Barack Obama ran for president as a man of the people, standing up to Wall Street as the global economy melted down in that fateful fall of 2008. He pushed a tax plan to soak the rich, ripped NAFTA for hurting the middle class and tore into John McCain for supporting a bankruptcy bill that sided with wealthy bankers "at the expense of hardworking Americans." Obama may not have run to the left of Samuel Gompers or Cesar Chavez, but it's not like you saw him on the campaign trail flanked by bankers from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. What inspired supporters who pushed him to his historic win was the sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, that walls were being torn down, that things were, for lack of a better or more specific term, changing.
Then he got elected.
What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.
This article by Rolling Stone is pretty long, but they go into great detail about the reasons why Obama's popularity continues to decline, specifically focusing on the promises he made while campaigning and his subsequent about face once he got into office. To this day he seems to say one thing then do another. This week has seen a lot of stories like this and I expect to see more as one of the most popular presidents in history continues to slip in the ratings. And it's not just one sided either, according to the gallop poll, he's currently the least popular president in history within the first year of their presidency. That's a very short time to go from most popular to least. Amazing. Obama still has 3 years in office and he could turn it around. Or he could continue to do more damage than he's already done. What do you think will happen?
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