THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hopelessness You Can Believe In

Why Obama is Scarier Than George W. Bush

Dave Eggers preceded his memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” with a section titled “Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of this Book.” It’s a brilliant attempt to disarm the reader and preempt criticism. Among its warnings, referring to chapter four: “The book thereafter is kind of uneven.” (Disclosure: Eggers edited my work at two magazines in the ’90s.)

Barack Obama shares Eggers’ talent for managing expectations. “There will be false starts, there will be setbacks, there will be frustrations and disappointments,” Obama said upon his arrival in Washington. “I will make some mistakes.” In other words, don’t expect much.

The soaring optimistic rhetoric of the campaign (“yes we can”) is no more, replaced by the sober, string-synced cello strains of Yo-Yo Ma. So is Obama’s million-dollar smile. The Dour One is demanding patience. And he’s getting it, for now: “Most respondents [to the New York Times/CBS News poll taken January 19th] said they thought it would take Mr. Obama two years or more to deliver on campaign promises to improve the economy, expand health care coverage and end the war in Iraq.”

Setting the bar low seems to be working. Seventy-nine percent of Americans say they’re optimistic about the next four years under Obama.

Sad, pathetic Americans! Like a dog that’s been beaten eight long years, they’re so psyched about the fact that their new master doesn’t drool and speaks coherent English that they’ll follow him anywhere. The media is in love with The One and so, therefore, is the public. No one questions him.

Frightening but true: Barack Obama is even more dangerous to liberal ideals than George W. Bush. Obama, who didn’t appoint a single liberal to a senior position, has neutered the left. “Protesters, a fixture of every inauguration since President Nixon’s in 1973, were few and scattered on Tuesday as Barack Obama assumed the presidency,” reported the Times.

The antiwar types have thrown away their signs. The sight of the first black president has the fair weather pacifists goo-goo-ga-gaing over a man who plans to transfer U.S. occupation troops and the carnage they bring from Iraq to Afghanistan.

No demonstrators in the streets. No reporters asking tough questions. A political honeymoon based on nothing. Didn’t we learn anything from 9/11, when 90 percent of Americans, and the media, and Congress, issued George W. Bush a similar blank check?

People think things will be better four years from now, but there’s little reason for hope. America faces radical problems. Radical problems require radical solutions. Unfortunately, Obama’s proposals, and the moderates and conservatives with whom he has filled his cabinet, are woefully inadequate to the challenges at hand.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman calculates that there’s at least a $2.1 trillion hole in the economy–an “output gap” between production capacity and consumers’ ability to buy goods. Filling that hole would require direct investment (like Obama’s public works proposal) of at least $1.5 trillion. But Obama’s plan only contains $355 billion, of which only $136 billion would be spent within the next two years. It’s better than nothing, but not by much. Obama wants to plug a gushing artery with a Band-Aid one- tenth the size of the wound.

It’s churlish to predict that Obama’s approach won’t work. But even Obama admits it won’t. He promises to create 4 million new jobs by 2011. But we’re currently losing 4 million jobs every five months. If Obama delivers, 25 million Americans will have lost their jobs by 2011. (The math differential is due to the fact that population growth increases the workforce by 2.8 million jobs annually.) With unemployment figures like that, no one will doubt that we’re in a real Depression: breadlines, suicides, the whole bit.

Obama’s order to close Guantánamo and the CIA’s secret “black site” torture prisons within a year is heartening. But as with his other initiatives, it doesn’t go far enough. The detainees should have been freed, paid a generous compensation package, and received a formal apology by the U.S. government on Day One of his Administration. Gitmo should have been shuttered immediately. All the torture criminals from Bush to the U.S. Navy guards should have been thrown in prison and put on trial.

Instead, Obama’s goons (they’re his now) will keep torturing the detainees for at least another year. Some detainees may still be subjected to kangaroo courts. And Obama’s executive orders contain weasel words that let him take back America’s renewed commitment to constitutional rights with the snap of a finger. The orders, reports the Times, “could also allow Mr. Obama to reinstate the CIA’s detention and interrogation operations in the future, by presidential order, as some have argued would be appropriate if Osama bin Laden or another top-level leader of Al Qaeda were captured.”

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration creeps who personally ordered the murder and torture of innocents kidnapped by the military, including young children, will not face prosecution.

During the campaign, Obama promised there would be “no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens.” He has since changed his mind. Obama will keep the USA-Patriot Act. Habeas corpus, eliminated by the Military Commissions Act, won’t come back.

The biggest reason hope doesn’t stand a chance is Afghanistan, where Obama plans to send the soldiers he wants to pull out of Iraq. The international community, which understands that the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan had no more to do with 9/11 than the war against Iraq, will not take kindly to this escalation. Moreover, the war against Afghanistan is even less winnable than Iraq. At a time when we can least afford foreign adventurism, Obama plans to pour billions of dollars and thousands of lives into an Afghan charnel house with no prospect of victory.

Bush faced energetic opposition. Obama, on the other hand, is adored by the very people who should be shouting at him the loudest. Conservatives lost their credibility by supporting Bush, leaving Republican voices out in the cold.

Give the man a chance? Not me. I’ve sized up him, his advisors and their plans, and already found them sorely wanting. It won’t take long, as Obama’s failures prove the foolishness of Americans’ blind trust in him. Obama isn’t our FDR. He’s our Mikhail Gorbachev: likeable, intelligent, well-meaning, and ultimately doomed by his insistence on being reasonable during unreasonable times.

COPYRIGHT 2009 TED RALL

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50 Responses to “THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hopelessness You Can Believe In”

  1. phil Says:

    wow …… your best article ever, ted….. tks

  2. phil Says:

    wow …… your best article ever, ted….. tks

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Geez, Ted, the guy has been president for less than a week, and you’re already writing off the next four years as pointless. If you want instant results, move to a dictatorship.

    (Or, consider this possibility: Obama turns up the heat ever so gently on conservatives that, like the proverbial lobster, they never knew what hit ’em!)

    Anyway, give him 100 days, it’s the minimum amount of time to get anything meaningful done in Washington anyway.

  4. Cat Chew Says:

    Supreme Court restores habeas corpus, strikes down key part of Military Commissions Act

    Glenn Greenwald – Thursday June 12, 2008

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/06/12/boumediene/

  5. Anonymous Says:

    So, Ted Rall has decreed himself President of the George W. Bush Backlash Frenzy. Bush had eight years to do his FILTHY work. Rall had eight years to make a difference, and without missing a beat, suddenly Barack Obama is more dangerous than Bush? Rall HAS to be joking! No one, but no one, will clean up the Bush mess overnight. Unfortunately, good things move slowly and bad things happen overnight. Students used to sit in on campuses and stop and slow down business as usual. The institutions of business as usual figured out ways to punish dissent and civil disobedience. Like dictatorships, they will fuck with your life. They won’t make you disappear overnight or eliminate you in a soccer stadium, but they have your numbers. They will deprive you of your citizen’s rights to the pursuit of happiness while assholes like Bush and Cheney run and hide. Barack Obama is standing out front, risking his life and mental health and family, and all Rall can do now is shriek like an over-ripe virago? Ted, take a pill. We ALL have to take a pill. We know life means little to PRICKS like Bush/Cheney/etc. We CAN close Guantanamo overnight, but people who think with nothing but their rectums don’t know what to do with the former detainees and prisoners. They scream, “Not in my back yard!” They want easy solutions to complex problems and situations. Not all humans are equal. Our Constitution says we are equal, but we have the freedom to express the opposite and to exclude others based on pure bullshit and fear. Whatever evidence Ted Rall has on Obama, it is way too soon and way too judgemental. How many people newly appointed and employed by the Obama Administration are moles for that dreadfully sick, corrupt and FOUL Republican party? How many of those TRAITORS are planning to fuck up every good thing Obama wants to do for our sick countr? The job is monumental, because we have enemies within and home-grown terrorists in the Republican party and the Religous Right. They wouldn’t know Christianity if it hurricane-punched them in the face and Job-like took everything they have and said from the sky, “You are a sad bunch of mother fuckers. Clean up your act!” I agree with Ted Rall, but also disagree. There’s a better way to approach Obama than the Bush way. Remember: Obama is mortal, forget the fucking American media’s lack of professionalism. Bush is immortal. Bush, perfect EVIL, will continue, will slither and golf the rest of his pathetic life in relative safety and comfort. Let’s not punish Obama for his village-idiot/prick-asshole/imcompetent/war criminal predecessor. Rant over but not sufficient, since all words for Bush-anything completely fail. Where’s the Tylenol?!

  6. Y_S Says:

    “Our Mikhail Gorbachev”

    THATS WHAT I THOUGHT 2 WEEKS AGO!!!

    I so agree with you on this one Ted. A friend of mine called him St . Empty-Suit; and I used to think that he does resemble Tony Blair; an affable, intelligent-in-appearance “New” leader, who gives off a left-leaning appearance.

    And a public that accepts that “appearance” of leftishness because they’ve suffered years of far-right rule.

    Good Luck folks.

    Y_S
    Pakistan

  7. Christopher Says:

    While I disagree with some of the details, I agree with the overall thrust of your argument. I hope you’re wrong.

  8. Dennis Says:

    Nice to know we’re all so completely f*cked. Whatever, dude.

  9. Dennis Says:

    Nice to know we’re all so completely f*cked. Whatever, dude.

  10. Blake Says:

    A question (and perhaps I have simply missed the answer in a previous post, in which case I apologize): What is Obama’s motivation?

    After 9/11 when people asked “Why did they attack us?” and answered “Because they love terror and hate freedom!” I cringed, and thought “Or perhaps our support of Israel, or of dictatorial regimes is their homelands, or our troops in Saudi, or…”

    I actually had a harder time discerning Republican motivations over the past 8 years, as they seemed to actually want to mess things up, but my personal knowledge of a few Republican operatives has helped me there – they are second raters. Second raters are not going to be given power in a competence competition, so they have to appeal to those with power to dispense (the rich) or those with other motivations (the fundamentalists, be they Christian or free-market) in order to be granted power. Dumb people want to be important too, and the Republican party gives them a path.

    But Barack Obama strikes me as an intelligent man. He is well educated, has seen enough of the world that one would expect he would have some common sense, and does not seem from background like he should be particularly beholden to anyone. He has already risen as far as one can, taken there by liberal voters, contributors, and volunteers. He has no clear motive to appeal to conservatives. So is he simply driven by a pathological need to be liked by Republicans? What is his motivation for taking actions (i.e. the stimulus bill) which he must know will be wholly inadequate, or which seem to betray all the principles that drove people to elect him (i.e. cabinet appointments)? I just don’t get it.

  11. Blake Says:

    A question (and perhaps I have simply missed the answer in a previous post, in which case I apologize): What is Obama’s motivation?

    After 9/11 when people asked “Why did they attack us?” and answered “Because they love terror and hate freedom!” I cringed, and thought “Or perhaps our support of Israel, or of dictatorial regimes is their homelands, or our troops in Saudi, or…”

    I actually had a harder time discerning Republican motivations over the past 8 years, as they seemed to actually want to mess things up, but my personal knowledge of a few Republican operatives has helped me there – they are second raters. Second raters are not going to be given power in a competence competition, so they have to appeal to those with power to dispense (the rich) or those with other motivations (the fundamentalists, be they Christian or free-market) in order to be granted power. Dumb people want to be important too, and the Republican party gives them a path.

    But Barack Obama strikes me as an intelligent man. He is well educated, has seen enough of the world that one would expect he would have some common sense, and does not seem from background like he should be particularly beholden to anyone. He has already risen as far as one can, taken there by liberal voters, contributors, and volunteers. He has no clear motive to appeal to conservatives. So is he simply driven by a pathological need to be liked by Republicans? What is his motivation for taking actions (i.e. the stimulus bill) which he must know will be wholly inadequate, or which seem to betray all the principles that drove people to elect him (i.e. cabinet appointments)? I just don’t get it.

  12. Orville Says:

    It’s the nature of most people in power. You get in, get corrupted by having to work with people, and then become one of them. It’s only those rare individuals who are driven by ideology who don’t get corrupted.

    In one bit of fairness to Obama, he can only do so much in a few days. He’s got a lot on his plate. In addition, it may take some time to draw up the various executive orders. (Though he SHOULD have had them ready beforehand.) I’d give him a bit of time before criticizing his policy. (I still think that a Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader would have done a lot more, though.)
    On the other hand, his cabinet picks fell into the category of obscure, uninspiring, upsetting or downright contrary to his stated policies (Clinton, Biden, Emmanuel, and Gates).

    And if Bush hadn’t set the bar so low, most people wouldn’t accept Obama…

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Ted,

    I am not sure on what basis you equate Obama to Gorabachev?
    Obama is equivelant to a black Bill Clinton who was charismatic,
    smart, articulate and skillful bull-shit artist who campaigned from the left and governed from
    the right!
    But these are much worse times than
    when Clinton took office and so several facts will play:

    1) Obama is first and foremost a
    Wall Street’s guy and his main
    objective will be to save
    Wall St. fat cats before anything else and in the process he
    will “reform” SS and medicare reducing benefits for people who
    need it the most to free more money
    for his buddies in Wall St.
    2) I expect a continuation of the
    same foreign policies of W Bush with minor cosmetic changes.
    Since he is black and was accused of being a Moslem I expect
    that he might over-compensate for
    that in both his domestic and foreign policies!!.

  14. Drew Says:

    Right on. Nice job.

  15. Drew Says:

    Right on. Nice job.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Ted,

    I was with you until your swipe at Gorby. You are correct Gorbachev was a reasonable man in an unreasonable system, and that’s what lead to is downfall. In the Soviet Union, being reasonable made you a radical.

    How is that like Obama? Obama has bought into the perverse logic of American politics. He’s willing to sacrifice being reasonable to avoid rocking the boat. We’re spending trillions on TARP, and anyone with even a modest background in economics knows this is an unproductive uses of increasingly scarce funds. We’re doubling down in Afghanistan, even though our policy makers certainly know that will do more harm than good. I’m preaching to the choir on what Obama is doing wrong. My point is that Gorbachev had and courage to try to not do wrong things; Obama does not. That’s why Gorbachev was overthrown.

    FDR nationalized the banks, devalued the currency, and set up internment camps to hold innocent people against their will, and fought a two front war against an axis in retaliation for an areal attacks. You relentlessly mocked the last guy to do that. If FDR returns, I hope for your sake that he is as tolerant of political cartoonists as Bush.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Ted,

    I was with you until your swipe at Gorby. You are correct Gorbachev was a reasonable man in an unreasonable system, and that’s what lead to is downfall. In the Soviet Union, being reasonable made you a radical.

    How is that like Obama? Obama has bought into the perverse logic of American politics. He’s willing to sacrifice being reasonable to avoid rocking the boat. We’re spending trillions on TARP, and anyone with even a modest background in economics knows this is an unproductive uses of increasingly scarce funds. We’re doubling down in Afghanistan, even though our policy makers certainly know that will do more harm than good. I’m preaching to the choir on what Obama is doing wrong. My point is that Gorbachev had and courage to try to not do wrong things; Obama does not. That’s why Gorbachev was overthrown.

    FDR nationalized the banks, devalued the currency, and set up internment camps to hold innocent people against their will, and fought a two front war against an axis in retaliation for an areal attacks. You relentlessly mocked the last guy to do that. If FDR returns, I hope for your sake that he is as tolerant of political cartoonists as Bush.

  18. Thomas Daulton Says:

    As the saying goes, “hope for the best but expect the worst”. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised by Obama, but I have to plan and think about the future as if everything Ted says was absolute truth. Because Ted’s got a lot of evidence on his side (as Orville enumerates).

    Alas, many partisan Democrats, particularly the ones who jump on this site to criticize Ted — like they criticized him when Ted was lampooning President Clinton ten years ago — Democrats often seem to have a lot of trouble keeping their hopes and expectations separate. Believe you me, the political class already knows this and has detailed plans to take advantage of this defect.

    Hope makes a person more fun to be around. But, as we good Liberals once said about George Bush’s Iraq strategy, “Hope is not a plan”. The public has to wise up and realize that we have elected Obama as the Chief Administrator of a highly bureaucratized organization, not as Neo from the Matrix. There are some things the public has to do themselves, such as switching to conservation and alternative energy, and disapproving, rejecting and ridiculing things like torture and militarism. Obama can do a lot of things in those areas, but in the last measure he can’t do it for us no matter what his intentions. And until we reject those things ourselves, those things will continue.

    I fear that in a couple years, we will see the truthfulness Sir Francis Bacon’s bon mot (which I received via Ted’s old hero, the late Charles M. Shultz): “Hope makes a good breakfast but a poor supper.”

  19. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Your comparison between Obama and Gorbachev is frightening. Your assessment of Gorbachev is right on! He was just nibbling around the edges, trying to make cosmetic changes to a system in need of complete overhaul.

    I just hope to hell your comparison is wrong. In the meantime, I’m stocking up on provisions and ammo.

  20. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Your comparison between Obama and Gorbachev is frightening. Your assessment of Gorbachev is right on! He was just nibbling around the edges, trying to make cosmetic changes to a system in need of complete overhaul.

    I just hope to hell your comparison is wrong. In the meantime, I’m stocking up on provisions and ammo.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Ted,

    I like that you used my Gorbachev comparison I made in a previous post. I believed it then I still believe it now.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Blake:

    Apparently the Democratic Party also has a path for the not so bright:

    What is his motivation for taking actions (i.e. the stimulus bill) which he must know will be wholly inadequate, or which seem to betray all the principles that drove people to elect him (i.e. cabinet appointments)? I just don’t get it.

    Have you looked at the stimulus bill? There is very little stimulus. B. Hussien Obama is pushing forward the agenda he said he would when he was running for office.

    Glad I could help you understand.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Blake:

    Apparently the Democratic Party also has a path for the not so bright:

    What is his motivation for taking actions (i.e. the stimulus bill) which he must know will be wholly inadequate, or which seem to betray all the principles that drove people to elect him (i.e. cabinet appointments)? I just don’t get it.

    Have you looked at the stimulus bill? There is very little stimulus. B. Hussien Obama is pushing forward the agenda he said he would when he was running for office.

    Glad I could help you understand.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Orville,
    Obama didn’t even know how many executive orders he had, or what they were. Did you see the signing ceremony? Good thing he didn’t have to answer the question: “How many states are there in the United States?”

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Add seven more deaths on Obama’s watch to the Iraq Body Count.

    Obama is a killer.

  26. Timo Says:

    American political system itself is fucked up, not Obama himself necessarily. Even if one means well and free ponies for everybody, as an American politician one has to make so many Faustian deals (to finance his/her campaign budget) that in the end he/she will be completely assimilated and no big change is possible.

    In order to make a real difference now, Obama would have to commit the ultimate deadly sin of Washington inside politics; going against the will of your own major campaign contributors and “advisors”.

    He is trying to play by the rules of a doomed system, just like Mr. Gorbachev did.

  27. truteal Says:

    as usual, you make extremly valid points

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Still at it, eh Ted?

    Now Obama is “Scarier Than Bush”???

    Wow. You just have no limits, do you? It must be exhausting keeping up the whole “Left-er-Than-Thou” thing. Take a rest.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Still at it, eh Ted?

    Now Obama is “Scarier Than Bush”???

    Wow. You just have no limits, do you? It must be exhausting keeping up the whole “Left-er-Than-Thou” thing. Take a rest.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Good article, Ted.

    Obama needs a *YEAR* to transfer the prisoners out of Gitmo. There are only a few hundred of them. They could probably be taken out in just a couple of planes. The only reason they’re not is because someone is afraid if they’re transferred to the U.S., they might have to be given rights as prisoners. So that pretty much says it all.

    I’m super happy about Obama being president because he is black and that’s a huge step forward, since racism is a huge part of America’s ugly side. But it looks like he’s following in the footsteps of Colin Powell and Condi Rice.

    As for the stimulus / bailouts… Individuals, as a group, are going to get $150 Billion ($500 a person) in handouts. Corporations, especially banks, whose greed caused the crisis, are getting $700 Billion + $825 Billion + cheap credit from the FED + more. Guess who pays for all this? The arithmetic is so simple it’s sickening, and noone seems to care.

    -Pete

  31. Thomas Mc. Says:

    Great article, Ted. I’m heartened to see that not everyone on the left has drunk the Kool-Aid.

  32. Thomas Mc. Says:

    Great article, Ted. I’m heartened to see that not everyone on the left has drunk the Kool-Aid.

  33. Orville Says:

    In regards to Guantanamo, we don’t know who is a threat and who isn’t. Why? Well, the Bush Administartion messed up the files…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/24/AR2009012401702.html?hpid=moreheadlines

  34. Orville Says:

    In regards to Guantanamo, we don’t know who is a threat and who isn’t. Why? Well, the Bush Administartion messed up the files…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/24/AR2009012401702.html?hpid=moreheadlines

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Of course Ted had to get his “Obama is SCARIER than Bush” money-shot quote in. This is his brand. This is what he does. In this economy, Ted Rall’s trying to avoid losing his syndication numbers.

    I don’t even think he believes half the rot he publishes. It’s just his market niche. Sort of like Anne Coulter …

  36. Pamela Sue Says:

    just release them? apologize? compensate? you should be punched in the throat. I am sure there are some at gitmo who are innocent. but many are simply sociopathic killers. I know in your touchy feely leftist world evil doesnt actually exist. believe it or not some people cant be negotiated with or reasoned with, that is ironically backed up by science. personality disorders exist and they are permanent and many at gitmo possess that pathology . keep your head in the sand rall

  37. Anonymous Says:

    The guy has been president for 1 week and you think he’s scarier than Bush? I think you are just trolling. Here’s my prediction nothing but negative Obama columns from you no matter what kind of job he does.

  38. Anonymous Says:

    Dude, I thought Yo-Yo Ma’s performance was exciting, his expression joyful and enthusiastic. Ted, I’m not really sure what’s happened to you. Or maybe I didn’t have a handle on the real Ted in the first place. I mean, come on… I’m a cynic but your pervading sense of hopelessness is borderline suicidal. Yes, Edwards would have been a much better president, but Obama worse than Bush? You stain yourself, sir. You’re beginning to appear as though you actually want doom and gloom if for no other reason to keep your job, as though you couldn’t be a cartoonist unless you were miserable. Your theories are becoming so far-fetched as to belong on right wing talk radio. It stinks of desperation.

  39. ablebodied Says:

    Did you folks critcizing Rall for criticizing Obama even read the reasons he was criticizing him? I would imagine not since no one mentioned the reasons Rall mentioned as his reasoning for his worry. The only way that Bush could have so much all these years is with the complicity of enough citizens. Not all, just enough. As Rove says, 51%. There had to be citizens who were with him all the way regardless of what he did or folks who DID NOT pay attention to the details nor did they demand them. Same thing here I think. Compare what OB has done since becoming prez with what Clinton has done. Relative difficulty matters but, damnit, effort expended says something also. Make sense? It’s the actions involved that determine life, death, suffering, relief, progress. more war in Afghanistan, no habeus corpus, non stimulating stimulus, yes to Guantanmo, no liberals in his cabinet; all that is the same as Bush but without being Bush and also, the worst part, having folks reticent to demand action, change and accountablity for whatever the reason; honeymoon supporters, blind loyalty, apathy, the actions are appealing or supported, the result is the same. More of the same.

  40. ablebodied Says:

    Did you folks critcizing Rall for criticizing Obama even read the reasons he was criticizing him? I would imagine not since no one mentioned the reasons Rall mentioned as his reasoning for his worry. The only way that Bush could have so much all these years is with the complicity of enough citizens. Not all, just enough. As Rove says, 51%. There had to be citizens who were with him all the way regardless of what he did or folks who DID NOT pay attention to the details nor did they demand them. Same thing here I think. Compare what OB has done since becoming prez with what Clinton has done. Relative difficulty matters but, damnit, effort expended says something also. Make sense? It’s the actions involved that determine life, death, suffering, relief, progress. more war in Afghanistan, no habeus corpus, non stimulating stimulus, yes to Guantanmo, no liberals in his cabinet; all that is the same as Bush but without being Bush and also, the worst part, having folks reticent to demand action, change and accountablity for whatever the reason; honeymoon supporters, blind loyalty, apathy, the actions are appealing or supported, the result is the same. More of the same.

  41. Russell Says:

    So, uh, Pam? How many innocents are you willing to keep locked up to make sure no one who is dangerous gets out?

  42. Maura Says:

    Ted, how soon is soon enough? This is a serious question, not “what the hell will make you happy”. Obama’s only been president for ten days. He can’t do everything right away, and if he were trying to deal with everything, he would be criticized for not giving any one issue the attention it deserves.

    Afghanistan? Hell, he made in clear during the campaign that he wanted to go in. Bad idea – yes. A surprise – we knew going in that Obama is no pacifist.

    I’m not freaking out yet, but his naming a WMD Czar (Really? WTF) before addressing the disaster that is the health insurance industry has me a little worried. And he should have had Bush arrested before he got in that helicopter, and handcuffed Cheny to his wheelchair. Where are his priorities?

  43. Maura Says:

    Ted, how soon is soon enough? This is a serious question, not “what the hell will make you happy”. Obama’s only been president for ten days. He can’t do everything right away, and if he were trying to deal with everything, he would be criticized for not giving any one issue the attention it deserves.

    Afghanistan? Hell, he made in clear during the campaign that he wanted to go in. Bad idea – yes. A surprise – we knew going in that Obama is no pacifist.

    I’m not freaking out yet, but his naming a WMD Czar (Really? WTF) before addressing the disaster that is the health insurance industry has me a little worried. And he should have had Bush arrested before he got in that helicopter, and handcuffed Cheny to his wheelchair. Where are his priorities?

  44. PrettyPorcupine Says:

    He’s only been Preznit for one week but he’s been campaigning a loooot longer than that, and those of us who have viewed him with skepticism from day one haven’t seen anything in that long time to change our minds.

    Not only that, but he was whipping his Dem colleagues on TARP and on FISA long before he took office. Those were two important issues on which he made supremely bad choices.

    And oh yeah, his first week in office and what’s one of his first acts? Bombing civilians in Pakistan. Nice! First blood to Obama!

    So yes, we have had more than enough time to weigh up his character and his choices and so far, they don’t look that great.

  45. Don Says:

    So… Ted should be “punched in the throat”, eh, Pamela Sue?

    It’s nice to see, in lieu of your judgment of many of the Gitmo inmates as “sociopathic killers”, that your conscience is alive and well.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    “I will make mistakes.” — President Obama “In other words, don’t expect much.” — Ted Rall
    Quite a leap, Mr. Rall. I guess that means you’re going to be especially tough on President Obama. You remind me of an abused woman who, instead of giving hell to the assholes who infested her life, brings it all down on the good guy who happens to stumble into her pathetic life. Well, Rush Limbaugh will need a partner now, so it might as well be Rall.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    “I will make mistakes.” — President Obama “In other words, don’t expect much.” — Ted Rall
    Quite a leap, Mr. Rall. I guess that means you’re going to be especially tough on President Obama. You remind me of an abused woman who, instead of giving hell to the assholes who infested her life, brings it all down on the good guy who happens to stumble into her pathetic life. Well, Rush Limbaugh will need a partner now, so it might as well be Rall.

  48. Josh Says:

    Hey Anonymous – perhaps you didn’t hear about it, since it wasn’t mentioned at the time, but the quartet including Yo-Yo Ma that performed at the inauguration was not broadcast live. The broadcast performance was taped in advance. It was the same quartet’s performance, but it was not the sounds they played in person at the Capitol that day. (It was too cold for any of the instruments to hold their tuning.)

    Just FYI that Mr. Rall wasn’t just being randomly critical of Yo-Yo Ma’s demeanor or anything like that.

  49. Josh Says:

    Hey Anonymous – perhaps you didn’t hear about it, since it wasn’t mentioned at the time, but the quartet including Yo-Yo Ma that performed at the inauguration was not broadcast live. The broadcast performance was taped in advance. It was the same quartet’s performance, but it was not the sounds they played in person at the Capitol that day. (It was too cold for any of the instruments to hold their tuning.)

    Just FYI that Mr. Rall wasn’t just being randomly critical of Yo-Yo Ma’s demeanor or anything like that.

  50. karcreat2 Says:

    Way to go, Ted.
    Won’t even ‘give him a chance’, eh?

    Welcome to the ranks of moronic idiots such as Rush LimpBra…I’m sure the GOP could use a man of your low hope threshold.

    I usually tend to agree with you 100% of the time, but you are WAY off with this ‘column’, pal…enjoy your inept, downtrodden attitude…the rest of us still think change is possible (hey, how about giving Obama more than a lousy MONTH in office before you presume to ‘know the man’? Oh, right…you ‘sized up him, his advisors and their plans, and already found them sorely wanting’…are those crystal balls in your pocket…or are you just glad to see me?) and are more than willing to give the man what he needs…SUPPORT.

    Yes we CAN.

    K

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