which the rest of you seem to be living.

  13. I am not under any delusion. I am voting Stein. The most powerful vote I have at the moment is spoiler and I am casting it. What is delusional is constantly decrying Republicans for doing what the Democrats are doing as well and expecting a spontaneous conversion of the evil ignorants. Brace yourself Imho, your champion is crapping away this election. President Romney is now a distinct possibility. Not that much changes except for maybe the Grand Bargain. I still hold that the big sellout requires a neo-liberal Democrat in the White House. Welfare Reform is the model.

  14. lles, your deluding yourself. Do you actually think that your vote for Stein is a powerful statement? The Republicans hope that enough of you “useful idiots” will vote for Stein and help to elect Romney. That way Romney gets to pack the Supreme Court with hard core conservatives, privatize Social Security, voucherize Medicare, start a war with Iran and expand the police state in this country. There ain’t no yellow brick road to bliss out there my friend. But there sure is a road to hell paved with good intentions.

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