Progressives Up In Arms Over Brand Obama's Insult

Barack Obama buttonsA year and a half after his November 4, 2008 election, the progressive left is, rightfully, up in arms over the lack of integrity President Barack Obama has shown across the gamut of burning contemporary political issues. These include, but are not limited to issues such as war, health care, secrecy, warrantless wiretapping, and environmental issues, among many others.

A healthy and flourishing representative democracy depends on an engaged citizenry standing up and demanding that their representatives represent them. President Obama said so himself at this year's Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas in his desperate plea to show progressive activists that he is, indeed "one of them." It does not take a political guru to understand that this was a desperate attempt to garner support from progressive Democrats for the 2010 elections, who, according to soundbites his Administration pulled together from The Rachel Maddow Show and included in the video address to the attendees at Netroots Nation, have fought so hard for that magical buzzword he used so loosely in 2008: change!

But, as much as Obama opportunistically attempts to appear as a great friend of the progressive left, his administration's disdain for the left has seeped out on multiple occasions. No one who has been paying attention to the remarks and policy pummeled out by the Obama Administration, then, should be surprised by the comments made on Tues., Aug. 10 by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that made a mockery of Obama's progressive base.

Gibbs Attacks the "Fringe Losers" of the Left

In his morning press briefing, Gibbs went into all-out attack-mode. "I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy ... They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon." As if the Canadian universal health care, something Obama used to vouch for, is something to scoff at. We could make the same point about cutting the Pentagon's bloated military budget, which is bankrupting the United States economy.

Gibbs went on to say these people "... wouldn't be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) was president." While this is a witty line, it's naive and silly. Kucinich is easily the most progressive member of either chamber of Congress, and nearly every progressive wishes there could be more courageous and outspoken politicians in Congress like him.

FireDogLake blog's Marcy Wheeler hit the nail on the head when she stated, "No matter how many mean names Gibbs calls hippies, the real issue is that he, the voice of the Obama Administration, appears totally clueless about why America isn't clapping louder about the Administration's ... 'successes.'" Other renowned progressive bloggers and writers shared their animus towards Gibbs' comments, including's Glenn Greenwald, FireDogLake's Jon Walker, FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher, and The Progressive Magazine's Matthew Rothschild.

Brand Obama

Without a doubt, these writers' sense of indignation is well-founded and the causes they push for are righteous. But expecting Obama to do much of anything on any of the day's burning political issues was, as outspoken Vietnam War veteran Will Williams, one of the veterans featured in the recently released documentary titled "The Good Soldier," said during the Jan. 2010 forum in Madison, Wisconsin titled The Left and Obama "....expecting too much...Obama is a politician."

JibJab, a digital entertainment studio based in Venice, California became famous after it released the video "This Land is Your Land," which poked fun at the 2004 Kerry-Bush campaign cycle, released another humorous video for the 2008 Obama-McCain campaign cycle titled "It's Time for Some Campaignin'." Both are obviously funny and light-hearted songs, but the latter actually has some fairly deep lyrics toward the end that should have resonated with voters more deeply in the run-up to the 2008 election: "Citizens gather from both far and near, for a ritual we practice every four years, when we promise you anything you want to hear ... We spend billions of dollars to get you to step up and cast your vote here, then we spin you around and poke you in the rear. Oh it's time for some campaignin'!"

It is a bit irrelevant that Obama promised many things to many different people during the campaign, for that's what politicians do during campaigns, and particularly during Presidential campaigns. What progressive critiques on the left are missing, including those of Hamsher, Wheeler, Rothschild, and Greenwald, is that Obama was never one of them, so it is impossible to say he ever "sold out." He was never "one of us."

In an article he wrote for, titled "Buying Brand Obama," Chris Hedges writes:

Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers ... It inoculates us from seeing that the old engines of corporate power and the vast military-industrial complex continue to plunder the country. Corporations, which control our politics, no longer produce products that are essentially different, but brands that are different.

Obama, who has become a global celebrity, was molded easily into a brand. He had almost no experience, other than two years in the Senate, lacked any moral core and could be painted as all things to all people. His brief Senate voting record was a miserable surrender to corporate interests. He voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He reauthorized the Patriot Act. He refused to support the single-payer health care bill HR676, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers (D-New York). He supported the death penalty. And he backed a class-action "reform" bill that was part of a large lobbying effort by financial firms. The law, known as the Class Action Fairness Act, would effectively shut down state courts as a venue to hear most class-action lawsuits and deny redress in many of the courts where these cases have a chance of defying powerful corporate challenges.

It is unsurprising, then, that Brand Obama won the "Product of the Year" award from the publication Advertising Age in 2008.

In closing, Hedges states, "The junk politics practiced by Obama is a consumer fraud. It is about performance. It is about lies. It is about keeping us in a perpetual state of childishness. But the longer we live in illusion, the worse reality will be when it finally shatters our fantasies ... This is the ultimate danger of the Obama Brand. It effectively masks the wanton internal destruction and theft being carried out by our corporate state."

The Administration's Comments are Extra Incentive to Hit the Ground Running

Citizens can continue to bemoan the fact that they thought Brand Obama would make us happier and our society more prosperous. Or we can come to terms with the fact that, like the stick of Extra Sugar-Free bubble gum that won't prevent cavities if one does not brush his teeth, Brand Obama will not create progressive social and political change unless the grassroots pressure him by the millions to do so.

Brand Obama will not foster change. The people united will. The scornful comments about the progressive left by Robert Gibbs and Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emmanuel should serve as fuel for pushing harder and pressuring the Administration to an even greater degree.


Where are our truth filled free press statesmen as drummers? By Dwight Baker August 11, 2010 Few and that means few in the free press are stating the truth of where We the People are in the swing of things. And regardless of what any might think or believe those truth filled free press statesmen as drummers are who set the cadence that we must adhere too and march along and they are needed more today than ever before in our history. WHY? We are a nation living on and filled with lies that have been told over and over again and some even believe those lies after being exposed to the truth but the lies told as the truth meets their ways of life better. And that is duplicity in motion and with that severe commotion among us as a one people who are being radically attacked by our foes who live among us will if not stopped in time be our final demise. Our foes revel in the telling then re-telling those lies to re-enforce their agenda of robbing us of our communed held wealth and in the end taking away our sovereignty as free women and men who have a rich paid for stake in our America. I believe that we may be in the first dark dreary days of morbidity. And that happens to me when nothing much at all seems to make sense. So where is the good news that tells of a day when accomplishments were more than those defeats that were repeated that laid at each persons feet begging them to give up give in you are a looser and your end is near. Now who might be immune to bad news like that today, I have looked around and have found none? There are bright signs on our American horizon that can work if only we can find those who will. Yet in the dark corners where deals are cut and men are set free that should be behind bars, their money stripped from their greedy hoarding hands put back in our treasury where it was stolen from, the stench of our soon death for doing nothing about those kinds of things scares me out of my skin. Then how about you? Do you long to hear the drums beat for our coming together as a one people in a one nation that has stood for far more right than wrong? Yes, the facts filled with truth of our warring empire out of control keeps me awake at night sometimes in deep cold sweats I wonder when our God is going to pull the plug on US in America. We have worked the job at hand and done a stellar job at doing. We the People made America what it is not the warring industrial complex or Wall Street or our aloof and out of tune with reality Politicians. The billionaires did not make America strong nor did the giant International Corporations that are so out of control today. The growth of America came from the willing minds and handy hearty hands that built for us our sovereign Nation. Yet today a vast number of our people are suffering from obvious abuse and neglect, little children are dying infected with disease, old folks worry on top of worry about their seed and where and when the axe will fall on them too. And the truth filled facts of those matters will scare the living hell out of any that can assemble all the bad things going on and then look out a few months from now and perceive where the end of that road might lead all of us. Is it a fact for you to hang your hat on that NO ONE CIVIL and RIGHTEOUSLY SANE is in charge of our Nations Checkbook? For me that hard to swallow fact has settled in and become a bad tune that is sang all the time. For you to hear that tune simply turn on about any news broadcast they play that tune 24-7. Seems all that do have the free press statesmen bully pulpit want to bring along others that will melt down the hard to swallow facts along with them and end up saying many words but none have a pure and righteous meaning to bring about the attention of those in charge that the change we all wanted has yet to produce one ounce of solace that we all might be able to sleep with peace at night. Thus where are those that can play the truth filled free press statesmen drums that summons all to get a real handle of where each one American lives. And to further realize that we are a one people and that division will only bring about shame, blame and the ultimate killer guilt in the end and along that path all will suffer for we have been divided by the foes that made a home among us, for only one purpose to rob us blind of our rich heritage and sovereignty. On a closing note--- I am not sure that any that has the ear of We the People will ever be allowed [by the mega media big bosses] to state the full fact filled truths of what is behind us and before us that would for some would cause them to finally come to attention and march to the drum beat with the civil and sane ones toward a good resolution for the dangers that surround us.

I protested against Obama (amongst a couple other issues) at the DNC, in Denver. I wasn't expecting anything good from his administration, but I was HOPE-ing things would CHANGE: I was wrong. Unfortunately, Brand Obama has been a BITTER disappointment. It's not what they say, it's how they vote and what they do. I favored McKinney and Kucinich.

Change, a$$, Fool me once shame on you for 2012 if the Dem's don't nominate Kucinich (or maybe Grayson) its McKinney all the way. She may be a fiesty b..well you know what but she'd make a good president, hey Teddy Roosevelt (who was a Republican go figure) was fiesty but did a lot of good for the people...Safe Food and Water Act, Sherman Anti-Trust Act, National Parks, was quite a Progressive. We all know what know supporting "someone you can have a beer with" or "he seems like such a nice and smart fellow" can get you.

I never knew it til I moved here that the Chicago "machine", as the dems here don't mind calling themselves, effects everybody in the state if Illinois. There's not even an demonstrative opposition from Republicans. They're nearly as swiftly going to jail as some of the busted Democratic bureaucrats. Well, who else is from Chicago? Yes, he's had little experience IN Chicago, having gone to the state senate, but he's had to deal with the machine back home in order to get anywhere. Take a look at the pres's roots: Daley in office since 1989; a 50 member city council, all but one Democrats, 39 of whom having started their service previous to 2000, one of whom started in 1969, another in '73. Chicago is great for self promotion, but somebody turned the lights out here, guys, a long time ago. Live here for more then a year and you'll see. I never thought it would effect a president. Where are the third parties please?

President Obama is George Bushs' flunky. We should have seen it coming! McCain didn't have a chance since Bush gave white men a bad name, beside the fact the the republican mafia tanked the economy. We should have realized after witnessing the theft of the presidency in 2000 with the aid of the supreme court that democracy was dead. Then a decade of non-stop plunder and crime as the systemic rape of the public interests unfolded before our eyes. The shift from rule of law to law of rule with nary a word from congress. The shameless killing and destruction of a foreign nation for the personal gain of the Bush royal family. The resurrection of the vile and repugnant act of torture. All this should have made us realize that fair elections in our country are fantasy. The lies of the Obama campaign compared to the acts of his administration clearly show him to be an extension of the former administration which he so vehemently protects. As long as secrecy condoned by the courts and agencies like the NSA , CIA, and F.B.I. exist there will be no real elections of any kind in the U.S.A. Now that Obama has given all men a bad name look for a woman to be the next puppet! Long live the King!!!!

It is the system that is useless not Obama. I for one support the man, and believe that he is genuine. At the same time I recognize that he is only human and he makes mistakes. He has been as truthful to his campaign as any man could be in his positions. This guy went into an office with absolutely no political connections and he still has managed to shift his weight around. I applaud him for his efforts.