President Obama had an incredibly efficient and productive email fund-raising campaign for his 2008 election. As a contributor and supporter of Barak Obama in that election, I am now on the campaign's 2012 email lists. I receive almost daily requests for dollars, requests to host or attend campaign events in my neighborhood. I imagine a sizeable proportion of my readership gets similar emails. I suggest that if you get an email solicitation, you do one of the following:
If you believe President Obama is doing a grand job, hit "Reply" and enter "I am delighted to support your campaign. You are the President I hoped for. You are the pragmatist and conciliator that you promised to be. I know you haven't accomplished all you and I would have liked, but those Republicans are real obstructionists, and I know you are a good person and working hard.
If you believe the man you supported in 2007 has truly let you down, hit "Reply " and type something like, "President Obama I wish I could support you in your campaign for President, but until you have the courage to fulfill the promises you made that encouraged me to support your campaign for your first term, I cannot in good conscience send you any funds, host any events, or work for your campaign. When I see you act like the progressive and courageous President you promised to be, when I see you repeal those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, when I see you go after those Wall Street crooks, when I see you keep your word about off shore oil drilling and you enforce tough environmental standards, then, and only then, will I send in the bucks and personally work to help in your campaign. (If you are in the third category… the list of wants may be a lot longer)
As for me, I will let my readers guess what I type, when I hit, "Reply."
I am writing this because one of my best friends has been haranguing me for many months about what a bad president Barack Obama is, and how sorry he is for working so hard to elect him. I have more or less patiently listened to these rants, BUT I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! And since I know there are many other liberal/progressive Democrats who feel the way he does, this is addressed to all of you.
The theme is always the same: We were so inspired by Obama. He promised us change. We were so excited. But now, time after time, he has let us down. Yes, he has done a few good things, but two and half years after he took office, look how much he has utterly failed to do. Even worse, he is bending over backwards to compromise with those damn Republicans. This is not what I trudged through Wisconsin for him to do. This is not what I opened my pocketbook for him to do. You won't see me ringing any doorbells or donating any money to this guy in 2012.
And why don't you add: It will be so great to see Mitt Romney (or whomever) running the country for the next four years?
I apologize if it sounds condescending, but did you really believe all that campaign rhetoric??? Haven't you been around long enough to be aware of the difference between politicking and governing?
Yes, we were all impressed by the things Obama said in 2008. It would have been nice to elect the first woman president, but Obama clearly matched our values much better than Hillary. So we all supported Barack, and we were so proud to have played a part in electing not only the first black president but someone who thought like us in so many ways.
Then he took office and he started doing some really good things. I have a list that a friend gave me of all those good things, but you know what they are and I'm not going to bother to clutter this piece with the list. I know that you have a list of all the bad things--of all the promises unkept and all the allegedly unnecessary compromises. And it may be as long as my list. Do I wish, in a perfect world, that he had kept all those promises in his first term in office? Yes. Do I wish somehow he had felt comfortable in standing up to the Republicans more and refusing to compromise? Sure. Has he made mistakes? Of course.
But we live in an imperfect world.
Let me make it clear that I applaud you for criticizing President Obama, for reminding him of his promises, for urging him to try his best to stand tall. I have done the same thing in letters to the White House urging the President to take the stands I believe in, and I hope he gets a whole lot of letters from people like us, and maybe it will encourage him to do some of those things. But in those same letters I have expressed my support and confidence in him, and my willingness to work hard to re-elect him.
The thing that most troubles me about the tenor of your public criticism of the President is how it can seriously harm his re-election chances. If people like you announce publicly your bitterness and your determination to sit on your hands in 2012, we will have a President Romney or worse.
I want to clarify that it is every citizen's private right to decide who to vote for and who to work for and support. If you don't feel in your heart that you can do in 2012 what you did in 2008, I can respect that. And if you want to express to the President your profound disappointment in his performance so far, that is certainly your right. What disturbs me is that so many of you are announcing publicly that you will sit it out--thereby encouraging others who may look up to you for advice and guidance to do the same.
So far I have not brought up the race issue, but I think it is central to the situation. The reality is that racism is alive and well in America. Obama is the most liberal president in a very long time, and even if he were white, the Right would be mighty upset with him. But the fact that he is both liberal and black has enabled the Right to attract every bigot in the country, and we saw the results in the congressional elections of 2010.
For this reason, I give Obama a lot of slack. He needs the independents to vote for him next year, and looking at it politically, he needs to act less liberal than he would be inclined to, and he needs to compromise more than he would rather, or he could lose many independents.
I have been involved in Democratic politics for 51 years, and although I was initially an idealist, I soon came to realize that the bottom line in politics is to get yourself re-elected. Obama could have been real liberal and he could have refused to compromise (although even that would have been very difficult because he had to rely on the not very reliable Democrats in Congress), but he would have been a one-term president.
In summary, the idealist in me agrees with you folks, but the realist in me wins out. I am proud to have Barack Obama in the White House. And I look for him to be terrific in his second term.
Now that President Obama has cleverly put down Donald Trump and PERMANENTLY put down Osama Bin Laden, our dilemma becomes even more complicated. We have something to brag about, but I was hoping for an example of Presidential courage standing up to big business, taxing the wealthiest, protecting our environment and fighting for collective bargaining.
I am thrilled that Osama is fish food and the silliness and distraction of The Donald has likewise been deep sixed. The President seems to have acted passionately and wisely, and this makes me think him more courageous. I just keep hoping that I can add to this short list that he has the capability audacity stand up to the looming dangers being proposed by the Gimme Our Plunder party.