As of late I've noticed a lack of coherent criticism of the Obama administration.Some left leaning outfits like MSNBC don't really pan too much that the new administration does, while your right leaning Fox news prefers to often spew forth tinfoil hat conspiracy theories. While important legislation that will effect most reading this (and a lot more not reading this HAH!) is being pushed forth, we are once again in another cycle of faux news to ensure minimal coverage of what laws are being passed. Swine flu, American Idol, the ridiculous Guantanamo issue are the recent culprits and in that time the Barack Obama administration is backing off of a lot of policies that were a core foundation of the change platform that caused myself among many other Americans to vote for him.
During the campaign the issues that were closest to my heart were constitutional issues. Warrantless wiretapping, retroactive immunity for telecoms, habeus corpus, posse comitatus. It's no big secret that after winning the primary race against Hillary Clinton, Obama backed off of his claim of being against retroactive immunity for the telecoms. I wrote this off to perhaps him switching gears for the general election and using the old Nixon campaign strategy of starting off pandering to your base then running to the center. What I don't understand now, is why after being elected president the same thing occurs on a number of different issues.
Going back to warrantless wiretapping, I'm pretty sure we all remember Obama's position on the matter. If you don't here it is in his own words. I remember watching that speech and having it really resonate with me seeing that i am a huge fan of the constitution, and warrantless wiretapping pretty much craps all over the 4th amendment before throwing it out the window completely. It was particularly disappointing to me when I found out that since being elected warrantless wiretapping has not only continued under the new administration, but has actually expanded.
One of the few instances of something I feel Obama could be criticized for that actually did make it into the news cycle was deciding not to release the torture photos after saying he would. A blow to the claims of a more transparent government. The American people and the rest of the world deserve to see what we have done so that if necessary someone can be held accountable. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I'm very confident that should these photos be released, it would end this whole torture debate no matter what they do or do not depict.
These was also a promise made on the campaign trail about changing the way that Washington works by not putting lobbyists or former lobbyists into cabinet positions, as they could still be tainted by influence from the people that they used to lobby for. A logical step in theory, but we will never know for some of these cabinet positions like: Attorney General, Secretary of Agriculture, Deputy Defense Secretary, Deputy Health and Human services secretary, Deputy Interior Secretary nominee, Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary, Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Domestic Policy Council Director, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and White House Political Affairs Director as they have all been filled by lobbyists or former lobbyists. This in combination with deciding to keep Bush's secretary of defense Robert Gates, instead of appointing someone else like Colin Powell or Erik Shinkeki, in addition to putting Tim Geitner in charge of the treasury dept seeing as he was Henry Paulson's sidekick and helped craft the TARP program under the Bush administration.
Lastly there is the decision to keep up with the bush administration policy of indefinate incarceration with eventual military tribunals for all of the detainees we have in Guantanamo bay. It is a know fact that *some* of these people that have been locked up since as long as 2001 are innocent. Don't get me wrong. There are also some real bonafide terrorists and other scumbags who deserve to locked up a lot longer, but what ever happened to the ideal of justice. having innocent men locked up forever because they were suspects just doesn't pass my smell test.
That's really all I have to gripe about as far as broken campaign promises. Some may say that I'm being naive or too nit picky since no politician in the history of anywhere has done everything they say they when scrambling for votes, but this time was supposed to be a little different and some of the policies passed don't give me warm and fuzzies when I take a closer look.
I didn't agree with the government taking over the controlling stake in GM: one of the 3 large car companies that is an American trademark and "too big to fail", as I don't like the idea of socialized capitalism. That aside the shenanigans that are going on over there now are disgusting. After gaining an ownership stake in GM they will be outsourcing jobs to China to save money! Makes perfect sense with a rising unemployment rate! There is also a disturbing lack of change in our foreign policy. It does look like we will be pulling out of Iraq pretty soon, but it would be nice if those troops actually got to go home instead of just packing up and moving to Afghanistan for SURGE PART 2: THE SEQUEL. I won't go too much into that as I already wrote a post on it.
Now I know Obama has a high approval rating, and before anyone gets too upset that I'm bashing some stuff that Obama is doing that I don't agree with I will state that it is not all bad. There are some policies that I think are a real positive, and If I leave any out you can feel free to add to this list via the comments section. I was a huge fan of the decision to reverse the ban on stem cell research. This research could hold the next breakthrough in medical science and has the potential to cure blindness, paralysis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, just to name a few. If United states led breakthroughs occur soon it could be a large part in creating a prosperous new sector in our struggling economy.
The equal pay act that was passed a few months ago is another policy that I feel is overall a positive one. I was actually very surprised when I found out how large the divide was between the wages that men made and the wages that women made for doing the same job in a lot of different sectors. It wasn't really made clear to me until the legislation was passed how prevalent it had been since, well forever, and equal pay for equal work is always a positive in my eyes.
The famed trip around the world that our new president made shortly after taking office was another positive action taken that I feel was a very important step to take for our country. Bush like him or hate him severely damaged foreign relations with a lot of the world, and restoring those relations and bringing back some of America's credibility is very important so that we may move forward from the past 8 years of policies and start anew. The president in some ways is a mascot for the country they preside over. Having one that is reviled across the globe is never really a great thing.
There is also some talk about cracking down on corporations who funnel profits to out of country subsidiaries as well as the corporations that have overseas tax shelters in the Bahamas. People are having to tighten their belts because of the economic downturn, and it is only fair that these corporations start actually paying their taxes for the money they earn instead of evading their responsibilities especially during the tough times.
While I feel like the intention of the media outlets may be to keep political coverage somewhat positive in the wake of so many people pouring their hopes and dreams into Barack Obama and hoping he is the one that can set some of the things right that have gone astray in this country, it is important to give some criticism where criticism is due so that we don't get caught up in a state of hopenosys.