Splitting Hairs

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Obama’s Crime: Nonconfrontation


I’ve been waiting seven years to write this blog post. The reason I hadn’t yet done so is because I didn’t want to sound like one of those right-wing nut-jobs who have been hounding Obama ever since he took office.

But two recent publications have given me “license” to write. The first is an article by Michael Pollan that I read last week; the second, a speech by Robert Reich that I heard last night. The reason these give me license is that those two guys are well-known and solidly-left, and they already made my point (albeit more diplomatically than I do in this post).

I listened to Reich’s speech on NPR. Reich gave his speech, entitled “The Oddest Presidential Election in Living Memory“, to the Commonwealth Club in late September.

The essence of the speech is that we are living in an era defined by “anti-establishment vs. establishment”. Those are Reich’s words.

The words I have used since 2003 are “People vs. Corporations”. Occupy Wall Street used the words “the 99% versus the 1%”.

That we can’t even agree on the terminology for the combatants is telling. But that we are all speaking about the same emerging battle is even more telling.

The point for this blog post is that Reich gave his speech in late 2016, not in 2008. In other words, whatever national ailments he was describing, obviously Obama didn’t fix them in his two terms.

Interestingly, Reich noted that this “anti-establishment” sentiment has been tapped into by both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. So this idea isn’t solely a “left thing”.

Now, in his speech, Reich didn’t call out Obama specifically as I am doing here. But as I note above, the implications of the speech regarding Obama are unambiguous.

For a clearer indictment of Obama read Michael Pollan’s article in the October 9, 2016 issue of the New York Times Magazine. The article is entitled: “BIG FOOD Strikes Back“.

Pollan tells the story about how the Obama administration “went to war” with the Big Food industry in 2009-2010. But then, after facing stiff opposition, Obama fled the battlefield and was AWOL for the rest of his two terms. Today, Big Food is stronger than ever.

The very same story can be written about the health insurance industry, the war-making industry, the oil industry, the banking industry, The New Jim Crow, and on, and on, and on.

The frustrating thing about Obama is he was the exact person we needed to lead America against its enemies. But facing these enemies, he wouldn’t confront them, and here we are in 2016 about to fall off of a cliff.

Thanks for the 8 years Obama. You were so bad that history just might remember you as the guy with the last chance to save America, and you fumbled the ball.

Hard to believe, having written that, that I will miss the guy come January … given who will be replacing him.

Even harder to believe that the stirring inauguration of 2009 ends sadly with the Urban Dictionary definition of “nonconfrontation“:

A moment when someone is acting inappropriately, and the best possible resolution would be action, but the offended party instead chooses to do nothing.

3 comments on “Obama’s Crime: Nonconfrontation

  1. Kathy Graham
    October 19, 2016

    Well, this may be all true, but not seeing all of the good he did is not giving a balanced approach. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and for good reason. He inherited a financial mess, and he didn’t create more war in his 8 years. He also started a healthcare program that took care of those who couldn’t take care of themselves. Sure the Affordable Care Act needs a lot of tweaking, but it’s a start.

    I don’t see Obama in the negative light you do. I see Obama trying to be the mediator and diplomat to all vested interests. How can anyone accomplish anything in a country like America? Where so many issues and ideologies are such polar opposites; where capitalism is perfected and worshipped; where violence and fear and the right to bare arms is embroiled in a toxic soup; and where discrimination is still rampant? The international community is not in love with America, and I think that the only reason that there isn’t sheer disgust for the country from around the world, is because Obama has been in power for the last 8 years. He is far from perfect, but he is better than most would have been.

    Bernie was the best shot for a better and sustainable solution.


    • peter
      October 19, 2016

      Thanks Kathy. True, true about Obama. What a nice guy. It’s just that he inherited a country falling off a cliff that he tried to fix in 2009-10, but then seemed to give up after 2011 for the rest of his presidency.

      The Obama-on-marijuana story is even more interesting: pro-ganga in 2009-2010, then flipping to virulently anti-weed starting 2011, until 2014-15 when Congress voted to stop Obama from going after medical pot dispensaries.

      What I think is most amazing is that Obama entered the White House pro-pot in 2009, stayed pro-pot throughout the 2 terms, and will leave the White House next January even more pro-pot. But that’s his person feelings that I’m guessing.

      Yet his DEA and Justice Department acted like Jekyll then Hyde then Jekyll again to the pot industry over his 8 years.

      This says something about American politics and about Obama’s capacity (or lack thereof) to lead.


  2. Pingback: Wither America? Welp | Splitting Hairs

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This entry was posted on October 15, 2016 by in people vs. corporations, politics.



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