Thursday, April 22, 2010

Barack Obama is no Franklin Delano Roosevelt

He never claimed to be.  I wasn't around to vote for Roosevelt -- any of the four times he ran, not by a long shot, just for the record -- but I most certainly had Roosevelt in mind when I did vote for Obama.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration (so far) bears little resemblance to the Obama candidacy.  I suppose that is to be expected in today's political climate.  Even with one of the largest majorities in Congress, this Democratic president (and leader of his party) has walked a careful line.  This timidity is the bane of the modern-day Democratic Party.  Why they don't understand this is something I will never understand.

I, and others like me, voted for a reformer...a reformer the likes of Franklin D., or at least Theodore.  But the days of "big stick" presidents is over; there's too much money involved.  Obama has to castigate Goldman Sachs while, at the same time, seek campaign contributions.  Conflict of interest much?  Republicans do it too, of course, but the conflict isn't so great.

Sadly, Realpolitik requires succumbing to the (promised) end justifying the means, but with the proviso that the "end" will be a mishmash, a prudent middle-road.  This isn't what I voted for (though I knew it would be so) certainly isn't what millions of others, inspired by Obama's historic -- monumentally-historic -- candidacy, voted for.

In his defense, he is faced with a Republican Party that has decided it's role is to obstruct.  I'm all for a "loyal opposition"; but, this opposition has been anything but loyal.  The Republican base has called this president every name in the book, with some of the most outspoken elected officials (who should know better) giving, at best, silent acquiescence and, at worst, vocal agreement [I'm talking to you Michelle Bachmann and Jim DeMint].

Elections matter.  Obama won.  The Democrats, now in the majority in Congress, won.  And, just like Bush and the Republicans before him/them, they deserve to have a chance at bat.  It might be "allowable" for the losers to gum up the works, but it certainly isn't fair play.

And, if Americans and America don't stand for fair play, then perhaps we should just hit the reset button and start over...because this isn't the America we like to think we are, nor is it the America we keep touting to the rest of the world.