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PFnV....you have to admit, there are probably millions like myself who voted for Obama and are now wondering (or have decided) if they regret their vote. I'm positive there are, otherwise poll numbers would not have declined so much.
I'm not criticizing you or anyone else, but all of us should be more honest and stop "backing our guy" to the bitter end just because he's "our guy". That's just group-think.
I've stated before that the vast majority of those who voted for Obama didn't vote for mass change in American society. We voted for transparency, honesty and the non-partisanship Obama promised. THAT was the "Change" Obama promised Americans. He never said he'd try to move the country to the left and most Americans don't want that either.
PR, I think you and I see similar phenomena from different points of view. I think of myself as a moderate, but certainly left of the Bush "center."
I look at a lot of public policy debates as being debates constrained on a far-right to center spectrum.
Let's think about what we're looking at:
- Health care. A "left" attitude in the U.S. (but not in other industrialized nations,) is a single-payer system, i.e., government insurance. A failed rightist approach is that we all buy insurance out of pocket and that the industry isn't significantly regulated. It doesn't work. A centrist approach is to provide a public option but continue a primarily private health insurance system with some safeguards and interventions to bend cost curves.
So yes, change seems to me a no-brainer; on the right it is characterized as nazi, communist, socialist, demonic, or witchcraft. I don't know where you stand on it but you likely have a higher opinion of the current rhetoric that this moderate approach is "moving the country to the left." The problem is that we can't stay on the hard right on health care -- the furthest right in the industrial world -- because it does not work.
- Bailouts. These were begun in the Bush presidency, which took the unavoidable actions necessitated by the unveiling of the myth of always-right markets. So Bush funneled $700+ billion to the financial sector to get lending going again... enough to barely budge the suddenly frozen credit markets. The Dems took over, and had no problem with the government stepping in to the restructuring of hard-hit industry, because huge numbers of jobs were on the line. So have we moved to the left? It looks to me like we've taken two extraordinary steps in response to extraordinary times.
- The "bi-partisanship" issue. Obama's bent over backwards to encourage bipartisan involvement, but you have to admit, the GOP is insisting that there are two answers, "yes" and "no." The "gang of six" on health care is not something you would see were the shoe on the other foot -- the minority having equal representation as the majority. In addition, the "gang of six" republicans essentially continue the party mantra: if it comes from Obama it won't fly. Now Obama has opened the door to dumping the public option, again, all in the name of bipartisanship. And again we see his viewpoint: if we can solve some of the problem, that's better than none of the problem. If we can bring in all parties and solve some of the problem, that might be better than an optimal solution rammed through.
Now, those examples treat the reality, but I will agree with you that people vote for candidates for different reasons. I think transparency and honesty in government have increased, but you will likely just think me biased.
The trouble is that you may have voted for Obama for that reason, and a lot of other people may have voted for him because he shows promise as a pragmatist/problem solver, or because he was to the left of McCain, or because he wanted out of Iraq. So you are correct that people who vote for him for one reason, may "defect" (i.e. become disillusioned) for one of the other reasons. That's always the case for the winner of an election.
What can I say? I respect your perspective, as I respect Wistah's.
I worry about a lot: I worry about the reinvigoration of an industrial base, about the future economy being greener and less greenhouse-gas intensive, about the deficit, about foreign wars, about the resurrection of the lost art of diplomacy, all sorts of things. All in all I look at the course we're on and I get a smile but not a ****-eating grin. At least we're trying now, and it looks to me like we're pursuing courses for the benefit of the whole country, not one little sector. But I'm always worried at the tradeoffs.
I like what you comment here, and I like what Wistah commented... they're legit points of view. There are dangers to the left and dangers to the right.
But as anybody who's ever played a videogame can tell you, when things change all around you, well, you know what happens when you just stand still.