Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chickenssss Come Home to Roost

Okay, I chickened out. My original NSFW title for this post was going to be "Chickenshit Comes Home to Roost." It seems like an obvious phrase, but as far as I can tell from Google, no one else seems to have used it. And it occurred to me right after I watched this video clip (via):

Not because Will Phillips is chickenshit -- far from it. To refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance in your Arkansas classroom because it's not true until everyone is free and equal, until same-sex couples in America can marry, even with supportive parents, takes a lot of courage. Parents can only protect you from so much, and there are teachers and fellow students who'll get in all the licks they can.

No, it's because President Obama is chickenshit -- not just on same-sex marriage, where he misrepresents the issue anyway, but on just about everything. And his supporters encourage him. Oh, he can't do this and he can't do that because the Republicans will call him names. They call him names anyway. The media will pillory him. They pillory him anyway. His poll numbers will drop. They're dropping anyway, and precisely because of his cowardice. He might lose in 2012, and then he'll lose the chance to do anything good. He may well lose in 2012 anyway, and he won't have done anything good; even if he wins, he still won't do anything good, and he'll have plenty of excuses for that too.
Will Phillips is exactly right: the President has a "bully pulpit," but he refuses to use it. Has he said anything since he was elected that wasn't cleared with focus groups, run through the poll-meter, and stripped of any substantive content -- has he said anything that took any kind of chance? Not that I've heard; certainly not the big-ticket speeches, the Inaugural, the speech on the Middle East, the Nobel Prize address, and all the rest. It doesn't matter, you see, whether the things you say from that pulpit win adulation or agreement, or lead to legislation passing in the Congress. It matters that you say the truth as you see it, and damn the torpedoes.

Now, I have no real use for Teddy Roosevelt, who was a vicious, racist, bloodthirsty pig. I don't suppose his speeches were really any more daring than Obama's. I'm talking not about TR, or Obama, but about what they aren't. And every time I hear Obama speak nowadays, I'm struck all over again by what a poor speaker he is, pointy finger and all. Where, oh where, did his fans get the idea that he was anything but a hack?

It's ironic, with all the media blabber about the President of the US being the most powerful person on earth, and then all the media blabber about how he's hamstrung by political pressure and necessity so he can't really do anything. It's not that there aren't limits on his power; of course there are. It's not that he can't do everything he'd like to do; of course he can't. It's that he won't do anything, for fear of ... of what? Fear that Rahm Emmanuel will call him a pussy? Deal with it. Fear that Rahm will break his fingers? I really don't think there's much danger of it, but think of the press on that.

A ten-year-old boy in Arkansas said what he thought was right, even though it might get him laughed at, called a fag, and maybe even beaten up. That makes him worth a dozen President Obamas, who isn't worth chickenshit. Especially since we all know now that Obama really cares as much about equality or justice as George W. Bush did.