Stop piling up on Obama

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.

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5 Comments

Filed under Media, Obama, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Stop piling up on Obama

  1. Shawn_Scanlon

    Agreed.

    I will wait until January 20th to start criticizing the President for proposals and plans that I don’t like. And trust me, I will be critical often.

    If he unveils plans that I don’t agree with, I’ll write letters and make phone calls. This is how the system is supposed to work; everyone is supposed to participate, liberals included.

  2. Lance Thibert

    I think that many are just suffering from the jitters. There isn’t a bradley effect to worry about anymore, so all that worry has to go somewhere. Some people for sure will never be satisfied, but in my opinion this transition could not have gone better.

  3. Sarah Popp

    No, Obama is not the President yet. So, it is too early to say if this will be a transformational Presidency or more of the same. However, in choosing his cabinet, he is making critical decisions that will shape the next four years, so raising questions about those choices is absolutely fair. While we’ll have to be patient and see how it turns out before writing him off, the media and Americans are not going to just stand back and watch as Obama makes choices that seem to go against the platform he ran on.

  4. Tony Robinson

    Sarah is right. Leo and others–it is just plain wrong to say “We need to wait until Obama is actually President.” That is politically foolish. Do you think Citigroup and Goldman-Sachs officials are sitting back saying, “well, we can’t call Obama’s people until he’s actually President…” Do you think Rubin, Putin, China leaders and the rest of the world elite are refraining from contacting and lobbying team-Obama in these early months. Of course not. It’s foolish to urge the progressive grass-roots to unilaterally disarm, while powerful lobbyists and elites are absolutely meeting with and lobbying Obama.

    I cited in class evidence, from Clinton’s own people, that key economic decisions and policy initiatives were crafted during the 2.5 month transition. Should progressives be silent while all those details are being crafted and then just sit back and watch them unfold during the first 100 days, when the biggest burst of reform will spring forth–already shaped during the transition? A first lesson of politics is that the rewards go to those who organize and who remain organized and mobilized– A call for the people to go back to the television sets and just remain silent while the established powers meet in the back rooms with team Obama is exactly the wrong course of action.

    Furthermore, Obama IS already doing things of consequence. He is appointing his key policy makers, he is announcing new policy ideas and backing off of others. He’s not just retiring to the back woods for two months and waiting for january 20 to begin acting.

    Every great victory for progressives is won in moments of mobilization–not by sitting back and waiting on the leader to deliver things to them.

  5. Joseph Martinez

    But he IS the President. Yeah ok not yet, but when is acceptable to hold JFK III responsible? He wanted the job. And by the way, expecting some thing from your President-Elect is part of the job description!Over the past year or so people, especially on the left have developed a double-standard.
    George W. Bush is free game and rightfully so, but how is it that W. is responsible for his actions, policies, and personal relationships but the Obameshia is above any criticism? At least Bush attacks other countries, While Obama’s assault is on United States Constitution. Case in point: The NRA says Obama’s camp sent out “intimidating cease and desist letters” to cable operators and television stations, threatening their FCC licenses if they run Anti-Obama ads.

    The NRA charged that “Obama and the DNC have been using strong-arm tactics reminiscent of Chicago machine politics to try and cover up the truth and silence NRA by forcing the stations to assist them in hiding Obama’s radical anti-gun record.”

    Stop pilling on Obama? I can do that when he stops deserving it! Or when he stops pilling on the HYPE ( I mean Hope.)

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