Sep 05

Obama Is Not The Answer

I was reminded recently of a great song by the punk band Bad Religion called “The Answer” and it reminded me of the fact that we shouldn’t think of Obama as the answer to our problems.  I encourage everyone to listen to the full lyrics, but my point is simply this.  While it is absolutely imperative to elect Obama over Romney and recognize that Republicans are hell-bent on class warfare, we should not think that Obama is some kind of savior.  I hear many people say that Obama does his best, but is limited by Republicans.  This is partially true, for sure, but if you look at his policies, Obama is basically a centrist Democrat.  Remember the Occupy movement?  Obama was able to say that he understood the movement’s frustration, but he certainly did not do or say anything once the evictions started.  Perhaps he would have lost credibility among the powers that be and have not been able to get anything else done.  But this is all the more reason that the US population needs to set a new threshold that allows for more radical changes.  Remember the slogan “Yes We Can!”?  It was clear then and it is clear now that meant we could vote for Obama and then he would do all these great things for the population.  But we should take his saying that “We are the ones we are waiting for” more seriously, re-elect him and continue to push for greater reforms in our society.  Reviving Occupy is one possibility.  Another possibility that I think offers the best long-term promise is the somewhat hidden, but growing movement of worker-owned cooperatives.  Visit the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives for more. As a leftist, I am not calling for radical revolution overnight, but for simply giving people more control of their daily productive lives.


2 pings

  1. Eunice. Wilson

    You don’t have to be a leftist to want what is best for the majority of US citizens. I consider myself centrist on many issues, and believe strongly that Obama has accomplished some good things while in office. He is not the answer to our problems as no one person can be.

    I have enjoyed and been educated by many of your blogs. Would you consider offering a blog on how the American people can get the Democrats and Republicans working together to promote a better nation?

  2. Adam Weiss
    Adam Weiss

    I agree you don’t have to be a leftist to want what is best for the majority of US citizens. I don’t see anywhere in my post where I said that. I suppose my criticism of the image many people have of Obama would apply more to the 2008 election when people were expecting something really transcendental to take place. But I feel we have to be very careful about putting our hopes in one person.

    As far as the issue of how people can get the Democrats and Republicans working together to promote a better nation, I think I can summarize my thoughts on the matter here. There are two parts to the statement. First, there is the issue of Democrats and Republicans working together. Second, there is the idea of their promoting a better nation.

    I think one can make the case that elected Republicans have been so unwilling to compromise and steadfast in their opposition to Obama that they have been the obstacle to working together, as in the debt ceiling showdown.

    But outside of that, Democrats and Republicans working together is not automatically a good thing, since it depends on what they are working on. Clinton’s main compromise with Republicans was welfare reform, which you could certainly argue was not the right approach to dealing with poverty.

    More importantly, why would we expect Democrats and Republicans to promote the best interests of the majority of the population? Politicians respond to a set of incentives based on what will get them elected and what will maintain their reputations while elected. If you want the interests of the majority to be taken into account, then the majority needs to play a role in those incentives. To give one example, Dennis Kucinich has been the most well-known progressive in Congress and has received a large share of campaign contributions from unions. Without union support he never would have been elected with the views he has.

    So what can the American people do? Advocate for their interests with the understanding that politicians are not automatically going to make moral choices.

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