January 21, 2015

Corey Robin says: stop criticizing Obama and #SOTU: I'll pass

Well, technically, no, he didn't exactly say that.

He wants us to stop criticizing anything Obama said in the State of the Union Address that is dependent on the good will of Republicans:
I promise not to blame Obama for not doing what the Republicans prevent him from doing, not to exaggerate the power of the presidency, to acknowledge the constraints of a bicameral Congress, the reality of Blue Dogs and unreality of Green Lanterns, if… 
…you STFU about SOTU, POTUS, and the next presidential election. 
Not totally a deal, Corey. Here's why.

First, Obama had two years in his first term where he wasn't dependent on the GOP — including in the Senate, before Scott Brown replaced Ted Kennedy and a magic 60 votes were there.

That leads into what I said in comments to him:
So, Corey, there's a lot he could have done in 2009-11, with Dems in charge, that he didn't. 
Oh, like single payer. Or a neoliberal health care fix that actually worked better, especially the tech side. (Shocking for a Web 2.0 neoliberal to not actually keep a gimlet eye on how his "legacy" accomplishment was actually being put together, isn't it?) 
Or, more stimulus. 
Or, better stimulus. 
Of course, there's things he could do today that don't depend on Congress. 
Like ending the war in Afghanistan. Full stop. Ending, not semi-ending. 
Like stop spying on us so much. 
Like stop continuing "renditions." 
You get the drift. 
Of course, none of this addresses the ultimate issue, namely, that Barack Obama somehow seems more highly impressed with the mellifluous notes of his golden tongue than he should be. 
Or, as his predecessor said, "soft bigotry of low expectations," maybe? 
So, for those reasons and more, no, I won't stop ... "critiquing" Obama, from the left.
Speaking of ....

Remember those halcyon days when Dear Leader asked for people (why didn't he use the word "folks" way back then?) to criticize and critique him from the left?

Beyond that, per one other commenter, I didn't even watch. Like with Slick Willie and Shrub alike before him, a lot of the last 20 SOTUs have been about incrementalism. And political point-scoring via incrementalism.

Beyond that, even if they have no chance of adoption, Obama could still propose non-incremental ideas.

Like a carbon tax joined with a carbon tariff on imports. Right now, when oil prices are low, too! And, since he's a lame duck, he doesn't have to worry about expending "capital," either.

As for Corey's unreality of Green Lanterns, there is an actual Green Party. For which I do vote.

Also, per a Facebook comment, I think if presidents were smart, they'd go back to the time before Woodrow Wilson anyway. Deliver a print document SOTU; that then prevents opposition Congresscritters from giving a teevee rebuttal, one that is not specified by the Constitution anyway.

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