NEW YORK--We used to love President Barack Obama. Now we don't. We may have changed, but Obama hasn't. It was obvious from the beginning that Mr. Hopey Changey was devoid of character, deploying a toxic blend of liberal rhetoric and right-wing realpolitik. We were in denial.
Let's take a trip down memory lane.
Obama made a name for himself by speaking out against the Iraq war. "I am certain that I would have voted to oppose this war," he said in 2007. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, he voted to fund it. Repeatedly.
Asked to explain his hypocrisy on Iraq, Obama replied: "I have been very clear even as a candidate that, once we were in [office], that we were going to have some responsibility to make [the Iraq war] work as best we could, and more importantly that our troops had the best resources they needed to get home safely," Obama explained. "So I don't think there is any contradiction there."
Within days of his November 2008 election victory, Obama backed away from his pledge to close Guantanamo and restore due process to kidnapped and tortured Muslim detainees. Instead, he announced, he would create extralegal "national security courts." Even Bush didn't dare stray that far from the rule of law.
Obama didn't appoint one liberal to his cabinet. Against good sense, in the midst of the worst financial crisis since 1929, he hired pro-business hacks Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geitner to lead his economic team. Fighting proposals to create jobs programs, they expanded Bush's bank bailouts instead.
Obama asked Bush's defense secretary to stay on because, you know, he was doing such an awesome job with the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I suppose it could have been worse: Obama's first choice to run the CIA was John Brennan, a pro-torture Bushist.
As Inauguration Day approached the hits kept coming. When Obama announced his choice to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, it was yet another unpleasant surprise: Rick Warren, the right-wing, gay-bashing pastor of the Saddleback megachurch. Gay leaders were annoyed but did nothing.
The indignities continued after the new prez moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Liberals hoped for accountability. Obama had promised it. Once in the Oval Office, however, Obama said America needed "to look forward as opposed to looking backwards." He ordered his Justice Department not to investigate Bush administration war crimes. No one would be prosecuted.
Obama sent 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. He allowed torture to continue in CIA prisons and signed an executive order granting him the right to assassinate anyone, including a U.S. citizen, on his say-so alone.
Six days into the Obama presidency, I'd seen enough.
"Give the man a chance?" I asked on Jan. 26, 2009. "Not me. I've sized up him, his advisors and their plans, and already found them sorely wanting. Obama isn't our FDR. He's our Mikhail Gorbachev: likeable, intelligent, well-meaning and ultimately doomed by his insistence on being reasonable during unreasonable times."
I was mistaken. Two years is too long for people to figure out what Obama is all about.