Despite the rhetoric we hear out of America’s ultra-right, who abuse the words “socialism,” “communism,” and “fascism” as if we live in a world without Google, President Barack Obama has been letting his progressivism out in fits and starts. Some weeks, he’ll let you know he’s a liberal, and proud of it. But usually, he ideologically tiptoes around issues. And in this last year of his presidency, it’s time to throw on a pair of galoshes and really have at it.
Conservatives love to label President Obama as “the most liberal president ever,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If Obama were truly the most progressive Commander-In-Chief of all time, TPP wouldn’t be a thing, the Keystone XL debate would’ve been shut down years ago, and the phrase “Obamacare” would symbolize true, free universal healthcare for every single American.
Of course, the GOP never would’ve allowed any of that stuff to happen. They’ve fought Obama on literally everything, and never once have they proposed an alternative to his ideas. Republicans aren’t saying “no, let’s try this,” they’re saying “no, and how dare you try anything at all.” It’s difficult to move the country forward when an entire political party is doing everything in their power to make you fail, and to make their label of you as a failure to stick to whatever surface, abrasive or not, they can.
We all expected him to play it extra-safe in his first term, accomplishing as much as possible without stepping on too many toes. What he didn’t expect, of course, was Republicans to intentionally stick their toes out with the hopes of getting stepped on, but hey, we covered that already.
But Obama won his second term three years ago today, and we’re still waiting for Obama to unleash the liberalism. He’s accomplished more than most presidents would ever try to take on, despite the almost comical degree of obstructionism hurled his way, but his presidency hasn’t been the progressive revolution many of us were hoping for. If anything, his presidency could be summed up as a centrist stabilization.
With no more elections to compete in, no more voters to woo, no more babies to kiss, Obama should be letting his liberal flag fly high and proud, and on occasion, he most certainly has. This was a pretty great year to be Barack Obama, and he always celebrates by saying “fancy that, I’m progressive, and the world didn’t explode.” But actions speak louder than words, and many of his actions have quite simply come up short in the progressivism department.
TPP shouldn’t be open for debate: Obama should nuke it. We all know he wants to. No self-respecting liberal sees much good coming out of it. But he’s still pushing it forward, inch-by-inch, trying to keep happy those same Republicans who’ve been crapping all over him for nearly seven years straight.
Screw them, Mr. President. You know this deal is hot garbage. I refuse to believe we live in a world where you don’t see that. You know the drug war has been an epic failure of biblical proportions, so end it. And you know Republicans are gerrymandering districts and implementing questionable voter ID laws, so use the full power of the executive to halt that nonsense once and for all.
Only the most ridiculous conservatives would ever assume Obama would slip into a lame duck presidency in his last year. We all know he’s going to push to get as much done as he can before he leaves office. All we ask, Mr. President, is that you focus on truly progressive goals, however ambitious, and stop attempting to win over the conservative base. It’s never going to happen. What could happen is a new golden era of progressivism. It’ll be up to our next president to make that happen, but it’s up to Barack Obama to set it all up.