Okay, look. I believe that President Obama is doing the best he can in a very, very difficult position—and given that the poor guy is getting incessantly hammered from both (all) sides for doing his best in nearly-impossible-circumstances, it’s perfectly natural that he’s upset and grumpy about the fact that everyone keeps telling him what a shitty job he’s doing. I would be too. I have, in fact, been known to get huffed about that sort of thing in my own job, when it really seems like, based on feedback, there is no possible way to make people happy, because it’s really, really frustrating, and getting yelled at all the time without hearing that your constituents appreciate the hard work you’re doing is demoralizing. And if you care about your constituents, that makes it harder—because you’re trying, because you do, in fact, care—and then they holler at you that you’re a traitor and never really meant all those promises you made anyway. And, frankly, I fail to see why the President shouldn’t be allowed to be human, and have the same perfectly natural emotional reactions that any of us would have if we were in the same circumstances. The fact that President Obama listens to enough of his critics to even be frustrated by them is actually kind of noteworthy—I mean, we all know that GWB disallowed criticism (because it was “doubting” or “pessimistic”, or whatever) and regularly sacked people who questioned him, right?
Further, everyone who has worked for a government agency of any size must appreciate how incredibly difficult it is to make any kind of systems change—let alone meaningful changes that will have a long-term impact instead of being immediately reversed when the administration changes. Governments are slow. They have a lot of entrenched systems and a huge amount of institutional drag.
Plus, you know the major trend that Obama is trying to reverse? The one of increasing social and economic disparity that’s making the rich richer and the poor poorer, and further, making it increasingly difficult to jump that gap by any means (including education, hard work, and pretty much anything short of divine intervention)? That trend has been in place and steadily picking up steam since pretty much right after WWII. Yeah. That’s right. Over fifty years. If anyone I have ever met in my entire life is capable of reversing a major socio-economic trend that’s been barreling full steam ahead for fifty years after only two years in a position of power, I will personally give that person a flying unicorn dusted with fairly powder. With a diamond necklace.
AND. You know what else? That trend? The one that’s been going along for a long time and is pretty entrenched and supported by a whole lot of both obvious and subtle policies and laws and bullshit wrapped up in rhetoric about the “invisible hand of the free market” and “personal responsibility”? You know who benefits from that, right? The wealthy. You know what else? Those wealthy people are, in generally, also the decision-makers, the people in power—both in the corporate world and the political world. The very people who benefit, directly and indirectly, from the policies and trends that the President is trying to reverse, are the ones in the best position to resist changes and make things hard. Why should those people support his effort to fix things? Answer: they shouldn’t. They don’t. They’ll do everything in their power to keep things going in the same direction. And the President, not being an idiot, has got to understand this, and comprehend that creating long-term and meaningful change will have to be done through a long, long series of intermediate steps and gradual recruitment from the ranks of the established wealth-and-power elites. Because otherwise they’ll just tie his hands completely and make damned sure that any minor changes that do get made are immediately and completely obliterated by the next administration. So the President is forced into the distasteful and incredibly frustrating position of having to fight for every little change—which can only be achieved through compromise—while simultaneously getting howled at for being weak, and a sellout, and a backstabber to the progressive and liberal cause by one half of the people, and getting howled at for being a commie and a socialist and a bleeding-heart giving all the hard-working American tax dollars to lazy and undeserving poor people by the other half. And most of the people who have (and will) benefit from the things Obama has accomplished—like stimulus funding that brought thousands of dollars back to severely-cut social and homeless services, major changes in HUD and DOT policies, extended unemployment benefits, health care reform, consumer and student loan reform—aren’t paying enough attention to recognize the very real benefits that this administration has brought them. And many of those who do recognize the benefits aren’t expressing appreciation; they’re whinging about how it’s not enough.
And, in addition to all of this, there is a small and crazy but very very loud group of people who are bound and determined, regardless of any facts or evidence or their own self-interests, to rabidly resist anything that the President does, because they’re afraid that the world is changing. They may or may not be racists, per se (not that they’ll admit it if they are), but they’re scared, because a world in which a man who is not a white man can be the President is a world in which the automatic privileges of being white and/or male and/or straight may eventually not be automatic. And those people are probably more scared if the tiny and seemingly-inconsequential amount of privilege they receive is one of the few things they have left. So they’ll yell and scream and repeat rhetoric, because they’re freaked the hell out, and they don’t know what else to do, and all they have left are the petty benefits they get as part of the Good Ole’ Boys Club. And those people are infuriating and impossible to reason with, but even then, I would suggest that decent people at least try to have some tiny iota of compassion—because even though those people are being assholes, they’re still scared, and no one likes to be scared.
Let me be clear, now—I am not suggesting that the administration shouldn’t keep trying, or that they couldn’t have done more, shouldn’t keep trying to do better and be more aggressive. That’s not it. I, like a lot of people, really, really wanted this administration to usher in a sweeping and immediate tide of changes that would totally and completely erase the inequities in our county. I want DOMA repealed. I want Don’t Ask Don’t Tell junked. I want the wealthy to pay more taxes, I want housing and transportation costs to be part of household cost burden equations, and I want average transportation costs to be a required disclosure along with rental and/or mortgage costs. I want a lot of things that aren’t happening yet, and may not happen for a long time (perhaps never).
What I am saying is that I believe that Obama and his administration are doing the best they can to right an extremely difficult and entrenched series of wrongs, and I think everyone who is so fretfully outraged about what a terrible job he’s doing should consider reality-checking their expectations and try show some appreciation alongside rational constrictive criticism, rather than just hurling abuse. Okay? Come on, you guys. Don’t be an asshole. Obama is not as bad as GWB, and you know it, and things would be much worse if McCain was in charge. Be critical, fine, but don’t be a dick about it.
 “I want more services and better transit service! But only for me, not for people who I believe ‘don’t deserve it’ because they’re lazy, or stupid, or somehow different from me and therefore undeserving! I don’t want to pay more taxes! Why are you wasting so much money planning?! Why don’t I have a library near my house? Why are my taxes so high? Why doesn’t the city/county fix all the potholes on my street? I don’t want to pay more taxes! What do you mean the Sherriff’s office has to lay off deputies because revenue is down? That’s unsafe! I deserve better protection! Why are my taxes so high?”)