Sunday, March 20, 2011

Part I: A More Formal Critique

Apparently critiques of President Obama are not popular among some of my readers. In previous posts about the President, here's what a few people stated:

Anonymous, "I don't understand Cryn's harsh treatment of Obama. No one to the left of Obama is electable and even he must move to the center for purposes of reelection. If he somehow loses in 2012, the Repubs will run wild."

Liz, "I am just done with hearing all the complaining from Progressives . . .  You ran against your own party. YOU LOST."

Before I list the10 explicit reasons why I criticize the President and believe it is patriotic to do so, I think it is worth mentioning that I've been thinking a lot about the whole cockamamie saying about voting or supporting the "lesser of two evils." I despise this idea. Max Lerner added a good twist to that adage, "When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil.” That's just one reason why I hate it and am fed up with people suggesting that my criticism and stances are dangerous or wrong. As for Liz's remarks, she is quite wrong about the way I voted in the last election (we've already discussed it, too). I went out on the streets for President Obama. I called people and urged them to vote for him. I was there in Manassas on the eve before his election. Not only that, I was part of the actual Inaugural events. My name was drawn out of a hat that was filled with thousands and thousands of others, and chosen to be part of the day he was sworn in. On that day, I stood a few feet from the White House, and when the limousines came by us (I was standing with just two other women), soon-to-be President Obama waved at me. That's right. He waved and he smiled. The power of that face-to-face moment still blows me away. But when I think about that profoundly moving moment, as well as the hope I felt in Manassas, those feelings are now coupled with deep anguish. The sense of betrayal keeps me up at night.

Here are the 10 reasons why I criticize President Obama (mind you, it is not just the man  - that is na├»ve - but the administration behind the man):

(1) Pfc. Bradley Manning. Manning has neither been tried nor convicted, and yet he is being held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day. He has also been forced to sleep naked and stand outside of his cell naked. Check out the Geneva conventions and see how they describe torture and inhumane treatment. Manning is on OUR land. He is in Quantico, VA.

- "PJ Crowley Resigns After Bradley Manning Comments,", Washington Post, March 13, 2011
- "PJ Crowley: Bradley Manning Treatment 'Counterproductive and Stupid,' Huffington Post, March 11, 2011
- "WH Forces Crowley To Resign For Condemning Abuse Of Manning," Salon, March 13, 2011
-"With Crowley's Ouster, Obama Fully Owns The Torture Of Bradley Manning,"  FDL, March 13, 2011

(2) Ah, yes. Change we could all believe in. Change like . . . the continued surveillance on American citizens? But when it comes to national security policy, I am clearly just a nincompoop. Ethics? Pish-posh! As Tony Soprano would say: "Forgettaboutit, Cryn . . . pass me some prosutt and capacol." (Then he'd take his two paws and wrap them around the back of my neck).

(3) Obama's New Executive Order On Guantanamo - Huh. This kinda reminds me of the guy he replaced. What was his name? Oh, yeah . . . Buuuuusch. But I'm probably just thinkin' like some nincompoop again.

(4) Higher Education - In President Obama's first State of the Union Address, he mentioned the issue of student loan debt and the problems we're facing as a country when it comes to financing higher education at least 5-6 times. I credit the continued work of people and organizations like NCLC (Deanne Loonin, et al.), New America Foundation (specifically Higher Education Watch - Steve Burd has and continues to do superb work),, EduLender, All Education Matters, the Scambloggers (such as Third Tier Reality, First Tier Toilet, But I Did Everything Right! , Subprime JD, Esquire Painting, Fluster Cucked, The Law School Tuition Bubble, and so forth), etc., etc. for pressuring the administration about helping current borrowers, and raising questions about the absurd nature of why so many graduates are drowning in student loan debt. These efforts come from the ground up, and I have no doubt that all of our hard work - and that includes all the volunteers who help me on a consistent basis - were a reason for the President's remarks. My favorite one? "In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college."

Now did President Obama make any mention of student loans or those struggling with student loan debt in his latest SOTU? Nope. He made not a peep. NOT. ONE. WORD. Instead, we still hear the same old tired policy claims, exemplified by Heather Higginbottom's remarks when a woman wrote to her about having a lot of student loan debt. I have news for her and the administration: you cannot use current debtors interchangeably with prospective and current students. Those groups of people ARE NOT THE SAME. Plus, I have yet to hear from Roberto Rodriguez. AEM has carried out countless letter writing campaigns to him. At least 40-70 people have sent letters to him, expressing their concern about the student loan debt crisis. We have implored him to listen to our side of the story. Hell, I've even spoken to Mr. Rodriguez on the phone. That was a year ago, and he failed to respond to my question about how the administration plans to help current debtors. But I know that addressing the issue is toxic, because the administration is filled with people who continually talk about the whole 'moral hazard' issue. You owe it to us, Mr. Rodriguez. We deserve a spot at the table.

(5) Entrenched interests vs. the promise to 'clean up Washington.' In 2007, Obama promised to clean up Washington. Criticizing Presidential opponent Hilary Rodham Clinton, he said she didn't understand the problem. He added, "My argument is not that we're perfect [i.e. politicians of any kind]. I suffer from the same original sin of all politicians, which is we've got to raise money . . . But my argument has been and will continue to be that the disproportionate influence of lobbyists and special interest is a problem in Washington (and) in state capitals." He then promised, "The argument is not that I'm pristine, because I'm swimming in the same muddy water . . . The argument is that I know it's muddy and I want to clean it up." How's the clean up going, Mr. President?

To Be Continued . . . 

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