It's been a rough couple of days for the O-godosphere (Obama's online cheerleaders). First he makes a political calculation to abandon public financing so that he can use his own online ATM (otherwise known as "small donors"). Then he capitulates on a reworked FISA bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday.
Obama is at least old enough and smart enough to know that his decisions must, of necessity, be political; that they are frequently the best-available and best-intended compromises; and that this is how the world works (more often than not). His young supporters do not know this.
Part of Obama's problem at the moment is that as much as he has romanced and wooed his
supporters, he has also been romanced and wooed by them. They are very
angry at him right now because they believed he was the "real deal" (aka not a politician), the change we can believe in, and the change we've been waiting for, even though the themes are not remotely close to his record since being elected to the U.S. Senate.
The majority of Obama's supporters are young and ignorant about the world in which we live and the nature of politics. It is not that they are idealistic. They are both idealistic and angry (temperamental immaturity) and swing wildly from extremes of love, adoration, and euphoria to hostility, aggression, and rage toward anything and anybody they perceive to be out of touch with the world as they want it to be. This includes politicians, political candidates of any party, government in general, Washington, D.C., the media, and literally anybody who stands in the way of progress as they define it.
For his part, Obama either truly did not know how naive his supporters really are or he took advantage of their naivete and made a political calculation: because they support him with their hearts and souls they would either not care about these decisions, or they would make appropriate justifications and rationalizations for the decisions. The more cynical among us might even believe that he doesn't care what his supporters think, since he has already raked-in abundant cash from them to run his election campaign.
Glenn Greenwald, however, reminds us that many people have hitched their wagons, dreams, hopes, and faith to Barack Obama to absurd and dangerous levels:
What had been a vicious assault on our Constitution, and corrupt complicity to conceal Bush lawbreaking, magically and instantaneously transformed into a perfectly understandable position, even a shrewd and commendable decision, that we should not only accept, but be grateful for as undertaken by Obama for our Own Good.
I myself am angry that Greenwald (one of just a handful of true progressives I actually trust and respect) failed to join other voices early on in the Democratic primaries about this very behavior. That he does it now is hopefully a reflection of his own wake-up call, after the devastation of Friday's FISA vote, though I don't pretend to know; nor do I much care. He is doing now what many of us did (and continue to do) by challenging the naive and ignorant:
Besides, even if Obama decided to support an imperfect bill, it's our duty to refrain from voicing any criticism of him, because the Only Thing That Matters is that Barack Obama be put in the Oval Office, and we must do anything and everything -- including remain silent when he embraces a full-scale assault on the Fourth Amendment and the rule of law -- because every goal is now subordinate to electing Barack Obama our new Leader.
Here, however, is the Piece de Resistance. I repost it here as a cri-de-coeur to all the angry young Obama supporters who seem to believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with unchecked hero-worship. There is. Time to grow up and become responsible citizens of the world instead of behaving like the petulant adolescents you have thus far been:
... No political leader merits uncritical devotion -- neither when they are running for office nor when they occupy it -- and there are few things more dangerous than announcing that you so deeply believe in the Core Goodness of a political leader, or that we face such extreme political crises that you trust and support whatever your Leader does, even when you don't understand it or think that it's wrong. ... that uncritical reverence is no more attractive or healthy when it's shifted to a new Leader.
The world we live in, the challenges we face, the messes we will be forced to clean up when George W. Bush leaves office aren't computer games that you can reset if you lose. They aren't popular reality shows like "Survivor" where participants/actors are voted-off the island when they don't behave according to a set of arcane and arbitrary make-believe rulz. This is real life, not actuality.