Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friendship-making epigram: "I voted for Obama and all I got was an American president like any other"

The beauty of the statement is its detachment. The author, my friend K, said he'd spent most elections voting for anyone but the two main parties' candidates: Nader, etc. Then he got drawn in by Obama.

But by now he's as disillusioned as so many of us (most of us?) who voted for change. And what did we get?

We didn't get, as some White House blowhard said recently, "universal health care." Far from it! We got, at most, a health insurance reform bill that the insurance lobby is busy bringing to a death of a thousand papercuts. In the end, nothing.

We didn't get finance reform. As my friend said, we paid the bank robbers and then let them write the rules from the government. Or don't you know that the Obama Administration's economic policy-making machine is a fully owned subsidiary of Goldman, Sachs?

And we surely didn't get an end to war, torture and illegal detention without trial in Guantanamo.

"Well," my friend said of the reforms, "you can't blame Obama. He did what he could and Congress stopped him."

That's what Obama wants you to think in November 2012. In reality, Obama went to the Republicans and the lobbyists hat in hand giving the candy store away from the get go. He wrestled with himself so much, that the disloyal opposition just had to sit back and watch with amusement. He fooled us into thinking he had more spine than Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. As if.

As to war, my friend agreed, "Obama could have ended that."

So here comes Obama, finally asserting something that has been bipartisan U.S. policy forever and a day: Israel should return to pre-1967 borders. Why couldn't he have done the same with health and finance reform and Guantanamo and war?

Because he's not about change. He's an American president just like all the others.
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