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The Big O stiffs three college kids from Unity, Maine...

... when all they wanted to do was return the solar panels Ronald Reagan removed from the White House roof, and get them re-installed -- for free! No meeting. No dice. Nada. But a bureaucrat graciously handed them a brochure!

Obama just takes every possible opportunity to piss on what used to be called his base, doesn't he?

Congratulations to Mainers Jean Altomare, Amanda Nelson, and Jamie Nemecek -- You did the right thing. Now, if only we could get a President who would. (Of course, the fact that Altomare, Nelson, and Nemecek are all women wouldn't have anything to do with the White House not taking them seriously. Right?)

Bill McKibben concludes his description of this sad affair:

On October 10th, we’re having our great global work party, and ever since Obama stiffed us, registrations for its events have been soaring. Last week, with the heads of Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, I issued a call for ideas about how to mount a campaign of civil disobedience around climate. Not a series of stunts, but a real campaign. At coal plants, and drilling sites — and at the places where our politicians do their work.

Good.

NOTE And their professor at Unity College weighs in here. You'd have to be a Mainer to know, but Unity College and Unity Maine are extremely cool places. They're an epicenter for sustainable agriculture, organic seeds, permaculture, and every possible thing that marginal people -- and that could include a lot more of us than we think -- are going to need to survive, and even prosper if the metric isn't money. With this gesture, Obama didn't just piss on all the vulnerable youth and first-timers who believed in Axelrod's hope and change shtick; this isn't about demographics. He directed his fragrant, steaming, golden boy stream right at the one of the epicenters of the Third Force in American politics. So, so stupid, in the particular way that really bright insiders can be stupid.

UPDATE The reaction at Eschaton:

When I first heard about the "Solar on the White House" project earlier this summer I was excited, but quickly grew more ambivalent. My first reaction was "what a great way to promote solar energy," but I grew sympathetic to the perspective that this country is so crazy that if Obama put solar PV or thermal on the White House we would indeed be treated to an endless and unhelpful summer of Obama = Carter freakout, as well as a serious and sober national debate about how solar energy is really the purview of hippies and communists.

Reminds me of the old Garrison Keillor riff: "Why not shy rights, pretty soon?" How does enabling the crazy put a stop to it, eh? (And "unhelpful" is absolutely classic insider-ese...)

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Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

but, reading the diary, it seemed that the author was still okay with Obama

~~And a confession. We’d walked past Obama’s official portrait on the way out and, despite the meeting we’d just had, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that he was president. I could remember my own enthusiasm from two years ago that had me knocking on doors across New Hampshire. I admired his character and his smarts, and if I admire them a little less now, the residue’s still there.~~

I admire these students greatly.

It's just that the above in the diary clanged a bit with the author's words above. Because I don't see Obama as having character and smarts. (okay, smarts is relative to the goal.) I really do wonder what it will take for people to give up on the residue of Obama love.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

would want is for people to admire the accomplishments of Democrats. The dismissal and disrespect shown by Democrats for other Democrats never ceases to amaze me. Obama could never hope to equal Carter, and if someone were to suggest that, he should be greatly flattered by the comparison.

And what a lost opportunity that this episode got barely any media attention. Here's why:

at some level I’m a political wuss. I couldn’t stand to make that enthusiasm gap any wider, not seven weeks before an election.

So wrong. Making an issue out of this incident would do one of two things - either the WH would have to make some positive gesture towards sustainable energy in order not to continue to be embarrased OR Democrats running for office would distance themselves from the White House position and would mouth support for sustainable energy. Either of those outcomes is a win for Mr. Solar Panel and his students and actually creates enthusiasm among Democratic voters.

Seems to me that what he was really worried about was reducing people's enthusiasm for his admired leader Obama - which is a damn shame since it undermines an issue he apparently has cared deeply about his whole life. Showing yet again that personality-cult Koolaid is truly poisonous stuff.

Submitted by lambert on

... and so they don't use the leverage they've really, truly got. So Obama fucks them over, and they squander the opportunity for a huge win in public awareness for the policy they want. Complete FAIL. "Shy rights. Why not pretty soon?"