Obama’s Defense of Self

I finally got around to reading Obama’s interview from this month’s Rolling Stone.  Rolling Stone has published a few articles very critical of the administration and its policies so a lot of the questions are based in a skepticism and disappointment in the first two years of the Obama presidency.

But ever the thoughtful and intelligent politician, Obama deftly responds to his critics by pointing out that his administration has gotten a lot done in a very difficult political climate.  Add to that, he says, progressives who complain about him may be right to be disappointed, but they should not for a second think that what has been accomplished will not have a significant impact in the years to come. Count me as one who has been disappointed, but I also am pragmatic enough to realize that compromise on some of the major progressive issues was needed to get shit done. And whatever this administration’s faults, in no way is allowing Republicans to regain control of Congress a better option than giving Obama and the donkeys more time. And progressives should know this and do something about it.

I will let the man himself elaborate:

One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we’ve got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.

The idea that we’ve got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible.

Everybody out there has to be thinking about what’s at stake in this election and if they want to move forward over the next two years or six years or 10 years on key issues like climate change, key issues like how we restore a sense of equity and optimism to middle-class families who have seen their incomes decline by five percent over the last decade. If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight in this election. And right now, we are getting outspent eight to one by these 527s that the Roberts court says can spend with impunity without disclosing where their money’s coming from. In every single one of these congressional districts, you are seeing these independent organizations outspend political parties and the candidates by, as I said, factors of four to one, five to one, eight to one, 10 to one.

We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that’s what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we’ve got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.

If you’re serious, now’s exactly the time that people have to step up.

Indeed! If you live in Texas, deadline to register to vote is Monday, the 4th of October. You can fill out a registration form online, print it out and mail it in tomorrow. It is a postmarked deadline so send it in tomorrow and you should be fine. Then come out and vote in November and do your part to, at the very least, renounce the extreme conservatism taking hold of the GOP and that shows nothing in the way of advancing policies that  benefit working and middle-class Americans.


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