Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll from a proud Lefty, Liberal, Socialist Hippie

Monday, January 21, 2013

Will Obama be a lame duck liberal?

I just read an interesting piece, entitled "The president liberals were waiting for is (finally) here." by Chris Cillizza over at his blog (The Fix) at the Washington post. Now, to be honest, I didn't listen to today's inaugural address (don't yet know if I will when I get home). I have heard years of Obama's oratorical art and, as most, have found it eloquent and moving. The thing is, I have also witnessed his actions and, for the most part, have found them to be lacking.  And here is where my problem with Cillizza's conclusion (and he is far from alone) comes to bear. Cillizza writes,

"Couched in rhetoric about the need to come together as a country was a strong — and surprisingly pointed — invocation of a laundry list of progressive principles: gay rights, voting rights, climate change and the inherent value of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security...

...The question going forward is whether President Obama will make good on the progressive agenda he outlined today. Does he push hard on climate change or some sort of broader energy policy? Does he cut a deal with Republicans on immigration reform or go it alone believing they will follow? On guns, will he accept a smaller-bore version of the legislative proposals he outlined last week or go for the whole enchilada (or something close to it)?

Those questions are, at the moment, impossible to answer. What we do know: In his second inaugural speech, President Obama forcefully embraced the sort of progressive agenda for which liberals — and Democrats more broadly — have long pined."

Now it's not that I don't think these things are of important to progressives/liberals but whether he mentioned them directly in his first inaugural address or not, he certainly ran as a candidate claiming full throated support for them in 2008 and yet here we are in 2013 still waiting to see if he will stand firm on these values and many others that are also of equal importance to liberals.

Where in today's speech was there mention of a return to full civil liberties for ALL Americans; an end to domestic spying via phone taps or other means, an end to undressing to board a plane? Where was the talk of ending drone warfare and presidential kill lists? These are also things liberals "pine" for. Was there talk of universal healthcare like every other industrialized country in the world?

Cillizza says that President Obama spoke of the "inherent value of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security." Did he actually say that he would not allow these programs to be "on the table" in any talks having to do with defict reduction or budget balancing? When he called them "entitlement programs" did he say it in the context of those who would do these programs harm or did he remind folks that these programs are paid for by the recipients who are indeed entitled to the product of their payments?

A half hour of rhetoric about gay right and voting rights - which should have already been decided by this president's 1st term Justice Department - and climate change still does not show me anything. Oh I want him to succeed and I do want him to move forward with a liberal agenda but I certainly am not holding my breath. Let's see where we are in a year's time and then decide whether our liberal president is (finally) here.

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