The Sadness of The Left, etc.

Tv_nbc_gregory_sff_embedded_prod_af I remember that someone said in these pages after the election that "The Left" would be disappointed in Barack Obama as president.  David Corn is disappointed.  He is certainly of "the left."  In person, he projects a tough, brittle, wise guy, Rahmish aura.  In the article linked above he is revealed in his pain and angst as a rather naive man who actually believed that Obama was the real messiah.  Corn is now devastated to learn that Barack Obama is a man like all other men, someone who must cope with various realities.

It was announced on Meet The Press today that David Gregory will succeed Russert. 

On Meet The Press today Obama made it clear that he will govern from the center in the belief that real problems must be dealt with in the context of objective reality, and not in the context of neocon plans for world re-organization or idealistic massive social engineering schemes here in the United States.  Can this mean that BO is a member of the fabled "reality based community?"

The Economy is collapsing.  He intends to fix it.  That will require further massive deficit spending.  He thinks it regrettable, but necessary.  I agree.  The Big Three are poorly run and deserve nothing in bailouts.  True. Nevertheless, these three companies are integral to the recovery of the American economy.  Therefore they should be saved if it is possible.  I agree.  (Incidentally, my family owns a Cadillac and a Ford [US].) He intends to intensify regulation of the financial institutions of the country.  I agree.  I hope he does something about the illegal practice of "naked shorting."  Many a good company has been ruined by this form of speculation.  None of this amounts to the kind of radical "change" for which the Left hoped.  Will there be some sort of national health care plan?  Probably.  We need this, and it would be hypocritical for me to oppose it.

In foreign policy Obama faces a situation in which there are few "win-win" solutions available to him.  He will seek to relegate foreign affairs to second priority for his government.  He will disappoint Palestinians, Muslims and Zionists.  The neocons are already pleased with the opportunity that his centrist positions and appointments provides for claims of victory for their policies.  The clear gratification of the neocons will further dishearten the Left.

Many of his Obama’s backers are liberal Zionists opposed to anything other than a one-sided peace between the Israelis on the one hand and the Palestinians, Arabs, and/or Muslim on the other.  Peace is not available on the basis of a one-sided two state solution.  Obama can not deliver such a peace and so the Zionists will be disappointed as will as the Arabs, etc.  The Palestinians will not accept such a peace and will continue their national resistance for another few generations with occasional violent uprisings.  This festering situation will continue to poison American relations with much of the world.

All Zionists are not Likud in their politics and strategic views, but all Zionists are in favor of a one sided solution just as all Islamists are seeking the permanent establishment of shari’ah states.  Given his internal US political inhibitions, I doubt that Obama will be able to do much towards real US brokering of peace in the Holy Land.

Iran?  Much the same thing applies.  Do not look for positive change in US/Iran relations.  The same forces that do not want to see other than than a one-sided peace in the Holy Land do not want to see Iran become a power in the Middle East that can threaten the existence of Israel.  MAD depends on mutual threat.  Israel does not accept the notion of nuclear deterrence for itself, only for others.  Therefore Israel’s backers do not accept the possibility of technologically competent Muslim states.  Such states are an inherent threat, not to the United States, but to Israel.

A Syrian-Israeli peace?  This is "low hanging fruit" at present, but in the absence of improvement in US/Iranian relations, success is doubtful.

Lebanon?  As go Iran and Syria, so will go Lebanon.

Afghanistan?  What could be heard on MTP this AM was the emergence of an Afghan policy that will seek to make something "modern" of Afghanistan.  That means a program that might last 50 or 60 years and that will involve; a lot of infrastructural development projects, 50,000 foreign troops, specialists who can deal with "the culture thing," and the use of groups of Afghans against each other (always a fruitful approach).  This is a policy choice.  Once Obama makes that choice, he will own it.

Iraq?  We are on our way out over the period of BO’s first term.  David Corn et al will be unhappy that that the withdrawal of our combat units will not involve TOTAL withdrawal, but this is yet another example of their naivete.

Pakistan?  The country was probably a mistake, but it exists now.  Solution of the Kashmir Problem through partition is the only possible path for improvement in dealing with the two nuclear powers of the sub-continent.  Counter-guerrilla activities?  Bandaids.

African-Americans will be disappointed in Obama as well, but that will be another "post."

As for our new president to be, I wish him well and am happy to have voted for him. pl

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38 Responses to The Sadness of The Left, etc.

  1. lina says:

    I’m not sad. And if I moved any more to the left I’d fall into the ocean. I drink green tea and drive a Prius, and to my ears, Obama sounds exactly like he did two years ago when he started running for President. He’s basically a centrist with a few forward-looking ideas. Many of those ideas are initiatives whose time as come (e.g., healthcare and energy).
    Just because Obama’s campaign opponents ran around screaming that he’s the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate, it didn’t make it true. He is an astute, gifted politician who remains pragmatic to the core (see prodigal Lieberman). He is also someone who will always seek consensus and compromise as a first resort.

  2. GSD says:

    Col. Lang,
    There must be some dissapointment among the right and far right in regards to incoming President Obama.
    I mean he hasn’t appointed William Ayers, Louis Farrakhan or Michael Moore to any prominent positions on his cabinet.
    He hasn’t talked of making abortion mandatory or demanding that all gun owners turn in their weapons at noon on 1/20/09.
    The far right is left to sputter about inane theories on Obama’s birthplace and resurrecting lunatic fantasies about black helicopters.
    The far right is being robbed of the oogedy boogey man they have been railing about for decades.
    As a pretty liberal Obama voter, he’s turning out to be the very sensible centrist that I figured him to be.
    No dissapointments here, the adults will be back in charge.
    In the words of Dick Cheney, it’s our turn.

  3. wrensis says:

    Maybe if he had not been sold to us as the Messiah the expectations would be more realistic. There are those of us who could see from the beginning he was Hillary Clinton in drag.

  4. wcw says:

    Obama is not and did not run as a leftist. He ran as a center-right establishmentarian, just like his party has been for years. Any leftist who thought otherwise (and I see Corn as a US progressive, a center-left grouping at its most radical) is an idiot who doesn’t read the newspaper.
    I don’t think African-Americans will be disappointed one bit. Why would they? They’re not leftists, either. Black folks don’t vote 90% Democrat because they are leftists, but because Republicans decided forty years ago to be the party of racism.

  5. Cieran says:

    Amen, Colonel!
    I’m just astonished how many pundits are already unhappy with Obama’s performance, even though he won’t take the oath of office for another month and a half.
    Magical thinking, anyone?

  6. srv says:

    If Obama’s plan is simply a return to the status quo and maintenance of the Bush’s Wilsonian takings, I’m not surprised, but I can’t wish him well.
    Keeping 50K troops in Iraq and/or Afghanistan is as good an idea as keeping 15K troops in Saudi Arabia. Blowback is all but guaranteed.
    As Bacevich said, Carter was right, and we’re just forestalling the inevitable. A very cowardly thing, but that pretty much defines us now.
    But the latest recruiting commercials like this one can make us all feel better about it:

  7. Charles I says:

    I think the saddest people, Rush Limbaugh aside, as he seems a right jolly fat man with a lot of lolly, must be the chattering classes, particularly those of the frothing rightist ilk. Their constituency is still there, per the division of the popular vote, but out of power they lose a lot of megaphones and amplifiers.
    Obama while not the Messiah has sufficient intelligence, judgment, gravitas, charisma and cojones to turn the national conversation away from the vicious vacuous diatribes of the right that passed for politics to a more civil and sober discourse, within the bounds of decency and the Constitution. Much as my heart bleeds the center of reality is really the only way to go. A return to it from the shrill bait and switch perpetrated upon your willing nation by the outgoing administration is hardly a sad occasion.

  8. mike says:

    “50 or 60 years” in Afganistan????
    As I recall two or three years ago you pondered on the vulnerability of the LOC in Iraq. It would seem if the below story is true that our log trains to Afghanistan are much more at risk.

  9. Grimgrin says:

    Honestly? I think there are maybe two or three issues that Obama’s presidency is going to live or die on. The first is healthcare. The second is a withdrawal from Iraq.
    If he can deliver these two things, at least enough to satisfy the majority of Americans, he’ll probably hang onto the bulk of his support.
    He’ll loose the Naderite left, but the Naderite left are all idiots and he was going to loose them anyway, as soon as the Republicans were far enough away from the white house that they could pretend ‘both parties are the same’ again.
    If Obama backs down on healthcare and Iraq, look for that huge base of volunteer and donor support to evaporate very fast.
    As for Israel/Palestine et al, has there ever been an American president who payed a political price for failing to deliver peace in the middle east?

  10. Lysander says:

    I’m happy to have wrote in Ron Paul. Futile, but satisfying nevertheless.
    Obama did not disappoint me. I had minimal expectations.
    On Iran and the broader middle east, though, I do believe U.S. policy will change. Not because Obama is a pro Palestinian ‘leftist’ but because regional balance of power will change and a collapsing economy worldwide and especially here will preclude even discussion of a military option against Iran. Meanwhile, they will continue to enrich.

  11. Ormolov says:

    When Obama first made noise in the primaries, I was swinging my 3 year old daughter on a swing and a nanny–a very correct elderly Hanseatic German woman from Hamburg–said the country was going to hell. I agreed with her but I had no idea what I was agreeing with. She sighed and said, “Yes, that this country would elect a black man president!” Unwilling to let this stand, I replied that Obama was special, a historical figure, someone I’d been waiting my entire lifetime to see. She retorted, “But he will make Oprah his VP!”
    Man, this woman was alive when the concentration camps ran and Berlin fell. Isn’t there some ironclad immutable law of the universe that Germans of her generation can’t be racist monsters? Well, there should be.
    Generations make the difference here. Talking to my 42 year old friend on the phone yesterday he said he was disappointed in Obama as a leftist. I said I never thought Obama was a leftist, but rather that he was working toward leaving behind all of the dogma of the twentieth century, and it was this struggle that made him so attractive to young and alienated voters.
    Many of the issues you describe in your article, Colonel, are received truths, and I can’t dispute your expertise on foreign policy. But I ask you and your older readers to consider the possibilities of a new century. Perhaps this belongs in your previous “Scenarios” article. But what looks so intractable now may just need to be re-framed.
    We don’t have enough evidence to see whether Obama governs as he campaigns, but I am VERY MUCH looking forward to him using the same rhetorical and tactical skills on some of the people who stand in the way of change, both inside this government and abroad. So far, whether his opponent is Bill Clinton or John McCain, Obama has enlarged the frame and transcended ideology and made his foe seem picky, out of touch, and old. Kashmir and Gaza etc. may very well be intractable for all time, but what Obama did for us is give us a break, an opening to begin a new narrative about all kinds of issues. And not just here at home but also many young people abroad who are tired of the way their countries have been run are using him as their lodestar.
    Or, to reduce my argument to two words: Robert Mugabe.

  12. Ormolov says:

    Colonel, could you please tell us your reaction to what has been so far my favorite Cabinet appt.
    Shinseki at the VA.

  13. jamzo says:

    one of the things about obama is that he is dificult to categorize
    we know he is not a republican and he is not right-wing
    he has a lot of moves, left, center and center right,
    makes you think of a basketball player who can’t drive or shoot from the right
    otherwise i think hilary clinton as secretary of state signals strong ties to the american jewish community and to israel
    and a good-will relationship with the palestinians as well
    adult, pragmatic, friendly relationships completely unlike the religous fantasies and political ideologies of the last eight years
    this was the first thing i thought when i read she was nominated for sec of state

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    Shinseki’s appointment is beyond praise. Not only will he do a good job but the example for serving officers is important. pl

  15. John says:

    Lina, et. al., are correct in that Obama is no leftist lap dog. The right wingnuts smear anyone, Kerry, Obama, with the “most liberal” label in an after-the-fact manner. They take the candidates voting record, then reverese engineer a “questionare” or “standard” that yields the result they are looking for – abracadabra – the “most liberal” nonsense.
    Yes, major kudos are due on the Shinsecki appointment. He should also be on the short list to replace Gates at DOD.

  16. Nancy K says:

    I’m not dissapointed in Obama’s cabinet choices at all, and as an ex hippy from California, I think I’m fairly left leaning. I want him to choose intelligent people, be they left right or center. I want him to choose people with real opinions not just yes men or women.
    I feel he has made good choices. Our country is facing perilous times and bickering over not left enough or too centerist is ludicrous. I don’t care too much about someone’s political leaning as long as they are honest, intelligent, and will put the country not their agenda first.

  17. bstr says:

    Dear Sir, while I cannot offer advise to Obama, I do have a bit for you. Hold on to that Caddy. Suffer if you must but preserve that automobile. Your great, great grandchildren will sing your praise as they sell it off to pay for a room addition. Hold on Sir, hold on.

  18. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    re Ormolov’s comment:
    His description of the opportunity Obama’s affords us is priceless. I saw it today in action in the way he dealt with Brokaw’s black and white thinking.
    It bears repeating. (I hope Ormolov forgives my editing.)
    “We don’t have enough evidence to see whether Obama governs as he campaigns, but I am looking forward to him using the same rhetorical and tactical skills on the people who stand in the way of change, both inside this government and abroad.
    So far, Obama has enlarged the frame and transcended ideology and made his foe seem picky, out of touch, and old. Kashmir and Gaza etc. may very well be intractable for all time, but what Obama did for us is give us a break, an opening to begin a new narrative about all kinds of issues. And not just here at home but also many young people abroad who are tired of the way their countries have been run are using him as their lodestar.”
    Also re Shinseki. I couldn’t agree more.

  19. A review of my list of “Leftie” blogs really doesn’t show Corn’s article making a splash. I think most folks are in a wait and see mode.
    Also, most everyone who was expecting change recognizes it even after just a few weeks. We now have someone in the White House who appears to really care about getting things done rather than just popping up in public and blathering a bit when the pressure gets too great not to. With the bar set so low, it makes me happy to even see that much.
    So far, it definitely looks like we hired the right guy for the head management slot.

  20. J says:

    there are many on the domestic and international stage who are hoping that obama steps all over his shoelaces, while there are many who will be rooting for him.
    russia is one example, who are taking a wary approach especially since ms. clinton will be the sec-o-state, and because of hillary’s selection, feel that there won’t be any ‘improvements’ in u.s.-russian relations. the russians took u.s. at our word with the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ in the 90s only to see it spoken with a forked-tongue approach on d.c.’s part. moscow will not make the same mistake twice. will obama get rid of the dummer-n-dirt bush-cheney missile shield nonsense, sadly i don’t think so as their are ‘too many’ BIG $$$’s at play on that boonedoggle.

  21. Mad Dogs says:

    Just as on the Right, there is a segment of the Left that is undeterred by reason, logic, and pragmatic rational thought.
    Both of these segments will continue to weep, wail and gnash their teeth because the “reality-based community” is back in the driver’s seat.
    This alone makes all of those problems we face seem less. Less daunting, less intractable, less foreboding.
    I’m not saying that we will prevail over all, nor even over most.
    I am saying that we have a chance where before there was none.

  22. FB Ali says:

    “He will seek to relegate foreign affairs to second priority for his government”.
    Foreign affairs are a two-sided game; will the other sides grant him the luxury of doing that? There is Russia, with serious economic problems and plenty of unstable issues around its borders. There is Israel, with the Zionists blindly pursuing their mirage of final victory, with no thought of the risks involved.
    Most serious of all is the potential for blowing up of the Pakistan-Afghanistan situation. There appears to be no realization among policy makers in the US (old or new) of what is really happening there. Both countries are now in the hands of mafia dons (Zardari and Karzai) with whom the US has made dirty deals (they have promised to mobilize their countries to support the US “war on terror” in return for being helped to stay in power, plus a blind eye to their domestic activity). Under the cover of these deals they (and their cohorts) are both plundering their countries, even as they sink beneath the weight of their many problems. Their peoples are getting more and more desperate, and turning to the only element that is fighting these rapacious dons and their henchmen, and promising a changed order – the Taliban. This process is quite visible in Afghanistan, but is now becoming apparent in Pakistan, too.
    Afghanistan can be kept simmering on the back-burner, but when Pakistan starts to boil over there won’t be any scope for second priorities.

  23. rj says:

    Like many of your other readers, I was under no illusion that Obama was anything but a centrist. But he seems to be a very competent one. He’s a good motivator and confronts problems realistically, which is what we need, given the economic crisis we’re in. Also, he will energize regional diplomatic approaches in the mid-east and south asia. You may get that concert you’ve been wanting. We’re in a hole, we’ve stopped digging and soon we’ll be climbing out. I’m a pessimist, esp. about international conflict, but I’ll count the blessings where I can find them.

  24. Andy says:

    To begin with I voted for Obama after being on the fence for a long time and I’m glad I did.
    I think most commenters are wrong about Obama. He’s not a centrist. At heart he’s a liberal, but that ideology is subsumed by his ambition and pragmatism. In other words, he’s not an ideologically-driven politician, which is rare for politicians these days and a refreshing change from the hyper partisanship of recent years. Together ambition and pragmatism let him throw away his liberalism when necessary. This is a very good thing and in my estimation it is this pragmatism that is driving the early “centrist” decisions he’s making. He understands the electorate did not give him a progressive/liberal mandate. He probably believes (correctly, I think), that the left will come around if he succeeds in fixing the economy and implementing some of his agenda. I mean, who else is the left going to vote for in 2012?
    Col. Lang, I will disagree with you a bit on Iran. I think there will be an opportunity for a rapprochement in 2009 because of a two main factors:
    1. Oil. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that oil prices next year will average $65 a barrel. That is not enough for Iran’s economy, which is already severely hurting. Lower oil revenue is going to bring the chickens home to roost.
    2. Ahmadinejad will probably loose the election this June for a variety of reasons, mainly the economy. New leadership, especially a reformer, will provide the political cover (for both sides) necessary to open dialog.

  25. magurakurin says:

    First off, let me say, I always enjoy reading your opinion Colonel Lang. I have been reading your blog for quite some time now.
    As to this post, while I agree with you whole heartedly that some on “the left” are going to be dissappointed, count me in with Lina and Nancy above. Those on the left who are dissappointed in Obama are fools.
    I’m pretty damn sure I’m far to the left of David Corn, but I am very happy to see a man like Barack Obama as president of the United States. I never expected him to force some far left program on the country. Nor did I wish it. I consider myself to hold some pretty far left and outside the mainstream views such as legalized drugs, legalized prostitution,gay marriage, radical changes in transportation systems, socialized healthcare, finacial systems controlled by government not private banks, etc, etc. However, my hope is not, has never been and never will be for some politician or faction to force these ideas on an unwilling population. Rather, my hope is in a social and spiritual transformation of attitudes which leads the people to demand such changes. Personally, I see a man like Barack Obama, while centrist in ideals, as a stepping stone to such a reality, however distant that may be.
    Thanks again, Colonel Lang for your blog. I appreciate the different perspective your life experience provides on the events of the day.

  26. doug says:

    While a two-state solution is going nowhere – the reasons you outline are solid – I do think Israel may utilize the widespread desire here for a PA/I solution to press for US engagement with Iran. Israel does see Iran as an existential threat but hasn’t the means to but to stir that wasp nest. Bringing in the middle and left (J-Street) to pressure military action against Iran would be far easier with PA peace feelers. The question remains: Is it doable? I don’t know but we have, on occasion, misunderestimated these things.

  27. zanzibar says:

    I believe that Obama deserves the benefit of doubt at this stage. As the Democrats roll out their legislative program and Obama makes decisions as events transpire we can form better judgments.
    Since I value your opinion tremendously I am glad to read that you believe Obama will lead from a more pragmatic perspective shorn of dogmatism. Am I correct that you expect that he will hew to the conventional wisdom on issues and not really step out of the box?
    On your hope that Obama would do something about “naked shorting” – do you expect he will take to task firms like Goldman Sachs who were significant contributors to his campaign who are the major practitioners of this trade?
    On the Big 3 – my opinion what is of value are their skilled labor, capital equipment and their supply chain. I don’t believe these companies in their current form are “integral for the recovery of the American economy”. Take Chrysler for example. They are owned by Cerberus a private equity fund that purchased an 80% stake from Daimler in a $7.5 billion LBO in August 2007. Cerberus counts on former Treasury secretary John Snow and Dan Quayle to lobby senators and congressmen. It would be sheer folly to preserve Cerberus’s equity stake. This is a hard driving and sophisticated private equity firm and they should not get a free ride on the back of taxpayers who did not get a cent from Cerberus’s successes. If the government wants to pick industrial favorites I believe the best solution would be to nationalize them and then fire all existing management with limited severance and force debt holders to take a haircut in return for equity. Such a recapitalized “national auto company” could serve a purpose. But the current plan of propping them with a $15 billion loan will not enable their long term survival.
    On the international front my biggest worry for the past decade has been Pakistan. I am afraid they are disintegrating into a failed state. I am deeply concerned that their military and political structure are being fractured with the potential for devastating impacts to their neighbors that could escalate around the world.

  28. harper says:

    I concur with the prognosis, although I am somewhat more optimistic that more will be at least attempted vis. the Middle East quagmire. Step one, which will be most telling, will be a direct, albeit sophisticated, effort, led by Hillary Clinton, to stop Bibi from becoming the next Israeli PM. If that effort is successful, using a wide array of indirect and “soft power” capabilities, then this will mean that a less-rabid Zionist faction will be in charge–and grateful to Washington. Some prospects for moving on at least the “low hanging fruit” fairly quickly.
    I add one thing: I predict that the neocons will soon be unhappy as well, since a competent American foreign and military policy does not suit their utopian worldview, anymore than a centrist, institutional Presidency suits the left.

  29. Stormcrow says:

    Why in the name of sanity should I have to do backflips about the person I vote for?
    There are, after all, only two practical choices in a Presidential election taking place in a two-party system. IMHO, to believe otherwise is self-delusion.
    If I were any further to the left, I’d fly off the planet.
    But so far, I’m not all that disappointed in what I’m seeing.
    He reinstated Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, and Gates is a Republican. Big whoopie. How Gates was nominated by the Bush regime remains a mystery to me. He seems to be more competent than any Secretary of Defense I can remember. And the Bush party hacks and cronies around him are being shown the door, probably to Gates’ secret relief.
    I really would be disappointed if Obama chucked a competent incumbent merely because he’s a Republican. Competent Secretaries of Defense DO NOT grow on trees.
    I’ve spoken here before about my opinion of the Clinton selection as Secretary of State.
    How and when he’s going to smell the odor emanating from AIPAC is anybody’s guess. But the entire Democratic Party is nearly as sunk in delusion here as the disgraced and discredited neoconservatives are.
    Same thing goes for Afghanistan. That was the war we did have a consensus about. To the best of my knowledge, we still do. It just happens to be the wrong one. It isn’t 2002 anymore. So I’m afraid he’s just going to have to make the mistake.
    Shinseki? Yeah, “beyond praise” about says it.
    Bottom line? We are now trapped by the accumulated momentum of thirty years of consistently bad management.
    Abdication by, and failure of, the elites and the commons both together.
    The last 20 have been daylight madness. And since 2000, it’s been like a toboggan ride straight into hell. IMHO, the re-election of Bush in 2004 was our political and fiscal Adrianople, because we had no margin for error left to us by that time.
    I’ll be quite pleased, not to mention surprised, if Obama merely manages to pull this country back from a Long Night. I would prefer not to spend my last years literally fighting for scraps.

  30. EZSmirkzz says:

    Sound like politics as usual to me. You don’t acheive any goals with the election of your man, the pressure has to remain.
    Everyone is apparently trying to position the President elect where they wish him to stand, usually in conjunction with their own prefered position. Justification?
    Events will make left/right moot points as usual.

  31. eakens says:

    You are exactly correct on Afghanistan. We will work very hard to maintain outposts on the so-called silk road.

  32. jonst says:

    Definitions mean everything. If by “centerist” we mean, DC/Wall St Establishment, then it must be noted that on the two major issues facing the US, the deregulation mania of the 90s, and the reaction to 9/11, the “centerists”, as I employ the word, have gotten it wrong. That is what I am sad about. Rewarding the types that got it wrong. And what the spells for the nation. That is what makes me sad. On the other hand, what annoys me the most is how Obama so effortlessly fell into the triangulation role the Clinton’s mastered. Run against the ‘dirty, f’ing so call idealists’. It works EVERY TIME! That the so called left was RIGHT about the deregulation, and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks (perhaps blind luck right, but right just the same) is meaningless. The Left is still ridiculed.
    One’s track record here is meaningless. Indeed, being correct is held against you. It is media contacts that matter the most here. You can spin any bad vote. It was fun yesterday watching Kevin Phillips go off on these so called centerists. Phillips knows where the bones are buried, you see. He is hard to bullshit. He does his research.

  33. jesus reyes says:

    What some of the left realizes is that he must govern from the center, but given his background, community organizing, etc., he is a man that can be pushed to the left if there is an organized constituency pushing him. This is already beginning to happen and as the economy goes of the cliff, this effort is going to get very noisy.

  34. JohnH says:

    Those of us on the Nader left will be disappointed, but we will have our consolations.
    1) Obama will preside over a more competent government. The bar has been set si low, that this is almost a slam dunk.
    2) Obama will not hand Social Security over to Wall Street so that they can earn 2-3% commissions off the negative returns they generate.
    3) Obama will let most of the Bush tax cuts lapse, so Big Money will not abscond with the 60% they don’t already own quite as quickly. This is almost guaranteed, since the Feds will be desperate for money.
    If we’re lucky, Obama will set a tone that deals respectfully with foreign regimes, so that we don’t dig ourselves deeper into the foreign relations holes we’ve already dug. This will infuriate the neocons and their 30% of the voting public and the merchants of death who underwrite them. Who knows, perhaps civil discourse, will even nudge some of the world’s most intractable conflicts toward resolution.
    If we’re really lucky, Obama will realize that massive federal deficits can’t be solved without reigning in “defense” spending. Any serious cost-benefit analysis would have to conclude that we have not doubled our security with doubled “defense” spending. In fact, the marginal benefit of doubling “defense” spending has probably been negative.

  35. charlottemom says:

    Well, I for one am skeptical about what I think I see on the horizon of Obama’s administration.
    Firstly, I’ll say it’s amusing to me that so many from both the Left and Right want Obama to take charge now.! Never no mind about the Constitution.
    Now, regarding Obama’s economic agenda: exactly how would his “lefty” plan differ from what’s been unfolding for the last 9 months? Viva USSA! Like you, Col. Lang, I’m hoping for some form of universal healthcare. We’ll see….
    Regarding international trade, yes, I’m hoping for some re-negotiated trade deals (ie.NAFTA)? Regarding foreign policy, I’m sensing Obama will engage militarily abroad: perhaps in Africa, most certainly in Pak/Afghan region, hopefully not at all in Iran. He’ll do this all in the name of humanitarian reasons, of course. So perhaps I am naive and am seeing again that this continued march toward interventionism (or it is imperialism?) really isn’t Left or Right, but rather the American Way.
    But, I am willing to wait til he is inaugurated as President in January to make any sharper criticisms/pronouncements. I’ve never been one to unwrap Christmas presents before Christmas day; part of fun is imagining what’s in the package!

  36. As I kept pointing out to friends during the Presidential campaign “CHANGE” and “REFORM” have different definitions.

  37. “Change” as a mantra does not mean “Reform.”

  38. zot23 says:

    Col. Lang,
    Unfortunately, you are guilty of swallowing the glittering generalities that the press loves to (incorrectly) spew. I am of “The Left” and although I disapprove of some of Obama’s appointments, I am very happy with other parts of his transition. For example, he met with Al Gore for 2 hours the other day to discuss “repowering America” and moving away from heavy fossil fuel dependence. I’m sure a great many folks on the left loved this and a great many on the right depised it. The right though might be happy with his aggressive stance on terrorism and Afghanistan. Meaning, people are complicated beings with the ability to hold simultaneously conflicting opinions about a person’s actions without passing final judgement (even colorblind people can see shades of gray.)
    To say “the left” is disappointed in Obama or “the right” is approving is folly, I have never met these left and right individuals of which they speak. The American populace is wide and varied with a spectrum of opinions, the press is not.
    I give Obama on 8.5 so far. If the press sees this as black and white and rounds down to 0 that is their fault. It is an 8.5, like a 10 with a few flaws and some warts. Obama isn’t prefect and I’ll point to his flaws as I wish, doesn’t mean I’m having buyer’s remorse vs. McCain. It just means we’re all human.
    Just another 2c…

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