Blinded By Obama’s Charm

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


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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.