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Obama: Say One Term Is Enough

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Admittedly, I never was a fan of President Obama, either as a candidate or now as president. I always suspected, based on his dependence on corporate money and his lackluster career as a state and US senator that he would, ultimately, prove to be a big disappointment to the millions of Democrats, liberals, progressives and independents that fell for his slick rhetoric. He has always been too much a part of the two-party plutocracy to ever be a true reformer. Here are some of the main reasons that he should cut his ties to corporate and political elites, announce that he will not run for reelection and, instead, become the populist, reformist president the nation desperately needs:

Though he certainly inherited a terrible economy from the Bush administration, he has steadfastly pursued the same policies (and with the same characters) to address terrible things about the national economy as well as the banking, financial and housing sectors that one would expect from someone too concerned about corporate interests rather than the needs of most Americans. All the billions of dollars pumped into business sectors has done next to nothing to stop the awful, continuing unemployment situation that has become yet another nail in the coffin of the middle class. The many greedy people on Wall Street that sunk the national and global economies have not been punished, but still hold on to their huge wealth. Obama has made a mockery of the rule of law with his infantile “I want to look forward, not backward” philosophy. Justice cannot be obtained other than by looking back and prosecuting the lawbreakers.

At a time when there are historic levels of Americans unable to buy enough food and, therefore, increasingly dependent on government food stamps or charity food banks and pantries, and millions more are losing their homes and going homeless, and still more millions unable to access affordable health care, President Obama is still pursuing the obscenely costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To waste American lives and ignore enormous domestic economic needs in pursuit of imperialistic wars is insultingly shameful. This kind of behavior would have been totally expected from a Republican president. No reasonable American should ever condone such behavior that continues to put the nation in long term financial peril that will surely negatively impact the lives of Americans for many decades to come.

Third, Obama’s performance on health care reform has been abysmal. Rather than show genuine leadership, he left if up to the corporate-controlled House and Senate to create highly delusional and deceptive health care reform bills. What the country needed was a president that was a champion for a single-payer universal health care system. Instead, what we will surely get is a bill that Obama will happily sign and then declare victory even though very few Americans will see lower costs, better insurance coverage, more affordable access to health care or the freedom to get into a first-rate government program.

In sum, Obama’s policies and tactics are killing Americans, not metaphorically but literally. For these reasons alone, Americans should make it clear that they have lost confidence in President Obama. He needs to see that the vast majority of Americans are suffering too much in so many ways that he needs to make a sharp turn in his policies, programs and staff. Better to be a really good, historic one-term president than a losing two-termer.

Time for more Americans to stop succumbing to Obama’s slick talk and promises and start demanding very loudly that their government work more aggressively to fix the burdens hitting at least a third of the population. Our current domestic conditions are so dire that if history provided any appropriate message, then President Obama should be made to see that the radical, revolutionary talk coming mostly from the right will surely become shared by the larger fraction of suffering Americans seeing themselves as liberals, independents and progressives. The time for revolution is now. Will it be peaceful or violent? That is what our political leaders (with their full stomachs, nice homes, secure income and great health care insurance) should be made to stay awake at night thinking about.

About Joel S. Hirschhorn

Formerly full professor Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, and senior official Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and National Governors Association. Author of four nonfiction books and hundreds of articles.
  • Silas Kain

    Sounds to me like it’s time to bring back my BlogTalk Radio Show, Cindy. Would you come chat? I’m thinking about getting back into it starting a week from today. Only this time it’ll be weekly, consistent and topical.

    Silas, what would President Obama have his economic advisers do differently?

    I just don’t know, Baronius. I think we’re in a situation where we haven’t really figured out what all the right answers are. All I know is Richard Nixon’s visit to China began the slippery slope. The economic mess we are in today is the direct result of Republican (Nixon, Reagan, Bush I & II) economic policies which favored the few and forgot the rest. Of course, that doesn’t negate Bill Clinton’s culpability in the mess and that’s something that deserves our attention as well.

    Filling an Administration with Goldman-Sachs executives presents an appearance of impropriety which is unsettling. I haven’t written off Barack Obama yet — I just wish he would be more Reagan-esque — not in policy but in delivering his message. This country needs a leader with vision and a clarity free of special interests and politics as usual. He was given the mandate, he has yet to deliver.

    Why should he be anything new? Did the state suddenly stop functioning like a state?

    OK, Cindy, I’ll bite. When did the state actually stop functioning as a state and became the subsidiary of corporate interests? I’m all for a free marketplace and the entrepreneurial spirit; however, there has to be a compassion and understanding that we must take care of our own. We have more in common with the waning days of the Roman Empire than we do with our founders.

  • roger nowosielski

    Except that on Cindy’s view, and mine, it’s a grand illusion to think of the State in such vainglorious terms.

  • Cindy

    Yeah, but we’re a better caliber of people. Most of us don’t worship at the altar of WalMart.

    What do you mean? Are you dissing poor people?

  • Silas Kain

    Not at all, Cindy. I see more poor people shopping at Target, believe it or not. I’ve noticed that WalMarts on the edge of more “affluent” neighborhoods are the ones raking in the dough. Stores in poorer neighborhoods are not performing as well compared to last year’s figures.

    What’s concerning me at present is that even the poor can’t afford to shop at WalMart any longer because they’re trying to choose between clothing and putting food on the table.

  • Cindy

    When did the state actually stop functioning as a state and became the subsidiary of corporate interests?

    The state has always functioned to provide for the interests of the wealthy. That has never changed. Not since the state was initiated. What has changed is who the wealthy they happen to include huge corporations.

    I’m all for a free marketplace…

    Here we disagree. I oppose profit markets and corporations entirely. I feel that they are injurious to human nature, they promote superficial and often anti-human values and they create mental unwellness and in people.

    …and the entrepreneurial spirit

    That I support as it is creative and does not require a profit market.

    however, there has to be a compassion and understanding that we must take care of our own.

    Indubitably. That is the only way of living that I find worthwhile to support.

    We have more in common with the waning days of the Roman Empire than we do with our founders.

    Have you considered that you may be idealizing the founders? Here is how I see it.

    They were wealthy and wanted power and decision making to remain in the hands of the wealthy. The U.S. had already started screwing over the average citizen whilst he was still fighting in the revolutionary war (by selling his mortgaged farm out from under him in favor of banks). Tax accommodations were to begin to favor the huge producer and injure the small producer–see the whiskey rebellion. They were slave owners. Women did not vote. They slaughtered the Indians and stole their land.

    There is just so much indoctrinated pride and myth about freedom and bravery surrounding the foundering fathers that it is hard to see that they were just a pack of rich assholes that tried to make the rules in the favor of their own class. Of course they wanted equality–but only amongst themselves–only for the people who mattered–the rest could go hang.

    I don’t support states or corporations or free markets or representative government. I believe in direct democracy and consensus.

  • Baritone


    I remain an Obama supporter, but I am sorely disappointed in his decision to up the ante in Afghanistan. I suppose it was inevitable.

    Obama is far more a centrist than most of us lefties wanted to admit during the campaign. He has shown that he intends to walk pretty much down the middle of the road – maybe even crossing into righty territory – when it comes to the military and some other issues.

    Frankly, I believe that if we sent ten times the # of troops and spent 10 years in an all out effort, the end would be the same as that experienced by the Soviets and everyone else who has ventured there with notions of nation building or domination. Afghanistan simply will not be tamed or transmogrified into some semblance of even the 20th century world. It remains essentially a 10th century tribal society armed with 21st century weapons. It will be an even more ignominious defeat when, in 2 years or 10, we look back at all the wasted lives, wasted money, wasted resources.

    Vietnam was not worth one life – American or otherwise – nor was Iraq, nor now is Afghanistan.

    I do believe that had we gone into Afghanistan and completed the job at hand – that of decimating Al Qaida, perhaps capturing or killing Osama and his cohorts, it might have been worth some sacrifice. But Bush fucked that up. Now Obama is sadly heading in the same direction.

    Ultimately, the Taliban or something like it will regain control of the area – perhaps Pakistan as well along with their fine collection of nukes.

    It is likely that the biggest loosers in all this will be the women. Their rights, their lives will be lost in the shuffle of war, diplomacy, bureaucracy and idiot religious zealotry. Their plight will once again go unnoticed.


  • Cindy


    Vietnam was not worth one life – American or otherwise – nor was Iraq, nor now is Afghanistan.

    Quoted for truth…

    Les Slater challenged me when I said ‘we’ the way you are saying ‘we’. I am tailoring this comment for you, but he suggested it would be helpful not to align myself with those I disagree with about such serious issues as life or death. It really was a very helpful bit of advice and made a big difference in my thinking.

  • Cindy


    Thanks for the clarification. I was puzzled.

  • roger nowosielski

    The “we” should start becoming an increasingly more encompassing term – to denote all of humanity rather than the nation-states and their perverted interests. Once we rid ourselves of those increasingly archaic and soon out-of-date notions, the better. Only then true freedom and liberty and pursuit of happiness can reign in the context of autonomous or semi-autonomous communities. The “new world order” may yet prove to be a beneficial thing, certainly more promising than anything we have experienced thus far. It’s time to think of all humanity as one.

  • roger nowosielski

    As for Silas’s well intended distinction between WalMart and Target customers, it’s all the same to me. Conspicuous and vulgar consumption has become America’s trademark and the statement of the average intelligence. It’s difficult to empathize with either group – even the so-called poor. The American choice is not between clothes and food on the table, only between things we think we need and those we only marginally need. Either option verges on the obscene.

  • Cindy

    I think Les was intending to help me see my interests are not in line with the state’s interests, Roger. A suggestion that I don’t sleep with my enemy. You seem to be going in the opposite direction, there, bring all of humanity into bed together with the state.

  • Baronius

    Silas – I disagree with your analysis in comment #101, but the origin of the problem doesn’t matter. The truth is closer to what Baritone said. Obama isn’t the lefty the Left wanted or the moderate the Center wanted. No official’s ever what his supporters wanted, exactly, because campaigns are fantasy and governing’s reality. Crushes are easy; marriages are hard. With that in mind, what do you think a different economic team would have done differently under President Obama?

  • roger nowosielski

    Not the state (reread my #109). But it’s different when it comes to people. Remember the medic part. We can’t give them up for lost. There is an obligation to bring all into the (right) fold.

  • roger nowosielski

    “what do you think a different economic team would have done differently under President Obama?”

    A more radical departure from the old business-government model forging an unholy alliance – something you would call a more “socialistic” approach without apology of any kind. Obama or no Obama, we are all moving in that direction.

  • handyguy

    I’m not sure who you mean by “we,” Roger. Count me out, for one. And my views are fairly representative of center-left Obama supporters. All Republicans and tea-party independents would oppose Socialism [or "socialism"] too. So who does that leave? And, by the way, how are you going to win elections to get this done?

    The center nearly always wins in US politics.

  • roger nowosielski

    Are you SO American that you fail to identify with the rest of humanity. But that ought to be everyone’s most enlightened perspective and vision. And if winning elections is more important than doing what’s right, for the country, and the nation, and the rest of the world, then how different are you, Handy, from all the Republicans you so openly despise?

  • handyguy

    And although it is not a popular opinion here among either the right or left, I’ll say it again anyway because I am completely convinced I’m correct:

    Like everyone else, Bernanke, Geithner and Summers failed to see the crisis coming in 2007 and early 2008. But once the crisis was apparent, they acted responsibly and effectively.

    And you can thank them for the fact that we did not enter Great Depression II this year.

    Jobs will come. There is no magic wand for creating jobs. Companies have to get past their panic mode and become confident again. It will happen.

    Pretending that the problem is Obama’s ‘socialism’ [per the right] or his cozying up to Wall St [per the left] is just easy scapegoating…. and intellectually lazy.

    And obviously, both right and left can’t be right about this.

  • handyguy

    Well, Roger, without a government to create policy, your socialistic fantasy will remain in your head.

    How else would it become reality? A few good people squint, press their temples real hard, and magically all economic problems are solved?

  • roger nowosielski

    “But once the crisis was apparent, they acted responsibly and effectively.”

    That remains to be seen. You’re still beholden, Handy, to the old capitalist model of production of goods, services and general happiness, a model which has clearly failed and has shown itself for its inherent limitations. So yes, some kind of “socialism” is the way out of the box, coupled with radical departure from the old notion of the nation-states – another soon to be debunked idea.

    I don’t want Obama to fail, I want him to succeed. But we need a new and more inspiring model than more of the same. And it will come about, believe me, with Obama’s help or without.

  • roger nowosielski

    Yes, you need a government, far more centralized, I daresay, than what obtains in the present – there’s no other way out in the present, the world quickly becoming a global village.

    See, I’m not an anarchist, like Cindy. But with nation-states out of the picture, there will be a real possibility of a moral government, because the interests of one will be interests of all. No petty squabbles or jealousies, just united and concerted action for the goodness of all.

    That’s the best case scenario, and far from a dream. Just imagine what would be the human response be when faced by the invasion of the aliens. Well, we’ve got to start thinking along those terms, as though we faced extermination.

    John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” comes to mind. I hope you’re with me.

  • handyguy

    If you can find a convincing way to connect your dream to a plausible mechanism to make it a reality, I can at least discuss being with you.

    But you’re still a long way from that.

  • roger nowosielski

    I am not talking about a dream, Handy. Globalism and world government are both knocking on our door. I’m kind of surprised you fail to detect this in the tenor and policies of the present administration.

    My only complaint is – they’re rather timid about it rather than going at it full speed ahead.

  • roger nowosielski

    I happen to think you’re rather shocked about the extent to which I propose the expansion of federalism. Isn’t that, really, why you choose to characterize my notion and ideas as dream. But try to take your notion of it to its logical extreme and see whether your position will be that different from mine – eradicating the notion of nation-states, nationalistic (read: parochial) interests, and global government.

    It’s only a matter of time.

  • Silas Kain

    Wow, so much upon which to comment.

    With that in mind, what do you think a different economic team would have done differently under President Obama?

    I just don’t know. My sentiment is that you can’t give the reins to the same people, day in and day out, who have been responsible for the mess to begin with. Well, wait a minute, we do need to blame ourselves as well. Roger’s comments about WalMart & Target and American consumerism are spot on.

    First, Nixon went to China. All of a sudden goods manufactured in the U.S. disappeared from shelves in favor of imported domestic goods at bargain prices. As a result, places like WalMart, Target and all these so-called “odd lot” stores sprang up.

    My maternal g-g-grandfather came here from County Kildare in 1870 to take advantage of the textile boom in the Northeast. He traveled throughout New England and Upstate New York opening textile mills and training labor. I grew up in the heart of textiles – Northern, Rhode Island & Central Mass. In fact, the City of Woonsocket, RI was known for weaving blankets that covered every soldier on the field of battle in World Wars I & II.

    In the 50′s things changed. Unions and greed kicked in. Textile mills moved South for cheaper labor and operating costs. And now, it’s near impossible to find a weave shop in the South. All the textiles are woven in Asia. Made in U.S.A. used to count for something until American consumers loved the notion of “things”. They got cheap, and everybody just had to have everything.

    When I was a kid (1960′s), I had one set of Sunday clothes, a pair of jeans, two sets of school uniforms, a week’s worth of underwear and sox. My bureau was in my closet. Today, I have a walk in closet, three bureaus and a wardrobe. I’m a testament to consumerism. As I ramble, I also come to the realization that Cindy’s not far off the mark, either.

    Our consumerism and insatiable need to keep up with the Joneses has been our downfall. The generation who hid money under the mattress because of their Depression years is dead. So here we are propagating an even more consumer intense generation. We’re so busy with our things that we’ve forgotten how to stop and smell the roses. We’ve substituted the special moments in life with reality shows and God knows what. Yep, the Republicans did it to us. So did the Democrats. The bottom line is that we did it to ourselves. We allowed ourselves this false sense of security by being apathetic to the political process. It really is time to get back to basics. And, maybe Cindy’s right, perhaps we have outgrown the capitalist model in its’ present form. We need to be more creative. We need to clean up the planet. We need to start taking our kids into consideration.

  • roger nowosielski

    Your comment about Nixon visiting China, Silas, and the connection you’re making to the eventual demise of American industry/ies are most interesting. Of course, at the time, none of us saw the implications. We’ve all thought of it as a progressive thing to do. You may be on to something here.

    As to Cindy’s vision, that’s mine too. We need not only start taking our kids into consideration but the entire planet, humans, animals and minerals.

    As I tried to impress the point on Handy, the time of nation-states and petty and perverse national interests is over. Which is a good thing, because perhaps only in that context, never mind the American polity which is quickly loosing its relevance, can we hope for a truly moral system of governance.

  • Silas Kain

    So, Roger, is it possible that “Progressives” ARE in fact CONSERVATIVES? When did Conservatism become synonymous with religiosity? And how is trying to save the planet, natural resources and fostering a more humane society “progressive”? To me it’s good old fashioned conservative common sense! And, maybe, that’s what Barack Obama should be promoting. Perhaps he should be rising above the buffoons in Congress and speaking directly to us, in human terms, about where we’re at.

    Insofar as the migration of manufacturing to China, it seems to me it all goes back to Richard Nixon and the Kissinger vision of the world. American corporations invested heavily in Asia at blowout prices. We got sucked in to our own greed. Now the Chinese are the holders of our mortgages. And in the end, the corporate executives sacrificed their fellow Americans at the altar of consumerism with not even a blink of an eye. And we fell upon those swords in some sick sense that we were fulfilling the American dream by accumulating things. So who really won World War II in Asia? In the end, Japan has achieved what it never would have dreamed possible were it not for its’ Imperialist foreign policies.

    When I was a kid I got my cousin Kenny’s hand-me-down Stride Rite shoes for school. The heels and soles, of course, had been replaced by the cobbler down the street. And when I grew out of those shoes, they made their way to a younger cousin. That’s the way it was. Today shoes wear out in a matter of months. Cobblers are a thing of American folklore. We’re a disposable society and in becoming the same we disposed of our common sense.

  • roger nowosielski

    I don’t care about the name or the label, Silas. Progressive or conservative, it’s all the same to me. The important thing is, we’ve all got to move in the direction of a more comprehensive view of humanity, away from the parochial conception.

    It’s all to the good, with or without humans’ express desire or intent.

  • Baritone

    I must agree with Roger regarding nationalism. The wonderful British essayist A.C. Grayling also stands in agreement.

    While we are deeply concerned with radical religious fundamentalism, it is also true that nationalism is essentially equal to religious zealotry in its destructiveness. The notion of “American exceptionalism” is not only bunk, it is at best insulting to most of the rest of the world. At its worst it marks us as delusional in the irrational belief that we are inherently superior to everyone else which sets us up for a hard fall. We are all Americans simply by the accident of our birth.

    While we have long felt – and perhaps rightly – that our particular constitutional system is superior to any other, as we know all too well, it has been so bastardized in practice (if not in print) over the years that it is hardly recognizable. George, Thom, John & Ben would probably shake their heads in dismay at what we have wrought out of their hard labor in the Philadelphia heat.

    However, I am not one who hankers back in the belief that we should return to our supposed governmental roots. The fact is, this country and the times in general have far outgrown our founding documents. That there are those who would amend our constitution for the sole purpose of depriving citizens of basic rights is perhaps a harbinger of worse things to come.

    We are on the verge of being a global society. I won’t live to see it, and perhaps no one alive today will witness it either, but it is coming, like it or not. It will be necessary to human survival. If it doesn’t come, it will mean that we have blown ourselves back to the stone age to start again (if any humans do survive.)

    Its coming will no doubt be violent and painful. If we think getting health care reform has been difficult, wait until the battle begins over the notion of a “one world” global government. Warning shots have already rung out with the collapse of the WTC. Nationalism and its cousin, regionalism will not go quietly, not to mention the ongoing tussle over religious crap.


  • roger nowosielski

    Thanks for that reference, B-man. I will look him up.

  • roger nowosielski

    The following is a general entry on Grayling from Wiki.

    Can you provide the article from which you cited?

  • handyguy

    So the unemployment rate dropped in November [from 10.2% to 10.0%], and the job loss estimates for Sept and Oct have also been revised downward. Is there light at the end of this tunnel?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Nationalism and its cousin, regionalism will not go quietly

    Considering there are now several dozen more sovereign nations in the world than there were 20 years ago, I’d say that’s a bit of an understatement, B-tone.

  • roger nowosielski

    I hope so, Handy.

    As to Dreadful’s point, one could add the balkanization phenomenon along ethnic lines, which is still at full steam. So indeed, the transition to a more peaceful and united world is not going to be a picnic.

  • Dr Dreadful


    The former Soviet Union is now about 20 separate states and the former Yugoslavia continues to fragment into smaller and smaller pieces. Czechoslovakia is now divided in two. Eritrea recently got independence from Ethiopia, East Timor likewise from Indonesia and there are countless nationalist and separatist movements throughout the world pursuing their aims with varying degrees of violence.

    In fact, the only two countries I can think of which have bucked the trend in recent times are Germany and Yemen.

  • roger nowosielski

    Nonetheless, I still think the growing pressures forced by the globalization of the economy will ultimately prevail and result in formation of economic blocs first, geopolitical ones later on.

  • handyguy

    But the [bumpy] rise of the EU in recent years goes against the trend too, Doc.

  • roger nowosielski

    I regard the EU as THE TREND, a foretaste of the future, and the balkanization movement as the last gasp.

  • Dr Dreadful

    But, Handy and Roger, there’s also a growing trend in Europe of resistance to the idea of the European Union – particularly in Britain, where the anti-EU UK Independence Party and British National Party are rapidly growing in strength and influence.

    At this juncture I’m not at all sure which way Europe will end up going.

  • roger nowosielski

    Perhaps it’s a situation of sink or swim. Since Britain may be doing considerably better right now than other members of the EU, it’s natural they might want to do it alone.

  • roger nowosielski

    You might want to check on the Green Party’s stand on this issue.

    Rupert Read is quite a character. I corresponded with him a couple of times via email on some of his philosophical writing. Anyway, you might check it out.

  • Baritone


    Well as I said, I doubt that I’ll live to see it. I don’t expect anything overt or substantive to happen in that regard for some time. Nevertheless, there is an inexorable movement toward economic globalization that shows no signs of stopping. There will doubtless be a lot of resistance, and there will probably some die hard hold outs, but eventually – again assuming we avoid cataclysmic changes – that will be the only way to go. Anyhow, we have to move it along so we will be prepared to join the Federation of Planets. :)


    I can’t remember where I read the exact reference. I’ve read a # of his books which are mainly compilations of his essays. I did find this quote ironically in an article refuting his position:

    “Nationalism is an evil. It causes wars, its roots lie in xenophobia and racism.”

    Grayling is a good read. Give one of his books a shot. He expands over a # of topics.


  • Baronius

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see more ad hoc alliances, but I wouldn’t read too much into them. International alliances shift. There’s always someone trying to dominate Europe, and a coalition trying to prevent it. The potential hegemon and the opposing coalition are both comprised of peoples that don’t get along that well. “United Europe” has seen Switzerland and Italy each challenge the legal order in the past week.

    And that pattern holds true not just for Europe, but South America, Southern Asia, Arabia, pretty much everywhere.

  • roger nowosielski

    Right on, B-man. The Star Trek scenario is not that far-fetched.

    And yes, there will always be a need for a policeman, if only to prevent lawlessness. But with nation-states out of the picture, humans may yet arrive at the all-desirable state of moral governance, because it will be untainted by any suspicion of national interest.

  • roger nowosielski

    But Baronius. Necessity is the mother of invention. And it will become necessary for the world at large, all peoples and nations, to forge a united front – not to repel an attack by the aliens, but to be able to respond logically and coherently to the many impending problems, be they environment, energy-related, or whatever.

    I’d like to refer to Robert L Heilbroner’s classic, An Inquiry into the Human Prospect”, a truly prophetic work.

  • Silas Kain

    What we need is a man with vision like Alexander the Great. If there is to be a new world order, let’s hope that we forge something that celebrates personal liberty and individual expression.

  • roger nowosielski

    Good point, Silas. Alexander was a man of vision. One world, one law, freedom and liberty for all. Yet, it had to be won by the sword.

    The present circumstances are different, though. We shall be forced to go along because our survival as a species is at stake.

  • Dr Dreadful

    But Alexander’s empire started to collapse as soon as he died and – without his extraordinary personality as the glue holding it together – was completely fragmented within a few years.


  • roger nowosielski

    The time wasn’t ripe.