Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Not In.

Jon Stewart speaks for me.

Mark Morford also. The first part, anyway.

And suddenly we come to the crux of the problem: What shall we do about Barack in 2012? Have you heard this question recently? Have you felt its icy breath on your neck, its uncomfortable presence in your day, your heart, your daily media grind? I bet you have. Right now, it looms bright and large. For our fair president has just announced, via slick email/tweet/video clip showing all sorts of dorky postcard Americana -- red barns, fluttery flags, babies on a stick, $9 coffee drinks -- that he is officially running for re-election. Yes, already. This is apparently now how it works in American politics: You are allowed no more than 2.4 years of impossibly difficult service as redeemer president, shouldering the overwhelming burden of failure foisted on you by your pathetic predecessor, before you have to start fundraising, glad-handing and talking wistfully about your Kenyan father all over again.

He turns on those of us wallowing in our ennui in a hurry after that.

In short, Obama has failed. He has not at all been the delicious chocolatey superjesus of radical sociopolitical transformation most on the hard left hoped, prayed and sacrificed precious Prius bumper ad space he would be. Hence, the conundrum. Given all this mealy disappointment, how now to best rally the troops and get out the vote in 2012 with anything resembling the passion and fervor of 2008, so as to defy any further sickening GOP onslaught? How to champion a guy who has been such a general liberal letdown ...?

My excerpting greatly mimimizes the flagellation Morford administers to progressives here. His point -- which is sharp and sticky also -- is that Obama's shortcomings pale like a Teabagger's springtime shins compared to his potential rivals ...

The solution to this conundrum is actually very easy. If you're unsure of Obama because he's been less the demigod superhero studbunny you hoped for, well, you have but to merely glance at the competition. Across the board and down the line, the GOP contenders for 2012 so far are laughingstocks and charlatans, complete caricatures of actual humans with brains. The Palins and the Bachmans, the Huckabees and the Newts, the Trumps and the Romneys -- it's all birthers and paranoids, adulterous slugs and ditzball sociopaths, fringers and terrified Mormons, a bloody madhouse clown car of cutesy whiffleball glop. I can hardly wait for the debates.

Yep; it's probably the biggest bunch of jokes and losers ever assembled by the GOP. And that alone is an amazing accomplishment. But back to Morford and his beatdown.

So while libs can whine all they want about Obama's imperfections and so-called failures, the instant you turn it all around and look at the alternatives, and then hitch them to the current GOP-led House's plans to gut the budget and spew hate on women and gays, the arts and the poor, promote Islamophobia and kowtow to the rich, well, suddenly Obama shines all over again like the gleaming savior we all want him to be. Suddenly all the complaining turns into nitpicking. Suddenly that vague dissatisfaction is instantly overshadowed by this shuddering, sour tang deep in the gut that just about screams OMFG, thank God Obama's there, how much worse off we'd be without him, how much good he's actually accomplished, how blessed his articulate intelligence, how proud we are every time he travels abroad -- please, please, please don't ever leave and sorry we complained in the first place and oh my God please don't leave.

Yes, it's moral and political relativism, writ large. Who cares? What else could it ever be?

So count your presidential blessings, libs, for while they may be tattered and rashy and often pinch and ride up, they are, on the whole, still plentiful and hugely impressive and just shockingly better than any alternative you can name, much less vote for. And you know it.

But see, Mark, all of those libs who worked so hard four years ago for the hope and change on the come just aren't going to buy in this go-round. That leaves a whole lot of other people to make the calls and walk the blocks and knock the doors. The disillusionment is compounded in Texas; we'll likely have a Democratic nominee for Senator to the right of West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Nebraska's Ben Nelson (which is light years better than a Republican to the right of John Cornyn and Rand Paul, but that's still a Hobson's choice). In Houston, our mayor's up for re-election too, and she thinks she has to do the same thing as Obama: appeal to conservatives.

The difference between Obama's base in 2012, and those who rearranged their lives to get him elected in 2008, it would appear, is the people who will vote for him because he seems honest and well-meaning most of the time and he doesn't embarrass us when he goes to other nations.

The original base was folks who opened their homes to Obama staff volunteers, made calls, gave financially out of family funds that were tight even then. People who had community meetings in their homes, proudly displayed Obama shirts and stickers, and gave more than they ever had to a candidate. There were the peace advocates who were desperate to have someone in the White House who would stop the Iraq war and close the illegal prisons and torture chambers.

And then there were those who felt strongly that the * Administration should be examined and held accountable for war crimes and crimes against our Constitution. Or just ending the warrantless wiretapping, for one small thing.

The dirty effing hippies. Or the effing retards, as Rahm Emanuel said. The "professional left", as Robert Gibbs noted.

I wish Obama well with his re-election campaign. Despite the efforts of the Republicans and the Teas, a lot has changed, but then... a lot has stayed the same.

(All of this will be to the benefit of the Texas Greens, on the ballot top to bottom for the first time in many years, and will perhaps pull the Texas Democratic Party back from its rightward tilt. Maybe. Eventually.)

Having said all that, I'm out on choosing the least worst of two options. Which is why I'm not in.

Update: Paul Krugman is perplexed.

1 comment:

Mean Rachel said...

Well, I don't agree with you but I think you did a good job of defending your reasons for not being in.

I'm in because of those people you mention who rearranged their lives in 2008 for him. One of them, arguably, was me. I didn't invest my time in Obama in 2007 and 2008 just to pick up my bat and go home this round.

I'm in because the thing that worried me the most happened: Obama got elected and inherited the mess of his predecessor and his toughest critics aren't the birthers or the tea partiers but the people who put him in the Oval Office to begin with.

I'm in because I believed then and I still believe now that he can do better and I think he will. And I'm in because I don't think anyone else can.