We were probably wrong to believe that he was a revolutionary candidate. But after 8 years of Bush who could blame us?

Obama ran as a centrist candidate with a radical message. His Healthcare plan even then was not what most Progressives would have agreed with. Single-Payer it definitely wasn’t. His economic plan was a wishy-washy amalgam of clean energy/regulating Wall Street/Re-negotiating NAFTA. After the debacle of the subprime mortgage meltdown, a proper economic plan would have involved a revamping of the financial system, a requirement that Congress institute stringent regulations on investment firms and eliminate the possibility of other bailouts because of a “too big to fail” status. But again Progressives bought it because the alternative was too dreadful to even contemplate. So they campaigned for the Land of Lincolner.

Now after more than 6 months in power, after the novelty has worn off, after months of “Yes We Can!” should have become “Yes Let’s Do It!”, we all realize that the person that we supported from near and far is really a centrist who plays a Progressive on TV.

Barack Obama is a middle-of-the-road, serial compromiser President. He will probably remain that way for the remainder of his term unless his voting base forces him to become something else. And so since he’s been in power, he’s enacted middle-of-the-road compromises:

1- Bailout of the banks when the banking system as it was shaped with its reward of speculation was the root cause of the crisis

2-A continuation of the US presence in Afghanistan that is less and less justifiable.

3-Indefinite detention of some Guantanamo prisoners

4-Bagram re-christened as the new Guantanamo

4-Continuous unquestioned support for Israel, even if in speeches there is some scolding

5-Now, a poorly presented, badly worded and overall incoherent healthcare plan that keeps the basic problem in place: the profit motive. 

Nobody should have to make a profit from the illness of others.

Healthcare is not a product like Nike tee-shirts or Snickers chocolate bars and sick people are not mere consumers. This is precisely why most industrialized nations have single-payer systems or some highly regulated private system (Switzerland for instance). Embedded in that is the recognition of the fact that every citizen is entitled to decent heathcare irrespective of their financial worth. There is also a recognition of the fact that we cannot pretend to be simply buying a healthcare product when we are in the dizzying, worried, anxious, scared state most people are in when they walk into a hospital.

The profit motive is the elephant in the room of the healthcare debate. 

But Senate and congressional Democrats, many of the ones (like California’s Henry Waxman) who believe in single-payer, say they don’t have the votes to pass single-payer so they took it off the table. They’re not even sure they have the votes to pass a bill with the Public Option. “Then get the votes!”, one is almost tempted to shout. What happened to fighting for what is right? Who said “Change we can believe in” was easy? Why vote for officials who only settle for the possible and never dare to even entertain a belief in what at first glance appears impossible? What happened to the America that saw a shining Republic through the barrel of an 18th century English cannon? what happened to the courage that saw the Voting Rights Acts through the racist eyes of a Ku Klux Klan hood? What about the 40-hour work week? universal suffrage? None of those things seemed possible at first. The congressmen, senators and citizens of those days didn’t have the votes. But they fought for the votes. They lobbied, they bargained, they argued, many died. What happened to that spirit?

Some of us believed that “Yes We Can!” wasn’t just a campaign slogan.