Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Am I Disappointed?

Well, of course I am. I spent some time over at Shakesville today and yesterday and found myself cheerleading for this shitty healthcare reform bill. But that doesn't mean I'm not profoundly disappointed. I maintain, though, that getting this shitty bill through is the only way we're going to any meaningful reform; e.g., it's easier to amend an existing (albeit, shitty) bill than it is to pass a great big old new one. And the current shenanigans going on from the Senate Republicans encourages me that I'm right about this.

That said, it's still a shitty bill.

My title question, though, is more about Barack Obama than this shitty bill. Am I disappointed? Yeah. But, here's the thing: I'm not surprised I'm disappointed. This, after all, ain't my first time at the rodeo. To wit: when I hear "I did not have sex with that woman," all I can think is "god DAMMIT, Bill." Not about the affair, per se. Although a 50 year old boss having sex with a 22 year old subordinate is creepy and shameful. But the godDAMMIT is more about the lie, and the profound disregard that showed for the people who put him in office. Compound this with Clinton's failure to pass healthcare in the 90s, the loathsome don't ask/don't tell policy, the even more loathsome Defense of Marriage Act, let's just say I've learned to manage my expectations.

I hoped Barack Obama would be the agent of change he campaigned as. A lot of people did. But, you know what presidents are best at? Campaigning. He's a hell of a campaigner and knew exactly how to get himself elected.

He's also smart and thoughtful and competent. He's not liberal. I wish he were. But, and granted after eight years of Bush the bar is set just bananas low, he's about as good as I think we can expect. Not exactly high praise, but high enough. In short, and it today's stupid parlance, I'm still on Team Obama.


Will Rogers said "I'm not a member of an organized political party, I'm a democrat." Still true. The right is much more organized, and their base seems to require a lot less from them, which allows them to present a pretty cohesive front. Let me give you an example: in order to prove your pro-life bona fides, it looks to me like all a pro-life president has to do is say he's pro-life. Did you see a lot of fury on the right when George Bush stayed way the hell away from any abortion fights that, as president, he could have successfully agitated on behalf? Nope. He just said "I'm prolife" and the right went, "we win! We have a pro-life president." Eight years later, abortion remains as legal as it was the day he took office. I think, of course, that this is a really good thing. But I'm surprised you don't hear more beefing from passionately pro-life conservatives about it.

On the other hand, Barack Obama campaigned as a "fierce advocate of LGBT rights." And, let's face it, his fierceness had had a seriously tepid quality to it. And lefties are complaining about this. And have been for about 9 months of his 10 month presidency. As we should. Barack, if you're reading this (welcome to my delusions of grandeur): it's time for DADT to go.

All things being equal, though, I'd rather be part of the quarrelsome, loud, disparate, FRUSTRATING left than the lockstepping right. That just feels more American. It also feels more productive. Dozens of time every day you run into something that makes your life better, and you can thank a liberal for agitating to make it happen.

Of course, I'm seeing some signs of the right breaking up their lockstep. Makes me kind of root for the tea party people.