Aug. 17th, 2009

penda: (Default)
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.


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