EDIT EDIT SUPER AWESOME EDIT: I’m so glad that deep down inside I’m a metrosexual dude and therefore spend an obnoxious amount of time on Esquire.com becasue John Richardson just wrote THIS. “WHADDYA MEAN OBAMA HASN’T DONE ANYTHING?” (http://www.esquire.com/print-this/obama-timeline-110309)
I was one of the people feverishly wielding a debit card by my computer, donating to the Obama campaign when he was running against McCain in 2008. The thought of 4 more Republican years was not scary anymore. It was tiring and embarrassing.
“God is here, and he’s black” I thought to myself gleefully. Simply the thought of Sarah Palin scratching her head while she tried to finagle a spot on the podium to make a concession speech after the defeat of the Republican party that November night made me want to make a smoothie out of puppies, pixie dust and sunshine and drink it all down . The America he was going to inherit was, no doubt, up shit creek with no paddle, and there he was, on the banks of the creek with not only a paddle, but a tall glass of lemonade and a sun umbrella!
And what a campaign he ran. Mobilizing a generation, going viral and Obama girl-ing all over the internet- he was a rockstar, a celebrity, but most importantly he was the voice of reason and hope. There were standing ovations and meeting halls reverberated with 6 syllables for months: “Yes-we-can” and “O-Ba-Ma.”
America, fed up of the mortgage prices, soaring credit, unemployment and the corruption disguised as “capitalism” and “freedom,” had been listening and had finally spoken.
And now, as Drew Western of commondreams.org points out “Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people to the political process.”
What happened? The “honeymoon period” is over, but is the relationship already on its way out? I, for one, am not in the mood to break up. I’m not ready to declare Mr. Western’s “Pretty Speeches, Compromised Values: Leadership, Obama style” as true. Not while, Obama’s toothbrush is still by my sink and the towel that smells like his soap is still hanging at the back of the bathroom door.
Western’s arguments against my sentiment are strong-
“(Obama’s three big issues are) a laissez faire style of leadership that appears weak and removed a failure to articulate and defend any coherent ideological position on virtually anything, and a widespread perception that he cares more about special interests like bank, credit card, oil and coal, and health and pharmaceutical companies than he does about the people they are shafting.”
His reproach to the Wall Street fat-fucks to “be nice” led to nothing and foreclosures are still more common than dust bunnies. The Health Care debate was a joke. In the greatest country in the world, grandma should not stand in front of a death panel, but God help us if our sickness and unemployment eat into Insurance giant’s profits. And credit card rates have, in some cases, quadrupled. No wonder we’re a jaded generation.
But Copenhagen was not his fault.
The simple fact that I’m wondering why I think Obama should still be trusted, is dangerous, and indicative of the fact that I might soon join the demoralized mass. But I’m biding my time in this relationship yet. The Guardian’s Mark Lynus’s brilliant article on the unbelievable events as they unfolded in Copenhagen might be one of the reasons. He describes Obama’s unfortunate position-
“Obama needed to be able to demonstrate to the Senate that he could deliver China in any global climate regulation framework, so conservative senators could not argue that US carbon cuts would further advantage Chinese industry. With midterm elections looming, Obama and his staff also knew that Copenhagen would be probably their only opportunity to go to climate change talks with a strong mandate.”
Something that blew my mind was this (Sorry for the long quote, it’s well written and shocking, so I just had to)
“To those who would blame Obama and rich countries in general, know this: it was China’s representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal. “Why can’t we even mention our own targets?” demanded a furious Angela Merkel. Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone. Brazil’s representative too pointed out the illogicality of China’s position. Why should rich countries not announce even this unilateral cut? The Chinese delegate said no, and I watched, aghast, as Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point. Now we know why – because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord’s lack of ambition.
China, backed at times by India, then proceeded to take out all the numbers that mattered. A 2020 peaking year in global emissions, essential to restrain temperatures to 2C, was removed and replaced by woolly language suggesting that emissions should peak “as soon as possible”. The long-term target, of global 50% cuts by 2050, was also excised. No one else, perhaps with the exceptions of India and Saudi Arabia, wanted this to happen. I am certain that had the Chinese not been in the room, we would have left Copenhagen with a deal that had environmentalists popping champagne corks popping in every corner of the world.”
And lest it sound like I’m making excuses for Obama, I’m not. But Copenhagen was ruined by nothing else but filthy politics. Our new pollutant for the day ladies and gentleman-politics. And another loss for the Obama camp. And that’s where his problem lies- in a bid to keep everyone happy, Obama has made no one happy.
What the world needs now from Obama is plain and simple COJONES. It’s sad that America saw 8 years of cojones from Bush with a pittance of brains, and just the opposite from Obama.
Your nation is at war, your economy is ravaged- What are you going to do Mr. President? And can you do it soon, we have a relationship to save here?