Always The Bridesmaid

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Memo to Barack Obama: CAN I GET A PANDER?

I don't seem to have an opinion on Elena Kagan. I hesitate to admit that, because it marks me as unique in the politically-tinged ecosystem of the Internet. The kind of uniqueness that gets you radio-tagged at best, and vivisected at worst. But it's true. Study my migratory and mating habits if you must, but I've tried my best, and I can't seem to care one way or the other.

And frankly, this is problematic, because she's going to be one of nine people who will get to guide America in no small way for the next 30-40 years. Glenn Greenwald doesn't like her much, and Glenn Greenwald is right a lot of the time, but Greenwald also tilts at a lot of windmills. I mean, they're really important windmills, and I appreciate his tenacity in tilting, but as a cynic, I've resigned myself to the fact that we won't be coming to our senses for decades on issues of executive power, illegal detainment, and the rights of the accused. So his doubts that Kagan will be any help at all in those areas don't move me like they should.

The problem is this. Every time I think about Elena Kagan's nomination and almost entirely certain confirmation, all I can do is mark another day off in the little calendar in my head. The one titled "Days Since The Obama administration Has Pandered To Me. It's a solid block of check-marks stretching all the way back to December 11, 2008 - a month before he was even inaugurated - when he nominated nerd and Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu to head the Department of Energy. That's it. That's the only bone I've been thrown in nearly 18 fucking months.

On health care, I watched them bargain away the public option on probably half a dozen different occasions before all was said and done. Guantanamo is still open. We're still in Iraq. We fucking SURGED in Afghanistan. Our unmanned drones are blowing up hundreds of civilians in Pakistan. There are still secret prisons. Eric Holder just went on national television and fucking caved to the right-wing noise machine's endless whining about reading terrorists their Miranda rights. Oh, and the whole authorizing the assassination of American citizens abroad. None of that pandered to me at all.

I was supposed to suck it up and accept expanded offshore oil drilling as part of an "all of the above" solution to our energy independence. Flash-forward to a month or two later, and surprise surprise, "all of the above" is now the answer to "what Gulf seafood should I avoid eating"? Meanwhile, the geniuses who told us it was safe are going to fire shredded tires at the giant oil volcano because their concrete box didn't work. And those of us who from the start said this was an awful fucking idea get told to be patient while the administration examines its stance with the oil still leaking.

I actually left blank the day Dawn Johnsen was picked to head the Office of Legal Counsel and considered restarting the day count, but then figured I should wait for the confirmation, which of course never fucking happened because nobody on Obama's team cared enough to make damn sure it happened. Shocker.

For fuck's sake, a week and a half ago, I bought an iPad, and what does Obama do? He Sister Souljahs me! Apparently I'm part of the problem because I let information turn into a distraction. Which I suppose is why he picked a Supreme Court nominee without a "distracting" paper trail.

Which is a pretty clever segue back to Obama's Supreme Court pics, especially from someone with an iPod, an iPad, an XBox AND a Playstation. They haven't sapped all my wisdom yet, fuckos. I like Sotomayor. I'm ambivalent about Kagan. But one thing they have in common - neither one of them moves the court to the left. Both picks take the easy way out by maintaining the status quo balance - a status quo achieved when Dubya yanked the court so hard to the right that "the bench" became "the seesaw".

We get it, dude. You're not a liberal. We knew that. But liberals voted for you. And that means it's actually OK to throw us a FUCKING BONE every now and again. I don't care if Beltway conventional wisdom says you have to repudiate your base on every single major decision of your Presidency - a wisdom that only seems to apply to the left of you, by the way. The conventional wisdom can go fuck itself.

This, by the way, may be the worst and most effective thing the Tea Party does - make us grateful for the giant pile of center-right Clintonian triangulation we've been served up on a plate marked "change". Yes, I'm as happy as the next guy that Sarah Palin isn't a brain aneurysm away from the Presidency, but "it could be worse, I suppose" happy is the worst kind of happy. And it's nowhere near as much fun as being pandered to. Occasionally. Or even more than once.