The Placebo President

Many times during the Bush/Cheney co-presidency of illegalities, I would hear remarks from any number of friends. The comments were like these:

“Can you believe it? Definitely, this call for impeachment.”

“This is criminal, and it’ll bring them to their knees.”

Each new outrage was piled atop a heap of outrages until many of us simply had outrage fatigue and began counting down the days to reach the end of the worst administration–the most secretive, the most abusive, the most corrupt, the most duplicitous, hypocritical, treasonous, and destructive–in our history. Counting the days and counting on new leadership, the voters elected a Constitutional scholar, a man who pledged during his campaign to resurrect the rule of law. This required no political courage. It simply demanded that justice prevail.

Barack Obama entered DC, riding a hope train. Spirits soared all over the globe. Supporters were high with the drug of anticipation, an injection to heal a sick country. Almost immediately after taking the oath, Obama began to reject his promises.

Clearly, the Obama cure is just a placebo.

Investigating George Bush’s interrogation policy is a trip backwards for a president who wants to move forward. Continuing Bush’s warrantless surveillance is necessary. You know, national security. Resuming Guantanamo tribunals and holding some detainees indefinitely are, as well. Healthcare reform will amount to a little bit of nothing as the Insurance Lobby takes out a hit on Single Payer.

Some of us knew. We just knew. We knew because we’d arrived at the truth of politics in American–that anyone who really might deliver change would never receive the Democratic or Republican nomination. Because there is a rule, larger than the will of the people, mandating the survival of the status quo, U.S. corporatocracy and U.S. imperialism/Zionism. Some of us cast our vote for a Green or Independent, those who are considered “spoilers.” Our candidates lost and so did the world.

And, now, sitting on that heap of outrages that continues to mount is the man who misrepresented change, Barack Obama. Turns out he is a refined George Bush. Sure, there’s none of that struggle with grammar, tip-of-the-tongue syndrome, or nausea-inducing body language that defined the Decider from Texas. Obama is cool and smooth, the kind of egomaniac who would never embarrass us by attempting to give German Chancellor Angela Merkel a shoulder massage at the G8.

But he’s as aligned with Wall Street as George Bush is/was, and he’s just as deadly.

Our troops are being blown to bits and so are Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani civilians.

The wrong war has shifted slightly with a pullback from the urban areas of Iraq, but 130,000 troops and a 150,000-man mercenary army remain nearby, ready to aim and fire.

Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan is tragic in its inevitable outcome of more knocks on the door, followed by: “We regret to inform you.”

Drone attacks in Pakistan are inspiration for hatred of Americans as wedding parties and funeral processions explode.

And Obama’s “pressure” on Israel has AIPAC chuckling and winking.

This week, we learned of an alleged and not-very-shocking plot, considering its architect, Dick Cheney. A “secret” CIA Assassination Program. DickCo. capable of criminal maneuverings? My first thought was of Dr. Evil. Muhahahahahahaaa. Imagine the fun father/daughter bonding that Dick and Liz must have had, yukking it up over this one. Dennis Blair, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, agreed that the program shouldn’t be operational, but said that it wasn’t important for the CIA to provide information to Congress. And Congress is angry. The question is: Are they angry about the crime or because they weren’t allowed to give it their blessing?

Thinking about the answer makes me want to yawn. Because it is, well, so Congress as usual. But you can’t yawn when the change you can believe in is called revolution.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:








Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: