• You Go To Work With The President You Have, Not The President You Wish You Had.

    There's a lot of dissatisfaction from the liberal end of the blogosphere over President Obama's performance, largely focusing on what he has yet to accomplish and why he seems so eager to stay on the good side of Wall Street and bend to every single conservative whim. I doubt any liberal or "progressive" elected the man just to see him waffle away and soft-pitch a Democrat majority in both houses, however thin and DINO-plagued it was. Then again, I didn't expect fellow Dems to pout and sit at home back in 2010 while the GOP got its second wind and its mandate to be as obstinate and asshole-ish as they could be.

    I bet it pained liberals and "progressives" to see the man they placed so many hopes and dreams upon dismiss his ordained role as a black FDR, LBJ, reverse RWR and MLK, Jr., all rolled up into one half-black "Magic Negro™" and instead play a thoroughly centralist conciliator who gave much, much more more than he got. And it has to piss people off to see the GOP playing from a position of strength while Obama and his fellow Dems choose to portray what liberal and "progressive" voters see as sheer, craven weakness.

    There's a lot of focus on what Obama hasn't done or what he could have done. He chose not to go on the warpath against the Bush administration, killing the dream of having George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on trial somewhere for several counts of reckless assholery. He chose not to dump every single Bush-era appointee he could find. He chose not to push for universal healthcare, full stop, knowing what good it did Bill Clinton over a decade ago. He chose not to unilaterally pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, or embark on a grandiose FDR-type plan to revitalize the economy. Not letting the Bush tax cuts was a bad move that made Obama's brand name mud in the eyes of many liberals. Pushing Wall Street to be nice and stimulate the economy from the top-down with job openings and R&D expenditures, while letting the banks get off damn-near scot-free for running the economy into a telephone pole had to leave a bad taste in everyone's mouths. Not to mention he practically scuttled a "teachable moment" following Henry Louis Gates' unfair arrest - after recoiling from the shitfit pushed by conservatives, he backed down and invited the asshole who arrested Gates over to the White House lawn for some brewskis. And he didn't even use the "bully pulpit" the way we wanted him to.

    The man's caught flack from Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornell West for not stumping for the black community as much as they thought he should. He's catching flack from so-called "emotional progressives" and ideological pure liberals for not being liberal or "progressive" enough and allowing the "Overton window" to be dragged miles toward the right via pickup truck. Jane Hamsher and the "Firebagger" crew have written him off as defective goods and people within his party seem to be preoccupied with practicing their latest "DINO" dance moves and other acts of self-interest. Ralph Nader and Ron Paul are both joining forces to mount a primary challenge against him, something he could do without.

    He's been accused of being some sort of corporate Manchurian Candidate for Wall Street, preferring to drive the conservative opposition bonkers with his mere presence, causing Democrats to vote for him a second term as an alternative to froth-mouthed reactionaries and fundamentalists. He's been considered worse than having an actual Republican in office. His "blackness" has been called into question, with people wondering if being raised by a white woman in a thoroughly unconventional environment left him "crippled" in some way.

    DADT is finally over and done with, but I have a feeling people are still so pissed off at Obama for not being who they imagined him to be that this small consolation won't be nearly enough to put them at ease. The new jobs bill doesn't appear to do much of anything to help lower the nation's high unemployment rate and Obama appeared to allow himself to be pushed around by the whole debt ceiling "crisis," putting the nation's relative "financial stability" at risk.

    Despite all of this, I haven't done what most liberals and "progressives" have done so far and just walked away from supporting the president, and I won't be among the various Democrats who decide to stay home or vote third-party in protest. This isn't some affirmation of slavish devotion to the president or some sort of declaration of unending loyalty, something a lot of people accuse black Democrat voters of. And it's not about how things could be "worse" without Obama in office. It's about recognizing the most pragmatic position to take when faced with a number of other unsavory choices. Scratch that -- it's about not being a fairweather friend to your own crew when things aren't going the way you want them to go or when you didn't get what you wanted.

    Of course, that may sound a bit glib, as though I'm telling liberals and "progressives" to suck it up and stick by Obama, but I'm not. This is some rather complex shit I'm trying to unpack, so allow me to unpack it as neatly and cleanly as I can.

    Of course I see what Obama hasn't done, but I've also seen what he's managed to accomplish despite a completely recalcitrant legislature and fairweather support from fellow allies. He's kept his head while the Tea Party eroded the sanity of the GOP and left Wall Street scared shitless. He bagged Osama Bin Laden, someone whom Bush became bored with in favor of playing in the Iraqi sandbox. He picked up the American auto industry, dusted it off and helped it gain a new lease on life. And he passed something resembling health care reform. It's not perfect, but at least it's a starting point.

    I'm not about to follow some of my fellow bloggers and completely dismiss the man because I didn't get that unicorned pony and a stack of $100 bills shoved under my pillow. I'm not here to say "it's gonna get worse if there's no Obama or [add liberal leader here]." And I'm not about to shit this post up by saying I'm a "realist" or some other such self-congratulatory bullshit. I'm just saying how I feel about the president and why I'm not going to follow the current trend of taking the piss on him.

    The man can't simply step over the House and Senate to enact laws he and other Americans want to see. Like it or not, he has to work within the confines of his duties as President and the checks and balances that govern the executive and legislative offices. You can't simply can't push for the man to offer unilateral top-down reform. If you want your liberal agenda to be heard and enacted, you gotta start out from the bottom, work your way up and keep working:

    Go out and work for the candidates in the primaries who fit your bill. Show up at their offices and do shitty, dull work for them. Trudge through the rain canvassing on an October Saturday when you’d much rather be at home. Send them some money. If you don’t like who’s running, run yourself.

    On an ending note, I bet seeing liberals and "progressives" hit this sort of "rock bottom" is giving conservatives a new sense of resolve. If this keeps up until Election Day 2012, disillusioned liberals and an unconvinced centralist swing base will give conservative voters enough clout to push any one of the 3 stooges (Perry, Bachmann, Romney) into the Oval Office. That's something I'd rather not see, if I can help it.