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Take Back Barack

It's time to reclaim the man we put in the White House
By JEFF INGLIS + DEIRDRE FULTON  |  December 19, 2008

081219_takebackbarack_main

Let's be honest: we didn't vote for the Barack Obama his campaign advertised. We didn't vote for an African-American man, nor for a US senator from Illinois, nor for a father, a husband, an activist, or a young politician.

We voted for the Barack Obama we fantasized — the progressive miracle worker. We voted for Change.

Read: Take Back Barack blog. By Jeff Inglis.

Millions of us stood up and shouted, handed out fliers, talked to our neighbors, donated hard-earned money, and drove people to the polls for Change. We screamed, hugged, kissed, and cried when we learned Change had come to America. We knew Change wouldn't come overnight, that it would take time, but we were excited that we had elected a man who was open to Change, who said he wanted to consider real people's needs while in the Oval Office. We eagerly awaited the first hints of Change, as the president-elect's transition developed.

And now, we have reason to worry that Change is not coming to America after all. For nearly two years we were encouraged to "Be the Change you want to see in America." It is now obvious that we have a ways to go toward Being that Change. And so does President-elect Barack Obama. And that, above all else, needs to Change.

It was not the Democratic base, nor the centrists, nor even the center-left, who put Obama where he is today. The progressive movement rose from near death and kept Obama alive in the primary, eventually proving stubborn enough to carry him to victory over the Establishment candidate. And then, in the general election, it was the progressives whose energy infected the nation, whose enthusiasm reminded longtime vote-the-ticket Dems that elections were about the future, and whose contributions, tiny as each individual one was, funded the revolution of Change that swept Obama into the Oval Office.

Now is the time to hold him accountable — even before he takes the oath of office — because once he's in there, he will be surrounded by the trappings of Power, the machinery of State, and the inertia of Bureaucracy. If we are to reach him, we must act quickly. Though he has shown us that he is not who we thought he was (for the record, we did know he wasn't the Messiah), he has also, fortunately, shown us the way to keeping him — and our country — on the right track.

What's gone wrong
Obama's fall from progressive grace goes beyond the campaign-season disappointment of his support for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the warrantless-wiretapping law strongly opposed by liberal activists and civil libertarians.

Progressives have a variety of objections, largely relating to flip-flops (warrantless wiretapping), climbdowns (withdrawal from Iraq and taxing the ultra-rich), and betrayals (keeping Bushies like Robert Gates and Michael Hayden anywhere near the halls of power). Many also object to a return of Clintonites, who while certainly Democrats, were hardly progressives in many areas.

While a CNN poll shows that 80 percent of Americans approve of Obama's transition so far, some progressives are unconvinced. They objected loudly enough to warrant a Huffington Post talking-to from legendary Democratic strategist (and Obama advisor) Steve Hildebrand.

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Related: Does not compute, An Obama confidant on the surge in Afghanistan, Trying times for Obama, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Barack Obama, Barack Obama, elections,  More more >
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21 Comments / Add Comment

Jeff Inglis

Please be sure to visit the Take Back Barack blog - at thePhoenix.com/TakeBackBarack - for regular updates to this story!

Posted: December 17 2008 at 4:08 PM

Dr Irish

Here's the problem. We knew this before the vote. Obama voters just deluded yourselves. As far as Bush's "destructive" foreign policy:

1. 9/11 changed everything and 80 senators voted to authorize war in a very "bipartisan" vote. The exact "spirit of bipartisanship" that Obama has promised. Look for more of the same.

2. Libya gave up its weapons of mass destruction;

3. Syria is out of Lebanon;

4. Saddam and the Taliban are gone;

5. The vast, vast majority of those killed in Iraq and Afganistan were killed by the same people that brought us 9/11 or those that share the ideology. There is a war going on within Islam to decide whether it is a religion of peace or a violent ideology. Bush didnt create this problem.

I disagree with the handling of the war, but its not a war that Bush cowboyed on his own and there was no "politicized intelligence" as agreed to by many panels and reports. It was bipartisanship pure and simple.

Posted: December 18 2008 at 2:45 PM

joanie

Please - take him back. No re-stocking fees.

Posted: December 18 2008 at 2:48 PM

timeloop13

Ironically, this was taken from the "What's Gone Wrong" section:

"While a CNN poll shows that 80 percent of Americans approve of Obama's transition so far, some progressives are unconvinced."

Wait a second, I was told that Bush was a bad President because he only appealed to a small base.  So Obama gets an 80% approval for the transition he is making and that is also a bad thing?

Okay, I get it...it's alright to appeal to a select few, as long as it caters to your ideology. 

Now excuse me while I let out a cough that may sound a lot like the word "hypocrite".

Posted: December 18 2008 at 3:36 PM

bignosekate

"Change has come to America" - Barack Hussein Obama... Bwahahahahaha!!!

Posted: December 18 2008 at 3:53 PM

Blue Granite

Hildebrand may be a tool but the left are freaking morons.

Obama's speeches and campaign rhetoric may have been progressive but his resume and voting record have always been solidly moderate.

All campaign season long progressives rammed this guy who didn't even reflect their own values down the rest of our throats. I can't help but laugh as you all finally catch on.

In the next Presidential Primary I hope somebody on the left actually does the research and supports the candidate who truly reflects progressive values, instead of following the guy with the pretty speeches and the rock star following like a million blind sheep.

Oh, and heads up? The Change mantra should have been the first red flag. Nobody changes DC. They either play ball (hopefully with some integrity) or they are sent back to the farm team.

Posted: December 18 2008 at 4:11 PM

Colorado Shu

Dr. Irish,

 What would you have us do...back McCain and a continuation of spending $12 billion/month in the wrong battlezone? Afghanistan and Pakistan were clearly harboring the leaders of 911 and Bush & Co. missed a critical opportunity to galvanize an emphatically patriotic nation in the aftermath of 911. Instead they stormed off to liberate some oil reserves and finish dad's unfinished business, turned a blind eye as our economy began to tank and are now working overtime to make sure the oil and gas industry can dip their straws into every parcel of public land that they desire. Heck, even Buddy Cianci would've governed with more competence than Cheney, er uh, Bush.

 

Posted: December 18 2008 at 4:49 PM

Grim Reaper

The fact that you believed this Chicago hack proves that you are a bunch of sheep.  In Chicago, our motto is, "never trust a Chicago pol".  Now, the rest of you have learned that lesson.  Barry/Blago, Blago/Barry, it's all part of the same cesspool.

Posted: December 18 2008 at 4:52 PM

Frank White

This is the most outrageously racist thing I have ever heard!! You want to "take back" a black man! I am going to report this to the UN commison on hate speach and race crimes! Hopefully your paper will be shut down and no longer allowed to spew this vile hate!

Posted: December 18 2008 at 5:04 PM

cmugirl

 As much as I hate to say this, with our country in dire need, there were many, many of us (more than 18 million) who tried to tell you, but you refused to listen to us - calling us "sore losers" and telling us to "get over it" - but I will say it now - WE TOLD YOU SO!  Anyone who is actually surprised is delusional or refused to pay attention.

 This man never called himself a Democrat (never mentioned the word in his acceptance speech at the convention). We (the base of the party) did not want someone to be a Republican-lite - we wanted a Democrat to push for Democratic ideals and values.

Too late now.  Hopefully, he can be pushed, but nothing in his history indicates that he will do so.  He wanted the presidency for himself-  it was never about all of us.  Unfortunately, we all will suffer if he can't get it together, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted: December 18 2008 at 5:17 PM
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