OBAMA WAS BAD FROM THE START

Richard Reeves

President's Right-Wing Policies Revealed Years Ago

NEW YORK--We used to love Obama. Now we don't. What a difference two years makes!

But not really. We may have changed. But Obama hasn't. It was obvious from the beginning that Mr. Hopey Changey was devoid of character, deploying a toxic blend of liberal rhetoric and right-wing realpolitik. We were in denial.

Let's take a trip down memory lane.

Obama made a name for himself by speaking out against the Iraq war. "I am certain that I would have voted to oppose this war," he said in 2007. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, he voted to fund it. Repeatedly. Aye. Aye. Aye. Never voted no. Tens of billions of dollars down the rat hole. Thousands of dead U.S. troops. Hundreds of thousands of murdered Iraqis.

Asked to explain his hypocrisy on Iraq, Obama replied: "I have been very clear even as a candidate that, once we were in [office], that we were going to have some responsibility to make [the Iraq war] work as best we could, and more importantly that our troops had the best resources they needed to get home safely," Obama explained. "So I don't think there is any contradiction there."

Who are you going to believe? Me or my lying voting record?

That was back in 2007. We knew Obama was a weasel. We knew before the first presidential primary.

After he won, we learned he was at least as much of a right-winger as Bush.

Within days of his November 2008 election victory Obama backed away from his campaign pledge to close Guantánamo and restore due process to kidnapped and tortured Muslim detainees. Instead, he announced, he would create extralegal "national security courts." Even Bush didn't dare stray that far from the rule of law.

Obama didn't appoint a single liberal to his cabinet. Against good sense and common ndecency, in the midst of the worst financial crisis since 1929, he hired pro-business hacks Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geitner to lead his economic team. Fighting proposals to create jobs programs, they expanded Bush's bank bailouts instead.

Obama asked Bush's defense secretary to stay on because, you know, he was doing such an awesome job with the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I suppose it could have been worse: Obama's first choice to run the CIA was John Brennan, a pro-torture Bushist.

As Inauguration Day approached the hits kept coming.

Obama claimed to be against the Iraq War. "Unlike Senator John McCain," Obama wrote in June 2008, "I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president."

By December, however, the Weasel-Elect had re-revealed his pro-war stripes. "Even though the [U.S.] agreement with the Iraq government calls for all American combat troops to be out of the cities by the end of June [2009]," reported the Times on December 22nd, military planners are "now quietly acknowledging that many will stay behind as renamed 'trainers' and 'adviser' in what are effectively combat roles. In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else."

When Obama announced his choice to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, it was yet another unpleasant surprise: Rick Warren, the right-wing, gay-bashing pastor of the Saddleback megachurch. Gay leaders were annoyed. And did nothing.

The indignities continued a day or two after the new prez moved into 1600 Penn.

Liberals hoped for accountability. Obama had promised it. Once in the Oval Office, however, Obama said America needed "to look forward as opposed to looking backwards." He ordered his Justice Department not to investigate Bush Administration war crimes. No one would be prosecuted--not even the military psychos who anally raped Afghan children at Gitmo with flashlights. Obama traveled to CIA HQ to tell the spooks to keep on torturin': "I don't want [CIA agents] to suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up."

So it went.

Obama expanded Bush's domestic spying program. He sent 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. He allowed torture to continue in CIA prisons and signed an executive order granting him the right to assassinate anyone, including a U.S. citizen, on his say-so alone.

Six days into the Obama presidency, I'd seen enough.

"Give the man a chance?" I asked on January 26, 2009. "Not me. I've sized up him, his advisors and their plans, and already found them sorely wanting. It won't take long, as Obama's failures prove the foolishness of Americans' blind trust in him. Obama isn't our FDR. He's our Mikhail Gorbachev: likeable, intelligent, well-meaning, and ultimately doomed by his insistence on being reasonable during unreasonable times."

I was mistaken. Two years is too long for people to figure out what Obama is all about.

(Ted Rall is the author of "The Anti-American Manifesto." His website is tedrall.com.)

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