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Extravagant Hopes of 2008 Haunt Obama in 2012

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Posted on Jan 1, 2012

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Joe Crimmings (CC-BY-ND)

Four years ago this week, a young and inspirational senator who promised to turn history’s page swept the Iowa caucuses and began his irresistible rise to the White House.

Barack Obama was unlike any candidate the country had seen before. More than a mere politician, he became a cultural icon, “the biggest celebrity in the world,” as a John McCain ad accurately if mischievously described him. He was the object of near adoration among the young, launching what often felt like a religious revival. Artists poured out musical compositions devoted to his victory in a rich variety of forms, from reggae and hip-hop to the Celtic folk song. (My personal favorite: “There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama.”) Electoral contests rarely hold out the possibility of making all things new, but Obama’s supporters in large numbers fervently believed that 2008 was exactly such a campaign.

As the attention of the politically minded has focused on the rather more down-to-earth contests in Iowa and New Hampshire that will help determine which Republican will face Obama in November, let us ponder what the coming year will bring for someone who must now seek re-election as a mere mortal.

Obama’s largest problem is not the daunting list of difficulties that have left the country understandably dispirited: the continuing sluggishness of the economy, the broken political culture of Washington, the anxiety over the prospects of America’s future power and prosperity.


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On each of these matters, Obama has plausible answers and, judging by improvements in his poll ratings since September, he has made headway in getting the country to accept them.

Most Americans still believe that Obama inherited rather than caused the economic turmoil. Barring another crisis in Europe, there is a decent chance of somewhat better times by Election Day. Obama’s fall offensive against Republicans in Congress has paid dividends. Voters seem inclined to blame Washington’s dysfunction on the GOP, not on a president they still rather like. Most also think Obama’s foreign policy has put the nation on a steadier course. To the extent that bellicosity from the Republicans—notably from Mitt Romney—portends a return to George W. Bush’s foreign policy, Obama will enjoy an advantage. Ron Paul’s strength in Iowa and New Hampshire suggests that there are even Republicans who are exhausted with foreign military adventures.

For all these reasons, Democrats are far more bullish on the president’s re-election chances than they were even a few months ago, and, for what it’s worth, I put the odds in his favor. Yet the threat that should most concern Obama may not be any of the particulars that usually decide elections but rather the inevitable clash between the extravagant hopes of 2008 and the messy reality of 2012.

In traveling around Iowa and New Hampshire over the last few weeks, I have been struck by the number of Democrats and independents who still more or less want Obama to win and deeply fear the consequences of a government dominated by Republicans. But having made this clear, they then bring up the ways in which they cannot summon the emotions on Obama’s behalf this year that they felt the first time around.

Some point to disappointment over his failure to confront the Republicans early enough and hard enough. How, they ask, could Obama possibly have expected cooperation from conservatives? Others are frustrated that he couldn’t bring Washington together, as he said he would. Still others point to real Obama achievements, including the stimulus and especially the health care law, and ask why he was unable to sell their merits to a majority of the electorate. And then there are those who wonder why the malefactors of finance have faced so little accountability.

Few of these voters would ever support a Republican, and most will turn out dutifully for Obama again. But a president who won election with only 52.9 percent of the vote does not have a lot of margin. He needs to worry not just about issues but also about the spirit and morale of his supporters. In their jaunty song on Obama’s behalf four years ago, the alternative reggae band Michael Franti & Spearhead promised a country that would “soar through the sky like an eagle” and saw Obama as “seeking finds of a new light.”

These are not the standards of normal politics. Can voters who supported someone as a transcendent figure re-elect him as a normal, if resilient, political leader? This is Obama’s challenge. 

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group

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By terry p, January 5, 2012 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Four more years of GW Obama?

No punishment for the banksters? Obama said, We don’t want to look “backward"s!? I have to ask for who?

I hear the auto industry is back! They will hire a few people back with no benefits @ 2/3 the previous pay. No looking backwards! Again, I have to ask for who?  :?(

And now we (The people) are stuck with an Un-American bill >>>> The “National Defense Authorization Act ” (H.R. 1540). No trials are needed by the State in order to kill or imprison any suspected United States Citizen. Obama said he didn’t want to sign it into ‘PERMANENT’ law - but he did! It is like we the People are the enemy and the state. Has it declared war on us? Obama didn’t write this bill but he signed on.

I understand there will be a World Wide Strike on May the 12th brought to you by Wall Street Occupation. It is time to act if we want real change. I wonder what kind of plans will emerge and who will deliver the message. We need a Change in leadership! - and a new direction!

There was a similar bill to the NDAA H.R. 1540 enacted in 1933 by von Hindenburg of Germany concerning terrorists as the result of an fire set by a protestor.

Take care in what you say…and do….(no fires please)


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By ardee, January 5, 2012 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

objective observer, January 4 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

you are so right ardee.  the very real possibility of the republicans taking congress is “tripe”, and deserves no further discussion.  thank you for setting me straight.

...and you are giving a performance that makes you just another IMax/Rico here, a lying sack and nothing less.  No one said anything of the sort and, if you don’t know it perhaps your mental health professional might instruct you.

You may continue to distort and lie regarding liberal and progressive thinking, and continue to backtrack and attempt to alter what you said and what my objections to it were, but it isn’t going to change your sinking reputation, nor alter the fact that your name is a rather unfunny joke.

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By johncp, January 5, 2012 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

Once again “1” person wrote a post equating Obama with Clinton, and referencing the mistakes and wrongs of both presidents.  This is typical republican bullshit.  Of course Clinton made mistakes, all presidents make mistakes.  But how many presidents gave us 22,000,000 new jobs, or left office with a “surplus,” or left office with a 71% approval rating?  Who believes that Obama will match any of these Clinton accomplishments?  People who hate Clinton, i.e. republicans and self-deluded, faux democrats, define his tenure by his mistakes, his friends, remember the 71% figure, define a presidency by the size and depth of his positive accomplishments, which are immense.  His enemies will try any way they can, to deny Clinton’s accomplishments by pretending that he was just lucky; his friends know better.  Media, the super-rich and the republicans despise him, they despised him so much, they tried to impeach him.  The way I look at it, you can see the measure of a man as much by his enemies, as by his friends.

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By objective observer, January 4, 2012 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

you are so right ardee.  the very real possibility of the republicans taking congress is “tripe”, and deserves no further discussion.  thank you for setting me straight.

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By Jim Yell, January 4, 2012 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It was not unreasonable expectations that soured the milk of Obama Presidency, but the lack of willingness to fight for those things he said he stood for during his campaign and which is what got him elected, along with the previous administrations record of lawlessness and treason.

Not only has Obama not fought the good fight he has appointed a gang of fake Democrats to run his administration and has endorsed so many of the horrible actions of the previous administration that there is nothing left to expect from Obama but the death of American Democracy and The Bill Of Rights.

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By ardee, January 4, 2012 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

objective observer, January 3 at 2:12 pm

You cannot be seriously thinking that anyone could engage the tripe you post with a serious debate?

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By Anarcissie, January 4, 2012 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Outraged—I don’t think attacking the established order is as likely to be profitable as defending it; but if you know how I can make money promoting my political ideas (which you haven’t looked at very carefully, but why should you) please let me know.  As for Obama, I don’t think I’ve told anyone how or whether to vote.  I did tell them they might do some good supporting currently marginal parties with money and labor.  And I do think it will be a bad thing if Obama gets away with the game he has played thus far, not only because war, imperialism, the police state, the dominance of bankster kleptocrats, and the Drug War are evil, but because of the pathological cynicism required in an intelligent person to maintain them.

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By - bill, January 4, 2012 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

Thanks, Jack:  it’s good to know that Obama’s perfidy is recognized outside the U.S. (where for quite a while his pleasant rhetoric and improved stance in at least some areas of foreign policy seemed to have obscured just what an overall fraud he has been).

General observation:  It’s interesting to see comments about Outraged that mirror my own (until now unspoken) thoughts.  He (gender guess) really does seem to be everywhere, all the time, defending the indefensible with vigor and complete dismissal of evidence he doesn’t like.  I suppose he could just be a retired zealot with too much time and too little objectivity, but it does make one wonder.  Is he a recent arrival or a long-established demagogue (I’m not here often enough to know)?

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By aacme, January 4, 2012 at 12:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The recent passage of the indefinite detention clause is a perfect example of the problems progressives have with Obama. This is the most significant in a long list of freedoms Americans have taken for granted since the Constitution was signed, that have been discarded piecemeal by first the Bush Administration and now Obama.
First he said he would veto it. Then he said well, maybe. Then he said he has “serious reservations” about signing it. No shit. Serious reservations about signing away the basic freedom of Americans is appropriate.
If he has “serious reservatio­ns” he shouldn’t sign it.
He says he won’t use it. What kind of lawmaking is that? From a Constituti­onal Law professor!
Maybe he won’t. But Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney might. Some president might start rounding up Democrats, or Republican­s, or Hispanics, or (OMG) blondes, perfectly legal, and putting them in camps.
America is over.
So, yeah. Progressives are having some problems with Obama. Many will have “serious reservations” about voting again fora man who has created a dictatorship.

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By Jack Phast, January 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

The let down from Obama’s great expectations of 2008 to the realities of what he has(n’t) achieved go beyond just American voters - they have affected all of us that want to believe that our system of Democracy can be something more than it is. We were all waiting for something better, and we thought it was Obama - and he turned out to be just the same as the rest of them:

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By Outraged, January 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Re: Anarcissie

Your comment:“I realize you’re just doing your job”

Good try my friend, but it’s not my job. What’s YOUR job, Anarcissie…? Since your comments often hinge upon you dissing Obama, facts be damned.

And NO, what I consider is not “obfuscatory verbal rigmarole” although I can’t say the same for you.

For instance, your incessant “your vote doesn’t count” mantra tied to your “but don’t vote Obama” stance is quite the gem.

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By Anarcissie, January 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

Outraged—I realize you’re just doing your job, but things like the NDAA just can’t be weaseled.  It was Obama’s job to veto it, because it’s unconstitutional.  He didn’t.  No amount of obfuscatory verbal rigmarole is going to change that fact.

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By Outraged, January 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Re: Anarcissie

Your comment:“Please.  Obama’s failure to veto the NDAA was inexcusable.  It’s not a matter of refusing to move the country forward, it’s a matter of not moving it in the direction of fascism.”

Really… It was filibuster proof, either way. But he did threaten to veto, so Congress made the supposed “fix”, even then he STILL had to issue the signing statement. Why no outrage at Congress? A balanced assessment with many in depth links which get at the heart of the matter and the legalese involved:

“During the last month, there has been a lot said, written, and assumed about the National Defense Authorization Act that is either untrue or overstated.  There are several reasons for this.  One is that it’s a law, and laws can be complex and ambiguous.  Another is that President Obama signed it, which means it triggers the automatic Obama Bad-Obama Good discussion.  The discussion about it to me largely misses the point, focusing too much on questions of citizenship, for example, and too much on scoring points for and against Obama. This blog presents my critique of the NDAA, which differs substantially from others you have likely read.”

This author comes to the determination that it’ll have to go to the courts, which by the way had ALREADY allowed indefinite detention through the use of the AUMF (as this author shows clearly), which again is basically what the NDAA is. (I can provide that link also if you’re interested)

...“Remember how candidates Obama and McCain both campaigned on closing Guantanamo, and then just-inaugurated President Obama issued an executive order in his first twenty-four hours that it be closed within a year?  Shortly after that, Congress found its inner NIMBY, and started tying the new President’s hands, handing him very emphatically his first legislative setback, voting 90-6 to defund the closing of Guantanamo by Obama’s January 22, 2010 deadline, and to bar inmate transfers to U.S. soil. Section 1021 of the Act mandates that the time during which the Executive may hold prisoners without trial in the War on Terror is limited to the period of continuing military hostilities authorized by the 2001 AUMF.  In other words, this and later Administrations never have to try prisoners, so long as they are always at war.”

This is the best assessment I’ve found yet (on the net at least) and has a more in-depth analysis of the reality not just of the NDAA, but the AUMF, the court cases involved and the Constitution’s Suspension Clause of the Writ as well.

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By objective observer, January 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


you are very good at calling names, but, as usual, not able to coherently debate an issue.  of course, all “suck” who disagree with your narrow opinion…

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By Jack Burden, January 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s painfully obvious that this writer is a member of
the Washington Post family.

What extravagant tripe. Truthdig why is this here?

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By ardee, January 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

objective observer

I doubt that there was ever a poster less aptly named than you. You are far from objective and as to your observations…well the word “suck” comes to mind.

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By objective observer, January 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the left wing got what it wanted during the last election, a black man, a “liberal”, most importantly, “anyone but bush…”.  now the rats are in a bag and chewing each other’s legs off.  most entertaining.  the best part of the show is yet to come - if the republicans take the senate, keep the house or both.  especially both.  then we’ll see what President Obama will do, given the very good prospect that he is re-elected. 

who are the “progressives” gonna vote for?  a “third party” and throw the vote away, guaranteeing a republican victory?  and if the congress in republican hands, well…

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By Anarcissie, January 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Please.  Obama’s failure to veto the NDAA was inexcusable.  It’s not a matter of refusing to move the country forward, it’s a matter of not moving it in the direction of fascism.

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By who'syourdebs, January 3, 2012 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

I like E.J.‘s work very much and think he is one of the best of Truthdig’s contributors, but this article adds absolutely nothing new to the discussion. Certainly everyone who regularly reads Truthdig has long been aware of the points that he makes in it. And so, it appears to be so much filler. If the heavy guns like E.J. have so little new to say at this point in the election cycle, perhaps the editors should consider finding some new talent and fresh material.

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By felicity, January 3, 2012 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

I, for one, don’t know what Obama knows.  I suspect
that this country has far greater problems - nationally
and internationally - than we’re being told.  Obama
knows it - and didn’t know it when he was running for

It’s amazing to me that so many posters on this
particular blog seem to also know, or, your comments
merely reveal that you suffer from a huge case of

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By gocatgo50, January 3, 2012 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Barack Obama sees the presidency as a career move, nothing else.  However, when this casino of an economy falls down around his big ears then he is going to discover that the rich boys will have no use for him anymore.  Just play your fiddle Barack and give a speech or two…for the good times.

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By surfnow, January 3, 2012 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

That’s the worst aspect of Obama’s betrayal. We finally got a good turnout from the demographic who never votes- 18 to 25 year olds- and he let them down- big time. And I’m tired of hearing about all of the excuses about how Congress wouldn’t work with him. In 2000 voting for Nader may have been one of the most costly mistakes we made- but voting independent in ‘12- well, we have nothing to lose. The way I see it- if a Repubican takes it because so many Dems go independent, what’ll be the difference?

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By Outraged, January 3, 2012 at 3:37 am Link to this comment


There was a jobs bill but the Republicans refused to put a small tax on income of those making over a million dollars. Not the first million just income over that.

“For the second time in 10 days, the Senate on Thursday rejected Democratic efforts to take up a jobs bill championed by President Obama.

Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster.

This time, the bill was narrowed to provide $35 billion to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters. To offset the cost, the bill would impose a surtax of 0.5 percent, starting in 2013, on income in excess of $1 million…

....Republicans objected to the tax and said the bill would be no more successful than the economic stimulus law Mr. Obama signed in February 2009.

The vote late Thursday generally followed party lines. Two Democrats — Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, joined Republicans in voting against immediate consideration of the bill for public employees.”

Obama signed a statement ending torture immediately upon entering office. And he also signed an order to close Guantanamo, but CONGRESS stopped it by defunding it. Within the NDAA, Congress again attempted to put even FURTHER restrictions upon closing or bringing the Guantanamo detainees to trial. Which was one of the reasons Obama threatened a veto, they then changed it, but only very little. Even so, Obama and his admin. believe they have enough wiggle room to maneuver. But the cultist Republicans refuse to move America forward.

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By Copeland, January 3, 2012 at 2:36 am Link to this comment

E. J. Dionne Jr lives in an alternate universe wrapped inside a cocoon of delusion.
Reading him is like swallowing a mouthful of treacle followed by a dollop of lard.

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By Outraged, January 3, 2012 at 12:34 am Link to this comment

Quote: “In traveling around Iowa and New Hampshire over the last few weeks, I have been struck by the number of Democrats and independents who still more or less want Obama to win and deeply fear the consequences of a government dominated by Republicans.”

Anyone with an ounce of sense would be. After the debt ceiling fiasco and the ridiculousness the Republicans have engaged in since in office it is apparent that they don’t care one whit about America. They are a cult…. and there are few cults crazier than the Republican one.

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By Anarcissie, January 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

On the contrary, I think Mr. O been quite effective.  A man who appoints a seasoned thug like Larry Summers to a post of high importance is not ‘ineffectual’.  A man who laughs off a suggestion the Drug War, a crime against humanity, be terminated, is not ‘ineffectual’.  A man who coolly slaughters the innocent for marginal political gain is not ‘ineffectual’.  He might be something else, but ineffectual he’s not.

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By NABNYC, January 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Barack Obama will probably win reelection, and he’ll spend the next 4 years doing nothing to help the people.  The truth is that he is a good looking, charming, somewhat popular person with a nice personality.  But as a president he’s been weak, ineffective, embarrassing, unprepared, unwilling to stand up to special interests or even to consult with experts who might have given him some advice about how to help the people.  He’s a conformist all the way, hiring militaristic people to run the military and the wars, hiring wall street people to “take care” of the economy.  Didn’t he realize these are the people who screwed it up in the first place?

I think he’s simply unwilling to take the risk that he might not look cool at all times.  You get some slick talker like the wall street boys, and obama time and again backed down from any ideas or proposals to help the citizens.  End the wars?  No, he put the generals in charge. 

When Obama said he admired Reagan, obviously this is what he meant:  Reagan was a moron who knew nothing but delegated responsibility for everything to other people and ended up being very popular with some of the citizens.  Not me because, like I said, I think Reagan was a moron and destroyed our economy.  But I never drank the kool-aid.

Now we’ve got Obama doing the same thing.  He smiles, he waves, he asks for more money.  What did he not do?  Didn’t create a jobs program or even push one until recently.  Didn’t demand that the tax cuts for the rich be ended.  Didn’t push a real national healthcare plan, instead just adopting what the lobbyists handed him.  Did not take any reasonable stand against torture, giving everybody involved essentially indemnity.  Did not close Guantanamo, did not end any of the wars (we’re out of Iraq because they threw us out) and started new ones.  Refused to prosecute Wall Street. 

He’s weak, he’s timid, he’s cowed or he’s one of them.  But he’s not a leader. He’s done nothing to help the people and, when he’s reelected, he’ll spend the next 4 years setting up the billion dollar slush fund he expects to collect from grateful wall street, corporate, and foreign interests, just like Bill Clinton did.  He’s an enormous disappointment.

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By A Bird in the Hand, January 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Outraged: Just to be clear..You Are an idiot and your posts bear this out without help from anyone..No compliment intended.

Your replies are longer than some of the articles yet they say nothing..You are bought and paid for..

The future of our Constitutional Goverment hangs in the balance during these important times and you are just so much litter along the road back to Freedom..

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By mrfreeze, January 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

I cannot disagree with the sentiments expressed on this thread regarding President Obama’s caving-in to just about every special interest, republican tactic, the wealthy bankers & lobbyists,  etc… It’s been incredibly painful and difficult to witness. I will (in my own defense) say that I was not one of those people who felt as if there would be “big change” coming because of his election. In general, I’ve thought for a long time that “the empire” such as it is resembles a “chamber-of-commerce” rather than a government. Where can one actually find a politician these days that actually serves “the public” (meaning real people and not the artificial kind)?

The truly uber-scary thing is that those (on the other side) who hope to be king after the next election are a hideous bunch of pseudo-intellectuals, scoundrels, liars, scumbags, white, rich, never-worked-an-honest-day-in-their-lives fuckers who would cut our collective throats if given the opportunity…and those are the nice ones…Romney’s worse. Just hope he doesn’t become president as he will certainly “put-together” a plan that will put us all out of work…he has a history of eliminating regular folk in the pursuit of “the American Dream.”

But then, much of the frustration about our politics that I encounter here amongst “progressives” or liberals arises from the mistaken (but sincere) notion that there is, “an American dream,” or that there’s something to “fix.” I’m afraid, there is no “fix” coming. There is little to nothing that our governmental system can do to save us from ourselves. We will inevitably “eat our own young” at the alter of “Saint Capitalism.” The bankers, financiers, attorneys, hedge-fund managers and the several thousand other 1%ers are happy and that’s all that really matters, now isn’t it?

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By Outraged, January 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Re: Tesla and A Bird In The Hand

A smear from two who apparently find it impossible to refute the facts yet… believe in the New World Order, I’ll take as a compliment.

Re: felicity

Thanks. I appreciate the gesture.

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By ksoskin, January 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Dionne:  “Yet the threat that should most concern Obama may not be any of the
particulars that usually decide elections but rather the inevitable clash between
the extravagant hopes of 2008 and the messy reality of 2012..”

Really?  That’s the way you’re going to portray the difference between what
Obama promised and what he delivered?  As “messy?”  And you actually have
the audacity to blame the discrepancy between the candidate we voted for and
the corrupt, craven empty suit in the White House on the public having had
“extravagant” hopes that were just too difficult to any mortal to meet?

That’s how your going to explain the systematic process that Obama has led to
strip us of our civil rights, destroy the rule of law, ensure we are engulfed in
perpetual war, cement executive privilege, eliminate our social safety net and
move over half the country below the poverty line while increasing the wealth of
the 1% to obscene levels?  As the messy difference between the extravagant
hopes of his giddy supporters and what this well intended yet no more than
human man can accomplish?  Wow.

Come on!  Tell the truth! Chris Hedges is.  You could too!  Obama has been a
remarkably productive president and has vastly exceeded the expectations of
his real supporters, however extravagant they might have been.  The elite who
run this country simply couldn’t be happier with their president.  Which is why,
come November 3rd, they will have made sure their man stays right where they
want him, delivering as expected.

Why on earth is this column being reprinted on this site? Surely Truthdig can do
better than this.

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By felicity, January 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

You’re not alone, Outraged.  Obama’s second term, if he
gets one, may prove most of the comments here correct
or it may not. I’m willing to wait to pass judgement -
especially since all but one of his possible opponents
in November is ready to bomb Iran’s nuclear lab sites
if she doesn’t allow them to be inspected by outside

Are we really willing (or economically able) to wage a
third war in the first decade of this century?

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By A Bird in the Hand, January 2, 2012 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

‘dionne: most americans believe that obama inherited rather than caused the economic turmoil.’

Actually most Americans believe in the three years Obama has been in office he has done absolutely NOTHING to remedy the Economy…Or help America in any meaningful way at all..He HAS given the Banksters a free reign and it a big fan of expanding the empire through his policy of more endless war..

He also by his actions is very intent on destroying what is left of the US constitution. What else do you need to see? How much worse are we going to let it get:

President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law

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By balkas, January 2, 2012 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

dionne: most americans believe that obama inherited rather than caused the economic turmoil.
i suggest that THE FIRST CAUSE for economic turmoil is the system and obama may be or may not be THE
“most americans blame washington’s dysfunction on GOP”. dionne here is giving us a partial truth. for one
thing, most americans appear bedumbed and deluded to the point that one can easily dismiss as invalid
almost anything they believe.
haven’t they also believed obama in ‘08? i did not! i actually had been shocked by what he said. and i listened
to what he said in ‘08 just twice.
i could not stand listening to him any longer.
the [seeming] dysfunction of washington i suggest is also systemic. THE FIRST CAUSE for it [or whatever really
happened] appear be THE SYSTEM. it is thus systemic or just manufactured by democratic msm, in the first
in addition, we cannot decypher the meaning of an vacuity like “dysfunction”. so, i haven’t got the slightest
clue what he’s talking about in regards to said “confusion”.
true, a columnist is allowed only so much space; so, he cannot explain or define every term, but the point is
that they are doing way too much of this and they do that, i think, deliberately. tnx

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By A Bird in the Hand, January 2, 2012 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

Nice Post Tesla!!! Call ‘Outraged’ (sic) and their ilk for what they are..Paid by someone..

This used to be a resource that was formed to be against TYRANNY wherever it existed..NOT SO…Just pretenders pushing their Obama agendas..What part of F*k Obama don’t you guys get.. He is the SAME as Bush and the NWO..

Watch Paul’s final message before voting begins:

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By gerard, January 2, 2012 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

And the root of the problem is .... the conscience of a political system weakened by an exploitative economic system.

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By Tesla, January 2, 2012 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Outraged comments using the same lame platitudes,
excuses and fear-mongering of “oh how much worse” the
republicans would be.

It doesn’t matter how many chances Obama blew to
actually defend his stated position, he caved.

Without the gumption to gamble and perhaps go down
fighting while standing on principle (repeatedly), we
have determined Obama to be completely unfettered by
any high-minded principles.

And what does this mean? “Maybe you forget what a
REPUBLICAN is really like…. so soon? Do you remember
Cheney….Wolfowitz….etc. You are way off.”

Obama has gleefully accepted the progress made under
the previous administration and used it as the
foundation for the continued building and
strengthening of anti-citizen laws and interpretation
of existing laws.

You have no valid arguments for defending the Liar-
in-Chief, only tired old bromides that have no

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By Anarcissie, January 2, 2012 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

I guess ‘extravagant’ is the party line.  Shameless.  Why is this stuff being reprinted here?

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By prisnersdilema, January 2, 2012 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

At this point I am still wondering who, and or what Obama is..and who he works
for.  He has easily betrayed almost every one of his own so called beliefs.. That he
is a liar on a grand scale is unquestioned by millions of people who voted for him.

I suppose its easy to lie when you know that there is nothing behind the lies, that
nothing will be done about them….So what do you call hope peddled with lies?

You cannot make bread out of hope….No matter how deep runs the delusion.

I suppose that, Mao gave his soldiers, hope at the Yalu river, when they crawled
hand over hand across chains, to establish a beach head, into Nationalist machine
gun fire, because they knew that if they didn’t succeed that the Red Army would
be trapped, and slaughtered…

WIthout sacrifice freedom can no longer endure….Yet I see that the Demo-
Republican party, is easily willing to give away the future of this country, to those
that own them. Heedless, that without trust, without faith in our economic system,
they will not be able to coerce anyone into voluntary participation.

Well America, and American’s are trapped now…Trapped by the Demo-Republican
party, that is drawing in it’s last breath. While each and every American, in their
heart of hearts wonders to themselves, if they have a future.

Corporate homilies, and political lies, cannot bring us through this and neither can
taking the easy way out….

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By ardee, January 2, 2012 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

A typical paeon to incompetence and pandering from the usual source of such. The desperation of Dionne’s nonsense here is blatantly obvious.

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By Fibonacci65, January 2, 2012 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Everyone I know who voted for Obama will not vote for him again—they will vote for Romney (if he gets the nomination) or Green or a write in or they will simply not vote.  Good job Barry! 

And really, Mr. Dionne, “extravagant” is not a synonym for “pandering.”

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flaco's avatar

By flaco, January 2, 2012 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

What are the “standards of normal politics” in this country? Make believe elections, and candidates who are bought by Wall Street and will screw the workers every single time

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By Jimnp72, January 2, 2012 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

why is it ‘extravagant’ to have a president do as he said he would?


he has cowered and conceded repeatedly to the loathsome repugs.
he has approved indefinite detention and may very well approve the hideous tar sands pipeline.

he has NOT been an advocate of sustainable energy

he has not prosecuted the war criminals of the previous administration-but has primarily co0ntinued their policies.

he has not gone after the criminals who caused financial collapse

he is going along with the militarization of the police-so that they can use a battering ram on a citizen’s door at 3am in the morning and then kill his dogs-at least the Gestapo knocked at 3am.

why would I vote for this asshole again?

there is no one to vote for for president.

Ron Paul is a looney toon as are the rest of the candidates.

Id vote for Russ Feingold if he were running

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, January 2, 2012 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Yes, it was certainly ‘extravagant’ to hope that the
guy who plastered the word CHANGE all over everything
he did might actually be a CHANGE from Dubya.  Silly

I love the way the powers of the Presidency radically
change in Dem propaganda.  Remember the days when
Dubya was establishing a world empire run by the
imperial presidency and when Dick Cheney literally
ran the world from the always all-powerful office of
the vice-president? 

Yet, now we hear how poor ol’ Obama is just so
powerless to do anything in the incredibly weak
office of the President.  But, just in case you think
that means that you can fail to vote for Obama in the
next election, remember that if Romney or Gingrinch
gets their hands on the all-powerful office of the
President then we’ll all be doomed and the world will

Isn’t easier just to believe the public record that
Obama took hundreds of millions from Wall Street and
other Bush supporters in the last election and he’s
doing exactly what he told them he’d do to get the

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By balkas, January 2, 2012 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

obama had been the best ever Great Black Father and bush [or maybe
clinton] the best ever Great White Father; alas, only for the
but obama could become, if he gets elected in ‘12-16, even a Greater
Black Father,
i do not expect that in ‘12 onepercenters would reject own Great Black
obama spoke and performed brilliantly. since americans [among others]
love or appear in awe of verbal brilliance, promises, etc., we’d get just
that from the GBF. tnx

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By ray d, January 2, 2012 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

Oh geez! By the title of this story I was expecting a serious reflection. Talk about “extravagant” hopes! I feel like I just read the equivalent of a Twinkie. Then again, who is publishing the author?—The Washington Post, bleh.

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By bpawk, January 2, 2012 at 5:36 am Link to this comment

In 2008, people were fooled by Obama’s folksy inspirational message of hope and took a leap of faith that he would be different from other corrupt politicians - boy were the people wrong! Obama continued Bush’s corporate bailouts, tax breaks for the wealthy, endless foreign wars, eroding civil rights etc.  If you vote for him again, expect more of the same - you should go by his track record, not his rhetoric and now you have a track record so if you vote for him and he wins and continues his path, you only have yourselves to blame.

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By siladas, January 2, 2012 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

‘Yes, my ‘extravagant hopes’ were that Mr. O would end the U.S. policy of killing foreigners and reverse the march toward a police state.  Extravagant indeed.’ - Anarcissie


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By UreKismet, January 2, 2012 at 1:15 am Link to this comment

It is the post by the dem hack/fan-boi/sock puppet which neatly illustrates why only a charlatan or fool would vote for Oblamblam this year.
The only argument the propagandist can offer is that oblamblam isn’t a republican.
There is no other issue that a humanist could hang his/her justification on, because since he has been elected oblamblam has walked, talked, and baulked just like a conservative.
Hell he even stole his overrated ‘health’ plan from a republican governor also desperate to assauge insurance company campaign contributors.  Hence no single payer, millions left out of coverage, just masses of the sort of bureaucracy and myriad loophole ridden regulations of the type the insurers have been driving their limos and Learjets thru for the last 50 years.

The oblammer has solved the assassination, torture and indefinite detention without trial thing by legalising all those pesky issues.

More innocents died in Afghanistan directly because of oblamblam’s outrageously stupid and negligent ‘AfPak’ policy.  A policy that was just a blatant sop to the arms makers, generals and the rest of the war criminals.
When Iraq gave this creep his marching orders he kicked and screamed like the sookie boy he is, in his desperation to stay on.  Incredfibly and nauseatingly, at the same time as he tried to sell amerika’s defeat as a victory to the amerikan exceptionalist voters who cannot man up to reality.

He has bailed out banks and shat on citizens, just like the bankers do.

All in all a man who is rethug in everything but name.
This is why honest citizens who care about other humans cannot vote for the creep in the whitehouse.
At least the rethug scum running for nomination are honest enough to admit they are conservative low-lifes, lick-spittles of the 1%; Oblamblam is such a hypocrite he won’t even own his true allegiances to money and power and whatever it takes to grab them.

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By Outraged, January 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

Re: Robespierre115

Your comment: “Obama has always been what he is: A cynical, corrupt politician. Dionne’s a sock puppet so he won’t admit that Obama’s foreign policy is just as bloody as any Republican’s”

Maybe you forget what a REPUBLICAN is really like…. so soon? Do you remember Cheney….Wolfowitz….etc. You are way off.

Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again.  The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA.  In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.”

I don’t believe ANYONE should be detained indefinitely ever…. at all. I’d rather take the chance of getting blown up I guess (although I don’t believe others might feel this way). For me it is one of playing the odds so to speak. But I would encourage you to read Obama’s full signing statement and make a more credible opinion. A portion:
“Against that record of success, some in Congress continue to insist upon restricting the options available to our counterterrorism professionals and interfering with the very operations that have kept us safe. My Administration has consistently opposed such measures. Ultimately, I decided to sign this bill not only because of the critically important services it provides for our forces and their families and the national security programs it authorizes, but also because the Congress revised provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people. Moving forward, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded.”

He (Obama) does go on to explain all the specific provisions that the signing statement adjusts and how it will be interpreted. However, I do believe it will take a Supreme Court case to settle the matter. As it stands now (with the signing statement) I interpret this to mean Obama will bring the Guantanamo detainees to trial (using executive authority), whereby it will be challenged and end up in the Supreme Court. That’s the way I read this….. am I wrong?

Additionally, CONGRESS almost unanimously approved of the bill in its original state, Obama threatened a veto, they then “fixed” it, and now STILL Obama had to issue a signing statement with it….. so how come no one’s pissed at Congress.  It is…. for all intents and purposes, exactly the AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force 2001) which btw, was put in place by the Bush Administration. One of the “fixes” of the NDAA reads:

“First, under section 1021(d), the bill does not “limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

Use the FACTS, and not overblown rhetoric regarding this legislation. Obama was one of of the few people in the scenario that protected Americans (and others), it certainly wasn’t Congress, writ large.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, January 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Lincoln won, and governed, with 39.8% of the popular vote.

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By Blueokie, January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

A hardy well said to all the previous commenters.

As for Dionne’s Democratic propaganda piece…...yawn…..stretch…..zzzzzzzzzzzz.

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By oddsox, January 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

“...a president who won election with only 52.9 percent of the vote does not have a lot of margin.”

More margin than you might think—in November (finally—THIS November!) Obama could win with 49% popular vote or even less.

The campaign will be nasty, but passions of support will run cool for the probable Dem/Repub candidates Obama and Romney.
That will create a vacuum filled by various outlying party candidates and rogue write-ins: Paul, Stein, Anderson, Kucinich, perhaps others.

Result: The Electoral Vote count could be decisive, but the 2012 winner won’t get a 50%+ popular vote mandate.

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By rumblingspire, January 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I will write in Porky The Pig before I ever vote for Obama again.  He betrayed.  He murdered.  Hopelessness and Change you will believe in.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, January 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

Yes, my ‘extravagant hopes’ were that Mr. O would end the U.S. policy of killing foreigners and reverse the march toward a police state.  Extravagant indeed.

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By kerryrose, January 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

What of Obama’s cynical murder of US citizens and the killing of civilians including drones?

It seems grossly facile to speak about his attitude to Republicans in the face of murder.  I think we attribute more difference in his policies than than actually exist between him and the Republicans and this works, cynically again, in his favor.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, January 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Obama has always been what he is: A cynical, corrupt politician. Dionne’s a sock puppet so he won’t admit that Obama’s foreign policy is just as bloody as any Republican’s, just ask Hondurans, Pakistanis, Afghans and Palestinians. People are still just sheep who march to corporate propaganda. This is a country where riots break out over shoes.

If anything should haunt Obama it should be this (which Dionne of course leaves out):

“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.  The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

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