January 22, 2013

Did Obama set a new progressive agenda? (Updated)

So claims BuzzFeed, in part based on these quotes:
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," Obama said, going farther than ever before in support for gay marriage.  

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," Obama said. "Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."
And, pre-Inauguration, his list of executive actions on gun control.

Well, pardon me if I hold my breath until we see action, not words.

Will the Obama Department of Justice file an amicus brief when gay marriage hits the Supreme Court? If not, how will he explain himself?

Will he propose climate legislation, and do it smartly by starting with the Senate? And, who will replace Lisa Jackson at EPA and Kenny Boy Salazar at Interior? Those two Cabinet positions will be clear "tells." So will be any split in reaction to them between more conservative, establishmentarian "Gang Green" environmental groups and more aggressive ones like the Center for Biological Diversity. And, no, just because he spoke a lot about climate change doesn't mean he will be able to get much done, or even try to.

On gun control, in case you've not read what I've already written, here's a summary:
1. He never hired someone to run ATF, a vacancy he inherited from Bush;
2. He's prosecuted 1/10 of 1 percent of gun purchase violations;
3. Getting CDC, NIMH, etc. to look at mental health/gun violence connections requires money. Unless Obama wants to redistribute the current budgetary pie for those agencies, money requires Congressional action.

On voting rights, the real action would be to nationalize voting laws, at least for federal-level offices. States would have to adjust laws for state-level offices rather than have dual ballots. Combine that with giving the Federal Elections Commission more powers. Then, nationalize the Voting Rights Act. It placates Southerners, addresses discrimination against American Indians and Hispanics outside the South, addresses GOP-controlled Northern states attempts at inner city anti-black voter discrimination and more.

Are you holding your breath over anything even close to that?

So, while not to put too much a damper on dyed-in-the-wool Democrats' parties, I'm not holding my breath. This man has had more liberal yearnings psychologically projected on him, and in my opinion undeservedly so, than anybody since Jack Kennedy. If only Chris Hitchens were still alive, and still alive without having jumped headfirst into the shallow waters of neoconservativism, he could be writing away.

So, if "speak" = "set" then Obama (although he didn't mention gun control today) theoretically set a a new progressive agenda. But, since he referred to "We the People" enough, let's look at the paragraph, the prologue to the Constitution, that made those words famous:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
See all those "action" verbs? None of them is about "speaking."

And, via another blog, the whole speech is here. Kind of panders to Lincolnisms, doesn't it? On the written word, it looks kind of ... long, too.

Finally, as a secularist, one who has noted Obama's occasional references to secularism in the past, but also his religion-only moral compass at times like his post-Newtown speech, I find the speech is a bit God-heavy. Five references, and with the male pronoun after the last one, all clearly aimed at the traditional (Judeo fig leaf)-Christian one.

Update, Jan. 22: Per White House spokesman Jay Carney, Dear Leader, aka Compromiser-in-Chief, is already backpedaling.
(I)n the White House briefing room a day later, Obama spokesman Jay Carney said he couldn't speculate about future actions. He said that while climate change was a priority for the president, "it is not a singular priority."

On gay rights, the president had declared that the nation's journey is "not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

But Carney said the president was speaking about his personal views and would not take federal action on same-sex marriage, which he continues to see as a state issue.
So, get a clue, Obamiacs.

There will be NO amicus brief in the Proposition 8 case. Other than playing around the edges, there will be no new actions on climate change and global warming. (Nor on other environmental issues, sadly, including no wilderness designation in an area around Canyonlands National Park that really needs it.) There will be no requests for Congressional funding for any of his so-called "executive actions" on gun control that need money.

Beyond that, the address had nothing about trade issues, nothing about financial regulation issues, basically nothing about economic liberalism.

Besides, Harry Reid has no balls and won't get any real Senate filibuster reform, despite his claims.

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