Blinded By Obama's Charm

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Ben Cohen
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I've maintained for a long time that the Left must not become obsessed with the image of Obama, and must constantly hold his feet to the fire when it comes to enacting progressive legislation. Too often, Obama supporters refuse to criticize Obama because, well, he appears to be a nice and reasonable chap.

Glenn Greenwald has a few things to say about that, particularly to Andrew Sullivan and his readers who exemplify the centrist corporate class Obama speaks so well to:

Are the criticisms that have been voiced about Obama valid?Has he
appointed financial officials who have largely served the agenda of the
WallStreet and industry interests that funded his campaign? Has he
embraced many of the Bush/Cheney executive power and secrecy abuses
which Democrats once railed against -- from state secrets to indefinite
detention to renditions and military commissions? Has he actively
sought to protect from accountability and disclosure a whole slew of
Bush crimes? Did he secretly a negotiate a deal with the
pharmaceutical industry after promising repeatedly that all
negotiations over health care would take place out in the open, even on
C-SPAN? Are the criticisms of his escalation of the war in Afghanistan
valid, and are his arguments in its favor redolent of the ones George
Bush made to "surge" in Iraq or Lyndon Johnson made to escalate in
Vietnam?

While it may be that Obama is simply biding his time and playing the political game, we must have proof that Obama is the progressive we all thought him to be. If he shows no sign of it (and given his pandering to Wall St and escalation in Afghanistan, it might well be true), we must come down on him hard. Reagan was a great speaker and looked good on camera, but his policies were a disaster. Liberals shouldn't forgive Obama for doing the same, particularly if he is one of our own.