Author's posts

Let Our Better Angels Guide Us

Inky99 has everyone riled up with his chart-topping post denouncing Obama’s recent embrace of torture.  In “3/5 of a President,” Inky99 declared,

“The United States is now legally free to torture whomever it wants, thanks to the Supreme Court of the land, and the political power weilded (sic) by Barrack Hussein Obama.”

So angry was Inky99 that he took the opportunity to post a racist picture and declare, “I hate Obama…because Obama IS Bush,”.  Much invective ensued.

Inky99 badly misrepresented what actually occurred.  I followed the path back to the beginning, reviewed the actual sources, and will explain below the fold why Inky99 is wrong about what happened, and is also wrong to be angry about what actually did happen.

I will then suggest that this kind of false hysteria reflects poorly on us as blogging community, and keeps us off the path to making real change.

Five Steps Forward

Cross-Posted at Wild Wild Left; Originally posted at Jay's Right of Assembly

I have been a little puzzled by the Progressive Bloggerati's recent anger at Obama.  Given Obama's unique background in community organizing and international culture, we had a legitimate hope that he might turn out to be more than he promised — but it was never more than a hope.  

So Obama turns out to be exactly what he promised, no more.  He'll sign anything decent that comes out of Congress — which is a HUGE difference from the prior resident (who promised to veto anything decent that came out of Congress).  Obama has also mostly appointed decent people into the federal administrative and judicial apparatus, whereas the prior resident mostly appointed cronies and crooks. HUGE difference, which matters every day.  

For smart progressive strategists, that's pretty much the end of the analysis. Not because Obama couldn't be better, but because the Presidency is no longer an effective leverage point for us.  We can make much more progress by fixing the MORE broken parts of the political system, and then using Obama opportunistically to our advantage, than we can by beating on him for incremental improvements.  

So I was puzzled by all the anger, which is not only a waste of energy, but also suggests a misapprehension of reality.  Happily, Buhdydharma, nailed the phenomenon in today's piece "Obama Can't Save You…Remedial Politics."  Buhdy said it better than I would have.  

So here is what I think is the big-picture context that explains how we are to deal with Obama, and similar imminent disappointments.

Obama Sends 30,000 Educators to California

[Cross-Posted at Jay's Right of Assembly

Take a moment to understand California's troubles. It is much worse, and more interesting, than merely a budget shortfall. Below are three interrelated, true stories.