Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some Views on Obama's State of the Union Address

I want to be a believer. I want to believe that President Obama is a born again progressive populist, who after having tried compromise with the Republicans for three years, and finding out that they aren't interested, is now returning to some core set of principles related to the "hope and change," "yes we can" rhetoric of his first Presidential campaign. I want to believe that the Democratic leadership, both local and national, was, and is correct to support him, despite his record of severely diminishing our civil rights at home while engaging in, and still supporting, probable war crimes abroad, and despite his capitulation to Republicans on important social and economic issues in the name of compromise. I realize that the Republican leadership has cynically opposed most of his efforts to revive the economy in order to get "regime change" at home, and I realize that the Republican candidates represent destructive forces that are at best no better than Obama, and which at worst will likely hammer the hopes and dreams of the American poor and middle classes, while worsening the prospects for peace in the world. Once again, progressive independents and Democrats are left on the horns of a dilemma, as the corporations and power brokers have the radical Republicans as their first choice, and Obama as their slightly less desirable backup, with no reasonable, or at least visible, alternative yet in the "race." Those who feel that Obama sold them out will have to decide whether to sit the election out or to hold their nose and vote for him in the hopes of keeping a Radical Republican out of the executive office.

Will Obama return to his imagined progressive roots and turn things around? I don't know, except that it doesn't look good.

Here, below, are two reactions by progressives to his SOTU speech, and one good suggestion for how he should proceed if he is interested in salvaging a decent place in history for himself.

"He Says One Thing and Does Another": Ralph Nader Responds to Obama’s State of the Union Address

. . . .
RALPH NADER: Well, I think his lawless militarism, that started the speech and ended the speech, was truly astonishing. I mean, he was very committed to projecting the American empire, in Obama terms, force projection in the Pacific, and distorting the whole process of how he explains Iraq and Afghanistan. He talks about Libya and Syria, and then went into the military alliance with Israel and didn’t talk about the peace process or the plight of the Palestinians, who are being so repressed. Leaving Iraq as if it was a victory? Iraq has been destroyed: massive refugees, over a million Iraqis dead, contaminated environment, collapsing infrastructure, sectarian warfare. He should be ashamed of himself that he tries to drape our soldiers, who were sent on lawless military missions to kill and die in those countries, unconstitutional wars that violate Geneva conventions and international law and federal statutes, and drape them as if they’ve come back from Iwo Jima or Normandy. So I think it was very, very poor taste to start and end with this kind of massive militarism and the Obama empire. . . . .

But then, when he said to the American people, "no more bailouts, no more handouts, and no more cop-outs" — but that’s what’s been going on. And it’s going on today and it went on last year under his administration. Washington is a bustling bazaar of accounts receivable. They’re bailing out and they’re handing out all kinds of subsidies to corporations—handouts, giveaways, transfer of technology, transfer of medical research to the drug companies without any reasonable price provisions on drugs, giveaway of natural resources on the federal lands. You name it, it’s still going on. And as far as a cop-out, how about his deferred prosecution gimmicks with these corporations under the Justice Department, where they never have to plead guilty, they never have to make themselves vulnerable to civil lawsuits so they pay back the American people what they’ve stolen from them?

So, obviously, State of the Union speeches are full of rhetoric, they’re full of promises, but it’s good to measure them against the past performance of the Obama administration and what his promises were in 2008. They don’t really stand up very well.
. . . .

For rest of article see: "He Says One Thing and Does Another": Ralph Nader Responds to Obama’s State of the Union Address

Sen. Sanders Reacts to Pres. Obama's State of the Union Address

"The American people are beginning to catch on that there`s something fundamentally wrong in our society when so few have so much and so many have so little," Bernie said after President Obama made economic fairness a key theme in his State of the Union address. The senator also praised the president for stressing the need to create millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuels.


Obama Can Win Big with FDR Formula
by Robert McElvaine

Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn’t always “Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
. . . .
FDR launched his 1936 reelection campaign by warning against a dictatorship by the over-privileged and declaring that private enterprise had become “too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.”

“These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America,” he said, expressing sentiments that could resonate now. “What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.”

Running against economic royalists, Roosevelt won reelection in one of the largest landslides in U.S. history. The Democrats, moreover, won 77 percent of the House seats and increased their hold on the Senate to 79 percent.

As 2012 begins, such a resounding victory for Obama and the Democrats looks impossible. Whether it is depends on which past reelection campaign recipe Obama decides to follow. . . . .


More Views on SOTU:

Money in Politics Groups Mixed on Obama’s Speech


No comments: