. . . which means the gloves I've had on for nearly a year regarding Barack Obama have got to come off. Obama is not a progressive, he's not a leftist, especially not a socialist. At best he is a centrist. At worst, he seems to be willing to sell out progressives that voted for him on almost every single issue.
Every critical thing I posted about Obama's appointments before he took office got me unhappy comments. My friend Rex said, "Right now Obama's just gathering the ingredients, we don't know what he's going to cook yet." (I still reserved the right to be worried that some of the ingredients included lard, high fructose corn syrup, and propylene glycol). Others thought I should at least give him a chance. Fair enough, I gave him a chance.
Obama had a tough road ahead when he took office -- Bush left him a horrible mess. But because Bush screwed up SO BADLY, he had an opportunity to take the country in the opposite direction to undo some of the damage. He missed the opportunity, worried too much about being "bi-partisan" and getting along with the extreme right, and they still loathe him. He should have taken the country in the right direction (by which I mean turning it to the left) -- because even his attempts to appease the right still have them convinced that he's an ultra-leftist socialist (we can only wish that were true!).
The other day I heard a speech where Obama confronted his critics --told them that he and Pelosi were busy making things better and that his detractors would be better off if we picked up brooms and got to work. Unfortunately, not having much power, I can't get us out of Iraq or Afghanistan, can't get us to repeal the bad Bush laws, etc. and he can. The best thing that progressives can do is to be critical and pressure Obama in anyway possible to get him to turn around. You can bet those on the right didn't let up and "give him a chance" - they got to work pressuring him right away and it's been working marvelously well for them.
So, if you value peace, a country that doesn't detain people illegally, doesn't spy on it's own citizens, doesn't sell out to the highest corporate bidder -- put the pressure on Obama now. I will.