Friday, August 12, 2011

A Former Obama Loyalist Writes Open Letter Expressing Disappointment

C. Frank Igwe, PhD

Any compromise on mere fundamentals is surrender. – Mohandas Gandhi

Mr. President, I remember.

I remember serving on your Media Rapid Response Team, and the hours spent pounding out responses to false attacks on you. I remember steering committee meetings on sweltering summer afternoons. I remember the cold October and November nights, when the bands between professor and student dissolved, as we all went door to door hanging campaign paraphernalia. I remember manning the polls, and the endless lines on election day. How can I forget the stream of elderly men and women in wheelchairs voting for the first time, because they believed? I remember hurriedly packing my bags, and driving four hours south later that evening, so that I could watch the election results come in with my father and my brother. I remember the stunned silence, at the midnight hour, when Keith Olbermann announced, “Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States.” I remember watching the lone tear make its way down my dad’s cheek.

Yes, Mr. President, I remember, and you owe me an explanation. You owe my dad an explanation. You owe ALL of your supporters an explanation.

Mr. President, please understand that I am writing out of character at the moment, because I try to live by the old Japanese credo:

“A man knows when you have done right by him. However, this good should never be raised or spoken of by you, because it is not your job to remind the man of what you have done…it is HIS job NEVER to forget.”

And so here I am, speaking for myself, for my family, and for tens of millions of other people I will never meet, because evidently Mr. President, you have forgotten the blood, sweat, and tears shed by all of us over the course of your 2008 campaign.

Mr. President, you have made one thing clear over your tenure in office: where politics and principle divide, you have consistently chosen what is politically expedient, even at the cost of willingly denouncing things you once enthusiastically accepted. I readily concede that there may be a myriad of top-secret factors that dictate the decisions and compromises you have made, but despite this, your supporters need to hear SOMETHING. Even if that “something” is as simple as: “there are things that I cannot provide details, but trust me when I say that I got the BEST deal possible for the Nation at this point and time”. Mr. President, we need you to tell us…something.

As it stands right now, all we see from you is compromise after compromise. While I fully understand the concept of compromise, I do not subscribe to a philosophy of “compromising unto death”.

President Bush is rightly criticized for ignoring a Daily Brief emblazoned with the title: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.”, and part of the castigation stems from the explicit nature of the warning. Similarly, Mr. President, you have been warned over and over again by Republicans of all ranks, that they want you to fail. RushLimbaugh pulled no punches: "The dirty little secret ... is that every Republican in this country wants Obama to fail, but none of them have the guts to say so; I am willing to say it.” Let’s be honest, there is even a television network dedicated to your demise!

Turn the cheek once, Mr. President. Turn it twice, if you must, but there are only so many cheeks to turn. After your enemies have been revealed as such, it becomes your solemn duty to crush and slay them faithfully. Politics is a contact sport, and you cannot have clean hands in this fight. The sad part is, after all these years, I still do not know what you stand for. I rooted so hard for you to succeed, that I allowed myself to be convinced by faithful members of the Democrat base that your capitulations were merely those of a Harvard educated lawyer thinking 10 steps ahead of the curve. Day by day, issue by issue, ground was ceded: Healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo, Wall Street regulation, cutting funding for heating oil for the poor, cutting funding for graduate education, failure to appoint Elizabeth Warren (or your numerous other nominees) during the congressional recess, the list continues.

For me, the moment of truth came with your compromise on the Bush tax cuts, which were set to expire last December. This was the moment, Mr. President, that YOU (and I do blame you) failed to rescue our country from the fiscal hell spawned by President Bush. By allowing the tax cuts to expire, you could have single handedly saved America a projected $4 trillion in the coming decade, and simultaneously saved us from a tanking stock market, and subsequent AA+ credit downgrade. This was the moment that you could have proved to be the courageous leader America desperately needed.

The use of “courageous” is pivotal, because “courage” has been described as “not the absence of fear, but the strength to do what is right in the face of this fear”.Instead of showing courage, you folded, and now you want to sell us the idea that “Republicans are holding the country hostage, because they won’t agree to revenue increases”. With all due respect, Mr. President, you insult our collective intelligence with that incomplete retelling of events leading to the debt ceiling brinksmanship fiasco. The reason? You were complicit in the hostage crisis, and YOU had the opportunity to shape the narrative with regards to the Bush tax cuts, but you decided to extend them, and thereby entrusted your fate to others. Fast forward a few months, and you effectively negotiated against yourself, with chips that you voluntarily gave to the Republican opposition. The Republicans are guilty of plenty, but they are true to their principles, and they have you as an unwitting, or possibly witting, accomplice.

And so, yes, this economy is now your economy, and unfortunately you will go down in history as the presiding President when America received its first ever credit rating downgrade. You chose to side with Wall Street over Main Street, and Wall Street burned you, while sitting on over $2 trillion that they refuse to spend to lubricate the economy. The wealth gap of African American and Latino families relative to their White counterparts has exploded, and the unemployment rate continues to be astronomical. Your Democrat base is frustrated, the Independents are seeking alternatives, while the Republicans are high-fiving.

Mr. President, you pride yourself on being a historian, and readily embrace the comparisons of Abraham Lincoln. As a fellow fan of history, please allow me to remind you that in fact, Lincoln is not remembered as much of a compromiser.Yes, he was a strong leader and a savior of the United States Government, but by no means was he a great compromiser. You see, in a lot of ways he was the very opposite of yourself. He employed some rhetoric of compromise, but none of the action. He understood that when times get tough, the tough get rough.

Mr. President, your greatest gift is not compromise, rather, it is the ability to move the masses with your oratory flourishes. With the unique bully pulpit of the presidency, and both chambers of Congress, you stood poised to present an agenda and have it swept through the legislative pipeline by sheer power of will, and a healthy dose of strong arming. Instead, you stood on the sideline, and watched your political capital fritter away. Mr. President, I will still vote for you in 2012, because the truth is I see no viable alternative, and I value the symbolism of having a Black face in the White House. But the truth is, you have lost the confidence of the American people, and without the people, you have nothing.

By C. Frank Igwe, PhD


  1. You are speaking for yourself, sir. I hope you won't quit because I know I won't.

  2. Dr. Igwe, this was a great open letter. But you undercut your powerful statements with the last two lines. If you still are planning on supporting him, then Obama has little to lose in further compromises.

  3. my mom just wrote a reply on another column with someone who is also fed up with what they perceive as Mr Obama's lack of Performance, But as she told her, "President Obama's time has not come. No matter what it looks like no matter what has went on the past 31/2 years, We need to be on one accord. I see in Mr Obama a plan he can only put in place when the time is right, so we need to just stick together, hang in there help each other and pray. He is not our Savior, but he will play a significant role in us being delivered. Its always darkest before the dawn and the dawn is coming, United we stand, divided we fall!

  4. You have lasted longer than I. When Robert Gates was allowed to remain Secretary of Defense I knew that I had been jobbed/conned. That was my fault. I should have grasped the concept 'fear' as in False Evidence Appearing Real. Robert is in no way associated with my connection with Libya and the Africa Union. That was the teachable moment-that the propaganda and decadent America would be no more. No more sending the "Colin Powells" of this world to the UN to lie. What happened is that Obama kicked Powell to the curb. Enough.

  5. I have so many comments to this letter I don't know where to begin so I'll just state that once again, this appears to be so very short-sighted... THIS President nor any other is the cause nor sole solution to Americas problems so I wish people would broaden their commentaries to include a heck of a lot more people. There are 535 other people in Congress/Senate that are part of fixing this process and just because "WE" don't know what negotiations are taking place to get legislation or ANYTHING through this Tea-Party Congress doesn't mean the President isn't a skilled negotiator who is getting the very most that's available. Like this writer I'm speaking in generalities. This commentary attacks a few topics but doesn't nearly tell the many underlying issues that may have caused the decisions that were made. It's always easy to attack a decision when you don't have a clue about all the processes that lead to that decision. I still trust that this President is doing the best that he (or anyone else) possibly can with the cards he's been given. It's unfortunate that so many can only see the failures but don't realize how much worse things could be. For example, the stimulus bill didn't create new jobs but it sure did do a lot to stop the losses (it should have been called the Stabilizer Bill). No companies are investing their money yet and none has the power to effect change. Imagine if Walmart and Apple Corporations decided on their own to spend $5B on jobs - creation it would still be a drop in the bucket. Only the Federal Government can invest enough money to get an economy moving. Unfortunately the President wasn't allowed to get more than the stabilizing funds where he would have had enough capital to invest on getting the jobs bubble going again so people - like this writer - might label it a failure. In the meantime, companies sit on their pots of money because nobody else can fix this countries problems. I'm ranting now but I just wish people had a broader view of the issues.

  6. I did the exact same thing in Georgia, and I will do it again in Arizona. President Obama is on time and dead on point. I knew going in that he wasn't "Obamessiah" and that he's a human being who was going to have a long hard fight ahead of him. And for someone who had his "Litmus Test" hour on healthcare reform and watched his own party cower and leave him standing alone, the "compromise" is not only understandable, but some of the biggest students of change agents in the world would have advised him to move to the center and stay there. Read Craig Crawford "The Politics of Life: 25 Rules for Survival in a Brutal and Manipulative World" and you will better understand President Obama and why he is doing what he is doing. I've been President of several small organizations - if I were him, I'd have quit by now.

  7. The president's job is amongst the hardest job in the US and even harder since he is black. I never heard people this critical of Bush and he is the one who started this mess. The only thing I ever heard people say about Bush is that he was stupid and it appears President Obama must walk on water. My president is not stupid and I truly believe there is some stuff going on behind the scenes that the American people don't know about (remember the capturing of Bin Laden). One term is not enough to change everything. Just wait until his second term and yes, he will be back in the whitehouse.

  8. oh geez, more all means, please, save your support.... go work on the campaign of the christian DOMINIONISTS, Batshyt Bachmann and Perry, and while you're at it, think of who their SUPREME COURT NOMINEES will be and what the CONGRESS will look like if you continue to tell the people, in so many words, to once again STAY HOME ON ELECTION DAY BECAUSE YOUR MAD THAT OBAMESSIAH DIDN'T WALK ON WATER LIKE YOU WANTED HIM TO....I guess those 'teach the dems a lesson' progs/libs obviously missed the lesson taught to them...the one that Scott Walker taught them, and Pharoah KaSICK taught them, and Rick Scott and Chris Christie taught them....

    by all means, stay your simple azzes home, just don't go whining when more of the krazees like Allen West get into office....

  9. I'm sorry you gave up the fight so early, and have been so misinformed about the progress made against incredible resistance.

    Me, I'm keeping up the fight.

    Double-down on Obama baby.

  10. I'm always confounded by indictments that leave out significant details. Like that Elizabeth Warren is on the record (dating back to 2010) as saying that she didn't want the appointment you are condemning Obama for not giving her. Last Fall/Winter, the GOP were proudly and openly proclaiming that they would block every single piece of legislation that came through unless the tax cuts were extended. Obama "caves" and in return got a badly needed extension of unemployment benefits, healthcare for 9/11 first responders and the repeal of DADT. The Bush Tax Cuts would have been reinstated the second the new house was sworn in anyway, and none of those things would have been part of the package. That is reality.

    If you want to be disappointed, that is your right and your choice. But at least do it with some honesty

  11. Mr. Igwe, I'm sure you went to great lengths to craft such a letter. You've worked hard to achieve those letters that follow your name, and yet you are an educated, whinning fool. The office of the president of the United States has historically been, for the last 300 years!!, held by white men who held no regard for our ancestors who toiled and survived slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK, and in more recent times,as we have survived the Bush/Cheney Regime. With whom do you identify, that you are so "fed up" with the last three and a half years!!, you are so easily ready to jump ship and join who? Having lived and worked outside the US for many years, I have witnessed many other forms of government, filled with graft and corruption, but also systems that take care of the people they protect and serve. Only in America have I observed legislated discrimination and foundational racism. Without a doubt President Barack Obama is the most intelligent evolved man to hold the Oval office in the history of this nation. Is it possible you are suffering with hysterical blindness, selective memory, or are you just plain weak and afraid to stand and hold your ground in the face of this racist adversity? President Obama will prevail, in spite of the spineless, whimpy fence-sitters, like you who only want to cheer when the team "looks" good. FYI: We are engaged in a class/race/religious/political war, against an evil enemy who is seeking to take us back to those "thrilling days of yesteryear" when men and women like you and I, could only dream of a Black man as President of the United States.

  12. I understand your point of view...with the last two lines you negate your reasoning..what we are looking for is progress in this country-- if you don't see any progress vote for someone else of vote independent! I do understand the frustration I hear it everyday.

  13. The criticism of the PRESIDENT could not have been made more clearly, succinctly nor fairly!

    Those of you who ridicule "Obamassiah" expectations, seem to also not have any expectations that the most eloquent & educated POTUS in history should at least "tell us something" to not just mollify but actually rally and motivate his base to mass political action!

  14. I totally agree with your points. The event that disappointed me the most was the handling of the BP oil spill. It was done to benefit BP. Eleven men were murdered by BP's corporate abuses. No one was prosecuted.

    If you want to see the long list of Obama's sellouts go to:
    to see the 277 entries.

    Here are the last five:
    273. Senseless 2011 debt ceiling crisis, budget cutting, and attacks on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
    274. TSA closes US airspace to Mexican human rights activist
    275. DHS guts its unit monitoring right wing terrorism in US
    276. "Recovery" benefited corporations, not workers
    277. Harassment of a government scientist Charles Monett because his work clashes with drilling in the Arctic

  15. Obama's speeches become more and more opaque. They are filled with nice words but never give definition to anything. He is a Milton Friedman/top down advocate who has pulled the economic rug out from under America. Just look at the members of his administration. They are not from his campaign but pulled from Goldman Sachs and the financial sector.

    We needed a leader. What we got was either a traitor or a coward. There is no excuse for either.

  16. Oh Mr. Igwe,
    The compromises themselves should indicate to you the magnitude of the battle itself. You thought the time you put in door to door and the "blood sweet and tears" were enough?!? really? Dude the presidency was not the wasnt even a little skirmish. World as you know it is in the midst of a slow and painful transition. Too much and too little time to explain....Just make sure your kids are educated and you are on the leading edge of your field. Don't look to Obama he cannot stop the trajectory that your country is on. Infact if you stop looking at the traditional indicators and look the most forward thinking areas you will see that he has made the right decisions in some key areas that have little to do with America but Globalization as a whole - Decisions as far as Green tech, relationship with China, reformations so that your American kids can compete with my immigrant kids...

    If you are still only focusing on indicators around war, healthcare, finance...all you need to do is look at those who heralded the demise of the American way in the 70' has come to pass...If you thought Obama was gonna stop it I got some american car company stock for you. Obama has analyzed and trust me the conclusions are not pretty the decisions he is making today are for 20 years out basically trying to salvage and make sure America is not totally overrun. As a minority the tide is turning and it's all good because you will no longer be a minority ...are you ready??....Stop looking at the trees....elevate and get an aerial view of the whole forest.

    Mr. Igwe I suspect you just got a slap of reality...not sure what you guys thought you were getting with Obama but me thinks your expectations we're a tad short sighted. Remember when Great Britain was ...well Great??...This is a shift of that magnitude and if you think Obama's opponents are those ridiculous Republicans and those laughable tea party folks you are mistaken. Obama's battle is with entire sovereignties...entire systems....America's hold is being wrested system by system and you are talking about "Bush Tax cuts!!!" really? I'm sorry sir you are looking at the wrong areas. You think the Rupert Murdoch's of the world aren't rejoicing when your sentiments echo the message they have perpetuated. And trust me Rupert is not on Team America he is on a whole other level but I am sure he is glad to welcome one more soul to his team.

    See I come from a place where we have dealt with these kats...The notion of a man running a country where his people are the minority is mildly interesting.... the fact that it heralds a time when on a global level those same people will no longer be the minority is freaking interesting. I think you need to widen your lense then do an analysis of the decisions Obama has made.

    peace and long live the american dream

  17. PS. whoever is running this blog...guess you are doing a great job on behalf of the Rupert Murdoch's of the world. Grand legacy for your children... my reccomendation is you put your blog on hold for a season.Get a passport get on a plane check out a few emerging countries. Turn off american media for a season and listen to some programming from Africa, Asia, south America and Europe. Read two books The world is flat and Guns Germs and Steel and then do your analysis. Only then will you be in a position to separate yourself from the brainwashed.

  18. thanks!!


    call that liar hobama out!!!