I received a message from AlexanderClarence asking me what Obama could have done in the last two years to satisfy the crowd that formed his base (both the progressives and the moderates that didn’t often vote for Democrats). I can think of three major things that Obama could have done, but didn’t:
- Obama should have pushed harder for a Public option in his healthcare bill. He’s vilified for “Obamacare” by partisans anyway, so putting a system in place that delivers real and tangible savings, gives coverage to the fifty million Americans without it, and makes the public pay for preventative instead of emergency health care for it’s citizens (emergency care costs more and is less effective, but it’s what people without insurance get). Instead, Obama gave up on a Public Option as early as July 2009.
- Obama should have been much, much harder on Wallstreet. Again, the right-wing media machine is going to call him a job killing capitalist hater no matter the circumstances, so refusing to bail out companies that gave massive bonuses to incompetent executives while outsourcing or downsizing the majority of their labor. He appointed Bill Daley to be his chief of staff, Tim Geithner to be the Secretary of the Treasury, and Mary Shapiro as his investor advocate at the SEC, all very corporatist selections.
- The escalation of the war on terror has been disastrous morally, economically, and to our image abroad and foreign standing. We’re ordering the assassination of US citizens without due process, exploding weddings and church gatherings with CIA drones that rarely manage to accomplish their objectives (and, as it turns out, are rarely targeted based on solid evidence), and searching/seizing the property of people who agree with our political enemies (again without due process). The war costs massive amounts of money, paid to war profiteers who are already immensely wealthy with funds borrowed from other nations that they plan to pay back by cutting services to the poor (‘austerity’ measures they will call it, while spending more than most nation’s GDP on unnecessary wars). Our foreign policy has even our allies thinking we’ll torture political prisoners as a punitive measure, not to mention how it looks to the many members of the UN/NATO who are already somewhat wary of US military force. Obama could easily choose not to escalate the drone strikes, pull back on intimidation, reinstate due process and cut defense costs.
These things each wore at a separate part of the electorate that supported him and culminate in disappointment by the voting public.