I wrote this post during lunch today and came home to post it. But since I wrote it, the New York legislature passed a same-sex marriage law. This is a huge deal. Historic. The population of America where same-sex marriage is legal just doubled. I’m pretty much speechless right now. Wow.
Now the post I wrote earlier.
As Dana Milbank points out in his Sunday column (out Friday), Democrats are angry at President Obama. So are Republicans, so he must be doing something right. But he’s doing a lot wrong, too. And it’s a lot easier to point out what he’s doing wrong right now.
- Afghanistan: Pulling 10,000 troops out this year and 23,000 more by next summer strikes me as too little too late. Americans are tired of war. It’s been 10 years, so why wouldn’t they be? But more importantly, what good do we hope to do over there? Does anyone really think that the Taliban isn’t going to come out of its caves (or Pakistan or wherever else they went) and put Afghanistan right back where it was in 2001 when the last American leaves in 2014? Why keep spending lives and treasure (which we don’t have) prolonging it? What will we have – other than making it quite difficult for al Qaeda – to show for it? A corrupt government of a nation that really isn’t a coherent nation at all? No – it’s time to go now.
- Libya: You can read Krauthammer’s column today for an analysis of whether theLibya operation is legal or not. I do have to say, though, that the president’s excuse, saying that the Libya operation doesn’t really constitute hostilities is ridiculous. It’s the kind of statement that is just insulting to the intelligence of anyone with a pulse. Seventy Democrats voted to rebuke Obama and then 36 of them voted to cut off funding for the Libya operation.
- Debt Ceiling / Deficit Negotiations: Letting the increasingly ultra-right-wing Republicans walk all over him – and then stage a walkout – and his administration in the deficit/debt ceiling negotiations. The United States has never defaulted on its debt obligations it its history. Never. And it’s looking more and more like it might happen. The resulting economic chaos would make 2008 look like a mere ripple on the pond. But he is letting the Republicans set the agenda of these negotiations and isn’t calling them on walking out. The Republicans are being ridiculous, but so is the administration. The Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith, and Obama ought to say so – loudly – with concrete examples.
- Gay rights: Yes, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed and is being implemented, allowing gay service members to serve. The Defense of Marriage Act is still the law of the land, even if the Obama administration isn’t actively defending it. Boehner’s House of Representatives still is. He knows that people are “impatient” with him on same-sex marriage and full gay equality and is indicating that he’ll come out in support of same-sex marriage in his second term. We’re getting so close we can almost taste it. The idea of waiting until it’s politically acceptable is maddening. After all, how would you like being told to wait to gain equal rights?
There’s one major problem. There’s no one better than Obama out there. If anyone mounted a primary challenge to Obama, it would weaken him so much that a Republican could sneak away with the presidency next year. And the Republican Party has become so radicalized by the tea partiers that it really would be a disaster. So progressives have to be patient with Obama. What’s the alternative? There isn’t any.