power and pragmatism

In some ways it’s more painful to live under the Obama administration than under Bush. You seriously never thought you’d hear me say that, did you? It’s impossible, however, to avoid the conclusion, if you sit down and look at this botch of a health care bill – women and children thrown under the bus again – and the near-total-disaster of Copenhagen – saved only by the man himself arriving in his Tardis at the last possible moment and salvaging something, anything from the wreckage.

I had hoped for so much more. I don’t know what. Comprehensive, single-payer health insurance and a binding treaty on climate change, for a start. I know Obama is at heart a moderate, a reformer, one who believes in institutions and working through them. I don’t know whether I am that moderate any more. I held on through the tumultuous summer and fall but when he committed tens of thousands more troops to the war in Afghanistan – I almost wrote fresh troops but they won’t be fresh, they’ll be the same tiny minority of working-class people on their sixth or seventh tour – the president broke my heart.

I am not saying I have better options. I guess that’s my point. I let myself dream of better days, and now those days are here and they involve a difficult and disappointing set of compromises with the real world and its constraints, and I no longer even have the fire of my outrage to keep me warm. Paul Krugman, who is rather like Jeremy in his infuriating habit of being right about everything all the time, tells me to suck it up. “If you’ve fallen out of love with a politician, well, so what? You should just keep working for the things you believe in.”

No one is coming to the rescue. Time to grow up.

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