TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT: ‘George Clooney, President Obama & The Loyal Voice of Dissent’…by Jim Stiles

Recently a quotation from George Clooney made the rounds on facebook. Every Democrat worth his liberal-leaning salt was running this admonition from the popular actor. In part he said:

“I’m disillusioned with the people who are disillusioned with Obama, quite honestly, I am. Democrats eat their own.  Democrats find singular issues and go, ‘Well I didn’t get everything I wanted.’  I’m a firm believer in sticking by and sticking up for, the people whom you’ve elected.”

It sounds a lot like the old right wing slogan, ‘My Country…Love it or leave it.” It implies that to disagree with your own party and to question its commitment to basic ideas and beliefs is not only disloyal and inappropriate but tantamount to treason.
Progressives love to mock Rush Limbaugh’s followers and took special glee, years ago, when Limbaugh was revealed to have a serious addiction to drugs. His followers, who call themselves “dittoheads,” dutifully found forgiveness for their flawed radio guru, a concession they would not have likely been able to bestow on a Democrat.
Conversely, liberals were downright joyous. To them, the blind allegiance to the talk show host exposed a serious flaw in the listeners’ conservative idealism. It revealed a partisan intractability that went far beyond anything resembling an ideological dedication.
Now the tables are turned. President Obama came to the office with a boast to “change the world.” It was his promise, not a declaration that was forced upon him.  Our expectations were grounded in his assurances. Consequently, the disappointment has been profound and the negative commentary entirely justified.
The president’s most faithful followers–those who give new meaning to “blind allegiance”—lashed out at his critics, especially when objections came from the Left.  Some questioned their loyalty to the President or the Democratic Party. At other times, the critics were simply moved to the margins and ignored.
But the fact is, the knee-jerk supporters are the ones who do the president the greatest disservice of all. They’re defending him for all the wrong reasons.
None of us has any idea what kinds of pressures fall upon a president, once he assumes the office. Surely they are staggering and there will always be efforts from other powerful men and women, with agendas of their own, to alter the course a president has set for himself and the country.
I’d like to believe that this is what happened to President Obama–that he assumed the office with every intention of “changing the world,” but hit a wall of opposition from the same old tired men and women, and perennial government agencies, and greedy Wall Street influences that ultimately caused him to back away from the Dream we all thought he would pursue.
So…to everyone who wanted him to chase that Dream, you tell me—is it better to shrug and fall back on the same old excuses that we (and they) always embrace when our leaders disappoint us? Is it better to say:

1) “Well, he’s better than Bush.”
2) “It’s the Republicans’ fault.”
3) “He’s not perfect, but at least he’s a Democrat.”
4) “He IS a good speaker though.”
5) “I like his family.”
6) “He’s still better than Bush (encore).”

How will that kind of equivocation ever inspire President Obama to pursue the courage of his convictions? How will letting him off the hook possibly send the message that we are disappointed and that we want him to take the country in a different direction?  Why isn’t holding his feet to the fire not only preferable but downright imperative?
The office of the president has got to be a lonely place, and very isolated. When you are virtually surrounded by an administration hell-bent on protecting the president from bad news, it’s all the more reason for the country to speak loudly and clearly.

President Obama can take it. I like President Obama. I think he is a decent man. He’s brilliant and witty and surely the guy can imitate Al Green better than anybody I know. I want him to succeed.  And I think deep down, he still sees the Big Picture. I think he’s wise enough to separate hysterical and loathsome attacks from constructive criticism. John Kennedy, during his short 1000 Days in office, was known to seek a different opinion before he made a decision, and he had to make some tough ones.
President Obama deserves to hear from us, no matter how much we disagree with him. As long as he understands that our voices only reflect what we hope is best for the country and for his presidency, we should not be afraid, nor should any of us be stifled, to express those objections.

To read Jim’s other “Take it or Leave it” articles from this issue, follow these links:

The 99% (We Don\’t Like Each Other Very Much…)

Overpopulation…the Windex/Easy Off Solution

Moab U, Tar Sands, and Sustainability

Don’t forget the Zephyr ads! All links are hot!

13 comments for “TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT: ‘George Clooney, President Obama & The Loyal Voice of Dissent’…by Jim Stiles

  1. Janie Tuft
    February 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I totally agree with your article, and how difficult it is for Obama to accomplish much with what he is up against. I respect him as the leader of our nation, and only wish that he had more cooperation from senate and congress.

  2. February 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Yeah, Obama met the good ole’ boys in the “back room” after he was elected, then realized the full scope of consensus. He probably realized this going in but thought he may be able to sway them more to his terms. They all must conform to a large degree if they want to get that second term – or live to enjoy their great retirement. Nice to see intelligence in a president. Al C.

  3. Melinda Price Wiltshire
    February 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    This is fair and balanced journalism. I like it.

  4. jim stiles
    February 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    That’s the problem Al..they ALL want a second term, even if it goes against the reasons they ran in the first place. And Janie, while I have little or no use for the Tea Party, you can’t blame them entirely for Obama’s failures. Much of it he did all by himself (or to be more precise, did NOT do)

  5. John Tymochko
    February 2, 2012 at 10:32 am

    The notion that you can’t disagree with the President, vociferously even … wagging your finger even, without disrespecting the office or the institutions of our governance would be anathema to Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Franklin, etc. The President is an elected official, no more and no less. His thought and action should be judged in the same manner as any other citizen. If anything I would argue that since he holds a position by the will of the people there is a greater obligation to let him know bluntly and directly if there is disagreement. It is the President who “owes” respect to the citizens, not the other way around.

  6. Janie Tuft
    February 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Okay, I can buy that. JT

  7. Becky Morton
    February 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I agree that we need to hold his feet to the fire. First, let’s get him elected however. I did not watch the Super Bowl, but I understand that Clint Eastwood said “It’s half-time in America”. What we need is a good half-time coach that could inspire Obama to go out there & live up to the dream that he started.

  8. stan van houcke
    March 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    jim, you write:

    ‘I’d like to believe that this is what happened to President Obama–that he assumed the office with every intention of “changing the world,” but hit a wall of opposition from the same old tired men and women, and perennial government agencies, and greedy Wall Street influences that ultimately caused him to back away from the Dream we all thought he would pursue.’

    you would like to believe that? but why? the second largest donation for his campaign fund came from goldman sachs, he has been financially supported by the rich. any presidential candidate has to go through all kind of filters before the real power decides he is a good candidate. for the people who pay him of course. everything in the usa is decided by money. the rest is branding and packaging. so, why would you like to believe something else? the whole system is corrupt, and the question is: when there is so much corruption why not say so?

  9. Art Paolini
    March 6, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Mr. Clooney used the assassination of Bin Laden as a reason to support President Obama. That episode is one example of why I do not support him very strongly. The oath of office for the presidency is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Instead, he has repeatedly undermined it, by unilateral military action in Libya, or international death squads targeting U.S. citizens and others, to not really trying very hard to close Gitmo. His actions represent a man who cares only for retaining power, now that he has it. Don’t get me wrong, I would probably do the same, but I would never consider myself qualified for the presidency.

  10. eferg
    March 14, 2012 at 7:46 am

    This article respresents another goob that supports probably the dumbest President ever, Obama. Actually I don’t call him President , I have higher standards. I see here that some people think that he is so intelligent that they too probably think there are 57 states in this country… and that a baby is “punishment”.

    Actually I did try to like Obama in the beginning. He has a voice people like to hear, but I am not one of those brain washed. I actually listen. And I found nothing credible in his speeches.

    Surely Satan is living in the Democrat liberals camp. I feel the Democrat Party has become the new Nazis.

  11. JFW
    March 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Yeah, yeah, I’ll agree with you up to the point where the spineless undecideds decide that it’s okay to stick another conservatard in the whitehouse. I think Clooney is well aware of the failings of the current administration and equally aware of what is at stake if it fails to achieve reelection. With that in mind I’m all for using any play from the other side’s playbook against them. If there ever was a case of the end justifying the means…You know damn well that most of the repug base finds Romney lacking in almost every respect but when it comes time to inflict more pain and degredation on the country they won’t hesitate to yank the lever for him. So fire up the democratic crowd with bully speeches like Clooney’s, whatever it takes is fine by me.

    And speaking of firing things up – I’m putting the finishing touches on my time machine and swear to holy god if one more person mentions the word NAZI I’m going to send them back to 1944 and dangle them over the pit for a year or so and then yank them back to the present to see if they’ve managed to scrounge up a few f*****g clues. And then I’ll drop kick them back to the dark ages at the height of the plague because that’s the kind of petty and vindictive bastard I am.

  12. bryan christensen
    May 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I am going to do any thing I can to keep him out of office for a second term,he just don’t deserve it. And I sure hope I am not alone.

  13. Nancy Bostick-Ebbert
    June 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Intellectually, we can all pick apart the President. There are things he has done that I do not entirely agree with or believe will be in our best interests overall. But I agree with his policies more than I disagree with them. There are over-riding issues for me that make even the war pale in comparison. Colorado with a 25% snowpack. Wyoming not far behind. Extreme weather. Genetically engineered plants that make money for Monsanto but are killing beneficial insects like, oh honeybees, which Einstein warned were essential to all life.

    After traveling to other countries during “better” economic times, it is clear to me that our hard times would be considered the high life in much of the world.

    The Commander in Chief can be no better than the ship he is sailing—there has been mutiny on deck for years and all at the cost of our standard of living. The pirates have been sailing our ship for a very long time and we have been under the illusion that we actually have a voice.

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