Conservatives are focused on the fiscal and foreign policy damage that President Obama is doing, with the underlying assumption that it is part of a general plan. A view from the other side of the political spectrum sees nice speeches, but a continuity of George W. Bush's policies - suggesting either that Obama really is an agnostic centrist or that he is incompetent. A quick look at the priorities of the Left gives me hope in either case. This is an assumed liberal perspective.
- Health care. By most accounts the Pelosi/Reid health care bill is Obama's primary accomplishment. But from the beginning it backed away from the Left's desired structure - a "single payer" system with Medicare for all; then the "public (government run) option" which would drive out the private sector was abandoned in favor of the sausage that we got. And cost control for the corporate miscreants?
- Foreign wars. After months of deliberation we got not only a continuation of Bush's gradual withdrawal from Iraq, but also an interminable doubling down in Afghanistan and now an illegal (per the Kucinich wing and many others) war in Libya with no objectives or strategy and more troops in Afghanistan at the end of Obama's term than at the beginning.
- Gay marriage. Despite campaign promises, the party line is now that while Obama has not taken a position on gay marriage, he is "bending the arc of history in the right direction."
- Immigration reform. There is a Spanish saying "When he could he didn't want to; when he wanted to he couldn't." What are those 1,000,000 deportations about? And what happened to the Dream Act giving citizenship to soldiers and students? Small wonder that Obama is bypassing the major Hispanic speaking opportunities in favor of an occasional speech at an out of the way place. (In favor of white union votes?)
- Global warming. Al Gore is out with a new Rolling Stone article criticizing Obama's failure to stand up for "bold action" and decries the little progress that has been made. "Cap and trade" - forget it.
- Wall Street reform. There is a new (leaderless) consumer financial protection agency to oversee credit cards and mortgage practices, but nothing has been done about the fundamentals that caused the 2008 crash. The "Too Big To Fail" banks have gotten bigger, they still merge commercial and investment banking, and "love those bonuses" (and contributions).
- Taxes. Bad thing those tax cuts for the rich that Bush forced through. Too bad that Obama had to continue them as part of the deal to fund government for 2011 and that he didn't have a 2012 budget plan to fix the problem.
Going into 2012, the Obama campaign message to the Left must be "he didn't get much done, but he faced huge obstacles and his heart is in the right place." If one looks closely, what passes for criticism is starting to leak out from Hispanic media, the Left in Congress, and yes, even the New York Times, which is "constantly dismayed by his unwillingness to engage in debates early and press them hard". Leadership? those on the right should appreciate that for Obama it means putting people like Eric Holder and agency heads (EPA; NLRB) in place, giving a speech or two, and leaving the stage. Think where we would be if he were a Reagan or a Johnson.
This week's video is an educational effort to share some of San Francisco's cultural, medical, and political leadership.