You know, Mr. Randolph, I’ve heard everything you’ve said tonight, and I couldn’t agree with you more. I agree with everything that you’ve said, including my capacity to be able to right many of these wrongs and to use my power and the bully pulpit. … But I would ask one thing of you, Mr. Randolph, and that is go out and make me do it. — FDR to Labor Activist A. Philip Randolph
President Obama and his followers are fond of quoting this little historical vignette. President Obama has told his followers if they want him to do anything then they have to “Make him.”
How is that working out so far?
The biggest rebellion against Obama from his supporters came during the campaign when he made it known that he would vote to authorize the Bush regime to spy on us and immunize telecom companies from releasing our phone records without warrants.
The uprising was immediate and huge. The outcry was without teeth, though. Very few Obama voters threatened him with vote withholding. They wrote to him, blogged on his site threatened to withhold donations, but nothing worked and he eventually did vote for the FISA Modernization Act (FMA) against his supporter’s wishes and against the will of his liberal base. Obama obviously did not care because he knew that these people would vote for him anyway and that Goldman-Sachs, et al, would continue funding his campaign.
Since he has been President his behavior has been consistent with being a tool of the Empire (Military-Industrial-Wall Street- Robber Class-Complex) and not with the will of the people.
The most recent issue has been “health care reform.” I receive the most mail and requests to sign petitions and call Congress or the White House to make sure that single payer health care, or Medicare for all, is on the table. This issue has been called the “litmus test” for the progressives on the Obama regime. Again, how’s that working out for we the people so far? So far, Obama has again fallen in lockstep with corporations and has insured that only health insurance companies, HMOs and big pharma have a voice in health care reform and the “promise” that he extracted from the health insurance companies is just another smokescreen to appease his gullible followers.
He has flip-flopped on important issues like not releasing torture photos and reinstating military commissions after adamantly opposing military commission during the campaign and he also promised to repeal the illegal and inhumane program.
I don’t think Obama voters, in fact I am positive they do not, support torture or military commissions, but the silence from the left is certainly and crashingly deafening as are the accolades about these policies from the right.
On other issues he is doing exactly as he promised, from the agonizingly slow and partial, at best, withdrawal in Iraq to surging, against all reason, troops and violence to what Obama and his War Hawks call Af-Pak.
Flying under the radar because of the “they-said, she-said, he-knew, she-knew, they all knew” torture brouhaha is the fact that Congress passed another 94 BILLION dollar supplemental funding package for Obama’s so called Overseas Contingency Operations and the fact his EPA…which stands for Environmental Protection Agency (what an Orwellian name) has approved 42 new sites for West Virginia mountaintop removal to extract coal. Obama loves to promote the myth of “clean coal” which Robert Kennedy, Jr, calls a “dirty lie.” The Sierra Club is rightfully distressed over this, but the group endorsed “clean coal” nuclear power supporting, Obama, during the election.
What did the Sierra Club expect?
Where is the outcry? Where were the protests demanding that Congress not fund Obama’s occupations? Where are the huge marches protesting the occupations that regularly occurred during the Bush Administration?
Don’t forget, Obama wants you to “Make him.”
His voters and supporters tried in vain to make him vote no on the FMA. Apparently the attempt failed because they are only against warrantless wiretapping when Republicans are doing it and refused to go the extra mile to withhold votes from the PINO (Progressive In Name Only).
Single payer advocates tried and it didn’t work.
The ACLU is trying and so far, Obama’s DOJ is blocking their efforts.
Bush left office as the most unpopular President in American history…he wasn’t only loathed by Democrats and profound disgust with Bush helped to usher in this Age of Obama which holds much resemblance to the Age of Bush.
If you are not in an organized and persistent way taking up Obama’s challenge of “Making him” do the right thing, then one of three things may be happening:
1) You think it will be a waste of time because you have seen that the pressure does not work, or
2) You agree with his neo-con and neo-liberal global domination policies, or
3) You are only against violence, suppression, oppression, and economic scandals and impoverishment only when Republicans are in the Oval Office.
Do not let the right accuse the left of hypocrisy. Let’s show everyone that we are consistent with our integrity and progressive, peaceful platform.
“Making him” means having the integrity and courage, that is so lacking in DC, to withhold your support from someone who doesn’t deserve it.
from the archives: