Sunday, June 20, 2010

Obama's Change Only Skin Deep

"Obama's liberal critics find their voice

We on the left have been in numb denial about President Obama's failures. But as the crises pile up we can't remain silent

by Clancy Sigal
19 June 2010

.... George W Bush gave the (false) impression, fostered by his flacks, of actually liking ordinary people. Obama prefers photo ops to human contact, such as the ridiculous posed pictures of him earnestly examining "tar balls" washed ashore in LaFourche Parish and promising Gulf residents, "I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. You will not be abandoned, and you will not be left behind" – only to promptly leave for a Chicago vacation.

He's not only tone deaf but also growing hostile to public criticism. Indeed, Obama goes after whistleblowers with more punishing venom than ever did George W Bush who whined about leaks but did not indict. In Obama's 17 months in office he has outdone all his Oval Office predecessors in going after anyone in government who dares spill the beans to the media. For example, instead of ordering court-martials for the army helicopter gunmen who murdered unarmed Baghdad civilians – a video shown worldwide by Wikileaks – the young GI leaker, 22-year old Bradley Manning, has been arrested, and the Pentagon cops are frantically trying to smoke out, and shut down, Wikileak's Pimpernel-like founder, Julian Assange. I did not think it possible, but our President Obama has an even thinner skin than Bush.

With each passing day, as crises pile up, from out-of-control unemployment to the Gulf to Gaza to the failed Afghanistan adventure, the underlying liberal authoritarianism of the Obama White House becomes clearer. We, Obama's "liberal base", of which I'm a charter member, were in numb denial that our former community organiser, who elicited such an outpouring of love from his vast network of volunteers, is actually just another Illinois pol – but with a better vocabulary.

But the dogs of dissent are waking up and starting to howl.