A little Caterpillar told me

Yesterday, I emailed the CFLF crew and told them I’m cutting back on my blogging here mostly because of time constraints, but also because I want to take a broader look at the Obama administration to determine exactly what they’re doing.  Day to day blog commentary requires one steeping themselves in partisan politics, but to get a view of Obama sans such taint, one can’t participate in the process.

I want to see what’s actually happening.  Truth be told, I’m finding a lot of reasons to criticize Obama.  But until a few months have passed and his policies come into action, I’m reluctant to comment on him.  Though sometimes the warning signs scream at me…

For example, a month ago Obama said this about his stimulus bill and how it would affect Americans immediately:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar has informed him it will rehire some of the thousands of workers it has laid off in recent weeks if Congress passes an economic stimulus bill. […]

The world’s largest maker of mining and construction machinery announced more than 22,000 job cuts last month amid waning demand for its products.

And what happens today?

Caterpillar Inc, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, notified an additional 2,454 workers in three states on Tuesday that they were losing their jobs as the company continues to try to bring production in line with plummeting demand. […]

In January, Caterpillar announced 22,000 layoffs and in February…

OK.  Now some will say that this can’t be applied to Obama because he doesn’t control the decisions of an independent company.  Hell, he can’t even control the decisions of AIG despite the fact that we own them, claiming that bonuses must be doled out because contracts can’t be broken; despite the fact that mortgage contracts were broken by his government to set better rates.  Don’t even get me started…  So maybe Obama will learn his lesson to not place his word upon a corporation that he can’t trust.

But this still looks like more of the same.  This story gives the impression that we’ve been lied to.  Perhaps shoving Obama’s call for “change” down his throat will soon become cliche, but you know, this looks like more of the same.

Now many conservative commentators are willing to hang all of America’s problems on Obama, like the guy is responsible for the economy their boy handed to him — with the blessing of these numbnut pundits over the past 8 years.  This is silly.  None of Obama’s policies have yet to take effect — he’s not yet liable for anything. I’d prefer to judge the job that Obama has done after time has passed to see what effect he’s had.

But am I alone in saying that I have a bad feeling about this administration?

(edited by DrGail)

4 Responses to “A little Caterpillar told me”

  1. DrGail says:

    Wow, you actually said that. That takes some stones.

    I guess if you’re courageous, I can be too: I share your frustration about the incidents you cite. Even at the time the appointments were made, I was a bit underwhelmed with some of the financial types he chose, in part because that seemed to be a consensus among bloggers.

    Call me a dewy-eyed optimist (and please do; I’ve always wanted someone to say that about me), but I’ve chalked much of this up to naivete — although he and his administration appear to be learning pretty fast — rather than any unwillingness or inability to avoid doing “more of the same”.

    If the truth be known, I spend a lot of time hoping that much of what appears to be missteps or unnecessarily small changes represent a level of political maneuvering that I’m nowhere near knowledgeable enough to recognize.

  2. tas says:

    Thanks Gail, though I don’t think it takes stones… I was criticizing Clinton when egroups and listservs were the rage. If blogs were around then, I surely would have criticized him there, too.

    Which brings up a question regarding the name of this blog, “Comments From Left Field,” and which left I’m from. Or if I should take a political slant anymore.

    I guess these are my standards: I’m going to criticize a political leader no matter who they are or what party they’re from, but I also want to be fair about it, too. Which is why stepping back to see what effects Obama’s policies actually have on the country makes sense to me. It’s also an option afforded to me since I don’t run a blog anymore (well, I have a personal blog but nobody reads it — I kinda like it that way).

    Anyways, I’m hoping this is the result on pitfalls due to on the job training. I like having a president who talks to me like I’m in adult, instead of that other fucking idiot we suffered through for eight years. But… Talk is one thing, action is another.

  3. Kathy says:

    I don’t think there’s anything disqualifying of being left, or liberal, or progressive, what have you, because you (this is the general you here) criticize Obama, or any other political leader or elected official. We are the ones who have been saying for the past eight years that democracy is about holding our elected officials accountable *after* the election and not just think our job is done by stepping into the voting booth. I’ve heard Dana Perino and Dick Cheney and others of that ilk respond to criticisms of Bush by saying, “Well, the people spoke on Election Day and now they have to let the people they chose make the decisions the way they know best.” And we said, “You know what? That’s bullshit.” And it is. And that’s true regardless of whether we voted for the leader or not.

    I have been feeling a lot of the same doubts as you, tas, and Gail. I’ve had many moments of asking myself what the hell is going on with these appointments. I did read one article (and I don’t remember where anymore) that had this one sentence saying that it’s hard for the Obama administration to find people who meet Obama’s high ethical standards, and I think there is something to that. I mean, if Obama was willing to accept the kind of political hacks and opportunists that Bush filled his administration with, everyone would be in place by now. How many people are there in Washington with the expertise, experience, and political savvy necessary for a high-ranking spot in the federal government who have a squeaky clean record with no spots on it? Are there any?

    I think my main concern at this moment is not so much that Obama is breaking promises (although he does seem to be, especially in the areas of civil liberties and human rights) or that he doesn’t know what he’s doing in a strict policy sense, as it is that he doesn’t seem to be managing things well. I think that he was far, far too naive about Republican good faith and basic willingness to cooperate on the economic agenda, which is the biggest thing facing him. That’s changing somewhat now, but a lot of damage has been done. You really only get one chance to set the tone, and Obama botched that.

    On the other hand….

    Is there a president in recent American history, if in all of American history, who has had as much on his plate as Obama? Thanks, of course, to his immediate predecessor. I’m reading a book now about the Bush dynasty called “Family of Secrets” — and one of the things that comes out of it for me is that it is impossible to overstate, and very difficult to adequately convey, the corruptness of the process that put Bush in the White House. People like Karl Rove and Karen Hughes literally made up a history for him that wiped out all the embarrassments of his past, and whitewashed a personal history in the years before he became governor of Texas of being a shallow and morally challenged party boy with no real accomplishments to his name.

    And we all paid the price for that in the most catastrophic presidency this country has ever known.

    And now Obama has to try to undo all that. And do that in the context of a GOP leadership that had dedicated itself to obstructing everything he does or tries to do. If Democrats in Congress had made it their mission to actively work against and undermine Bush’s agenda from his first day in office, you can imagine what the reaction would have been on the Republican side of the aisle.

    None of this is meant as excuse-making, and it’s entirely appropriate to hold Obama responsible when he falls short or makes bad decisions. I’m just trying to provide a little context, because like I said, I don’t think any president in our history when he first took office has been up against what Obama is up against at the start of his presidency.

  4. Gertrude says:

    “I’m just trying to provide a little context, because like I said, I don’t think any president in our history when he first took office has been up against what Obama is up against at the start of his presidency.”

    You obviously haven’t read any history then, have you?

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