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    It's Our Anniversary, Barack's and Mine. I Hope it's not our Last


     January 20, 2012.  Today marks the beginning of Barack Obama's fourth year as president.  Three years ago today he stood out in the cold and said, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America."  He promised "an open government" and "a new beginning."   I've been around for many televised inaugurations, starting with JFK's when I was but a mere child/adult and, for me, this one equaled or might have even surpassed that one for good, old-fashioned stirring moments.

    In most circles this has probably gone unnoticed, but today is my anniversary, too.  Three years ago, on this exact day, because Barack Obama stirred my soul and gave me hope, I began writing this blog.  I didn't even think about actually doing it until around mid-morning, when it suddenly came to me that this was one of those portentous days that I shouldn't let go by unnoticed. 

    I was heady with joy but understandably reluctant to go whole hog predicting the end to all our troubles.  We were not anointing a savior, even though eight years of hell seemed finally to be at an end.  I was trying to remain calm; trying to keep in mind all of the promises made by politicians over the years that had never been kept, either because there had never been any intention or because they didn't know what the hell they were getting themselves into.

    I started it this way:

    Today is January 20, 2009. Inauguration day for Barack Obama, and it can't have come soon enough. It's true that he's been de facto president since November, 2008, when George W. Bush unofficially, without fanfare or hesitation, turned the job over to him, but today it became official. What a day it's been! They're estimating the crowds at 2 million strong, a sight unseen on any Presidential First Day in modern history.

    And ended it like this:

    I have no grand illusions about a rapid return to health for this country, just as I have no illusions about the impact my words will make in the overall scheme of things.  I'll admit that I'm  overwhelmed right now with the events of the day.  I'm feeling more than a little inarticulate and possibly even shy about expressing how it feels to have our country back.   It may not be the best day to start a blog after all.  But start it I have, and now I'll give this day over to the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, America's new president.  The bands are playing, the sun is setting and all's right with the world.   For now.

    On January 20, 2010, in the blog marking our mutual first anniversary, I wrote this about last year's blog:

    Oh, the joy in my heart as I wrote those words.  Take THAT, you lousy, bloated, insufferable faux-Capitalists.  The Sheriff's saddling up and the posse's not far behind.  We're off to save the ranches!  Widows and orphans, help is on the way!

    But lest you think I was totally naive, I also wrote:  'I have no grand illusions about a rapid return to health for this country.'   No, I had no grand illusions, but I did have dreams...[Ed: About the repetition of those words "grand illusions":  I didn't even notice until now that I had repeated them in two blogs a year apart. I must have seriously meant it.]   

    ...I keep reminding myself that the Good Man took on what amounted to a national nightmare.  There were no easy fixes, and nobody pretended there would be.  But I would have slept better this past year if only I had been able to see the president as a 'people person'.   Was he ever that?  I don't know.  We might have made him into our own images, taking much needed comfort in an illusion of our own making.  Maybe he is what he is.  But what is he?  After a full year of hosting him in The People's House we're no closer to knowing where he stands, or, more importantly, where he's going.

    Last year, on January 20, 2011, I wrote this:

    I knew this anniversary day was coming and that I would want to write about it, but what would I say as I stood beside Obama saying farewell to Year Two, heading into Year Three?  That all of my wishes came true?  That all of my fears were justified?  That nothing much has changed?  That I now know what kind of man my president is? 
    I can't say any of those things.   I am at times proud of my president, disappointed in him, enraged by his actions or inaction, fearful of the direction he is taking us.
    I'm impatient and feeling increasingly impotent as I'm forced to watch more and more jobless citizens give up, more and more home-owners become homeless, more and more of the sick and dying having to give over their lives to insurance company paper-pushers.  I want the wars to end.  I want the corporate giants to finally understand the consequences and do something about their destructive practices.  I want the GOP and certain members of the Democratic Party to fulfill their obligations to the citizenry--the entire citizenry--in a time of unparalleled crisis, and act like a responsible governing body.  I want our president to be a leader of the people.

    Are you sensing a trend here?  Are you thinking that my enthusiasm is taking a downhill slide and that this year should be the one where I finally admit I was wrong about the whole thing?  Well, think again.  After watching the clown shows known as the GOP debates over the past few months, I'm more determined than ever to help make this current president the next president of the United States.

    My God, did you see that mess last night?  Have you been watching the remaining Four Horsemen in action?  Is there a serious contender among them?  Would you really, sincerely want any one of them leading this country?  (If you can answer "yes" with a light heart and a straight face, I think you're in the wrong place.  I would point you to the right place, but I don't think there is one.)

    I'm still disappointed.  I'm still impatient.  The slow pace of change is maddening.  But there is no denying there is change in the air, either because of President Obama, in spite of him, or because of forces having nothing to do with him--take your pick--and I'm hanging in there for the long haul.  Finally, the people are awakening.  Our people.  We're on the move and we're not turning back.

    I'm with my party and my president and if I have to slap them upside the head once in a while to get their attention, there's a far better chance at success with them than with that other bunch.  (You know that bunch is trouble when the moderates in their party are ostracized and/or banished for thinking even slightly good thoughts; when the ones that remain feel the need to make it clear they're only going after the job as leader of this fair land to make it easier for the marauders to take over completely.)

    So that's where I am on this, our third anniversary.  Sure, I was hoping the honeymoon would never end and the gifts would keep on coming, but there it is.  Reality strikes.  It hasn't been all roses, but it hasn't been all thorns, either.  Progress has been made.  I'm looking forward to the year ahead, and I'm going to work hard to get Barack Obama re-elected.

    That's where I'm headed. Just so you know.

    In other news:  FactCheck looks at the truthiness of the GOP debate last night.  It's here.

    And I found this on their sidebar:

    Q: Does Obama plan to deny emergency brain surgery for patients over 70?
    A: No. A man claiming on a radio talk show to be a brain surgeon lied about that, and about a meeting of two associations of neurological surgeons, those associations say.

     See what we're up against?

    (NoteFriday Follies will return next week.  Crossposted at Ramona's Voices.)



    I haven't watched the GOP debates, in fact last night I went to a talk given by Melissa Harris-Perry instead and had a grand old time. The snippets of the debates that I have seen showcased audiences applauding the fact that denial of heath benefits could lead to a person's death and booing Fox shill Juan Williams (by his own target audience) for asking Newt a serious question that touched on race.  Both audiences are part of the base of the modern GOP. There is no way that I can stay home on election day and there is no way I can vote for any GOP candidate. Put me down as voting for Obama.

    The enthusiasm for Ron Paul has been disheartening. I wonder if those who find Paul so attractive also found Reverend Jeremiah Wright a beacon of truth and demanded that Obama refuse to back done from supporting Rev. Wright? Both Paul and Wright were against the war, where was all the love for Wright? Perhaps the Paul love fest is just venting frustration.

    Harris-Perry is great, isn't she?  I'm glad she's getting her own show on MSNBC, if only for the weekend.  I watch UP with Chris Hayes every weekend and it's just an absolute gem of a political show.  I try not to miss it, but if I do I watch it on the internet.  I have a feeling Harris-Perry's show will be on my list, too.

    I don't know why I'm ever surprised at the GOPers, but last night I was astonished at the love for Gingrich.  Two standing ovations!  His ex-wife must be grinding her teeth this morning at how her attempt to show him for the snake he is backfired.  They love their Bad Boys!  Shoulda known.

    I don't worry about Ron Paul as much as I do Santorum.  Paul is going nowhere but Santorum could very well get the nomination.  There are no closet skeletons too dreadful to stop that bunch.  As I said, they hate moderation and love going for the jugular.  The thought of this country being in their hands for four years should be enough to energize even the most apolitical among us.  It's not about politics anymore, it's about our shaky future.

    I believe that you have so eloquently expressed the sentiment of many who share in our goal to retain and support President Obama.  

    I, for one, will never stop pondering the 'what ifs' of what might have been.  They include - what if when he took office the Repubs and their cohorts hadn't tanked the economy, got us into a faux war in Iraq and the tea party was still only a historical reference?  What if the goal of the right wasn't to attempt to ensure he was a one term President, but instead delivered the same respect, that for the most part previous P'sOTUS were delivered.  Ah, we can only mourn the fact that we will never know.

    I consider, even embrace, so much of what he and what we as a nation have needed to learn and survive so that we may move forward hopefully wiser, better equipped and without temerity. 

    Thanks for this post Ramona.  It's truly memorable and I'm so glad you posted it.

    Thanks, Aunt Sam.  You bring us some great what ifs.  They've made no bones about their rage against Obama.  They're willing to let the entire country go under just to make sure he won't get more than four years.  They may do it yet, and then what do we have?  They've made no plans for the future at all.  They had no idea how they might put people back to work.  There are no contingencies for the growing pockets of the poor.

    Their plan is to undo everything good that has been done, but then what?  They can't see beyond their own narrow, wrongheaded views on what's good for the country.  They think the country can run without taxes and without the support of the 1%.. when everyone with a brain knows it can't.  Even the 1% knows it's wrongheaded.  There are groups of them who are trying to do something about it, which seem ludicrous on the face of it.  Millionaires and billionaires begging congress to raise their taxes!

    My God, did you see that mess last night?  Have you been watching the remaining Four Horsemen in action?  Is there a serious contender among them?  Would you really, sincerely want any one of them leading this country?


    Oh I always read Ramona!


    And Vicey Versey, Richard!

    Very nice, Ramona. It has been a roller coaster ride. But like you, I think the tide is turning. 

    Heard a story about an office meeting today of the owners of a small business. One guy is an Obama hater, the others moderate Republicans, maybe a Democrat or two in the group. Someone said they couldn't stand Gingrich and it went on from there. But, it was much more subdued than before, with the hater being ignored. I took that as a good sign. The head guy actually said Obama had been good for their industry and that's what should be counted.


    Oxy, I've heard a few other people say the hatred for Obama seems to be waning -- or at least it's not on the front burner.  It could be because there's so much fodder nowadays with the GOP candidates, but I had to laugh when even Romney couldn't avoid saying something good about Obama's termwhen he was talking to Laura Ingraham


    INGRAHAM: Isn't that a hard argument to make if you're saying -- Okay, he inherited this recession, and he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, and now we're seeing some more jobs, but vote against him anyway?

    Isn't that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?

    ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? [laughter] It just happens to be the truth.... at some point it's going to get better, but I don't think President Obama's helping it.

    Happy Anniversary, Ramona.

    For all of my many problems with the President, I continue to support him.  Part of it is for a reason you mentioned -- that the Republicans are suggesting clowns and liars as alternatives.  I feel bad for well-meaning conservatives in this country.  Their party has failed to recruit them a real candidate.  I want to beat them, of course, but I feel they deserve to have us beat their best.

    The other thing, three years on, that you have to consider, is that the U.S. is not in a Depression.  I believe that Obama and Tim Geithner could have made choices that would have brought the U.S. (and the world) back to growth a lot faster.  I believe that faster U.S. growth would have alleviated the ongoing Euro Zone crisis (none of the countries that are in trouble with debt now were in trouble before the Great Recession).  But... we are not in a Depression, which was a very real possibility and the inevitable result of the conservative impulse to simply "let the economy fix itself."

    Of course, this is just the way conservatives talk, it's not how they govern.  George W. Bush, who is glaringly never mentioned in this campaign, sat in the White House without even having to worry about getting re-elected and he engineered the largest government economic intervention in history.  When push comes to shove and the shove is over a cliff, conservatives always go to the liberal playbook.  They just claim it's conservative when they're doing it.

    Again, happy anniversary!

    Thank you, Destor.  As I've said, I'm not always happy with Obama and his choices.  And sometimes I'm just baffled.  But he's the choice and I'm going with it. 

    I do think our frustration and our anger is finally getting through to him.  What it took was numbers he couldn't ignore.  When you have millions of voices singing the same righteous songs he's forced to put his Smart Hat on and pay attention. 

    Plus, the election is just months away.  Now's the time to come a'courtin'.

    I also maintain some hope that if we bring him the right Congress, that he might push the proverbial envelope a bit in term two.  He's got my vote at this point.  Not my money.  That goes to my son's college fund.  But he's got my vote.

    I think much of what has caused those on the Left to feel less than pleased with Obama and his choices over his first term was that he was a'courtin' the moderates, especially the independent moderates.

    I would also caution anyone from getting too excited about a I-don't-have-to-worry-about-getting-elected Obama tacking to a more intense lefty, progress agenda.  Aside from the fact that he is an incrementalist at heart, as head of the Democratic Party, his actions and decisions reflect upon all those Democrats who are concerned about getting elected.

    This is not to say he won't embrace a more liberal agenda in his second term and take a more progressive tone in his speeches.

    Good points, Trope.

    AT, I think one of Obama's main problems is that he honestly believes he's president of these entire United States.  That includes everybody, not just his base.  He sees the middle of the road as his only choice, which may be why he gets himself into so much trouble.  You can't be all things to all people and keep any of them happy. 

    He seems to understand the fix we're in only periodically, which isn't good enough when you're in the midst of a disaster.  I'm hoping he gets it during his second term and works harder at fixing our real woes.  Of course, I'm hoping he gets a second term. 

    Happy anniversary, Ramona! Two good things happened for me that day ... I just only knew about one of them. But I'm very glad you blog.

    Aww, thanks, Doc.  That means a lot.

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