Well, it finally happened. After nearly 3 years of driving behind hundreds of Prius’ with either no bumper sticker, or an “Obama” bumper sticker, I finally encountered an honest and intellectually consistent liberal. This clean, grey Prius prominently displayed on its rear window a sticker that said “Impeach Obama!”.
Whatever your political leanings and opinions on President Obama, just imagine you were one of the tens of millions of Americans who bought his campaign rhetoric and promises, particularly in regards to one of the two most relevant issues in the election, the Bush administration’s policies in regards to the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the broader war on terror. Don’t imagine you are a moderate or a centrist who thought change and fresh thinking was in order so you voted for Obama, but instead imagine you were a liberal who thought President Bush was the biggest disaster of a generation, and your vote for Obama was a vote to reverse this disaster.
Now as one of these people, you are honestly evaluating the impact of President Obama on this issue you care so deeply about. Guantanamo Bay? Still open (2 years after the promise to have it closed within 1 year). Indefinite detention? Still in place. Military tribunals? Accelerating instead of being eliminated. Drone assassinations? Volume doubled. Iraq? Following in every detail the Bush “status of forces” agreement. Afghanistan? An Iraq-style surge. Wiretapping? Proceeding exactly as it did under Bush. The Patriot Act? Unchanged in any substantive way.
Candidate Obama and the Democrats hammered the Bush administration on each of the above issues, and liberals agreed with them in droves and fed the Obama campaign fire on each one of these. Worst of all, Obama’s speeches and accusations on each issue above fed the recruiting efforts of Al Queda and radicals all over the world, and severely damaged America’s image with billions of people– but that’s an editorial for another time.
How do liberals, who voted for Obama based on his stated positions on these extremely important issues, support the President any longer? How can they not be outraged and be ordering that “Impeach Obama” bumper sticker in huge volumes? By what rationale has he not lost every single one of these supporters?
Just as interesting, how do other nations particularly in old Europe not completely turn on the President? After all, the press has informed us that the Bush and now Obama policies described above were destroying America’s reputation in the world and were a corruption of democratic morality. Somehow since it is not Bush doing it, all of the above is fully understandable and pragmatic. Wouldn’t you just love to be out for cocktails in a lounge in Oslo, sharing a few with members of the Nobel Committee? How would they explain or rationalize away awarding the Peace Prize to someone who is continuing in full the Bush policies they so roundly condemned?
There’s something about having to “do” things versus speaking or writing about them that forces a reasonable level of maturity and responsibility on a person, and fortunately President Obama is maturing, albeit too slowly and at too great an expense to the nation. We are not only seeing this maturity on the issues listed above, but he is relenting on tax increases, support of business, selective deregulation, North Korea, Iran, and other major issues.
The only thing left to wonder about is whether or not the President has “internalized” these positions, or whether he is taking them to be politically savvy and position for re-election, or whether he truly has learned and understands better now how the nation and world actually work outside the Harvard lecture halls. I contend that if it’s not internalized it will become a problem for our nation in the future because his true beliefs will impact policy significantly, for better or for worse.
I like to believe that I decide on issues not by which party has developed them or supports them, but by the substance of the issue itself. I believe many Americans do this, and I also believe that they make up the political center of our country, the one I would prefer be running the country. However, there are extreme members on both the right and the left who don’t think this way. I have pointed out in this editorial that many liberals are wildly hypocritical when it comes to the Bush and Obama policies. I’m sure one could point out examples of that on the right-wing too.
(Editor’s Note: It may seem I’m implying that only liberals drive Prius’, but this is not the case. While I would bet a majority of Prius drivers are left-leaning, I as a right-leaning person believe that driving a Prius is a good idea if it fits your lifestyle and budget. On a personal note, when I travel on business I always ask Hertz for the “green collection” and often get a Prius, which I enjoy driving and feel good about).