The Breakup

Okay it’s time to do this. I’ve been putting it off for days now but I have to just face facts.

Barack, I’m just not this person anymore.

I don’t mean the guy with all the buttons on his hat and his lapel and are those ear protectors? No, I mean the awestruck lady gasping next to him.

It’s so hard to write this. I feel so disloyal; I feel as though I’m writing for one of those left-wing websites I’ve abandoned, like Firedoglake or Daily Kos or, worse, like someone paid by Andrew Breitbart.

But it’s just time. I used to try to tell myself he was a pragmatist, threading his way though the dregs of Republican teabags, getting the best, the only, deal he could. But now I wonder. Why, for example, didn’t he invoke the 14th amendment and just raise the debt ceiling – especially since he seems quite a fan of executive power (witness Guantanamo, the prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, the Libyan action)? How could he give Boehner 98% of what he wanted, with no revenue increases? And how, then, could he agree to yet another recipe for gridlock: the “super-committee,” where, to get on it, you have to draw lines in the sand?

Why did he appoint the Simpson-Bowles commission and then ignore the results (like Bush and the 9/11 Commission)?

Was this, from that cold January day, just oratory?

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Was he ever the guy we thought he was? Or (I’m really sorry to even bring this up) is he really more like this?

It’s not a total breakup, of course. He’s still so much better than the alternatives; than his predecessor, of course, or Huntsman or Bachmann or Romney or, God save us, Perry.

But now I’m putting aside my childish awe. In his words, again:

[I now]understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.

Earn me back, Obama.

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