Originally published in HuffingtonPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aquila-rivers/why-i-a-democrat-voted-fo_b_...
Born and raised in MA, I’ve typically voted Democrat in every election except for city council because Cambridge has proportional representation and the municipal elections are not based on party. The Massachusetts Special Election was the first time I voted Republican for a state-wide campaign. I did it for two reasons: protest and to send a message to President Obama and his White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel.
We want a change, but we want the change that we voted for in 2008. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on December 18, 2009, Emanuel told Jonathan Weisman that he was not worried about appeasing the base. My message to Mr. Emanuel is: don’t ignore your base or they will not turn out to vote — or, quite frankly, they will vote the other way out of protest.
Obama abandoned his efforts to go after Wall Street and, once elected, he moved from the left to the middle. Come to think of it, once he officially got the Democratic nomination, he moved from the left to the middle, and then once he was elected, he skewed more to the right. I realize that many progressives keep saying “Give him more time,” and many are writing articles that he’s doing too much at once — but that’s not the problem. It’s not about giving him more time; it’s that almost all of his decisions are in the opposite direction of his campaign promises. Obama has…
*Given a blank check of TARP funds to the Wall Street bankers and Big Banks, which started off with Henry Paulson under Bush. Maybe there’s nothing he could do about that from the past, but going forward he can set an executive order to reverse some of those decisions or urge his Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, to progressively bring back the regulations that were deregulated under Bill Clinton and weakened under George Bush
*Conceded to Big Pharma, and stopped his efforts behind closed doors to get into a real deal regarding affordable prescription drugs
*Told the Banks/Wall Street that they could have as much financial support that they needed, but when the auto industry came seeking help, fired the CEO of GM and told the Big Three car dealerships (Ford/Chrysler/GM) that they need to come with a concrete plan on how they will build efficient cars and then they would consider giving them money – that’s actually great! However, he should have also given the same instructions to the financial industry when they came crawling to Congress for money
*Abandoned the Public Option, and only gave minimal support for it – when he called for “healthcare reform as a necessity,” he didn’t push hard enough for the Public Option, which ended up dying once it reached the Senate. A president has the power of the veto – what he should have done was tell Congress that he will veto any bill that did not have a Public Option, and he should use reconciliation to pass it, whereas all he needs is 51 votes, and not 60
*Fired his White House Counsel for actually taking Obama’s written plan from the campaign to close Gitmo and executed what Obama campaigned on, but Obama decides to concede to Dick Cheney, and Gitmo wasn’t closed, instead Obama fires the person that he hired to execute his campaign promise – go figure, huh?
*Tim Geithner and Larry Summers have been bought out by Golden-Sachs, and what they’re doing right now is writing regulation that will favor Wall Street, not Main Street – now I ask you, how is that “change”? The populist message that Obama campaigned on was essentially supposed to be executed through Larry Summers, and he hasn’t done that at all. Instead, Summers has embraced former Secretary of State Henry Paulson’s idea that the economy is rough shape, and there’s only so little the Administration can do.
*People are still suffering from bad mortgages and that has yet to be addressed because both of Obama’s plans have failed on separate occasions. Early into his administration, Obama touted a mortgage plan that economists John D. Geanakoplos and Susan P. Koniak predicted would fail, explaining why it would fail in a March 4, 2009 article published in the New York Times, and in mid November, their predictions rang true.
When we vote our elected officials into office, we need to challenge them on the good and bad. When they move away, we pressure them to hold to their campaign promises and when they do the right thing, we say thank you.
My vote for Brown was not in support of Scott Brown, and although Coakley ran a weak campaign, I didn’t vote against her, but it was a vote against Emanuel and Obama for abandoning the progressive agenda that he campaigned on during the 2008 election. Do I think that Coakley would have served my state better if elected to the Senate? One has to wonder, however, she didn’t come across as if she wanted the job, and acted as if she had it in the bag. In addition, she flip flopped in the debates, lacked a lot of detail in her speeches, and she had 15 lobbyists from the healthcare industry heavily influencing her campaign. Currently, the Democrat’s are already conceding left and right on key issues, therefore another Democrat in the Senate would not suffice. Senator-elect Brown seemed to want the job more; he was out there campaigning every day, and within his platform I agreed with about 4 or 5 of his agenda (I’m center left, politically).
What frustrates me the post regarding elected officials is when they get into office, they ignore their base. One thing I will give credit to Republican’s, they don’t ignore their supporters, and Obama needs to stop appeasing Republican’s who want to block his key initiatives and pass healthcare through reconciliation, where all he needs is 51 votes and not 60. That’s how Bush got all of his stuff through – you didn’t hear Bush talking about needing 60 Republicans to pass his agenda while stalling everything. Obama got elected on anti-Bush, but once he got into office, he’s embraced many of Bush’s policies – if we wanted another Bush in office, we would have elected McCain.
The last straw for me was when Obama came down to my campus on Sunday, touting his support for Coakley, but forgetting that he still hasn’t shown tough leadership against the party that wants to see him fail. Leadership is not unilateral disarmament where you put down your weapons and walk toward the enemy stating that you just want to negotiate while they spout vile lies about you, i.e. fake birth certificate and other fake lies that have been saying since he got elected. Also, mentioning that Coakley is someone that goes against the status quo and would be tough against special interests. Really? As Arianna Huffington stated in Countdown, the night of the election, Mr. President, you are the status quo. Also, your administration is bursting with special interests. How can we take your word that Coakley isn’t going to get into office and fall within the same gamesmanship that you have?
Thank you, Celinda Lake, for your interview with Brave New Films, and your research that you released regarding what would happen if Brown won. Everything in your research reflects exactly what I’ve felt as a former Obama supporter, and that is the feeling that his administration has ignored and abandoned the middle class. I’ve unregistered as a Democrat, and although I’m center left politically, I re-registered as an Independent, and don’t align myself with any party except the mad-as-hell party. Obama talks about all the things that he’s going to do, and his entourage of aides can echo it, but if it’s not followed up with action, they are just words. And if you continue to shelter bankers and Insurance Corporations, your base will know and you won’t get reelected in 2012.