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Obama’s sterling reputation finally gets scrutiny

There are many reasons why we are here today but we need to acknowledge that Democrats had a huge part to play in this. I’m not referring to our razor thin margins in the house and senate that make it almost impossible for Democrats to pass anything no matter how hard they work or how good the intentions towards helping average Americans. If you need a non-Roe reason to vote this fall, abolishing the filibuster should be at the top of the list.

No, what I’m specifically referring to is the Democratic party’s decision to ignore the concerns of women and the working class in 2008. That’s when they fixed on a cynical strategy of using race to win the presidency and the scorched earth tactics that the Obama campaign used to capture the boomers.

Then Obama continued to use accusations of racism to mute all of his critics. At the same time he did next to nothing for women. Actually, it was worse than that. How many years did his PR team roll out that symbolic but powerless Lily Ledbetter act but bury Obama’s silence and inexcusable inaction on the Paycheck Fairness Act? Does anyone remember when he forced an age limit on Plan B because he was thinking about his daughters like some Arkansan patriarch?

How about when the “feminist in charge” in the Oval Office decided not to pursue codifying Roe or reproductive rights because they weren’t his legislative priority. Yeah, he really said that:

“As a candidate, Obama supported the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion.

His stance on the issue, as well as his decision to lift many restrictions on stem cell research, angered groups opposed to abortion, including many Catholic and other Christian religious groups.

Asked about the Freedom of Choice Act at Wednesday’s news conference, Obama said it “is not the highest legislative priority.

“My view on … abortion, I think, has been very consistent,” Obama said. “I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.”

There are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations,” he said. “I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.””

It’s very telling that Obama omitted that abortion and reproductive rights are an equality issue. Apparently, womens’ freedom is an issue that must be wrestled with, not an inalienable right that nature already gave us. Today, they are wrestling with their freedom in state after state. What a wonderful waste of time, money, and promising young womens’ lives. Yes, indeedy, you heard it straight from the mouth of the alleged champion of civil rights right up there with MLK Jr. Please spare me. “Injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere” didn’t trouble him a bit.

There is a lot of difficult stuff on Democrats’ shoulders this year. They are facing a headwind while walking up a mountain with chains around their feet. Congressional districts are gerrymandered, the party is appropriately diverse in policy opinion but that lack of homogeneity is working against mass action, and their razor thin margin makes it very difficult to combat a dangerously radical former Republican Party that has backing of paramilitary groups and an undemocratic agenda to lock themselves in power permanently by whatever means possible, impossible or illegal.

The Obama years locked Democrats into this when it ignored and underfunded the Democratic National Committee when the Republicans initiated an aggressive campaign to takeover over state houses everywhere. The response to state house takeovers was anemic at best. The party got consigned to Obama’s spare room of unused furniture.

Now, I’m not saying that Democrats are completely responsible for overturning Roe. They obviously weren’t the ones who wrote the opinions. Busting women down to second class status and setting in motion side effects that will affect everyone in the decades to come was not their fault directly. But we need to acknowledge that they let it happen when they jumped on Obama’s bandwagon and stampeded women to do the same because where else were they going to go to protect their rights – that Obama decided not to fight for? See quote above.

This is not picking on Democrats. This is to wake them up out of the spell they have been under since Obama decided to run for president. That cynical decision to harrass, threaten and ostracize Democrats, especially women Democrats who wanted to scrutinize Obama’s record and intent before anointing him president has very likely been a major contributing factor in where we are today. In fact, it was the Obama campaign’s repulsive use of sexism lurking in the Democrats’ own leadership and consultant class that has resulted in not just the loss of women’s bodily autonomy but will also ironically affect black women disproportionately.

And don’t tell me Hillary Clinton couldn’t have won in 2008. After the collapse of the financial markets, LIBOR teetered close to the edge, threatening to take the world into a Depression unlike anything we have seen since 1928, and Republicans let the Lehman Brothers collapse kick off a chain reaction of titanic proportions, even Dennis Kucinich could have won the White House.

I have always suspected that Obama was backed by the smartest guys in the rooms on Wall Street where women’s bonuses are not nearly at the same level as their male counterparts. They don’t care about women’s problems because what does that have to do with winning big at the global casino? These were the guys who set Obama’s agenda and at the top of their priority list was saving their asses from the financial catastrophe they caused without having to take a hair cut. And we know this because giving the keys to the treasury to Wall Street while ignoring average Americans and Main Street were the only things that Obama got done successfully. The ACA was originally Mitt Romney’s policy in Massachusetts, carefully rebranded as Obamacare but not lacking in any of the free market features that made it so attractive to Republicans.

I see a lot of cult faithful still flogging the unpardonably flawed ACA as Obama’s great achievement. But if you ever fell into the ditch between making too much money to get medicaid and too little money to get any healthcare policy subsidies at all like I did for a year, you would see the ACA for the lipstick on a pig that it is for many people. There was never any attempt to control costs and insurance policies are still expensive with high deductibles.

But omg the minute you criticize Obama’s abysmal record on womens’ issues, that ACA gets thrown in your face with a series of SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UPS!!!

It is past time to have a truth and reconciliation discussion about what happened in the Obama years and the party’s complicity in letting last Friday’s decision happen.

You can’t fix a problem until you identify what it is. In this case, it is the disgusting and damaging internal sexism lurking at the heart of the party.

Time to take it out and examine it and make a commitment to fixing it. That means giving Joe Manchin a few seconds to wrap his head around being shunned until he gets onboard like all the Democratic women in 2008 who were told, unbelievably and without any proof whatsoever, that Obama was a better feminist than Hillary Clinton. And if you didn’t believe that then you’re a racist.

Some of us could see this day coming from a mile away when the party decided to push Hillary out of the way in 2008 and break any covenant the party had with women and the working class. The foundations of the party crumble while women are encouraged to give up their fulfilling careers and go home and be full time mothers. By force if necessary. 2008 got us here and the party has a lot of soul searching to do.

Obama’s reputation benefits from being a president sandwiched between two of the worst presidents in American history. He looks amazing in comparison because he didn’t start a money sucking, life wasting unprovoked war or plot a coup. We know what the party of Bush and Trump thought about women’s equality and just assume that Obama wanted to do something about it. But his actual record is silent on the issue. Assumptions don’t make him a better president when half of his constituents were casually ignored. You can’t even say he had good intentions because he publicly announced that he had no intentions at all on the matter. And I don’t want to hear another word about how transformational he was while the smoking ruins of womens’ equality surround us for years to come.