Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Obama 2012, Occupy Wall Street, and the Left

with 5 comments

by David

I attended an awesome Obama 2012 fundraiser on Thursday. I am a proud supporter (and occasional participant) of the Occupy Wall Street and broader Occupy movements. I see no inconsistency. The only really weird thing is that I’m Canadian, and thus my American wife needed to pay for my ticket to get in (to the fundraiser; the protests are free and open to the public).

I’m an Obama critic, from the left. I’m also an Obama supporter. Any president who cites Philip Roth when discussing the Jewish community has my vote (if I could vote). I have problems with some of Obama’s domestic and foreign policy. I also think he’s done an incredible job as president, after having been dealt a horrible hand by George W. Bush, including a failing economy, two mismanaged foreign wars, and an opposition dedicated to thwarting him without any regard to principle. I suspect my position is not that different from that of many of his staffers and campaign managers, not to mention his millions of supporters.

You can see all that has been accomplished in the video above. It’s an impressive display.

Sure, there’s a lot more to do. OWS will keep fighting. But we need president Obama on our side. Or we need a president Obama to move further along to our side. Because we know that as spineless as Mitt Romney is, he won’t move that way.

Now some of the far left insist that dangling that lunacy of the GOP as a tactic to justify voting for Obama is cheap strategy. And that the two parties are too similar. Well, frankly, they’re wrong. Despite what they may say, there are real and significant differences between the two parties, particularly on domestic policy, that are felt by poor and working class and middle class people on the ground. Felt by women and immigrants and gays and lesbians. Huge potential differences in terms of Supreme Court appointments. And it appears that since Mitt Romney doesn’t give a rats ass about foreign policy, there will likely be big differences there as well in the coming four years. Ron Paul’s libertarianism is both cruel and inefficient and would lead to disaster, even if some of his policies are good, but he can’t and won’t win the GOP nomination. And of course if Santorum or Newt somehow became president, that would be a national nightmare. The left really would be cutting off its nose to spite its face and committing political suicide if it did not back Barack Obama 100%. And it makes me angry when radicals don’t see this, and think that voting for Obama is somehow selling out the left, or picking to best of two evils. Because it really isn’t. I’m on the left. I don’t just oppose the GOP. I support Barack Obama. And not just because it’s the pragmatic thing to do, though that is part of it, for sure.

Because really this should be, and is, a positive campaign. Barack Obama has done a lot of good. And with a free hand in a second term, not having to worry about re-election, and hopefully with a more amenable congress, he can and will do a lot more good. And when he is re-elected, because I think he will be, the left should continue to offer critical support.I don’t always agree with Cornel West, but he did say something before the 2008 election that I thought made a lot of sense. He said that if/when Obama got elected, he would dance a great dance of joy (perhaps similar to Balky Bartokomous and Cousin Larry on Perfect Strangers, though he’d do it with Tavis Smiley). And then once Obama got into office, he would become his biggest critic, holding him to the highest standard possible. West has been true to his word. I haven’t always agreed with that criticism, but I admire his consistency here.

Criticism is good. But I don’t think the left should be unnecessarily critical of Obama. They (we) should support him when he is advocating for change that we believe him. But when he isn’t, or isn’t hard enough, we should try to move him, and congress, in the direction we want. Not give up on him. Because I do think that he, along with the American people, have the ability to make the country and the world better. I’m optimistic. Great things can and will happen. But we have to get there. 

So, if you’re American, donate some money to the Obama 2012 campaign. Volunteer. And make sure you and your friends get out and vote for Barack Obama in November. It’s the only right and rational thing to do, whether you’re a radical leftist, progressive, liberal, moderate, or even a sensible conservative. Si se puede. I’m in.


Written by David Weinfeld

February 18, 2012 at 10:17

5 Responses

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  1. […] – Some food for thought on Obama, his 2012 campaign and the American left. […]

  2. The ones bfeore the last one were pretty bad though. Unlike Cain, who dropped in the polls because of the smear machine, Perry’s drop in the polls appeared to have had more to do with his debate performances.Reply


    February 27, 2012 at 10:40

  3. We suolhd also probably establish a military presence along the border to prevent further invasion. The defense of our nation and citizens is the jurisdiction of our armed forces.


    February 27, 2012 at 16:42

  4. […] of choices and altruism, this brings me to my final plug, again for the good radicals and progressives of Occupy Wall Street and those for Obama 2012. This is not just because I think the drone-like monotony of the financial sector makes an ant […]

  5. I supported Obama in 2012 but I just don’t trust him anymore. He is as Cornel West puts it, the black mascot of Wall Street. Romney is more supported by Wall Street but Obama STILL has connections to Wall Street. That is unacceptable for me. I cannot vote for someone who is backed by the same institutions that led our economy to almost total collapse and have corrupted the country into a more extreme plutocracy and oligarchy. It’s become a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich… I will not give him any support. He has used drones to take out Al-Qaeda members worldwide. In Yemen, it is leading to more people joining Al-Qaeda. On the drug war? He did pass the Cocaine Fair Sentencing Act, but the overall policy remained the same. The promise of “change” is something people should not be deceived by… Clinton in 1992 said he would change Washington. In the ushering of Republicans into Congress in 1995 (half of the American population did not vote in that election) was on the motive of change. George W. Bush ran in 2000 on the motive of change (he made it worse). Obama did the same and the economy is a mess. The recovery isn’t really working as more people are poor than ever. It’s about People must field another candidate to challenge him. I would not vote for Obama and not for any Republican. I would vote for someone in the independent parties.

    Note to the author: The two parties are very similar in their base issues. Just read their platforms. They are backed by same corporations and others of the same wealthy elite. Just read OpenSecrets. I do agree that the left should be critical of Obama, but under no circumstance can they support him. He has become a tool of the establishment and must be thrown in the trash like George Bush. I do agree he has accomplished certain things, but those accomplishments are not significant compared to his service for the wealthy elite. The healthcare law was a giveaway to healthcare companies. Look on OpenCongress and you will find that the medical companies backed the Orwellian named “Affordable Care Act” which will in 2014 force people to get healthcare (otherwise they have to pay a fine…) but not make it universal, single-payer care. Another reason he cannot be supported is he is too much of a chicken. He hasn’t taken a strong stand on issues, he just likes to straddle both sides often. Yes, Osama Bin Laden was killed, but the action to kill him was in violation of the U.N. Charter ( Especially these two sections:
    – Article 33, Section 1: “The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.” (as they did not have to kill Osama Bin Laden, they could have captured him…)
    – Article 51: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security…” (as the Osama Bin Laden had not directly attacked the U.S. with an armed attack immediately previous to this event).


    March 18, 2012 at 20:20

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