Anyone who watched last week's Daily Show with Jon Stewart may have been taken aback by a statement Obama made a little more than halfway through the interview, when he said, "Yes we can, but...". Stewart made it a point to pause at this moment and allow the president's statement to sink in ... for the president.
The statement is a fine summation of the past two years in the eyes of progressives. The very fact that Obama is sitting down with Stewart is indicative of his desperation when it comes to the lefter leaning of the Democrats (read: the party's base). Biden's assertion that progressives should stop whining clearly did not work. Tough love is not going to work with progressives, something Obama realizes and is trying to rectify.
One thing that I noticed that Obama keeps saying is that he promised change, but not in 18 months; he needs a full term. But one of my biggest gripes with him is his inability to close Guantanamo. He signed an executive order on his second day in office, promising the closure of the military prison within a year. This did not happen.
Second problem: Afghanistan. Obviously it would be impossible to solve the Afghanistan problem in 18 months, but to lay out a clear objective, with tangible goals, is something that definitely is achievable in this time frame. And something that has not been done (in either administration, for the record).
Third problem: Obama does not get angry. There is a time and a place to approach things cerebrally and in a professorial manner, and I'll be the first to say that 90% of the time this is the correct approach. But this is politics, and the past two years seem to have been dominated by this blood-boiling 10% arena. Obama should have called out Chuck Grassley for his ridiculous death panels comments, he should have taken a stronger, more authoritative position on the Cordoba House, and with 59 senators and a House majority, he frankly should have gotten more done. If unable to get things done, he should have called out the obstructionist policies of the Republican Party. He's done neither.
One argument I get a lot from folks who hear what I have to say about the current administration is that if I don't vote the Republicans will win. First of all, I will always vote. I recognize the sacrifices that this country's forefathers made to give me that right, and I also recognize the sacrifices that our men and women in the armed forces have made over the years to ensure that I will be able to vote freely and anonymously in this country. To not vote is an insult to this country's history.
Secondly, I'm not hoping for a Republican victory. To criticize Democrats is not the same as endorsing Republicans. As ineffective as the Democrats have been, a Republican-led Congress would be much, much worse for progressives. This, however, does not excuse Democrats' behavior.
You could not find a bigger Obama supporter than me during the 2008 elections. He promised a lot, and I expected a lot. He has not delivered on the most important issues that I voted on, and this disappoints me. Most importantly, "Yes We Can" is not the same as "Yes we can, but..."
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