Jack's Ruminations

Hope for Obama!

Posted on: December 22, 2014

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about Obama’s recent actions on Cuba. Her questions on the subject drew me to a new realization: Maybe, just maybe — after 6 years of it looking like my two votes for Obama would be something I’d have to live down for the rest of my life — there is actually real hope for the guy.

Over these past 6 years, I hardly blogged about Obama. Been reading lots, though. Read copious online materials about the health care debacle, the Snowden/NSA/whistleblower prosecution stuff, and Obama’s “bend over” to the banks. Also, I’d read books about the New Jim Crow/mass incarceration/inner city drug war system, the frightening climate crisis, and (currently) the toxic cosmetics and food industry, to name a few.

In all of this reading, Obama comes out as a slightly worse George Bush the Younger. I mean, on his governing record.

How in the world could this have come to pass? Our revolutionary black guy Prez governing like he was the silver spoon offspring of the military industrial complex?

This cognitive dissonance led me to my blog posts about California secession. I still think that is best political route for California and the world. But now I think it just might be a good idea to offer Obama political asylum in California when the sh#$ hits the fan. 🙂

Why the change in my thinking?

Well, it seems that ever since the recent November midterm elections, Obama has been governing like the fellow we Californians voted for back in 2008. In November, the Democrats lost the Senate to go with the lost House. So starting next month, Obama won’t even have the pretense of governing “amongst friends”.

It’s my belief that one of the main reasons why Obama governed like such a putz for the first 6 years is that he was dragged down by the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” pro-Corporate Democrats, especially the “Blue Dog” Senators. Obama, being a non-confrontational Enneagram 7 lacked the onions to publicly “out” these “frenemies”.

Now with the November elections in the books, the American people have given themselves a great gift: Obama seems to be going back to being the “community organizer” that we who voted for him hoped for.

Why? I believe it’s because Obama the man knows what history would say about him if his presidency ended today — namely, that Obama is The-Worst-POTUS-Since-Hoover. But the man has 2 years left. And this past month, we’ve gotten a peek into Obama’s plan to rescue his historical reputation from infamy.

Since the November elections, Obama has issued correct statements on the Keystone pipeline, and even began thawing out Cuba. That last one got my attention.

Who in the hell was talking about Cuba in the past 6 years before Obama took these steps? Maybe the baseball world was talking about Yasiel Puig. But politically speaking, Cuba was a moribund topic.

I think Obama chose Cuba as his first “trial balloon”. As POTUS, Obama has immense power to command the federal bureaucracies. For example, the relevant agencies Obama commanded re Cuba were the State Department and Commerce Department.

Why did Obama pick Cuba as his first truly progressive move? I think it’s because there is not even a rational political argument against opening commercial and diplomatic relations with Cuba. e.g. Even the right wing can understand that when a guy like Puig is making $42 million, while his relatives in Cuba are making $42, Communism on that island can’t last.

I expect any criticisms of Obama on his Cuba actions to die down soon, if it has not already. This “success” should embolden Obama to make more progressive moves in 2015 within the agencies he runs.

How about commanding the FDA to drop marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to Schedule 3?

Maybe ordering up some perp walks for New York bankers via the SEC and Justice Department?

What about stiff arming the Justice Department, ATF, FBI, and BOP toward dismantling the New Jim Crow edifice?

The progressive shopping list is a long one.

The untold American story concerns how Roosevelt’s New Deal alphabet soup of “pro people” federal agencies was gradually, imperceptibly co-opted by the Corporations over the past 80 years. Today, there is a revolving door between the Corporations and leadership positions within these federal agencies (not to mention Congress).

From the perspective of a pro-human progressive, this situation in the 2010s looked beyond hopeless. From a political perspective, the American government seemed like a cancer-ridden organism on its last legs.

Then we elected Obama in 2008 with the hope that “our guy” would reverse the course of history. But after six long years of being disappointed by Obama to the point of embarrassment, I didn’t even pay attention when Obama made his Keystone pipeline statements in December. Then when the Cuba decisions came, I woke up enough to pay a little attention.

But chatting with my friend yesterday, I now see this as very interesting news indeed.

Hope, once thought to be hopeless, is making a comeback ….

2 Responses to "Hope for Obama!"

Let’s hope so but the last 6 don’t leave me all that optimistic… still, Cuba’s definitely a start!


Yeah, I had just about given up the guy for politically dead, and then … Cuba?!? When I dug deeper to figure out why that issue rose to the surface in December, the ideas here are what I came up with.

Of course, it’s also possible Obama just has some Cuban friends for whom he was doing or returning favors. i.e. Nothing to do with a coming progressive jihad.

2015 will tell the tale.


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