I did not think 2009 would be such an inauspicious moment to be a liberal in California in the United States.
The seeds of the failure of Bush were sewn in 2000 when his presidency began illegitimately, and he was only stayed from execution by a terrorist attack of unprecedented proportions. That transformative moment was when George Bush decided that pushing a far-right agenda was more important than anything else. Remember: Bush could have governed from the center both after his narrow “election” and after 9/11 and probably could have been one of America’s better presidents. He chose not to and barely survived in 2004.
He chose Imperialism abroad and cynical domestic policies, like Medicare Part D and tax cuts for the rich. Simply continuing the mostly center-right policies of the Clinton administration would have assured Bush’s place as one of our better presidents.
His choice sprung the 2006 and 2008 elections results which have cornered the Republican party into an echo chamber of insanity, with most of the people still registered as such feeling nervously defensive and independents who used to rely on Republicans for tax cuts and defense wondering. Hurricane Katrina is seen as a turning point, or Bush’s push on Social Security. But those just fed the fire of people who never got over Bush v. Gore, like me, and who never got over Iraq. The push-back was already coming.
The Bush’s action did engender a reaction of even greater magnitude than his gains in 2002 and 2004. The GOP has been punished by voters. The problem now is clearly some elements of the Democratic party, mostly located in the U.S. Senate.
This isn’t a social observation. Obviously, the reaction to Obama in just the way it has occurred isn’t that much different than the reaction to busing or other problems with race. I’m talking about the politicians themselves.
Obama himself hasn’t been able to deliver yet on his #1 domestic priority. We appear to be leaving Iraq but making no progress in Afghanistan, a war which I have always supported but am now beginning to wonder what the endgame is. If there isn’t a push into Waziristan to capture those who attacked us on 9/11, what is the point? We’ve been there for 8 years….
Obama has apparently at least stopped the bleeding on the economy, but hasn’t managed any kind of regulation on finance to prevent a repeat. He hasn’t liberalized anything for gays. And there will only be token accountability for the criminal acts of the Bush administration with regards to torture, lying to Congress, war crimes, and breaches of national security.
Is this Obama’s fault? No. I believe if Congress wasn’t in his way, he would do all of these things. Specifically, the Senate. Even more specifically, Senate Democrats. (The GOP publicly and openly admits it just wants to obstruct everything he does which would be irrelevant if they had no Dem support.)
I don’t think any amount of organizing, or even another election, will change the way this group is acting. It will take another transformative event like 9/11 to do that. Obviously, I’m not wishing for a terrorist attack. The event I personally wish for is a capture of Bin Laden, but life is utterly unpredictable.
California is even more broken than the U.S. Senate. The Senate needs 3/5ths to move, California needs 2/3rds… or a majority of whoever shows up to an election, but not 50% of the representatives by any stretch.
The state is broke and no solution is in the offing other than just waiting for the economy to go back up and hold our breaths for whatever happens next. The schools are falling apart more than just physically.
I can’t donate, organize, knock on doors, write, or do anything that will bring about the kind of transformative event that will be required to remedy these problems. So, I’m not giving up, but I just don’t think I have much else to say. Therefore, my posting will probably be esoteric and narrow for the conceivable future.