I don’t want to say I reluctantly voted for Obama. I was never totally enamored with him, but during the 2008 campaign I can’t say I didn’t feel the hope, either. Finally, a younger candidate who wasn’t bred out of the older, Clinton and Bush-esqe generation of national politicians who always played middle of the road and didn’t want to make decisions that would piss everybody off. In short, they played politics.
For me, a big question about Obama is, at the highest level, would he play politics? To place this question in tangible terms, during the campaign one of Obama’s strengths was that he didn’t vote to authorize the Iraq war. Of course, Obama wasn’t a federal senator then and couldn’t vote — but as a state senator in Illinois at the time, he claimed he wouldn’t have voted to authorize the Iraq war. This was an easy statement to make, though, for a person who was just a state senator, though he harbored presidential ambitions, probably even he didn’t think he would run for president in 2008. In short, Obama wasn’t pressured to say the political thing.
So I’ve wondered how Obama actually would have voted for the Iraqi war resolution if he had the power to vote. Would he have played politics or done the right thing and voted “nay” despite the pressure?
Unfortunately, I think my question has been answered. Now that he’s president and faces pressure to decide our course of action in Afghanistan, after weeks of thought Obama has cracked and decided to send 34,000 more troops to the country.
This decision reeks of political bullshit. First off, Obama is trying to take the middle of the road approach by not giving General McCrystal all the troops he asked for, therefore Obama can claim to the left, “Hey, I didn’t cave in and give the military everything they wanted!” And to the right, Obama can claim “Hey, I did what you wanted and I put more troops in Afghanistan!” And like any bad political decision, Obama’s half-assed measure here will piss everybody off. I don’t want to be grandiose in my statements, but between this decision that an unemployment crisis that keeps looming, we could be observing Obama’s undoing.
Let me veer off-topic for a second and comment on the stimulus package. That bill was supposed to create jobs, but Obama and the Democrats put in so many tax cuts to appease Republicans that the bill was half tax cuts. Tax cuts, as most sane people will argue, do not create jobs. And did Obama get even one Republican vote for his stimulus package despite his pandering to the GOP? No. So in lieu of creating more jobs, Obama played politics.
I’m stick of Democrats who promise us hope then get into office and pull half-assed bullshit to try and please everybody. Fucking up a stimulus bill is one thing, but Obama’s “plan” for Afghanistan — sending in a minimal number of troops to fight a war where we seemingly have no objective — will cost many brave Americans their lives. It’s sickening — doubly so when I remind myself that Obama is the most recent Noble Peace Prize winner.
In war or in the economy, you can’t combat issues half-assed. You either go all in or figure out what the hell you going to do. And if you can’t figure it out, step aside so somebody who does have a solution can implement it. No pussyfooting, no bullshit. Playing politics only insures that the issues you’re addressing will get worse.
I expected better from Obama. Now I’m wondering what the difference is between him and other moderate politicians I didn’t vote for because Obama was running. Yeah, I’d still rather have Obama in office than the oblivious shitshow that would have been a McCain/Sarah Fucking Palin administration. Perhaps I should be happy that we have a president who continues to fuck up Afghanistan instead of a president who surely would have marched us into war with Pakistan or Iran by now, but you know what? I’m not satisfied. I wish one of these suits I pull the lever for would have some fortitude to do the right thing every once in a while.
Maybe when Obama realizes that playing politics won’t get him elected in 2012, he’ll grow a pair, pull us out of Afghanistan, spend money to create jobs, and tell the entire Republican party and all those teabaggers to suck it. That’s the guy I wanted to vote for. Alas, at this point I can only assume he doesn’t exist.