No one is perfect.
Say it with me this time.
No. One. Is. Perfect.
Good, thank you. Now, with that in mind, let’s talk a little bit about actor, writer and producer Matt Damon’s recent “slam” on President Obama–as Mediaite reported it. While giving an interview to BET, Damon said, “He broke up with me,” referring to the list of issues that Damon, like a lot of liberals, think the president has ignored. Damon went on, “There are a lot of things that I really question. The legality of the drone strikes, these NSA revelations.”
Damon, in my estimation, is right. In a lot of ways President Obama has broken up with his base–those of us who literally put him in office–and I’ll go ahead and say it, we feel burned.
Just this week, JPMorgan announced that they were under criminal investigation for their role in the financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008. This, taken at face value, is incredibly good news for those of us who feel the banking industry got off so easily it was almost as if they were rewarded for their malfeasance (TARP could of course be a pretty solid argument that they were indeed rewarded for their terrible behavior). But the truth is, Obama’s administration should have been doing this from the start.
Obama ran on a platform of change, he told us that he saw how much damage Wall Street had done to Main Street and that he’d be the one to fix all that. No, he hasn’t been given many chances by his political opposition to get his agenda passed, but he doesn’t need Congressional approval to direct the Department of Justice to investigate JPMorgan. The buck stops with him, or at least it should. The same goes for drone strikes and the overreach at the NSA. These are not issues for which just conservatives should be criticizing the president.
In fact, it’s supremely important that his base be willing to do what Damon did. If you are not willing to hold the people you vote for accountable, what is the point of voting for them in the first place? There’s a mountain of difference between carrying a sign with a swastika on it that proclaims Obama to be the second coming of Hitler and a thoughtful critique of policy decisions like what Damon gave BET in regards to Obama’s performance. If the criticisms are based in fact, supported by evidence and rooted in sound logic, then it’s time to let them fly.
There are actually signs that Obama’s finally gotten the hint that he no longer has to run for election, and he can work on parts of his agenda without fear of the people who didn’t vote for him taking it out on him next fall. I’m not saying that people who didn’t vote for Obama don’t count, or that their opinions shouldn’t be considered, but he’s got an ever-dwindling finite amount of time. I think when you see him start to say things about new sweeping drug policy reforms or using his executive powers to get anything done economically he can, that you’re seeing an acknowledgment by him that it’s time to start moving more aggressively.
The point is that things aren’t perfect, and neither is Barack Obama. Yes, jobs are growing still, but we have a long way to go and the kinds of jobs that are being created aren’t all the right ones. We have a skills gap in this country that needs to get plugged so we can get the jobs that are sitting vacant filled. The drone strike policy in this country is secretive and therefore terrible. There is no opposition representation at FISA court hearings. The list goes on and on, and liberals need to stop being afraid to go out on a limb and ask the president, “WTF, man?” Showing that intellectual honesty also weakens the Tea Party when they scream at us that we treat Obama like the messiah. We all know that’s bullshit, but walking the walk in that regard would go a long way to shutting them up.
In other words, let me put it this way–would you rather someone like Matt Damon be making thoughtful, logical critique of the president’s policies; or would you prefer people like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, John Boehner or Paul Ryan twist, distort and lie about the president’s sinister agenda? You’re not allowed to answer “neither” though, unless you enjoy having similarities with intellectually bankrupt TEApublicans that is.