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It's time to Take Back Barack

This story and this effort all started, for me, back when Hillary Clinton's name was being bandied about as a prospect to become the next American secretary of state, even before she was officially selected. I had been thrilled - and not a little relieved - when Obama won, and I had eagerly awaited the unveiling of the team of cabinet officers and other key executive-branch staffers who would move quickly to Change this country, which has been going in the wrong direction for far too long.

And while I respect Hillary, and was largely impressed with her candicacy during the Democratic primary, I was - and remain - worried that sending her out as America's chief diplomat will not represent enough of a Change for America's standing in the world.

So I got a little worried. And then more announcements and leaks trickled in. Dubya's SecDef Robert Gates was staying. McCain's national-security advisor during the campaign was going to be Obama's national-security advisor in the Oval Office.

I was - and still am - worried, as is progressive columnist Ted Rall, that the people Obama is surrounding himself with will change him, more than he will Change them. He's not picking progressives. And beyond that, he's picking Establishment people - not even non-progressive outsiders, generally speaking. Deirdre Fulton and I detail some of these concerns - as well as a few bright-ish spots - in our story this week in the Portland Phoenix and at

And Obama owes the progressive movement - and the generally progressive American population - much more than he owes the Establishment.

We Want Change. We voted for change. We backed Obama because of his promise as well as his promises, because of his idealism as well as his ideas. We kept him alive in the primary, and our energy electrified this nation during the general election.

It is time to make sure that Obama does what we want - not what he wants, nor what his advisors want, nor even what he thinks we want. We need to tell him, loud and clear, the same things he told us: Change will be difficult. It will take time. But we need to start now, and we need to move fast. But we want Change. And we won't settle for anything less.

It is time to Take Back Barack. Yes, We Can. And, we must. This is our country. He is our president. He works for us, not the Establishment, not the corporations, not the Democratic Party. He's ours. Take Back Barack!


So, what can you do? And what's this blog all about?

First, check out our story - "Take Back Barack" is its name. Also, see the stuff I've tagged as related in some way or other, using Google Reader. (The link is also an RSS feed, if you want to get updates on the stuff I tag in the future.) Then, post comments here on this blog, saying what you want Barack to do, and what you think of his choices so far.

As more developments occur through the transition, and as his administration begins, we here at the TBB blog will be watching, and giving our thoughts on his choices and decisions.

For more information, you can also check out the list of related links - which include other blogs with others' perspectives on the transition, as well as progressive political news, and even some general news sites.

But overall, please use this blog any way you want, so long as it helps keep the pressure on Obama to serve us, as he promised he would do.

  • trlbjb said:


    December 17, 2008 11:02 PM
  • Kate Schrock said:

    Jeff - I agree! I have been watching Obama's picks with hopeful optimism until yesterday's pick of sec. of agriculture (which was the last straw for me). Why not someone like Michael Pollan? He would definitely affect REAL positive change

    December 18, 2008 7:57 AM
  • CarlosHawes said:

    We can take Barack back?  You mean we can, like, recall him and have a do-over on the vote?  Well sign me up!!!!

    December 18, 2008 9:08 AM
  • J said:

    I too am worried, but have faith in the man that I voted for.  Running a country is not an easy thing to do and the people he is surrounding himself with have experience(they say it takes 10,000 hours to become and expert on something).  YES, they may have experience working an issue from the wrong side in my eyes...but that is where I trust Barack to wield his influence and power.  Having someone that is seen as a player for the non-progressives pitch a progressive policy might just be genius?!  One thing that progressives love to do is fight...I think before a man is even in office is not the time to do that.  Be sure to watch what he is doing and yes be vocal about Change...we certainly need that, but also give him a chance to roll out his plan and execute it.  I am worried, but I also have faith!

    December 18, 2008 9:16 AM
  • kjb434 said:

    I think it's hilarious that anybody thought it would be anything different when Barack was elected.

    He's a politician just like all the others.

    Be prepared for a hybrid of the Clinton and Carter presidencies.  A crappy economy with skeletons coming out every closet.

    December 18, 2008 9:29 AM
  • jeffery mcnary said:

    i agree...BIG TIME!! we're rolling into a deconstructionist phenom with folk concerned about 'the puppy'and 'the dress'. it's absurd to wait 'till the oba takes an oath. now is the time. he's already made a promise. gates, gaither, rubin, summers, jones, rahm, etc. and the saddleback round up for the it's the same crap in sepia.

    December 18, 2008 10:02 AM
  • Tony Byron said:

    Poor little progressives, just now realizing that Obama was and is a con-artist.

    December 18, 2008 10:40 AM
  • Savage Vervet said:

    You forget one of the cardinal rules of politics: Follow the money.  Granted, in this case Team Obama will never let you follow his three-quarters of a billion dollar war chest to its original source.  But unless you wrote one of the larger checks you'll get more response from a dead donkey than you will from His Holiness.

    In a way I pity all you Hopey Changelings out there, but if this is what it takes to teach you the dangers of personality cultism, then so be it.

    Savage Vervet

    December 18, 2008 11:01 AM
  • Thomas W Watson said:

    Did you really think that he was any different from the other politicians? He's just like them, except that he talks like a used car salesman. He's never stood firm behind anything in his life, and these cabinet picks which contradict every word that he said on the campaign trail just go to show it. I mean, what did you expect, that he would be elected, nominate radicals/progressives for every position, pull out of Iraq and into the age of Aquarius? Come on people, let's get real, and stop dreaming that a politician will come riding in on a white horse to save us from whatever boogie man is worrying us at the time. Because he won't, and nor will anyone else.

    December 18, 2008 11:04 AM
  • Mary Stewart said:

    Who would believe in Change coming from Chicago? I mean, look at all the corruption, party machine politics, and lack of change there. If he couldn't bring Change to Illinois, then how could he bring any (positive) change to Washington. His behavior just goes to show that we should have elected Hilary, because now that Barack has screwed up so bad, we'll end up with that idiot Palin in 2012, whom no one would have heard of if Hilary had won the nomination.

    December 18, 2008 11:12 AM
  • Hilary said:

    I think it is hilarious that you folks didn't see him for the con-artist he was in the first place. He goes wherever the political winds blow. He hasn't stood for anything worthwhile in his past and has no known accomplishments. What made you think he would be your dear CHANGE leader? Rhetoric?

    December 18, 2008 11:32 AM
  • Anonymouse said:

    Put down the crack pipe, O-bots.

    You wanted change, you voted for change, and you got it.

    It's too bad you never specified what "change" actually meant (since it is not synonymous with "improvement"), and therefore, it could mean anything - including pragmatism and centrist-governing.

    Will you be voting against Barry-O in the future? I'm not betting on it, because you're still brainwashed O-bot shills, but it IS entertaining watching you squirm because you thought this clown was a "progressive."


    December 18, 2008 11:45 AM
  • Matt Beck said:

    While some of Obama's cabinet picks were merely disappointing, his choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation on January 20th is horrifying. This fundamentalist preacher is against equal rights for gays and against a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion. I always thought of Obama as more of a centrist than true progressive, but his choice of Rick Warren veers sharly to the right.

    December 18, 2008 12:14 PM
  • Alan said:

    ROFLMAO! The tidal wave of disillusion begins.

    December 18, 2008 12:15 PM
  • commentator said:

    The weird things is that O-voters won't CHANGE. They are stuck with an old playbook, clinging bitterly to their campaign buttons, blog posts and Obama's rapidly wilting campaign rhetoric.

    Obama is the U2 of politicians- delivering uplifting anthems with inspiringingly vague lyrics that can be interepreted to apply to almost any listener's exact situation.

    Changelings should remember the wise words of Bono: "Nothing changes on New Year's Day."

    December 18, 2008 12:16 PM
  • Fake Name said:


    The progressive blogosphere was an early key source of support for Mr. Obama's candidacy, but a steady stream of Clinton-era appointees since the election has left some charging that he had betrayed his campaign promises to bring them to Washington as part of a sweeping culture of change -- a charge that Mr. Obama vehemently accepted.

    "Oh, for crissakes. Are you kidding me? Are you friggin' kidding me?" asked Obama. "Of course I betrayed those goddamned idiots. Have any of you actually spent five minutes with them? I have, unfortunately. Nothing personal, but I wouldn't trust these internet windowlickers with a plastic spork from Taco Bell, let alone a freaking $3 trillion dollar budget global superpower. Look, I may be naive, but I'm not stupid. And if Kose or Koz or whatever the fuck his name is thinks for one second I give a rat's ass about who he wants in charge of the Treasury Department, he's even stupider than he looks."

    "Look, I'm sorry I kinda snapped there, and pardon my French," added Obama. "But I just spent the last two years surrounded by these starstruck moonbat retards, and I'll be goddamned if I'm gonna spend the next four with them parked in the next cubicle over."

    Obama also announced that he had accepted his own appointment of himself as an Assistant Undersecretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    "It's a fairly low-stress job that I'm reasonably qualified for," said Obama. "I really can't do much damage there, and it will give me plenty of free time for Oprah specials. Plus work on my next autobiography and re-election campaign."

    December 18, 2008 12:33 PM
  • Reap what you sow said:

    Oh no!  A politician said they were going to do one thing and actually did another!  This has never happened in history, ever!  What an amazing surprise.

    Also, I was unaware "Managing Editor" was such a blue-collar job.  Even if Barack Obama doesn't work for "the corporations," there's clearly someone else here who does, unless he's the lowest-paid managing editor in America...

    December 18, 2008 12:52 PM
  • Commentary » Blog Archive » Owe Schmo said:

    Pingback from  Commentary  » Blog Archive   » Owe Schmo

    December 18, 2008 12:57 PM
  • Smoker Toker said:

    To please the "progressives", O'bama should have nominated Cheech and Chong for Agriculture Secretary.

    December 18, 2008 1:05 PM
  • Amused said:

    Welcome to reality. Hope you stay for awhile.

    December 18, 2008 1:05 PM
  • jeffery mcnary said:

    o.k....let's roll on the mistakes and false promise now...early on. why bitch for ever? it is what it is. most of your mamas have a photo of this bronze man on th cover of a magazine, to get-off on, yes? look at credibility 'rolling stone lost'. get over your fat lazy selves and jump start a revolution...cause tar baby ain't sayin' nothin'...o.k.?

    December 18, 2008 1:18 PM
  • CarlosHawes said:

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, DON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN

    December 18, 2008 2:20 PM
  • Al Sane said:

    It's a clear truth that you cannot "take back" something that you never had in the first place.  You "progressives" are not taken seriously by anyone...certainly not Obama or the Democrat party.

    You are life support systems for the wallets that your contributions issue from, nothing more.  You are the sweaty horde that Harry Reid smells coming a mile away on Summer days in DC.

    Your "progressive" leaders seek one thing only; greater personal control over all of our lives via state coercion.

    You should console yourselves with the fact that Obama will eventually do most of the things you all desire.  He will move America closer to becoming a fascist collective, since that is the superior method for establishing tyrannical governments the world over.

    As all progressives ultimately discover, the glowing fantasy of the progressive dream is never realized, but rather the crushing misery of poverty and malaise.

    December 18, 2008 2:53 PM
  • Take Back Barack - a website aimed at bringing Obama back to Liberalism - Conservative Republican Discussion Forums said:

    Pingback from  Take Back Barack - a website aimed at bringing Obama back to Liberalism - Conservative Republican Discussion Forums

    December 18, 2008 8:32 PM
  • Take Back Barack - a website aimed at bringing Obama back to Liberalism - Conservative Republican Discussion Forums said:

    Pingback from  Take Back Barack - a website aimed at bringing Obama back to Liberalism - Conservative Republican Discussion Forums

    December 18, 2008 8:34 PM
  • Betrayed_Voter said:

    Barack Hussein Obama has betrayed every one of his voters. Frankly, I don't care what he does anymore.

    December 18, 2008 8:37 PM
  • Beginning to see the light said:

    I didn't want to believe the few friends I had who were trying to tell me that Obama is a fraud - or just another politician.  I didn't want to believe it.  I put on my blinders when he changed positions on things I cared about (sometimes within 24 hours depending on what crowd he was talking to).  I didn't want to be like the right trying to find validity to birth certificate theories -- but quietly I questioned those things too.  I didn't want to believe my own voice.  I wanted to believe that Obama would bring the troops home -- not send them to Afghanistan.  I wanted to believe that Obama would pick a cabinet that reflected the reasons I voted for him.  But his cabinet is soooo all over the place that I don't even know what he believes in.  I feel embarrassed for voting for the guy.  I wish it were different.  I face my friends who tried to warn me - and thank goodness they've never said "I told you so." -- but, when I face them I wonder how is it that I could get so off track.  Why couldn't I see it coming?  I have a graduate degree, a good job, am well-read, but still couldn't see this coming.  What's happening?  I'm glad I got that off my chest.

    December 20, 2008 6:16 PM
  • Adam M. said:

    Frankly, I'm kind of annoyed by this story/blog.

    There were truly progressive Democratic candidates running for president early on in the primary campaign, but "alternative" publications like the Phoenix could hardly be bothered to give them any substantive coverage (they delightfully panned and mocked them every now and then, however).

    Perhaps if the Phoenix had not all too willingly participated in the complete media blackout of candidates like Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, or Ralph Nader, their progressive, anti-war messages would have reached more voters, and their presidential runs would not have seemed so "quixotic."

    I, for one, saw Barack Obama for what he is early on: A centrist, rightward-leaning Democrat who wants to expand the war in Afghanistan, expand the powers of the president, and refuses to impeach/prosecute Cheney and Bush for war crimes and numerous Constitutional violations of power. I voted for Ralph Nader on Election Day and am proud of it. To my knowledge, the Portland Phoenix never once ran a serious story on Nader.

    While I'm glad the editors of the Phoenix have finally awakened to the truth about president-elect Obama, I feel like this article is too little, too late. For a supposedly progressive, forward-thinking publication, the Phoenix's 2008 campaign coverage looked suspiciously similar to that of every other corporate media outlet.

    December 22, 2008 11:37 PM
  • Civil Warrior said:

    A Democrat "will never be so mean as not to promise"

    December 31, 2008 2:08 PM

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Chronicling efforts to encourage President-elect Barack Obama to remain true to the progressive principles and efforts that swept him into office. Scrutinizing new appointments and decisions by his transition team and explaining whether they represent (capital-C) Change or just more of the same.

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