Where’s Obama Now?

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Courtesy of Time Magazine
Courtesy of Time Magazine

I’m getting disillusioned about Obama. Well, not so much disillusioned as vindicated. I had my misgivings about him way back when. When I was for Hillary. Even after he won the nomination, I wasn’t sure I wanted to vote for him. I just didn’t think he had the experience. I don’t know how much better a job Hillary would have done, but at least she was used to The Way Things Work. I think Obama is flummoxed by how intransigent Congress can be. He’s spent the better part of a year trying to get those fools to enact health care reform and he’s getting nowhere. Worse than nowhere. It’s going backward.

Then there are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. No talk now about withdrawing from either place. No, instead the spotlight has been taken off Iraq and put on Afghanistan. Meanwhile it’s business as usual in Iraq.

I’m not demonizing Obama. I think he’s still got potential. (See my November 28th post, “Baker’s Dozen About Obama.”) Part of the problem could be that no one realizes how difficult it can be to get anything changed in Washington unless they’ve been there. And even then, it’s a whole different ball game when you’re the President. So many people are gunning for you that they’re willing to shoot anything to get at you. Health care reform, the wars in A and I, the bailouts and stimulus packages—you name it, Obama’s enemies are willing to scuttle any chances to solve the problems we face as long as they have any chance in hell of hurting Obama.

The name of the game is: 2012. All they care about is discrediting the Democrats so that Republicans will look better when the next presidential election comes around. I wish the average person would figure that out. We need to find ways to get our politicians to stop playing these games.

I just told my husband that I think Obama thought that if he took the higher moral ground he could lead by example. And then G said that he just didn’t realize that the higher moral ground in Washington is at swamp level. Ain’t that the truth!

It would be interesting to hear what Hillary thinks about the job Obama’s doing and how she might have done things differently. Of course she’s not going to say anything now. Maybe that’s why Obama made her Secretary of State so that she wouldn’t be able to say anything against him. To shut her up. Maybe someday she’ll write a book about what she really thought/thinks. I hope so; I’d be one of the first ones to buy it.

Go here to watch a video of a “Hardball With Chris Matthews” segment with Matthews, Eugene Robinson and Pat Buchanan giving Obama grades for his first year in office.  A transcript is also included.

Baker’s Dozen About Obama

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Two posts ago, I said that I try to refrain from being political in this blog–unless we have an election campaign going on, that is–but today I’m going to do it again. I feel the need to write about the Obama presidency. Here are thirteen of my “Obamic” impressions, for what they’re worth:

First of all, I hope people can separate what they think of Obama–either his track record or the man himself–from the historical fact of his presidency.

Second, I can’t even imagine how much pressure he feels to be the best for fear that he may ruin the chances for another black candidate.

Third, I never thought he was the “Messiah” as some did, so I never expected him to be super-human. Some people are getting disenchanted because they expected perfection and instant gratification.

Fourth, I don’t think people are giving him enough credit for what he has done, either because they don’t agree with it or because it isn’t their pet project.

Fifth, he hasn’t been President for all that long. Considering the messes he inherited, we should expect fixes to take longer than ten months.

Sixth, I don’t think we have seen the positive effects yet of the way he has reached out to the Muslim community around the world.

Seventh, he is dealing with a lot of crazies who are hell-bent on bringing him down. Those who think Bush was treated unfairly are burying their heads in the sand about the attacks on Obama. And, unfortunately,  there are too many gullible people who are afraid or too lazy to think for themselves who are jumping on the crazies’ bandwagons.

Eighth, he is going to go down in history as a ground-breaker, if nothing else. His popular appeal across many categories of political persuasion, class and race, his ability to reach people on a grass-roots level, and of course, his race are but a few of the things we have rarely, if ever, seen before.

Ninth, he has been good for women. Not perfect, but good. I think it’s a positive that he is married to a strong woman whom he appears to love and respect and that he has two daughters. He has a lot to live up to.

Tenth, I still think that Obama is up against racism on two fronts: the fact that he is African-American and the perception that he has strong Muslim ties.

Eleventh, the polarization in this country between conservatives and everyone else (who is pro-Obama) is at an all-time high.

Twelfth, he might as well do what he wants and the way that he wants to do it, because people are going to think what they want about him, no matter what he does.

Thirteenth, I wasn’t initially for Obama (I was one of the PUMAs;  see my posts “Second Wave Outrage” and “Rethinking the PUMA Position“), but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

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On January 29th, President Obama signed his first bill into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This reverses a 2007 Supreme Court decision which said that a pay discrimination claim must be filed within 180 days of the first offense. The bill is named after a woman who didn’t find out until she had worked at Goodyear for 19 years that she was making less than all the other supervisors even though she had more experience. A jury ruled in her favor but the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, reversed the ruling, despite decades of legal precedent which supported Ledbetter’s case.

Foes of the bill (mainly Republicans and business leaders–surprise!) maintain that it will cause more lawsuits, make businesses hesitant to hire women and exacerbate the recession. What they are really saying is that businesses should be allowed to pay women less money for the same job their male counterparts are doing. And that their business models depend on it. That’s it, pure and simple.

If a business refuses to hire women because it doesn’t want to have to pay them the same as men, is that not out-and-out discrimination? And in case anyone thinks I’m just another whining feminist, this new law, which updates the 1964 Civil Rights Act, covers discrimination not only by gender but also by race, national origin, religion, age and disabilities.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has long contended that each new instance of discrimination (i.e., each new paycheck that has the lower pay on it) triggers a new 180-day statute of limitations. Obama has incorporated this standard into the new law. This only makes sense, because it could take years before a person discovers the pay others are receiving. It’s not like that information is easy to come by. In our culture, it’s considered bad form to ask people what they make, and many businesses caution their employees to not share this information or they will be fired.

The Supreme Court’s ruling was wrong on two counts: it ignored legal precedent and it upheld discrimination. Let’s hope that it will soon get the message that the new administration holds it to higher standards than did the Bush administration (which has become infamous for undermining the rights of its citizens).

See here and here for more information about this act and its possible consequences.
See here for a pdf copy of the actual act.

Inauguration Revisited

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In case you weren’t able to be there, go to MSNBC.com’s web page about the Inauguration. It covers every conceivable topic and event having to do with Barack Obama becoming our 44th President. It even shows you how to use its transcripts and videos to make your own video experience.

Here is the video of his oath and Inaugural Address:

Election Reaction

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It’s been two weeks since the election and I still haven’t written about the outcome. Those of you who have been reading this blog for the last six months know that I was originally a Hillary supporter. When Obama won the candidacy, I was very disappointed, almost to the point where I considered voting for McCain. That, however, was just a fleeting moment of insanity and once McCain picked Palin to be his running mate, I didn’t have another moment like it. I was never officially a PUMA (see my post, “Rethinking the PUMA Position“), but I was certainly not sold on Obama. I came into his camp reluctantly.

Once I opened my mind to Obama, though, I found myself getting more comfortable with the idea of him as President. But I didn’t get over the rejection of Clinton for a long time. It wasn’t until I’d seen how Obama conducted himself in debates and on the campaign trail that I began to develop a measure of respect for him. By the time I voted, I was firmly in his camp, but that had more to do with my fear of another Republican presidency than because I was so certain that Obama was “the one.”

All that changed on the night of the election. I think I’d become so pessimistic about Democrats being able to win the Presidency that I didn’t dare hope that it would really happen. As the night progressed, though, I became more and more hopeful. When it was finally announced that Obama had won, it hit me: this was a historic moment. I was moved by the thought that this country with all its racism was able to look past that and elect a black man to be its next President.

I was impressed by McCain’s concession speech and actually felt sorry for him (a little bit), but I was far more relieved than anything. I felt like a disaster had just been averted. I’m not naive, I know that there are plenty of people who are upset, even angry, that Obama won. In fact, my greatest fear is that he will be assassinated by some crazy racist. I pray daily for his safety.

And now Hillary is possibly being reborn as Secretary of State. I can live with that.