The Truth About Barack Obama
Also posted at the Truth About Barack Obama blog.
I don't claim to know any overarching truth about President Barack Obama that is not already known to others:
- The man's a genius whose autobiography, "Dreams From My Father" is of a literary quality rarely found in serious literature much less in books by politicians. If you love autobiographies of successful Black men who overcame challenges to reach great heights, then you'll love the best-selling "Dreams From My Father".
- Not only did Barack graduate from Harvard Law School (a feat which is impressive in itself), but he was the Editor of the Harvard Law Review, which is a testament to his early political skills, even before he formally became a candidate for elected public office.
- Obama values cooperation and consensus even when those around him don't. That, and not campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, is why you see President Obama almost desperately trying to find some Republican and business support for his health care plan that, after Hillary's experience, Barack has preferred to allow to be drafted rather than drowned by the US Congress.
“So the very best our popular president with whopping majorities in both houses of congress can do is not single payer. It's not universal health care at all, but “health insurance reform” as the president calls it, a bailout for private insurers under which millions will be forced to purchase junk insurance, some with government subsidies funded by Medicare and Medicaid cuts” -- Leaving Obamaland
- Obama's desire to seduce Republicans, however unrealistic, is why we saw him personally handing out oatmeal cookies in the first month of his presidency. And yet, in retrospect, he seems to have gotten only fecal matter in return.
- President Obama is a man who deeply understands the American psyche and perhaps even the politican/industrial complex, and that's why rather than promising to end wars in general, he promised to move the Iraq War to Afghanistan and Pakistan, which he is in the process of doing right now. President Obama understands that some Americans NEED to be at war, either to reaffirm and reassert their own sense of what it means to be American or to enrich themselves through war profiteering.
- Senator Barack Obama heard and achieved my call to end the 43-term white male monopoly of the presidency, so he comes into office with a lot of good will from this blog.
I'm honestly torn between at least two understandings of who Barack Obama is now. In his heart, I still believe he is the progressive who fought for justice system reforms in Illinois and won. I am not offended by the fact that he is not as angry and vitriolic toward whites as many Blacks are because (1) he was raised by a white mother and grandmother and cannot see them only as a color, and (2) if he were as angry and vitriolic as some of the rest of us then he never would have become president of the United States. And yet I am more and more drawn to the arguments of Bruce A. Dixon of Black Agenda Report, who constantly argues that Barack Obama sold out Blacks and the majority of Americans before he even took the oath of office.
Congressman John Conyers says Barack Obama’s stance on health care has been wrong, and it’s going to cost the president “big time.” It might even cost Obama his second term in the White House. Conyers gave that assessment at Washington’s Busboys and Poets restaurant, bookstore and bar, where the Progressive Democrats of America were celebrating their fifth anniversary. Conyers is the Congressional Black Caucus’s longest serving member, having represented Detroit since 1964, when Obama was a three-year-old. He’s also one of the most consistently progressive members of the House, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and author of single payer health care bill H.R. 676 – legislation the White House has done its best to smother. Obama once gave lip service to single payer health care, but as president has staked his reputation on a mishmash of corporate schemes and deals-with-the-devil masquerading as health care reform – a thoroughly confused and conflicted legislative concoction that Conyers describes, simply, as “crap.” Conyers calls Obama a purveyor of "crap".
Bruce has never been a fan of Barack Obama, but the more Obama waffles on issues like ending the ongoing wars, implementing national health care, and releasing photographs of CIA torture, the more I am willing to believe that Barack Obama will be an overall disappointment, if not an overall sell-out. Here's what I want to know about President Obama, but I don't feel that I know it yet with sufficient certainty (or at all):
- Will President Obama ultimately sign a health care bill that makes health care a right, or will he sign something more like Medicare Part D, that makes insurance company profiteering a right? I've been trying to argue Obama's case at my Public Option Health Care Now, blog, in an attempt to support Obama. But based on some of the recent statements of the Obama administration, I don't know if I'm arguing or for Obama or against Obama and the insurance companies. When we see what comes out of this debate and Congressional action, if anything, then we will have a better idea whether Obama has been an effective advocate and negotiator or a pon of the interests who have always controlled the lack of health care for all.
Congressman John Conyers spoke to a crowd of activists from around the country at Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, D.C., Thursday evening at a fifth birthday party for Progressive Democrats of America. Conyers opened by remarking:
"There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama."
This comment sank in hard for some of the activists in the room who had been told by Conyers last year that electing Obama took precedence over impeaching Dick Cheney. But Thursday was about healthcare, and Conyers is the undisputed progressive champion on that issue.
"Buddy," said Conyers, referring to President Obama, "you are wrong on healthcare and it's going to cost you big time."
Conyers suggested that it was very likely Congress would not pass any healthcare bill this year. The Blue Dogs and Republicans don't want anything, he said, and the Progressives are "saying this is a piece of crap and we're not voting for it." If you add up all the Blue Dogs and Republicans and Progressives, Conyers said, you get "more than 218 to sink this bill!" http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/44878
- In many ways, Obama seems to be adopting the Clinton strategy of adopting so many Republican ideas that there is "no light" between him and Republicans that Republicans could exploit at election time. That's got to be part of the reason why he is acting like a neoconservative whose goal is to control all of the Middle East. Is Obama really going to fight wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan throughout his presidency(s)? If so, there will be little difference between him and Bush, and President Obama may make us all wish we had elected President Hillary Clinton.
- As the US announces its intention to build seven new bases in Columbia, we can only understand this as a new attempt by the US Government to wield force in the region through coups and CIA activity rather than negotiations and respect for sovereign nations and populaces. Why the hell is the US Government announcing under President Barack Obama that it intends to build SEVEN military bases in Columbia. Americans signed on for war in Afghanistan and Pakistan (reluctantly or not) when we voted for Obama over McCain, but nobody said Obama would try to overthrow Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. What's up with that, Mr. Commander in Chief? You're seriously pissing me off, Mr. President, and effectively calling for a new anti-war movement like the one that battled Ronald Reagan over Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. Is President Obama part of the anti-war movement or the antithesis of it, and the leader of a new neoconservative resurgence?
- Of course being president is a balancing act that requires trying to simultaneously satisfy or at least mollify many different competing constituencies, but how much is this going to cost us? Do you really think we're going to sit idly by and let you kill our brothers and sisters in Venezuela just because you find some way to weedle more health care out of the US Congress for people here in the United States? Let me tell you right now! We are just as anti-war under a Democratic president as we were under a Republican one, and we can easily see you becoming another president Johnson if you double down on wars that the US cannot and should not win.
- We're watching you, President Obama. As you suggested early on, the pride lasts for a few days and then we evaluate what you're doing just as we would any other president. Are you going to make the Democratic Party look so bad that it loses the Congress in 2010, and then you make a Clintonian shift to the right, bringing in Karl Rove as an adviser before your reelection campaign in 2012? If so, I and many others have a lot of expletives in store for you.
- You're willing to share your lunch, but are you willing to get beaten up and have all of your lunch money taken from you?
- Fifteen years from now, are Black people going to revere you like a Malcolm X or regret having ever known you, as we do Clarence Thomas, or something acceptably in between?
- Are you the liberating and empowering Barack Obama of the campaign trail, or are you the sell-out charlatan snake oil salesman depicted by Black Agenda Report?
Every day we'll be watching and prodding you to discover The Truth About Barack Obama.