The following is my response to this article by Joan Walsh that was published on Salon.com December 31, 2009.
Very good article, Joan. I would like to mention that I am a bonafide socialist, and, like you, I can completely attest to the fact that Obama is far from a socialist. The right-wingers trot out the word "socialist" towards any politician who isn't fanatically pro-rich, pro-war, etc., in their policies. They believe that giving anything to the working class that may help them to better endure living under capitalism is a threat to the system and is therefore "unAmerican." It's a shame that catering to the rich and the willingness to treat war as a first rather than last resort is considered the most "pro-American" way that a politician should act.
I would like to say that as much as I loathe Dick Cheney and the war-mongering neocons like him, I certainly will not agree that he is being "unAmerican" by criticizing Obama. It should never be considered "unAmerican" to make disrespectful comments about the president, not even during war time (especially not during war time!). This is exactly what the Republicans constantly do to anyone who criticizes the policies of a Republican president who starts a needless war.
That being said, I totally agree with you that what Cheney is saying about Obama is entirely hypocritical considering how, as you noted, Obama is a "centrist" politician who caters to Wall Street and caves into the conservatives in an attempt to look "bipartisan" far too often. Obama has given the Republicans more bones than they deserve, and the way he caved to them in regards to war and health care reform, not to mention his failure to rollback the Patriot Act, end detention of accused 'terrorists' without accusing them of a crime, his continuing to conduct major military operations in three (maybe four) different Middle East nations , etc.
The only reason Cheney is so upset with Obama is because it's not the former who is pulling the strings anymore, along with the fact that no matter how much Obama cravenly caves into the demands of the right-wingers, he is still not warlike enough or harsh enough on civil liberties for Cheney and his cronies. If I was a conservative, I wouldn't feel threatened by Obama in the least; to the contrary, I would be confident he could be cajoled into carrying out the great majority of policies that I supported even in a Congress dominated by Democrats (if you feel differently, look how the attacks of just one conservative politician--Joe Lieberman--went towards derailing the public option in Obama's health care package; and though Lieberman is officially an Independent these days, we all know where his loyalties lie).
This is the same situation that occurred when Bill Clinton was in office...his welfare "reform," the "workfare" disaster, his support for the Marriage Protection Act (which betrayed his followers in the gay community), his refusal to seek fundamental health care reform, etc., was the beginning of the "centrist" nonsense that turned out to be a boon to conservatives even when a Democratic president was in office. Yet the Republicans still derided Clinton relentlessly!
More to the point, let's not make the mistake of supporting Obama no matter what he does, or justify his betrayals of the liberal base by saying, "He had no other choice but to do these things," which was the same excuse people who were so fond of Clinton used to give to justify his "centrism." I am a bit disappointed by the lack of critical evaluation of Obama that is going on here by all the columnists at Salon (liberal authors on Alternet tend to be much more critical of Obama, and well they should be!). We need to stop thanking our lucky stars whenever we receive a few crumbs from a Democratic president (for as long as we continue to believe that Democrats are the solution to America's problems) and instead insist that any Democratic president worthy of support from us are those who refuse to cave into the right-wingers so much and work towards making this system as tolerable and fair to the working class as possible for as long as it continues to exist.