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Obama, One Year On > Letters

Web Letter

I wish I could be so optmistic. What happened in recent elections, especially in New Jersey, is just a warning of things to come. The election of Chris Christie signalled an anti-government, anti-union, anti-public sector employment wave of hysteria that will sweep the midterm and next presidential elections. Republicans, since Nixon in 1968, have known what buttons to push to capture middle-class voters. From "law and oder" through national security and now anti- taxation and anti big government, their strategy has worked. It will not be long before the America that Bush and the like have always dreamed of returning to--that is, pre-Progressive period America--will be a reality.

john giarratana

Jersey City, NJ

Nov 10 2009 - 11:07am

Web Letter

Ms. vanden Heuvel's assessment is what one would expect from a disappointed left journalist. He preference may be not to "play the betrayal sweepstakes," but betrayed she was, betrayed by her judgment in supporting candidate Obama. There is a less personal betrayal at work. She and all of us have been betrayed by our Constitution and Supreme Court, which have given rise to a two-party sham that serves a single constituency: corporate America. Though Americans are divided on so-called cultural issues, corporate America is not divided on projecting military power abroad, trade policies, financial regulation, environmental issues, healthcare or taxation. The latter are the ones that count. The cultural issues are good for keeping the voters occupied.

To assert that time and patience are required for our system to work is to ignore the fact that we are living in an autocracy and that the tipping point against democracy was passed sometime during the Reagan administration. All the rest is noise.

Alvin D. Hofer

St. Petersburg, FL

Nov 9 2009 - 12:55am

Web Letter

Too many times, people who are strong liberals or conservatives forget that the nature of any democracy is usually to pass only those things for which there is an overwhelming consensus. The tactic that the Obama administration is using on items like healthcare and "cap-and-trade" go against this and are likely to backfire badly.

I predict that if these are passed without meeting the opposition partway, then they will be repealed after the voters pass judgment. Pushing items for which there is no general agreement means that, if passed, they are very unlikely to have the flaws and bugs worked out.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Nov 7 2009 - 9:55am

Web Letter

What progressive change? The Obama administration has done almost nothing! Doma still stands. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy still rule. Financial deregulation is still the law. Warrantless wiretaps are still allowed. Climate change has not been addressed. We're still in Iraq. There have been no real changes in energy policy. No significant increase in CAFE standards. What exactly has he done, except for Sotomayor? We might as well have voted in all GOP for the change we have gotten so far. If this is all we'll get then thrown the bums out and start over with some real progressives--the Green Party. This one party system is a total failure!

John Albertini

Charleston, ME

Nov 6 2009 - 10:34am

Web Letter

This is a very sensible write-up on President Obama. I particularly agree with the last paragraph--we need to think how we can push for needed reforms. In this context, an assessment of the progressive community as well is essential. A leader can be only as robust as his/her base is. We need to focus on some interesting aspects of politics that have become prominent, e.g., the "strength" of the so-called Blue Dog Democrats. If we are not able to reduce their numbers substantially in future elections, the kind of headache they are causing in Congress will continue. The onslaught of racist, violence-promoting neofascist diatribes in the name of freedom of speech spewed by elected members and some of the media personalities, and failure to denounce these by the rest of the corporate media, seem to be things Obama's election has also engendered. These and similar problems need to be dealt with by the progressive community in a deliberate, organized manner. I recognize there is no coherent progressive movement in this country, but surely issues of healthcare reform, environment/energy independence, unemployment etc., should provide opportunity to create broad coalitions! It is surprising that even the progressive labor unions are not stepping up to the plate to provide leadership in organizing the progressive communities. Obama's victory can not be the last act; it needs to be the occasion to gather organizational and political strength for the otherwise fragmented left!

M. Siddique

Chevy Chase, MD

Nov 5 2009 - 1:58pm

Web Letter

Well, it's certainly abundantly clear today that when Obama told us, before the election, that Bill Ayers of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) had absolutely no influence on him, that he was telling the truth--because Obama has sure as hell not been doing anything to fight for a "democratic society" (or for antiwar).

Obama never mentioned anything, before we "gave him" our votes about the ruling-elite corporate/financial imperialist war-machine, and racist tyranny of economic oppression that SDS fought against in the late 1960s.

Obama was being truthful with us when he totally ignored the very existence of this ruling-elite corporate/financial empire that controls our country by hiding behind the facade of its two-party "Vichy" sham of democracy, and he was being totally truthful when he said nothing about this empire that he himself was about to become the best front-man for.

It's just that we were too stupid, before the election, to ask him, "Hey, what about this empire that is killing our country and the world? Will you represent this deceitful and hidden corporate/financial empire or will you represent us?"

We never asked him about which side he was on in our battle with Empire--so he wasn't lying when he said nothing, because we never asked the right question!

At least Bill Ayers and his fellow Students for a Democratic Society were smart enough to ask students joining them in fighting against the imperialist war-monger/racist empire, "Are you with us or are you just an infiltrator from the empire posing as one of us, in order to turn on us and wreck the movement?"

We never even asked this phony plant if he was "working for the man"--working for the empire. Shame on us.

As the old saying goes, "If you fool me once about an imperialist president, shame on you. But if you fool me, a dozen times, about an imperialist president--shame on all of us."

Alan MacDonald

Sanford, ME

Nov 4 2009 - 11:22pm