With SCOTUS on the rampage, should we rally ’round Obama?

A friend wrote to me earlier today, suggesting that the current doings of the Roberts Five should have me stalwartly defending Pres. Obama, as he is likely to preserve, and maybe even to enlarge, SCOTUS’s moderate-to-liberal faction.

Here is my reply. (My friend’s email is below).


Dear ________,

I don’t recall saying that I wonder why I supported Obama to begin with, because I never really
did support him, except as the only rational alternative to McPalin–and, especially, because
he was, without doubt, the people’s choice.

Otherwise, I never harbored any hopes that he’d somehow turn out to be progressive, because
he never was. As a native Chicagoan, I’m quite familiar with the political machine from which
he comes–a machine that’s not about progressive policies of any kind, but back-room deals;
and back-room deals is what we’ve got so far, and always will get, from Obama.

Now, as for the Supreme Court: Certainly we have to salvage it somehow, as it is now a force
for radical reaction, putting all our civil liberties at risk (well, almost all: they’re pretty keen on strengthening to right to own a gun). But Obama has already struck such heavy blows at all our
civil liberties (except the right to own a gun) that I can’t see defending him because he’ll name
more decent justices.

Indefinite detention, military trials, state secrets–these, I hope, are not, for you, just “a few
things that [you] don’t particularly like,” but catastrophic policies, the likes of which all worthy Democrats either angrily condemned when Bush & Co. came up with them, or which all worthy Democrats would angrily condemn if BushCo had come up with them. That it’s “your guy”
who’s now doing it makes, or should make, not the slightest difference. (Meanwhile, Obama’s
DoJ is still staffed heavily with BushCo holdovers, who are still going after Democrats, while
Eric Holder, weirdly, looks the other way.)

So if Obama makes tolerable appointments to the Court, his government will then appear before
that very Court to argue for intolerable steps against the Bill of Rights. I don’t see that as a
reasonable basis for supporting him.

As for the Creamer piece, I did read it, and didn’t send it out, because I find it unconvincing.
For one thing–and it’s no minor thing–the bit about Emanuel’s brilliant orchestration of
the Democratic sweep back in ’06 is simply wrong, because the Democrats actually won quite
a few more seats than they finally were allowed to claim, but were instructed not to put up any
fights over those races that were stolen from them. Those instructions came from Rahm Emanuel.

And, more generally, Creamer’s list of Team Obama’s great accomplishments reads like talking
points devised to shut down criticism, and not, therefore, as an honest statement of the case. The economy is in grave danger, with millions of foreclosures still to come, and an (official) unemployment rate of 10%–and no sign that Obama sees the need for urgent action (although,
as a candidate, he did call US unemployment an “emergency”).

Meanwhile, Gitmo’s still open (with Emanuel in particular colluding with Republicans against
civilian trials), and we’re still in Iraq (with the DoD now hinting that we may not be leaving
there on schedule)–and there’s Afghanistan, which Creamer somehow fails to mention.

I could go on, but will conclude by quoting Creamer’s final item:

Putting in motion a legislative agenda that will make major progressive change: providing health
care for all, creating clean energy jobs and addressing global warming, overhauling the regulation
of the financial sector and beginning to shrink its dominance in the American economy, and passing
comprehensive immigration reform.

All of that is propaganda, as this president, in fact, is largely failing to do any of those things,
however movingly he’s talked such issues now and then. And he’s failing not because he’s
been obstructed by the odious Republicans, or insufficiently applauded by “the left.” He’s
failed to fight on our behalf–for universal healthcare, financial reform and a strong policy
on climate change, among other things–because he’d rather cut deals with Big Money
than stand up against them.

That’s the problem here, both with this president and his corrupted party. We protest what
they’ve done, or failed to do, not out of “altruism” (whatever you may mean by that) but out
of democratic principle–i.e., the sort of thing that Rahm Emanuel, and all those in cahoots
with him, laugh off.


> Mark,
> You recently wrote me that at times you wonder why you supported Obama to begin with. I gathered that was a rhetorical question, but I wrote you back…The Supreme Court, The Supreme Court, The Supreme Court. Since then, of course, we’ve had the disastrous 5-4 decision giving corporations even more political power. I know I don’t have to remind you that two liberal seats are very shaky, and Obama will have to fill those soon. The hope is of course that by some miracle one of the conservatives will decide to resign as well….but if Stevens and Ginsberg, manage to hang on through Obama’s first term and then he is defeated, or if the Dems lose control of 51% of the Senate in November, we are really in for it! (Of course we realize that the Repubs can always filibuster vote on an appointment as well. )

> So as I wrote you before, I am willing to put up with a few things that I don’t particularly like that are happening in the political reality of the Obama administration. We can’t afford to ignore what will happen to SCOTUS if the Dems are weakened even in the name of altruism.
> Did you look at the Creamer article I sent? I didn’t see it sent out to your readers.
> Who’s to Blame for Stalling Key Parts of the Obama Agenda?
> Meantime here’s the latest horror from SCOTUS.

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