I Wanna Believe, But . . .

You know, I really, really want to believe. But more evidence just keeps piling up. I’m an empiricist, I like facts. I tend to look at what a person does, as opposed to what a person says. You know, that old saw about “actions speak louder than words.” And Hopey McChange isn’t delivering on any of his campaign promises.

Let’s recount:

1. Close GITMO within one year. Status: GITMO is still open.

2. Pull out of Iraq by 2011. Status: drawdown appears on schedule.

3. Campaign promises to gay rights activists? Status: He could halt DADT tomorrow. Languishing in committee.

4. Campaigned on the Public Option. Status: HCR passed, without public option.

5. A Big believer in Net Neutrality. Status: Read it and fucking weep.

Those are just five promises.

More after the jump.

Let’s also go through the list of things that Bush did, but Obama has expanded on:

# A man who is prosecuting whistle blowers that even the Bush administration declined to prosecute.
# A man who believes that the President has the right to assassinate any American outside the country without any trial at his sole say-so.
# A man who believes the President has the right to lock people up without trial
# A man who believes that ”œconfessions” obtained by torture should be admissable in court.
# A man who believes that the accused does not have the right to see the evidence against him, or to face his accusers.
# A man who has killed more people with drones since he took power than Bush did in his entire reign.
# A Nobel Peace Laureate who has stated that he retains the right to bomb Iran if Iran responds to an Israeli attack with conventional means (don’t fight back while our buddy beats you bloody, or it’ll be so much the worse for you.)
# A Nobel Peace Laureate who expanded the war in Afghanistan.

Like I said, I want to believe. But the evidence is far too compelling.

Hopey McChange, indeed.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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  • on the next Dem president being Bush-lite, no matter who won the nomination. I was hoping Obama might be a progressive in centrist’s clothing, but no luck on that call.

  • Obama promoted a health care exchange giving Americans the opportunity to enroll in any plan, and income-based sliding scale tax credits will be provided for people and families who need it.

    The Democratic Party did have public plans in the platform, but that had as much to do with Hillary as anything. If you look for mentions of the public option in Obama’s speeches or comments to voters, you’ll find none. In fact, Obama major address on healthcare in Iowa on May 29, 2007, outlining his health care plan in considerable detail provides NO mention of the public option.

    Hillary’s plan had a public option.

    And in light of context, the Democratic primary’s big health care battle had nothing to do with public vs. private plans. It’s focus was on universal coverage and whether an individual mandate would be required to accomplish that. On that front candidates Hillary Clinton also supported a mandate; while Obama was opposed. Obama said that people don’t buy insurance because they can’t afford it, not because they don’t want to, and so no mandate is necessary if the plans are made affordable. He has since come around to Hillary’s view on mandates, but he accepted the absence of a public option to get the program through.

    I will also add that I never understand the public option bru haha because even in the form it had taken in this debate, it was a minimally available alternative that basically applied only to those persons who would be older than about 50 with pre existing conditions.


    There are 183 detainees at Gitmo now. The Obama administration has released 57; a total of 110 will be sent to other countries, 35 will be tried in U.S. federal courts, and roughly 50 will be held without trial.

    This was the reality. First and foremost the Obama administration found no records for the prisoners there, and most of their papers had been shredded by Bush administration. No records and no way to know the backgrounds, and danger etc. posed. So the records have had to be painstakingly recreated.

    The current status reflect a year’s worth of work settling – once and for all – what will become of each and every detainee, while at the same time recreating records and the history of the program from scratch.

    The Obama administration has also shared all the information on all the detainees that has been organized. This has all been accomplished by executive order because Congress has refused to act on any measure tied to Gitmo brought before it. Obama has no Congress to work on this one.


    I will add the Nobel Laureate has been given credit for doing more for nuclear disarmament than any of his Presidential predecessors.

    From the Washington Post:

    In important ways, Obama is putting into practical steps ideas originally brought forward in a series of articles, speeches and conversations with world leaders undertaken by Perry and three other elder statesmen — George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn. The president honored the four with a White House showing on April 6 of “Nuclear Tipping Point,” a new film that focuses on their effort. “You can see that I take you seriously,” the president remarked to the group.

    I have listened with sympathy but deep skepticism to their arguments since first hearing Shultz two years ago here at Stanford describe with great conviction the need to reduce to zero weapons. For one who came of age in the Cold War, the notion seemed quixotic.

    But Obama’s calculated step-by-step approach makes me reconsider. He is engaging other nations in an international reassessment of the cost-benefit ratio of nuclear weapons and pressing them for action that would create a world in which the United States could feel safer without those weapons.


  • that covers 35 million.

    You know the real problem that Obama faces is asymmetrical news coverage.

    Why is Haiti not in the news? Because the US government aid program is working.

    Why is health care off the news now? Because the roll out of reforms is working?

    Why is there so little on the stimulus?? Because the program has worked so flawlessly.

    Only bad news is reported, and good news goes by as if it had always been like that.

    The problem is that Obama is a boring president. He sits down and lays out the plan and then the plan is enacted, and then it works. So how do you cover news??

    Well you got to go looking for crap issues.

    Like the wholly symbolic ‘public option’ that applied to something like 3 M out of 300 M people.

    You carp about banker pay, when the hell has that ever been an issue in US history, but all of a sudden!!!

    You go after crap issues like AUDIT the FED. Why? Because the program worked so damn well, TARP is even paying for itself, so you got to dig in and see if you can find ANYTHING there to carp about.

    GM and Chrysler are saved. Their demise would have lost the US ability to manufacture cars in the country. Ford AND Toyota would have had to shift manufacture out of the country. The manufactures have shared parts making. Unemployment would be 12% to 15% right now if they had gone under and the parts industry with it. But GM is doing fantastic, and Ford and Toyota manufacture stays in the US. GM even pays the loans back and is looking at going public again June of next year with estimated capitalization at $100 to $120B. The US will get all their money back by then. But what does the news cover, it carps about GM paying back money with US taxpayer funds. No it didn’t. It released its hold on taxpayer money that went back to the Fed. That extra cash was a cushion provided at the time the US government took the 60% stake and Canada took the 10% stake. They don’t need it anymore. The fed gets the 60% stake (to the tune of $60 to $70B next year). But why let a good carp session go!

    Why is Iraq not in the news?? Because the stand down is working and the timeline to withdrawal is in place.

    It’s the price you pay for good governance I guess. And I would rather be the party that can actually run the country then a group of folks wearing stupid clothes Tea Partying all the time.

    Folks just love their bad news.

  • Where? Point me to the link that state 35 Million more people now have health care.

    Not Health Insurance, health care.

    The US is low, very low in the list of acceptable measure of health care for a first world country, infant mortality and longevity.

  • to the point where the world’s once again actually willing to consider American leadership on issues without guffawing.

    Pretty significant rebuilding of “soft power” in two years.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • US Scores Low On Motherhood Rankings

    A charity group’s list has placed the United States at a meager 28th place on a list of the best countries in the world to be a mother, being shown up by many smaller and more underdeveloped countries.

    The latest Save the Children “Mothers Index” placed Norway at the top of the list, followed by several other developed countries. Afghanistan ranked the worst, with several African states close behind.

    Several poorer countries, including the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ranked higher than the United States. The European states of Croatia and Slovenia also ranked higher than the US.

    One major factor in dragging the US ranking down is the maternal mortality rate. At 1 in 4,800, the US has one of the highest mortality rates in the developed world, according to the report.

    “A woman in the Unites States is more than five times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes in her lifetime and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland,” the report said.

    The US also scored poorly with the under-five mortality with a rate of 1 in 125 births. “At this rate, a child in the US is more than twice as likely as a child in Finland, Iceland, Sweden or Singapore to die before his or her fifth birthday,” the report noted.

    Other factors that have dragged the ranking down for the nation, are smaller numbers of children enrolled in preschool, and the US having the least generous maternity leave policy, which includes both in terms of duration and percent of wages paid. The US’s policy on maternity leave is lower than any wealthy nation.


  • The reason jouornalists have to focus on the latest celebrity brou-ha-ha is because everything is working so well. Nothing but crap issues for a few dead-enders to worry about. Everything’s so great and so prosperous that the country’s elite just don’t need habeas corpus or legal trials any more, and so can just put good finishing touches on our marvelous economy by a bipartisan commission to look at all government finances, except raising taxes on the rich or cutting the military, or in fact, much of anything except cutting social programs.

    There are a number of different Americas, in values, in living standards, and in security. The one inhabited by the well-to-do mirrors themselves so well that they can only wonder why the rest won’t just shut up and suffer what losers deserve.

  • You simply don’t understand. Obama can do nothing right. He’s not the person he said he was, and the concept that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose is sell-out crazy talk. And where’s my pony? Blah, blah, blah….

    “I despise ideologues masquerading as objective journalists.” – Bill O’Reilly, March 30, 2007

  • But I do have two things to mention.

    1) Do why know why any of those choices were made? Is it the system and not the President? Can ANY President really accomplish much without having to make big and ugly compromises?

    2) It is good to be keeping score and holding Government accountable but in the system of constant campaigning, it makes sense to pack the negative stuff all in the early days. A pragmatic politician times delivery of popular and promised agenda items.

    Sure, I am big time disappointed in Obama. Pretty much everything Sean Paul listed is a big deal, not “crap issues” as some people like to frame it. Obama is neither a panacea nor a pariah.
    While some choose to see only sunshine compared to the storm that came before, some of us see only a respite from a storm that is yet to come. I choose to hold my judgment until the next election cycle is done but I am leaning towards “an improvement” rather than “a leader” as my own description of Obama. There is a lot to like about the guy but the feeling of fraud lurks in the back of the mind.

  • Of having said one thing in his campaign an then advocating another when in office that is the most disappointing.

    We’ll see. Personally, I believe Net Neutrality is his next victim.

    I have to differ on this point:

    “There is a lot to like about the guy”

    Not when judged by his deeds; there is nothing to like and much to hate.

  • but if you sit out the 2010 election and throw Congress toward the Republicans, you become their allies, not their opponents.

    Of course we should have single payer: it is way more efficient and less costly than any other system. Of course we should be out of Gitmo, and never should have opened it. Of course there should be more action on gay rights: my son is gay and I worry about the prejudice against him every day of my life.

    But here’s my line in the sand, much farther to the center than yours: I won’t vote for any Republican, ever again. (Maybe I’ve voted for a dozen my whole life.) They have aligned so far right, and so far out of reality, that their agenda dooms our country. The Democrats are NOT the same, and that’s evident every week. You can splinter left, sit out the election, seek to align with, who, disenchanted Hispanics, hard-line unions, a few professors?

    I ask again, where is your winning coalition? Right now in America there is none to the left of Obama. You can be independent, like Barry Sanders. But please be practical. Only a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, and a Democrat in the White House, preserves any chance of progress in our country. Ask any minority, ask any poor person, ask any environmentalist: only the Democrats will help.

    And please be patient. Note, as Dana Milbank does today in WaPo, that all those limited-government Republicans down South are eating their ideology for lunch begging for federal help stopping the oil spill in the Gulf. The political tide (npi) could turn against them yet.

    I am a stuck record on this blog, but I read it faithfully…

    Tom Robinson

  • No one here expected ponies, I do believe we thought he would not cave on just about everything he said he stood for. Not all that Obama has done is bad, but the bad I believe definitely outways the good. He it seems to be leading more from center right than center left. It damn sure is hard to believe he was a constitutional law perofessor. And I didn’t believe he would waste so much time and goodwill by trying to make bipartisanship the way to go. Most people tend to learn from their mistakes.

  • the only other alternative was electing McCain and Palin. Believe it or not, but Obama and Biden restored a modicum of dignity to the office.

    Expecting results that are vastly different from what’s in place just isn’t realistic. Change takes a great deal of time to take place and only happens in an atmosphere where the bulk of the population expected and hoped for it to take place. (Not to mention that there was a ground swell of public support that fostered it.) Most Americans, unlike other societies, are deeply distrustful of government and their representatives, with good reason. Lobbying influences and money plays an extremely important part in American society and until such time as those two factors are weakened, expect no or only small improvements. More elected Democrats would possibly help, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The margin between Republicans and Democrats is very narrow–not nearly enough for different-type legislation to be passed.

    Dream on if you believe that the Internet will be spared. What I’ve stated, you already knew didn’t you?

  • accomplishing health care reform and nothing else is such a century long struggle, that its accomplishment is his signature piece. To have run on healthcare reform and delivered is something that about a dozen other Presidents fell short of.

    That he has methodically worked toward closure of Gitmo, an entity he had scant knowledge of as a candidate, and which was in much worse care than he could have possibly imagined.

    That his efforts have turned the economy around, saved the US auto industry.

    That he ran on winding down Iraq, which is absolutely on schedule, and refocus energies on Afghanistan. That he has taken out more Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders so far than Bush in his entire time in office.

    That he has reestablished tremendous progress in nuclear disarmament with Russia. That he has negotiated a TOTAL NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT of Ukraine. The first nuclear country ever to 100% disarm. That he has created an international mechanism for securing all fissile material. That the head of the Nuclear Disarmament commission has declared that Obama has done more for nuclear disarmament than he has seen in his lifetime.

    I mean, give me a break, what’s a guy got to do????

    The whining is just endemic. I think there are folks that are so wed to being unhappy and miserable, that it cannot be possible to support anyone in power could accomplish. There is no ability to accept the reality that to govern in a Democracy is to compromise the best possible result in light of the varying constituencies arrayed in the real world. That Obama has accomplished what he has in such a short time frame is truly amazing.

    Ian’s list is almost childish. I half expected to see the pony I didn’t get in there.

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