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M.S. Bellows, Jr. Headshot

The New "Hope" of Barack Obama

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These are troubling times for those who supported Barack Obama for President. Troubling times -- with the President telling Congressional Progressives they need to be "good soldiers" instead of good leaders by passing healthcare "reform" without a public option, and caving in to a toothless Glenn Beck by accepting the "resignation" of the superbly qualified Van Jones instead of standing behind him -- with troops still in Iraq, and Afghanistan looking more like Vietnam than ever, and "don't ask, don't tell" still in force when a mere executive order could end it -- with a jobless "recovery" under way because Obama wasted half the stimulus package on tax cuts (without gaining a single House GOP vote in exchange).

But we need to be fair, and when we feel critical of Obama, when we feel dispirited by what feels like a breach of trust, it's important to hearken back to what Obama really promised us, back during his historic, hope-filled campaign.

Ah,the Obama campaign! It seems so very long ago now, but I'll never forget the huge crowd in Portland's waterfront park, roaring its approval of his bold calls for incremental change; his cutting-edge website, "compromise.org"; the chants of "Yes We Might! Yes We Might!" rolling like thunder across that huge stadium the night he was nominated in Denver...

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And, of course, the iconic Shepard Fairey poster, summarizing in four simple characters the message Obama offered to all of us who wanted an end to weak Democratic leadership, an end to decades of spineless capitulation to neocons and Blue Dogs and triangulating centrists. Let's remember that poster, representing everything the Obama campaign promised, and everything the Obama presidency is coming to stand for today.