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[personal profile] penda
President Obama,

I'm sure my comments will mirror what you hear on a daily basis from a variety of sources, but I thought I should lend my voice to theirs.

When you gave your first national speech I, like most people on the left, was truly excited about your political prospects. I immediately started speaking with friends and colleagues about the possibility of you running for president.

When you began your run I, again, was one of the faithful. I attended rallies, I drove others to your rallies, and I (for the first time in my life) became involved in a political campaign.

My point in writing to you, Mr. President, is that I am part of that wave of young people who carried you into office. We believed in you when you spoke of closing Gitmo, ending don't ask-don't tell, ending signing statements, and getting real healthcare reform.

What happened?

We gave you a 60 seat majority in the senate and a massive lead in the house. We put you in office with a clear mandate and all we asked is that you deliver change.

Where is it?

So far all I see are continuous concessions being given to a group of people who are so beholden to extremists that they will never vote for anything you endorse, and a continuation of your predecessor's policies. And now I read of secret deals with the health care industry and see that the public option (which was, already, a compromise) is all but abandoned.

I was discussing this the other day with a good friend of mine (who was a delegate for you in November) and the only arguments he could make in your defense were...

1) incrementalism, and
2) at least he isn't George W. Bush or John McCain.

That isn't why we elected you, sir. We didn't support you in the primaries and then in the general election because we wanted the lesser of two evils. We supported you because we believed you when you said you would bring real change and would not bow to lobbyists and special interests.

Well, sir, from where we stand it looks like you are doing exactly that.

You are the leader of your party, Mr. President. You have the ability to push this through, but you need the will.

Now I don't expect you to read this. I'm sure some unpaid intern will scan this, send me a form response, and move on with his or her life. So to that intern, please speak with your supervisor about this message and see if you can convey the general sentiment up the chain of command. President Obama had a groundswell of support in 2008. These days all there is out there is resentment and disappointment, and an increasing lack of interest in 2012.

The emails I get indicate that the President wants us out in the streets and in town-halls, and I'm sure that he's shocked by our lack of enthusiasm. But the President needs to understand that for us to follow, he must first lead.

A good commander is always in front of his troops, sir.

Date: 2009-08-17 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sorry to read that you fell for his act before the election. He's better than the alternative, but when you come right down to it he's still a modern American politician first and foremost. What amazes me is how many people didn't catch on to that last Fall.

Anyways, even if he were different he'd still be hamstrung. You can look at a Democratic majority in the Senate and the House and think oh hey, now we can get things DONE! But that's not really how it works. The Democrats look around and think OK what is it we really want to do? And then the majority fragments because the hard-line left-wingers and the more moderate Democrats can't agree on what to do with their new-found power.

Date: 2009-08-17 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If the president was a little more FDR and a little less Carter, things would be different, I think.

Date: 2009-08-17 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't think a man in a wheelchair could be elected President these days.

I know that's not what you meant, but that was the first thing I thought of and it made me sad. In some ways we've really gone backwards over the last 60 years.

Date: 2009-08-17 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sure, all the media would be talking about is how he can't throw a baseball as well as G.W. Bush (much like they were with President Obama).

The country has definitely gone backwards. That's what you get when half the country embraces the Nixonian "I hates dem elitish libruls 'n dere educashun, real 'mericans don't go ta dem lefty colleges" culture war bullshit.

Don't really see how any of this gets turned around. The anti-intellectualism of the right has forced all the intellectuals out of their party, so it's unlikely the right will correct it on their own.

The problem is that the media plays to its audience, and sadly its audience is stupid (thanks to the US consistently cutting education), so it inflates all their fears and makes absolutely no effort to say "omg... these people are crazy idiots who will believe anything!" Instead, it acts like their point of view is totally valid and supported by evidence, and should be given equal weight in a debate.

So yeah, I agree. The US has gone backwards.

That being said. FDR. Bully pulpit. Seriously, dude. He should get out in front of a microphone and just say "Here's how it's going. If you are a democrat and dare to support a GOP filibuster, I'll push a primary challenge against you, land airforce one up your ass, and campaign for the guy who will defeat you. You'll look back on that vote as the moment that your career ended."

THAT'S what we need.


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