In a recent Nation article, Eric Alterman, termed the current president leader of a Kabuki Democracy. The promise of November, 2008 apparently has led many liberal Democrats to conclude that Obama conducted an intricate show and tell campaign which winds up with a disappointing government which declaims to one and all its triumphs against conservatives. Certainly there are Democrats who defend the president’s accomplishments by pushing through a national medical care bill, wresting student loans from the hands of bankers, finally achieving a regulation reform to control the worse excesses of Wall Street. Alterman argues that Obama has been stifled by a Republican minority bent on chaos in the nation, the legacy of George Bush in Iraq, Afghanistan and a wrecked economy. Defenders of the president complain that liberal such as Alterman fail to grasp problems confronting any progressive leader and given the circumstances of a psychologically disturbed Fox News and winking and blinking leaders like Salrah Palin it is amazing that anything was accomplished.
We acknowledge the accomplishments of the president in banking reform, in student loan reform, but doubt if his “health reform” was actually a reform anymore than whether it was the right thing to do in 2009-2010. Pushing through a health reform which compels workers to pay premiums while unemployed offers the semblance, but not the reality, of health care reform. A progressive leader would have understood that JOBS, JOBS, JOBNS, was the most important ingredient in sustaining a liberal mood in the nation. How Barack Obama came to be viewed by large segments of the American population as a stooge of Wall Street and not interested in their needs can not be blamed on Fox News or Glenn Beck.
Theodore Roosevelt understood the president must use the bully pulpit in Washington D.C. to make clear to Americans the thrust of progressive reforms. Barack Obama gets an F in communication skills. He has NOT HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE IN A YEAR! Franklin Roosevelt was opposed by 70% of the media so he constantly held press conferences which allowed him to dominate the news. Obama silence has done more to add forces of reaction than any Fox News broadcast. For example, how many Americans know that under George Bush about 150,000 immigrants were returned to Mexico while under Obama over 400,000 were sent back. His constant silence, his refusal to fight back with the truth has only strengthened forces of reaction. The greatest disappointment is his ominous silence which only serves to help everything he dislikes.