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.