Ok, so call me gullible. But when Barack Obama was running as someone more progressive than Hillary Clinton, I believed him. Though I had previously thought of him as more or less a centrist, his stance on NAFTA while opposing Hillary in the primary and his relatively clear statements on ending the Iraq war led me to believe that he would at least be staying on the right side of these issues.
But alas, I was wrong. In a flurry of moves to the center, Obama has told us NAFTA's not so bad after all, and that "all politicians", including himself, have tendencies to be "overheated and amplified". Change We Can Believe In, indeed... Obama also supported the least strategic move on behalf of the Democrats this session (and that's saying something), compromising on the FISA telecomm immunity legislation.
The G spot has the best analysis on this I've seen. What Kathy points out over there, that all this was completely predictable and that we should have tried to get our primary candidates to make firmer commitments, is certainly true, but I don't think that it's the whole solution. When the Democratic party - the party that brought us NAFTA in the first place along with other disasters like workfare, the party that is as closely aligned with corporate interests as the Republicans - is the only place for the U.S. left to go, we're in a world of trouble. We need to build up viable third party alternatives that will in the short term scare the Democrats into doing the right thing. In the longer term, maybe we can get rid of the Republicans altogether and ultimately have a two party system with the Greens representing the left and the Democrats representing the center right, which is more or less where they belong in the grander scheme of things.