How often have we heard the above plea from the 'Obamabots'? And how often have we seen mindless praise for any president who happens to be a Democrat justified by the allegation that a "centrist" president is still better than a full blown right-wing president?
Okay, I do not and did not expect society to be fundamentally changed in just one year--especially not by a Democratic president who ran a campaign that was largely filled by the pockets of wealthy "special interest" groups. However, I did expect more than what we actually got, and that includes more adherence to Obama's bold campaign pledges. A year in office is more than enough time to assess the general direction that a new president is going, and where has Obama gone thus far in that first year in office?
Very few rollbacks in Bush's attacks on the Constitution and erosion of our civil liberties, for one thing. Obama still largely supports the "enemy combatant" mentality where terrorist suspects are detained for indefinite periods of time in special prisons without being charged with a crime, and are then given military-style trials rather than trials in criminal courts.
He still treats the "war on terror" as an actual war rather than a law enforcement problem. He still seeks to use military force to "solve" the problem of a foe that is not tied to any actual nation, and to try and fight this "war" by invading foreign nations.
He still spends billions of dollars to fund neverending wars while not spending anywhere near the same amount of funds on social programs that the poor in this country desperately need.
His initial health care reform proposal, though falling short of the hope of achieving a single-payer health care system, nevertheless had heavy progressive potential and appeal with its bold public option and expansion of Medicare. Guess what happened to all of that following the usual and expected pressure by the right-wingers in government and their media mouthpieces?
Is Obama at least better than a Republican president, even if only to a slight degree? Certainly. There is indeed more of a chance for those who are truly on the Left to push him towards more reforms and a more liberal agenda than would be possible for a Republican president who was entirely right of center...but that's a big if considering how much he has capitulated to the demands of the Right during his first year in office. And this has been the case no matter how much their demands go astray of basic American values and the rule of law as embodied in the Constitution. Of course, Obama justifies this constant capitulation to the demands of the Right on almost every issue by saying it's in the interests of seeking a "bipartisan" solution to these problems. Of course it is.
And a final note to the 'Obamabots'...I could care less how sophisticated and charming Obama comes off in speeches, or how good of an orator he is, or how attractive he is. It's about the policies, man! It's about what he actually does in office, not the lofty things he claims to stand behind in his speeches or how articulate he is in his public orations. It's about how often he walks the walk, not how eloquently he talks the talk.