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Obama continues to eagerly give the "bully pulpit" to republicans.
President Theodore Roosevelt was the first person to use the phrase "bully pulpit" to describe how the president or former president could influence public opinion. He used it with great effectiveness. By bringing an issue before the public, it often remains in their consciousness for later victory even if present circumstances are unfavorable.
Greg Sargent in his article "Are progressives losing the larger argument?" points out that against all experience and economic theory a Pew poll finds there is a net 15 point swing reflecting an increase in voters believing that cutting government spending will result in a greater number of jobs. (An eighth grader could have pointed out the fallacy in this by pointing out our manageable debt load, low interest rates, low rate of inflation, the fallacy of having 45% of the stimulus be discredited tax cuts, and ease of borrowing on cheap credit. Unfortunately, the Harvard lawyer never made the argument.)
This is hardly a surprise since the only issue that Obama seems to be enthusiastic on is reducing government spending on social services while expanding government expenditures on war and helping the rich. The only repeated calls he has made has been to be "bipartisan" meaning for democrats to give in to republican demands no matter how far fetched. There is no conversation or dialog, this is the only conversation we hear from both democrats and republicans.
Nor is this the only area where Obama has conceded all debate to the republicans. Surely no place has higher moral ground than torture. Yet by specifically endorsing "extraordinary rendition" he said that torture was perfectly all right as long as other countries did it. Other areas where Obama has endorsed and expanded Bush policy in this area follow.
-keeping Guantanamo open.
-maintaining suspension of habeas corpus.
-signing the misnamed "Patriot Act" suspending our constitution after a majority of democrats voted for it.
-Imprisoning whistle blowers such as DeChristopher for exposing an illegal fossil fuel land grab, Manning for wikileaks exposing the lies of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and Thomas Drake for exposing the dishonesty and corruption of the NSA.
Yet another area where Obama has dropped the ball is environmentalism. Comments under "Whose Wearing a Pudding Face?" on this website detail how Obama has managed to compile a worse environmental record than Bush. And yet, future generations may regard Obama's refusal to engage the public as his real failure. "Climate change" has not been mentioned in any State of the Union speech. He instructed his followers to just concentrate on clean energy and jobs. As a result we got neither and a lessening percentage of people in the United States believe in climate change despite the mounting evidence. He has repeatedly and eagerly offered to cut EPA funding to help jobs, reinforcing the republican fantasy that more pollution means more jobs. Obama's place in history may be like that of President Buchanan - a nice enough guy who made no real effort to prevent the Civil War.
It is correct and appropriate to point out that Obama has complete control of the executive department, has always had the senate, and has had the HOR for the first half of his term when Obama worshipers try to blame everything on the republicans and forget that when Bush had far less he did whatever the hell he wanted to do. Nonetheless, his greatest failure may be that he failed to use the "bully pulpit" to promote what candidate Obama said he would do.
Given the systematic and complete failure of Obama and the democrats (see "Grayson, Kucinich, Warren, and the Road to Hell" blog on this website) the only real solution is to proceed with a third party like NPA or the Greens whether it takes a few years or a generation.