Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Steven Cohen on Obama's Abandonment of Principle: Fading of Hope

More news updates--in this case, one about politics: Steven Cohen gets it right, in my view, when he notes that the most serious damage President Obama has managed to do to himself through his constant center-right concessions to the far-right base who now run the Republican party is that he has come off looking simply unprincipled.  Cohen is commenting specifically on Obama's decision to gut anti-pollution regulations:

Killing the air rule was pure politics. But it was bad politics. I guess his political consultants hope that President Obama can neutralize his opposition by moving in their direction. The only problem is that instead of looking moderate, the president looks unprincipled. I may have no place better to bring my vote, but I have lost most of my motivation to support the president. While civic responsibility will bring me to the polls, many of the people who voted for President Obama in 2008 are going to sit on their hands and stay away from the voting booth in November 2012. By caving into the unthinking short-term interests of the most reactionary segment of the business community, the President managed to abandon his principles and disappoint his allies in the business and environmental community. I have a difficult time seeing the political benefit in adopting the position of people who will never support you. 

As I've said on this blog from early in Obama's presidential term, the calculating, cynical, principles-lite pragmatism of this president and his team of second-rate advisors is quickly destroying any hope the U.S. had of recovering from the mess that Bush and his team made of it.  This has been one of the most tragic presidencies I can recall in my lifetime, because of the hope it has squandered.  I'm not sure we'll be given another chance now to get out of the mess that the political and religious right have made of the country for some years now.

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