By Leonid Balaban
I made a comment yesterday in class and I wanted to reiterate this point in the blog: Lay off Obama – HE IS NOT THE PRESIDENT YET!!!
Only a month ago, Obama was elected to be the next President of the U.S. and there are still more than two months before he gets officially gets sworn in. Yet, there are pundits and ideologues from the Left and the Right who are already complaining about Obama, in terms of his government appointees and overall handling of the transition.
Here’s an article on the Huffington Post, in which the editorial writer wonders whether Obama has already broken his first campaign promise.
The Obama team’s decision to drop the idea of forcing oil and natural gas companies to pay a tax on their windfall profits has caused a firestorm among liberals and small business coalitions.
As first reported in the Houston Chronicle, Obama’s reference to a windfall profits tax, which he articulated during the campaign at a time of skyrocketing gas prices, had been removed from the transition team’s Website, change.gov
Jim Kuhnhen, an AP staff reporter, writes how some some Democrats are growing inpatient with Obama and his transition approach:
Democrats are growing impatient with President-elect Barack Obama’s refusal to inject himself in the major economic crises confronting the country. Obama has sidestepped some policy questions by saying there is only one president at a time. But the dodge is wearing thin. “He’s going to have to be more assertive than he’s been,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., told consumer advocates Thursday.
Kuhnhen continues that two Democratic senators who are desperately trying to salvage the domestic auto companies have said Obama could help move the process along and should become more engaged.
“The Obama team has to step up,” Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and one of the lead negotiators, said Nov. 21 in Hartford, Conn. “In the minds of the people, this is the Obama administration. I don’t think we can wait until January 20.”
David Sirota, a columnist for the Denver Post and other progressive/liberal sites, also complained about this apparent campaign broken promise
Between this move and the move to wait to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, it seems like the Obama team is buying into the right-wing frame that raising any taxes – even those on the richest citizens and wealthiest corporations – is bad for the economy. Of course, that frame is debunked by history. And while sure, it’s OK to rack up deficits so as to spend our way out of the economic crisis, it’s sorta silly to ignore the tax moves that could be implemented to limit those deficits where possible.
Matthew Rothschild, of Progressive.com, asks when is Obama going to appoint people who reflects progressive ideas and progressive base that overwhelmingly voted for him?
He won the crucial Iowa caucuses on the strength of his anti-Iraq War stance, and many progressive peace and justice activists worked hard for him against John McCain.
So why in the world is he choosing Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State when she was one of the loudest hawks on Iraq and threatened to obliterate 75 million Iranians?
And it’s not just Hillary.
Obama’s OMB pick, Peter Orzag, is a Clintonite disciple of Robert Rubin.
Obama’s AG pick, Eric Holder, is a Clintonite who represented Chiquita Bananas.
And Larry Summers’s name is still being bandied about for Treasury, even though Summers, while Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, forced the deregulation of our financial markets and imposed disaster capitalism on Russia.
I think the Left is going way overboard on this. Obama, in one of his press conferences, said that the change will come from him, he is the man in charge.
So before everybody jumps on his picks, I believe people should give him time to fail. And if he does, than there’s nothing wrong with criticizing him and asking for his head. But, jumping the gun and attacking the person who is not even on the job yet, is utterly unfair.