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Obama isn’t about compromise

2010 December 3
by Ian Welsh

People, Obama is not and never has been a left winger.  Nor is he a Nixonian or Eisenhower Republican, that would put him massively to the left of where he is and to the left of the majority of the Democratic party. Instead his a Reaganite, something he told people repeatedly.

Until folks get it through their skulls that Obama is not and never was a liberal, a progressive or left wing in any way, shape or form they are going to continue misdiagnosing the problem.  That isn’t to say Obama may or may not be a wimp, but he always compromises right, never left and his compromises are minor.  He always wanted tax cuts.  He gave away the public option in private negotiations near the beginning of the HCR fight, not the end.  He never even proposed an adequate stimulus bill.  He bent arms, hard, to get TARP through.

He’s a Reaganite. It’s what he believes in, genuinely.  Moreover he despises left wingers, likes kicking gays and women whenever he gets a chance and believes deeply and truly in the security state (you did notice that Obama administration told everyone to take their objections to backscatter scanners and groping and shove them where the sun don’t shine, then told you they’re thinking of extending TSA police state activities to other public transit?)

Let me put it even more baldly.  Obama is, actually, a bad man.  He didn’t do the right thing when he had a majority, and now that he has the excuse of a Republican House he’s going to let them do bad thing after bad thing.  This isn’t about “compromise”, this is about doing what he wants to do anyway, like slashing social security.  The Senate, you remember, voted down the catfood comission.  Obama reinstituted it by executive fiat.

If the left doesn’t stand against Obama and doesn’t primary him, it stands for nothing and for nobody.

80 Responses
  1. December 3, 2010

    You said it. He says that stuff because he believes it, and became a democrat simply because he recognized that as a black man in Illinois, he’d go farther in politics with the Dems. I’d like it to happen too, but I just don’t see it. One of the things his ascendancy has wrought is to make the party more rotten, and after abandoning Dean in ’04 and Ned Lamont in ’06, the party leadership wasn’t so pure even before Barry showed up.

  2. DupinTM permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Rereading Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, it’s creepy how many themes keep re-occurring. But, as you say, there’s no dying labor movement to try to co-opt (those who stayed out of 72 to try to regain control of the party, Meany/Daley/Vietnam War style, and boy did that turn out well) to in any way justify Obama’s turn to any kind of establishment stuff. Bubbles are bubbles, and it seems there’s no way to shake him out of it, given his lack of real press conferences. Also, kudos to Peter Orzsag and his spinning of the Daily Show the few times he was on, what w/ his new job at Wall Street.

    Of course, w/ all yr talk in re: neo-feudalism, and where the money’s at, it’s very hard to appropriately judge Obama. Seems to me, listening to you and the people at places like Jay Ackroyd’s Virtually Speaking and George Kenney’s Electric Politics, that the game at this point in fin de siecle (sic) America is so rigged that it’s hard to imagine a nation that has been aimed to worship celebrities like Snooki or the Situation could embrace a carbon or estate tax.

    Over and over I see books and articles about how the kids today are so dumb, and they always blame the things the aging authors don’t understand, like facebook or twitter, rather than the absolutely evil incompetence of the ‘elite’ who govern our lives. Those changes might or might not be better than the status quo, but the sociopathic mindset that’s taken us here, as well as taken credit for capital improvements that would’ve happened under any rich society like the U.S.’ w/ or w/o social democracy given our advantages, has poisoned the well that such transparency for the rest of us that it might have given. But, I digress too much.

    The fear of a just and loving God has surely been placed on the right people – just ask the Irish, they’ve never been screwed before by such figures!

    But whenever I watch the CBS, ABC, or NBC evening news, I just get All-Stirred-Up – to hate Wikileaks (traitors!) and love Mike Bloomberg (man of The People!), so maybe we’re not totally sunk. They’ve also told me that the banks have paid everything back, and that John Stewart, w/ his rally to restore vanity, is The Voice of The Left. As are stalwart patriots like Paul Begala or Pat Caddell.

  3. guest permalink
    December 3, 2010

    It’s just a racial stereotype held by the left and right that can’t bend their minds around the fact that a black man could somehow not be a leftist and radical. Nevermind that his black heritage is Kenyan not American, and his American heritage is conservative white bankers from freaking Kansas. Nope, he was just a typical poor black kid raised by a single mom .

    Someone at Agoniste thinks if he had admitted being a blue dog 3 years ago, it would have sunk his chances in the primaries. No way! The O’bots were too in love with their own heroic desire to change the world by electing a black man to notice that he chose Joe Lieberman as his mentor in the Senate, or to notice that he kicked off his campaign with a militantly antigay preacher, or his breaking his promise of FISA as soon as he had the nomination locked up, or any of the other myriad warning signs that he was going to stab all liberals in the back at the first opportunity. The ones who didn’t call me a hater and a cynic back then were almost comical in their assurances, “don’t worry, he’s really a liberal” as if I hadn’t noticed the color of his skin.

    Seriously, I hope he smokes himself to death, the sooner the better.

  4. Bernard permalink
    December 3, 2010

    yes indeed. when he praised Reagan in his victory speech at Grant Park, i knew something nefarious lurked way down deep. to praise Reagan is…well, Reagan was not a shining light of hope and a change for the good. But Reagan could sell.

    I doubt the left will ever stand up again. The left hasn’t fought back since God knows when. i don’t remember the Left ever standing up since Watergate, or the Church Committee. Been downhill for the left and America since then. To many people died.

    The left won the battle over Nixon and lost the war. Nattering nabobs of negativity and un-indicted co conspirators and all those people. what a fun time that was. Payback time since then. The Republicans learned how to respond.

    Obama is finishing off the dismantling/selling off of Government to private Business. Obama gets to one-up Reagan, by privatizing Social Security. all these people who expect the Democrats to do something had better realize it’s way too late to “hope” Obama will “change.” The Democrats are part and parcel of the problem, as well.

    Obama is a Marketing success and PR product of America’s best sellers. Madison Ave., and their salesmen. Madison Ave. has done a wonderful job. they sell us wars, clothes, cars, houses, the elections, and Congress. Obama was good at selling us on “hope and change.”

    Just like Forest Gump said, stupid is as stupid does. Obama is a salesman. Just who he works for and what he is selling is what we are finding out right now.

  5. S Brennan permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Ian,

    This is yet one more example of the soft prejudice of low expectations…a puff piece that lets Obama off easy with the assertion that he is as right wing as Reagan.

    WRONG!

    Obama is truly to to the right of all Post FDR presidents, here’s an example from my FB page:

    “Since 2008 the current administration tripled the number of soldiers killed in Af-Pak, the hard numbers are; 2008-Bush-Af-Pak 155 soldiers dead, 2010-Obama-Af-Pak 464 killed…and still counting. Under Obama 2009-10, 781 soldiers killed. Under Bush 2001-08, 630 soldiers killed…why both men maintain such ardent fans is beyond me”

    Obama has killed more soldiers in his first two years than Reagan or Bush and still his blood lusting “progressive” fans cheer him on…that should be no surprise though, his fans include, Matt Y, Ezra K, Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, Jon Alter, Steve Clemons et al…all of whom supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq…all of whom, though fond of war, never served a day in uniform.

  6. Ian Welsh permalink*
    December 3, 2010

    You can certainly make an argument for that. At the very least, he’s to the right of everyone except Bush and one can make a strong case that he’s more right wing than Bush.

    However, being a Reaganite does not mean you are only as right wing as Reagan, being a Reaganite is a ruling philosophy, in particular with regards to economics.

  7. December 3, 2010

    “Obama is, actually, a bad man.”

    Yep, behind all the pretty words rests a ugly, lowlife piece of trash.

    Z

  8. December 3, 2010

    Basically, obama is a vacuous, narcissistic piece of garbage that hijacked the hopes of tens of millions of people so that he could strut and preen on the world’s biggest stage and have us join him in a celebration of himself. He’s a disgusting human being.

    Z

  9. December 3, 2010

    “If the left doesn’t stand against Obama and doesn’t primary him, it stands for nothing and for nobody.”

    I’d say that if they don’t stand against obama then they stand for nothing but their childish, romantic notions of obama.

    Z

  10. Celsius 233 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    It does seem to confirm the sham that America is a democracy. How can one ever vote again with confidence?
    Can one defeat an Oligarchy? I think not.

  11. craz3z permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Agreed. The Left needs to organize a tea party. Badly.

  12. Bernard permalink
    December 3, 2010

    the left needs to join the Tea Party and lead it. the only way out in within in the Tea Party.

  13. Bernard permalink
    December 3, 2010

    be a Trojan Horse. work from within.

  14. votermom permalink
    December 3, 2010

    It does seem to confirm the sham that America is a democracy. How can one ever vote again with confidence?
    Can one defeat an Oligarchy? I think not.

    In other countries, it has only been done when the opposition unites. As long as the opposition to corruption and cronyism is splintered into left, center, green, libertarian, tea party, then the oligarchy is secure.

  15. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    December 3, 2010

    There is no left left.

    The right isn’t right.

    Politics has failed.

    Government is failing.

    The only power one has is to withdraw consent.

    Say “NO!”, “NO MORE”, “NEVER!”, “NEVER AGAIN!”

    and watch their world crumble,

    without your consent.

    It is no more difficult than that.

    But as long as you enable with consent,

    you will be enslaved by their agenda.

    Taxing gardens is the only power government has remaining.

    Government has squandered and abused its resources,

    and no longer serves its citizens in security, in education, in law.

    The government that taxes gardens is not long for this world.

    Withdraw support, withdraw consent. Reclaim your world.

  16. December 3, 2010

    The left is an utterly bankrupt concept. Just as bankrupt as the system. Any liberal is by definition someone who makes excuses for the system and perpetuates the system. It’s clear that the system is bankrupt in every sense of the word. Time to hunker down to survive the collapse and then build something new in the rubble.

  17. Celsius 233 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Formerly T-Bear PERMALINK
    December 3, 2010

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve already done that; but how realistic is it for the majority of Americans and the 10′s of millions already disenfranchised and not choosing to be such? They are trying to figure out how to get back into the mainstream.
    There really needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we look at success. We’re still stuck in the propagandized version of what it is to get the American dream. “They” don’t even know that’s a myth. And unsustainable at best and the end of humans at worst/best. Cheers.

  18. David Kowalski permalink
    December 3, 2010

    This is one of the more clear sighted and encouraging posta I have seen in a while.

    Going as far back as Iowa, it was clear that Obama was a conservative Democrat and not any of the wonderful things his boosters claimed. Forget the perfoemances (I never found them convincing) and just rad the policies. Watered down health plan. He certainly delivered there. A fuzzy, pro-war military policy. More delivery. A weak spot for Reagan. Got him there Ian. Anti-union. Check. Pro-censorship and pro-state power at the expense of individual rights. Then, as the general election rolled on he spoke in the debates about screwing Social Security and whipped for TARP.

    Don’t blame the advisors. That was always the claim for bad kings. Like George III was OK it was just the ministers that misled him about the colonies.

    The unemployment picture, using the Reaganite numbers, has been way understated. In fact, compared with Darby’s figures for the New Deal. Obama has managed to push us baxk to the levels of 1934 and 1935 but unlike FDR there is little growth except at the top.

    The utter uncaring and pompous vanity points to a very bad man indeed. That movie about Joe Clark (Lean on Me, I think) quoted one of the students as saying, “I don’t want a good principal. I want Mr,. Clark.” Well, that has been the rally cry of the Bots. They don’t want a good President. They want Obama. What makes Obama worse than W is that he knows better, knows the way, and just spits on it. More war. Higher unemployment. More breaks for corporations. Anti inion. More expulsions of innocents. Granting himself the right to murder US citizens in the US without Court order or review. This is not a nice man or even close to it.

    Thanks for saying the truth, Ian.

  19. Celsius 233 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    The left, the left, the left left a long time ago and is nowhere to be found. Forget the left; they’re irrelevant. Old thinking with old solutions. Withdraw from as much as you can as often as you can.
    The big clue to all of this is; “consumerist society”. That’s what drives us; that’s the fuel of this sick society. Don’t be a consumer. Formerly T Bear said this already and I second the motion.
    The bottom line is simple; we are the problem and that makes us the solution. Recognizing this is a very big first step.

  20. December 3, 2010

    Let’s not forget that Obama is not an anomaly within the Democratic Party. Sure, a lot of the rank-and-file didn’t like him (for various, and not always rational reasons), but he was a hit with a great many of the power players.

    I don’t disagree with a single word of Ian’s post, any of the comments here, or the general trend of this thread at The Agonist. But let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Obama is the direction that the Democratic Party has been trending since 1992, and because of that i have a hard time seeing any argument that Clinton would have been more than marginally better (marginally better would be better, but it would still be neo-liberal and imperial).

  21. tom allen permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Obama ran as a Progressive. So did Herbert Hoover. Yet Obama’s version of progressive policy is as divorced from its tradition as Hoover’s was from Teddy Roosevelt’s. Hoover was a smart, nonpartisan president. So is Obama. Pity that with the world as it is we need partisanship in defense of good policy, rather than Broderesque capitulation to the worst ideas.

  22. Sarah permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Worth a look – Sanders is on a roll….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5OtB298fHY&feature=player_embedded

  23. December 3, 2010

    Oy, still with the “public option”! Which meant what, exactly? An undetermined policy providing undetermined benefits to a tiny number of Americans, creating Potemkin “competition” to the overlords in whose interests the bill was written, while distracting lefties from supporting real reform. Such a loss!

  24. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    December 3, 2010

    @ Celsius 233

    If possible, disengage from the propaganda and marketing. Turn off the TV, turn off the radio (except for severe weather reports), turn to the web, turn to reading books if not trustworthy periodicals, turn to external sources of information (European news sources – The Guardian, BBC) or alternative sites (The Automatic Earth – world economics, Juan Cole and Mondoweiss – middle eastern news, Club Orlov – excellent Eastern European perspective re collapse, and Ian Welsh – excellent political economics, are some excellent news sources).

    Grow your knowledge of history, cultivate history, and economics, and sociology, and how law works, and psychology, and anything that sheds light on the human condition (even science fiction can reflect the human condition) including some fiction (not forgetting fiction is just that – fiction). It will be by mastering the knowledge of the human condition that will provide the safest shelter through this coming collapse and give the resources to reconstruct anew. Those who do not master their knowledge are lost. Beliefs will point whichever way the winds blow and are no landmarks, avoid taking part if possible. All manner of convincing charlatan will try demagoguery as a means to grab power and misdirect, only in knowledge of facts is there safety from being conned.

    Cultivate knowledge of basic economics, not the folderol masquerading as economics from governmental and scholastic authoritarians, to be able to distinguish dross from the gold. Find a definition of economics that is consistent through time and for all conditions. Basic economics must work for the earliest hominid to the most recent city dweller. If that definition of economics cannot provide that consistency, then it is faulty and of little use.

    Cultivate the ability to become not only self-sufficient but interdependent. Debt (and indebtedness) is only used as an economic tool, to obtain other economic tools that provide income, never for the gratification of economic needs, wants and desires, the gratification of economic needs, wants and desires is the purpose of economic income – know what these things are and how they relate.

    The future is a country that only the edge can be seen for oneself if vision is sharp enough. There is no way it can be ascertained for numbers. Others have remarked that having knowledge of the past can help determine where one is and can hint at where they may be going. Those who came before were not ignorant fools, their experience paved the way to the world we enjoy, our inheritance is the library of their experience, ignore it at peril.

  25. madisolation permalink
    December 3, 2010

    “If the left doesn’t stand against Obama and doesn’t primary him, it stands for nothing and for nobody.”
    Primary him? Hell, we ought to stand behind Issa, support his impeachment, and throw him out of office. Biden would be a much better president. It’s frightening to contemplate how much power this malignant narcissist has.

  26. anon2525 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Let’s not forget that Obama is not an anomaly within the Democratic Party.

    I concur.

    It’s been interesting to watch Krugman’s commentary* slowly move toward direct repudiation of Obama. If the Obama Commission (aka, the “deficit” commission — for deficit of reasoning?) were to be successful or the tax cuts for the wealthy get passed (“extended”), then Krugman may get all the way there. Here is his latest shift:

    Mr. Obama almost seems as if he’s trying, systematically,… to convince the people who put him where he is that they made an embarrassing mistake. …

    So what are Democrats to do? The answer, increasingly, seems to be that they’ll have to strike out on their own. In particular, Democrats in Congress still have the ability to put their opponents on the spot — as they did on Thursday when they forced a vote on extending middle-class tax cuts, putting Republicans in the awkward position of voting against the middle class to safeguard tax cuts for the rich.

    It would be much easier, of course, for Democrats to draw a line if Mr. Obama would do his part. But all indications are that the party will have to look elsewhere for the leadership it needs.

    *Some days it seems like Krugman wants to be a Good Democrat and blame everything on the Republicans. Other days, he’s willing to criticize someone among the Democrats. It would be good if he were to concentrate on the Democrats and then finish each post with “And the Republicans are as bad or worse.”

  27. par4 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    What ‘Left’? There isn’t one, at least not an organized one, in the whole country. Please don’t point to the Lib/Progs. They are to small and have been totally marginalized and tainted by the corporate Dems.

  28. malcontent permalink
    December 3, 2010

    The reporting narrative of Obama and his quest for bipartisanship still confounds me. It’s apparent to everyone except Obama, Obamabots and “conservatives” that partisan compromise is nothing short of date rape for “the left”. What kind of narcissistic voodoo is being performed on Obama and Obamabots to obscure that they lose every time and they are scapegoated in addition to perpetually losing?

    Teevee is some powerful drug I guess.

  29. Lori permalink
    December 3, 2010

    malcontent -

    You’re missing the point – Obama is getting exactly what he wants as president. That’s not date rape – that’s consensual.

  30. December 3, 2010

    It’s not date rape when you share a cigarette afterward.

    Z

  31. Notorious P.A.T. permalink
    December 3, 2010

    I never thought Obama was a liberal, but I thought he at least wasn’t stupid. But most everything he has done as president has been stupid: escalating the war in Afghanistan, expanding offshore oil drilling because it is so totally safe, kicking his base and still expecting them to turn out in the midterm election, etc. etc. etc.

  32. Notorious P.A.T. permalink
    December 3, 2010

    “If the left doesn’t stand against Obama and doesn’t primary him, it stands for nothing and for nobody.”

    Is somebody working on this? Now would be a good time to start. Is some potential candidate putting out feelers or trying to line up funds? I’d be glad to help out, but I need to know who to help first.

  33. Notorious P.A.T. permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Does this mean your vacation is over, Ian?

  34. December 3, 2010

    let me be harsh: even at sites like this one, the actually difficult thing that we supposedly “left” type people avoid saying is this: it’s all over. national politics is a waste of time. fuggedaboudit. etc. we’re all such good (small d) democrats and we all believe in (small r) the concept of The Republic, it’s so hard for us to let them go. but we have to. or not, and suffer the consequences of a lot of wasted time in the coming few years.

    i’m not supposed to say this, but i’m not even sure i’ll bother to vote at the national level anymore. why should i? really? i don’t have any say in the candidates, they do more harm than good regardless of what label they wear, and the benefit of following their actions has about as much impact on my life as following some sports figure or one of the people on a ‘reality’ TV show. in this, the “low information” voters and non-voters are in fact *much more close to the truth and reality* than many arrogant, educated, politically active types like most of us. admit it.

    if you were a 19 yo Latino man living in the projects with a new baby and unable to get even a min wage job, would you give a crap about national politics? maybe, but you’d probably be spending a lot more time working the “underground” economy to feed your daughter and find some way to avoid the police who were constantly tailing you and trying to get you arrested for dealing drugs (even if you weren’t dealing). that is why 50% of the electorate doesn’t vote, and yeah. it sort of sucks to realize that you too, despite your internet connection and college degree and (at least a history of) “gainful employment” are now in that class too.

    i’m all for taking a very, very keen degree of being alert on the matter of local politics right now. sheriff. judges. muni officials. these are the people who will or will not enforce the dictates of the increasingly Predatory national State. i’m also a big fan of “neighborliness” and getting to know the people who live right next to you, right now, and finding out what they think, fear and feel. that’s about all that will help, in what’s coming, and that may not even be enough. the teabagger preznit is coming, probably in ’12, and after that? the fun part of the rollercoaster ride begins. TPTB learned their lesson from the previous century: it will be more quiet and less obvious than other power grabs and suppressions of groups like us. but that will happen. they won’t have a choice, and the economy will be so bad, plenty of our fellow citizens will be happy to get paid to put us… someplace else. get ready. we’re all “smarter” right? well, be smart and turn off the TV, stop reading media centric blogs, and realize that there is *nothing* people like us can do that will change the minds and behaviors of pols like Obama, Lieberman, Schumer, etc. at this point their masters only want you to care because it redirects your energies from more effective projects.

  35. December 3, 2010

    “Let me put it even more baldly. Obama is, actually, a bad man. ”

    I know that nobody likes to make the case on first principles, but can we set irradiation security theater, TARP largesse, public option deals, more tax cuts for the wealthy and other issues vital to The Nation and The People aside for a moment to talk about minor issues like continued torture, cover-up of torture, war crimes, and homicide, extrajudicial assassinations, detention in violation of court judgements and law, ex post facto kangaroo courts, undeclared war in 4+ countries, and other substantial misdeeds unrelated to “where do I get mine”? You know, crimes affecting those that are taxed by the US without having representation, all those dreadful foreigners whose bodies soak up so much tax payer money when shot at, at great expense?

    There are a lot of people cheering the remaining good servants, such as Warren, to fight the good fight from within the bowels of the beast. You can look for silver linings between the bones and skulls, if you want, but I don’t think we need to look at FISA, EFCA or DADT to make the case that Bygones Habeas Obama is, indeed, a bad man, a liar, and a criminal. We didn’t have to wait long after 2008, either.

  36. December 3, 2010

    It’s gratifying to read someone actually post on their site what Ian just did: that obama is a bad person. I’ve been saying that for a long time now … way back in the first few months of his administration … as demo-zombies tried to proffer the mind-splitting nonsense that obama is both a smart man .. which is undeniable IMO (I’m sorry a 47 year old black man just doesn’t stumble his way to the top stage in the world) … and a good man, who somehow keeps continually, almost daffily, being tricked into effectuating evil. It couldn’t be both, but watching these childish morons contort their logic trying to balance both of those contradictory beliefs on their emotionally affected pinhead brains was enough to make me so dizzy that I wanted to vomit.

    Z

  37. auntifashism permalink
    December 3, 2010

    I’ve had the right to vote for 46 years now and, as I’ve been saying for a long time now, he’s the worst president of my lifetime. His facilitating our rapid slide to fascism is pure evil in my book.

    I wish I knew what to do about it.

    I am glad more and more people are seeing it.

  38. December 3, 2010

    Great post, great thread – especially comments by Formerly T-Bear & chicago dyke…

    Truly awful times, being exacerbated by this Democratic president.

  39. December 3, 2010

    What T-Bear, celsius, and CD said on disengagement and withdrawal.

  40. anon2525 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    let me be harsh: even at sites like this one, the actually difficult thing that we supposedly “left” type people avoid saying is this: it’s all over.

    No, we have not been avoiding saying that. Many have said that in various forms, including myself. Representative democracy has broken down. Voting is free, but representation will cost you money. The lobbyists write the (long) bills that protect the rentier sectors of the economy, and legislators vote to pass what has been written without reading the bills. This has been going on at least since the “patriot” act (actually, much longer).

    Read the comments.

  41. jo6pac permalink
    December 3, 2010

    So he’s a bad guy, he’ll be rich beyond his dreams if he pulls this off. I’m not sure when you and others caught on but remember he taught at the UofC home uncle milton freidman the long lost father of crazy ben. Run Russ Run

  42. anon2525 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    i’m not supposed to say this, but i’m not even sure i’ll bother to vote at the national level anymore. why should i? really?

    You should always vote whenever you think a candidate represents your interests. At present, by and large, neither party represents the interests of the majority of the population. The duopoly represents (in terms of what gets written into bills) the interests of the people who pay the lobbyists, who, in turn, write the bills that the legislators pass.

  43. anon2525 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    remember he taught at the UofC…

    Remember also the following:

    – Bush I – Yale graduate
    – Clinton – Yale (law school) graduate, along with his wife
    – Bush II – Yale graduate and Harvard (business school)
    – Obama – Harvard (law school) graduate

    There’s a reason why they all have governed in a way to support the status-quo rentier class.

  44. beowulf permalink
    December 3, 2010

    The left won the battle over Nixon and lost the war. Nattering nabobs of negativity and un-indicted co conspirators and all those people. what a fun time that was.

    Thinking that is how the left lost. Nixon wasn’t the enemy, the same people who hated Kennedy for proposing Dentente hated Nixon for accomplishing it. If they had been smarter in 1963, they would have set up Kennedy in a sex scandal and let him destroy himself. They’d wised up by 1972 and set up Nixon to let his paranoia destroy himself with Watergate.

    After not­ing that Nixon–like his neme­sis JFK–was run­ning afoul of the petro­leum indus­try, Baker also points out that Nixon’s poli­cies of detente with Rus­sia and rap­proche­ment with China alien­ated the far right and the Cold War lobby.

    Baker points out that the avail­able evi­dence sug­gests that Nixon was set up in the Water­gate bur­glary, with the CIA vet­er­ans who com­prised the “Plumbers” unit delib­er­ately bungling the oper­a­tion that led to their arrest.
    http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-714-interview-4-with-russ-baker-author-of-family-of-secrets/

  45. beowulf permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Detente (sp.)

  46. beowulf permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Primary him? Hell, we ought to stand behind Issa, support his impeachment, and throw him out of office.

    Are you serious? Do you realize how radical Issa is compared to Obama? (sadly I mean that as a joke and not a joke, Issa does remind me of Nixon, and I mean that as a compliment).

    Not too long ago, Congressmember Darrell Issa ran into Sen. John McCain at the White House. The two Republicans got on the subject of healthcare reform and Issa, from San Diego County, argued that businesses that don’t provide health insurance to their employees simply are shifting the burden to taxpayers. After all, those employees will turn up in state-supported emergency rooms when they eventually fall ill.

    “I thought he was going to come over the table and punch me,” Issa tells CityBeat… To fix the problem he discussed with McCain, Issa proposes a two-tiered federal minimum wage, which would require employers who don’t provide health insurance to pay a higher “living wage.” He’s looking for a Democratic co-sponsor for a bill that he says would pressure states to include health-insurance coverage in unemployment benefits.
    http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/print-article-7434-print.html

  47. December 3, 2010

    I don’t understand this “consent” biz. I mean, they don’t care if you consent or not.

  48. anon2525 permalink
    December 3, 2010

    Nixon wasn’t the enemy…

    What nonsense. It’s not worth arguing about, but for anyone who wonders “what if?” politicians in the 21st century were only more like Nixon, I will point out that we had Nixon in the 21st century, and his names were Cheney and Rumsfeld. Anti-American imperialist criminals. And their other prototype, Kissinger, isn’t dead yet.

  49. beowulf permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Sure, Cheney and Rumsfeld were to the right of Nixon (they urged Ford to move right to counter Reagan’s primary challenge in 1976). But they’re Republicans, what else is new? The problem we have is that the incumbent Democratic president is to the right of Nixon. That may be distressing, it IS distressing, but its hardly nonsense.

  50. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    The nonsense is the quote saying that Nixon wasn’t the enemy. Of course, he was. This is just “contrary narrative” nonsense at best, and historical revisionism at worst.

  51. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    The problem we have is that the incumbent Democratic president is to the right of Nixon.

    Ian Welsh can speak for himself, but my understanding of the purpose of his post was not to point out that Obama is a Reaganite, but to point out that ordinary, non-privileged people who support Obama do not yet accept that Obama is a Democrat in name only. In other words, at this point, the problem is not Obama (your assertion), but the problem is the fact that people who would not support a (self-labelled) Republican president continue to support Obama, who is, in his actions, a Republican president.

    More briefly: the problem is not Obama — it is his supporters.

  52. December 4, 2010

    I also don’t understand what use it is in comparing Obama to Nixon or anyone else decades ago for that matter. Nixon was surely to the right of the mainstream political/elite consensus of the time, and Obama is probably smack in the center of the current mainstream consensus, as a blood-boilingy evening session listening to pundits on NPR tells me.

    What’s different is that the consensus has moved. As thatconsensus is moving further to the right, it only makes sense to expect that the “left-identified” leaders of the future will also be further to the right.

  53. Ian Welsh permalink*
    December 4, 2010

    PAT, no one’s working on it at this point, people are just beginning to come around to the idea that it’s necessary. Anglachel, for example, came down hard on the idea just a few weeks ago, now sees it may be necessary and possible.

    I am back from my holiday. I may write about Vegas when I have a chance, it was interesting.

  54. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Obama is a Democrat in name only

    I suppose I should also say that saying a president is “Democrat” (not just in name only) does not appear to mean much any more. Ever since Gore’s performance in 2000 and as president of the Senate in 2001 (during the counting of the electoral votes), up through its acquiescence to the invasion of a non-threatening and un-armed country, and its lack of willingness to hold war criminals accountable (“Impeachment is off the table” Pelosi will be her name, just as “Hoovervilles” follow Hoover), and up to its lack of performance while holding both the legislature and the executive, being a “Democrat” no longer means what it did for most of the 20th century.

  55. Ian Welsh permalink*
    December 4, 2010

    Actually, I’m not sure that Obama is smack in the middle of the consensus of the times. I think Brennan may be right, that he is the most right wing president of the post war era. And he is to the right even of Bush and the Tea Party on civil liberties, for example.

  56. December 4, 2010

    I guess it depends on an issue-by-issue basis. On the matter of the Catfood Commission, for example, while the liberal blogosphere may be incensed by it, the world of TV/newspaper/radio pundits finds it smack in the middle of good deficit-reducing sense with a little bit for liberals (end of some tax exemptions) and a little bit for conservatives (timid reductions in entitlements).

    So forth on the war, etc. Fine Obama says he wants to leave Iraq, but is he promising it *too soon* for it to be Sensible(tm). If you count NPR as the centre of elite opinion (ie, fairly right-wing), I think Obama fits comfortably right in the middle of it. On the Internet we may have Dean Baker on one side and Brad DeLong representing the elite center, but IRL DeLong is a radical pinko commie even on economic issues.

  57. December 4, 2010

    You can look at politics tends in terms of derivative levels, which I mean in the sense of derivatives in calculus, not financial instruments (although I gather the latter has some relation to the former). If you take a “direct” look at political positions, Obama is to the right in policy and practice of BClinton and anyone before him, and very possibly to Bush.

    If you take a “first derivative” look at the political spectrum—what trends they represent—Obama still represents a rightward trend in absolute terms.

    If you take a “second derivative” look at the political spectrum—how they change the trends—it’s not clear to me that Obama is making the rightward trend worse than Bush’s rightward trend; in fact, it was in Bush’s time that most of what Obama has cemented was first laid down, especially the PATRIOT act, and the seeds of TARP were in the Bush presidency. There isn’t *that* much that’s new that Obama has actually done. (Yes, I know: the PPACA about which y’all know I disagree—it is a “first derivative” improvement, even if it is clearly not a left-wing solution for health care/insurance payment reorganization.)

    Now, obviously, you want politicians in power who are to the left in absolute terms. To do that, you need a leftward political trend. To get *that*, well, no one has explained how this primary Obama story is going to work. The 2010 test run for the strategy of electing Republicans to punish Democrats is not looking promising, but of course things could turn around very quickly when the new Congress actually sits.

  58. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    To get *that*, well, no one has explained how this primary Obama story is going to work.

    No one has explained to your satisfaction. I rebutted your “magical thinking” post by pointing out that you were engaging in magical thinking of your own, but you have conveniently decided that that rebuttal was not an “explanation.”

    It is, of course, silly (at best) to attempt to “explain” the future. But, then, you know that, as you have admitted in your other conveniently re-interpreted (and asserted not as interpretation but as fact) description of the election:

    The 2010 test run for the strategy of electing Republicans to punish Democrats is not looking promising, but of course things could turn around very quickly when the new Congress actually sits.

    Many of us who did not vote for Democrats (in my case, there wasn’t even one on the ballot) have chosen to vote for those who represent our interests. We did not have a “strategy” of “punishing” Democrats. Democrats made a choice not to represent our interests in the legislation that they (via lobbyist ghostwriters) wrote.

  59. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    If only there were a preview button or an edit feature. Sigh.

  60. December 4, 2010

    No one has explained to your satisfaction. I rebutted your “magical thinking” post by pointing out that you were engaging in magical thinking of your own, but you have conveniently decided that that rebuttal was not an “explanation.”

    I’ve written more than once about magical thinking so you’ll have to remind me where this was. Was this in the last long Hillary thread?

    Of course, it hasn’t been explained to my satisfaction. Ian’s explanation, for example, involved the unelection of establishment Democrats being followed by their replacement with better candidates in 2016, if I remember correctly. I’m not seeing any signs of this happening yet, and in fact the Democrats seem to have become more rightwardly entrenched for all the expulsion of Blue Dogs.

    But of course it’s early.

    Many of us who did not vote for Democrats (in my case, there wasn’t even one on the ballot) have chosen to vote for those who represent our interests. We did not have a “strategy” of “punishing” Democrats. Democrats made a choice not to represent our interests in the legislation that they (via lobbyist ghostwriters) wrote.

    It’s the same thing. This is a word game. Did any of these other duopoly-external candidates who represent your interests more closely…get elected? Affect their elections in such a manner as to help induce a net leftward political shift, even? Increase their or their like’s chance of election in 2012 or 2014? I suspect nobody is representing any interests here. You can believe that the Republicans won’t do anything different from the Democrats, if it makes you feel better.

    Yes, it is in one way or another a coherent and conscious strategy based in the belief that it is possible and wise to ignore their differences during election time—one that the bulk of the comments on this thread pretty much explicitly endorse. Now we get to figure out what effect this really has. (Which we already have seen, but we’ll do it again for good measure and, perhaps, in the genuine hope it’ll bring about something different this time.)

  61. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Of course, it hasn’t been explained to my satisfaction.

    Which is how you should describe it. You didn’t say that it hasn’t been explained to your satisfaction. You said it hasn’t been explained. Those are not the same.

    But even that misses the point, which is that no one can “explain” the future.

    I’ve written more than once about magical thinking so you’ll have to remind me where this was. Was this in the last long Hillary thread?

    Yes, that was probably it. I think my brain is trying to block out that “discourse.”

    It’s the same thing. This is a word game.

    I don’t think it is the same thing, but if you do, then why not use the latter explanation instead of the former? You chose your “punishing” terminology because you want to describe it that way.

    You can believe that the Republicans won’t do anything different from the Democrats, if it makes you feel better.

    Since we’re handing out permission about how to believe, you have my permission to believe that Republicans won’t be the same as Democrats, if it makes you feel any better.

    (Which we already have seen, but we’ll do it again for good measure and, perhaps, in the genuine hope it’ll bring about something different this time.)

    That’s your presupposition (that electoral cycles will bring about change), not mine. I expect that it will be a crisis that brings about change, not elections.

  62. skekze permalink
    December 4, 2010

    What’s the saying?, “adversity breeds strength” , well then, by the words I see posted here, the elderly will have much to fear, when we pull the reins of the world from their hands. It will happen, some things come to pass. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

  63. December 4, 2010

    Sure: I agree that it will probably take a crisis to cause a change in direction. Thing is, the social and cultural conditions are going to matter at that point in time; the dominant form of empty rhetoric is going to seem much less empty at that point. Elections starting now are going to matter in that context, because the cultural/rhetorical conditions are going to define how things happen at the point of crisis, and there’s no guarantee that the reaction to a crisis will be a good one.

  64. Tom Hickey permalink
    December 4, 2010

    The right is infuriated that Obama is not pure white and the left is mesmerized by Obama’s being black (not). Very few can see the man as it he is, a conservative Democrat.

  65. Jaffa permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Obama is the one true God!

  66. South Carolina is home of the Junior Mint permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Who, if anyone will primary Obama? Sign me up.

  67. guest permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Of topic, Krugman just wrote a post about how the Very Serious People focus on SS and not Medicare, because Medicare matters to them personally and only the richest of the rich don’t worry about expensive end of life medical bills.. Maybe he reads this blog.

    From that I suppose we can anticipate the obscenely rich finding a way to lift the opinion makers out of that shared predicament before they VSP get serious about cuts to Medicare. Sorta like offering rides on their private jets so the village idiots don’t have to ride commercial flights.

  68. alyosha permalink
    December 4, 2010

    It’s not just George Soros who doesn’t like what he sees (and thank God for that – it made my day), see also Michael Lerner in Save Obama’s Presidency by Challenging Him on the Left. I’m a lot less interested in saving Obama, as I am in getting this DINO out of the way.

  69. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Of [sic] topic, Krugman just wrote a post about how the Very Serious People focus on SS and not Medicare, because Medicare matters to them personally and only the richest of the rich don’t worry about expensive end of life medical bills

    http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-real-reason-for-grope-athon-and-porn-scanners/#comment-11672

    See also, the many, many posts that Ian Welsh has written under the category “Class Warfare”:

    http://www.ianwelsh.net/category/economics/class-warfare/

  70. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    I’m a lot less interested in saving Obama, as I am in getting this DINO out of the way.

    The whole neo-liberal (economic policy) and neo-con (foreign policy) world-view needs to be discredited. At this point, they still are convinced that they are right — epic failure cannot penetrate their fact-free defenses (h/t, Hugh).

  71. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    I am back from my holiday. I may write about Vegas when I have a chance, it was interesting.

    Did you choose to be groped, or did you pose for your “close-up?”

  72. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Until folks get it through their skulls that Obama is not and never was a liberal, a progressive or left wing in any way, shape or form they are going to continue misdiagnosing the problem.

    And after they figure that out, they have to figure out that most of the rest of the Democrats aren’t on their side, either. The latest “compromise”:

    http://www.truth-out.org/bid-limit-tax-cuts-middle-class-and-poor-fails-senate65658

    Most Democrats, and President Barack Obama, favor only an extension of the cuts for individuals earning less than $200,000 and couples making less than $250,000.

    As Dean Baker has pointed out repeatedly, reporters should not claim to know what other people, including politicians, think or believe or, in this case, “favor.” They should only report what they say or do. Democrats “favor” only an extension of the tax cuts for the middle class? Fine, then don’t vote for any bill that includes tax cuts for those who are paid more than the middle class wages.

    Of course, the Democrats won’t do that. Instead, like Obama, they will be “responsible” and “compromise”:

    The votes effectively clear the way for the White House and Congress to iron out a compromise on how to continue the expiring breaks. Bipartisan talks began earlier this week, and it’s widely expected negotiators will agree to a temporary extension of the cuts for every income group, which expire Dec. 31.

    That was a nice little show that Pelosi&Co put on earlier this week, though…

  73. S Brennan permalink
    December 4, 2010

    A lot of Obama fans have been wondering about their pony. Looks like bad news for the Obamanation, it seems it’s better to shoot the ponies, than have them wind up as charity cases.

    “Around 700 of the ponies have been shot in the last 12 months – 100 of which were healthy foals that had not been sold at market due to the recession. The others were older ponies rounded up for slaughter by breeders who were ordered to reduce the numbers in their herds to help the pony market recover…If this continues there is a realistic possibility that they could become extinct….We could find there will be none left at all in a few years. The market has been dire for the ponies over the last year. For those that can’t be sold it’s kinder to shoot them rather than risk them being dumped or end up in someone’s back garden as a welfare case.”

    Apparently the slaughter will continue until every deluded Obamanation member admits they’re hopeless losers, who have been had like a jailhouse punk. But judging by the his ardent supporters I know, the ponies don’t have chance. No matter how maniacal his actions Obama’s fan-dom always have some pathetic excuse ready for the man…look for Pony extinction in the near future.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1335475/The-recessions-latest-victims-Hundreds-Dartmoor-ponies-shot-animal-feed-fall-demand.html#ixzz178aQPbDl

  74. anon2525 permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Around 700 of the ponies have been shot in the last 12 months…

    More animal news from the man-made economic Katrina:

    Bought as trophy-pets during the Celtic Tiger boom years, homeless horses now run wild in their thousands across the Republic, most abandoned by owners who have no money for their upkeep.

    Ireland has the highest horse population per capita in the whole of Europe. Although there are no official figures, animal charities estimate that up to 20,000 horses could be owner-less and fending for themselves.

    And with the prospect of a harsh winter and no let up in the economic gloom, the Dublin Society for the Protection of Animals now says the only solution to the problem is to cull those animals left to forage for themselves.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/15/ireland-homeless-horses-cull

  75. Bernard permalink
    December 4, 2010

    as if there was a difference between the Republicans and Democrats, other than the audacity and unquestioned forthrightness of the Right to blatantly steal everything. lol.

    we the people can hardly do much about the status quo now. other than to withdraw our support for the “game.” Obama is just easy proof for some to see through the “window dressing” of how both parties are really of the same ilk.

    It’s been many years of PR control. The right is the only “party” which early on bought into the Villagers’ Kabuki. The Frank Luntzes of the Right have been working for many years at this Kabuki. the Right set up all these foundations, Heritage, AEI, Hoover Inst., ad infinitum in the last 30 to 40 years. The message has been tried out in its’ different speakers: Reagan,Newt, McConnell, Boehner, Bush, both Clintons, Daschle, the whole Senate. seeing which one works best. The Right co opted the Christian Evangelicals to help. Now they have the Tea Partiers. Whatever works. and IT WORKS!

    so yeah. the Left can’t do much but bitch. as if the Left were ever united enough to coalesce behind “any” point of view. lol. Moving the “conversation” to the right is easy when there is no opposition or an opposition like the Left. lol. idiots too.

    does anyone even listen to the right? and their “story.” they have a well scripted, well crafted story with contingencies for whatever comes along. The left just responds to the “right’s” message. the left is so pathetic.

    Obama’s Republicanism was just another example of how well the Village is in control with their “actors” doing their parts in the Kabuki.

    Americans have been such easy prey to the PR from the Right from the get go. only with Wall St.’s crash did some aspects stick out like sore thumbs. Still, the Kabuki continues. Various pieces have been in place for a long time. By now the effectiveness and planning involved of the Scam might be more readily seen. maybe, maybe not. The zombies will be the last to wake up.

    the only variable here is the “possible” anger of the American people. but TV is there to keep the Sheep “drugged,”using strategies hidden in “the War on the Other, aka ” the War on Blacks, Immigrants, Muslims, Gays, Women, etc. This ploy is used publicly with the War on Drugs, Divert the public’s anger, like Rome’s “Bread and Circuses.” Kabuki 24/7.

    Palin is the latest “star” of the show to divert the left’s anger or encourage the right’s obeisance by “defending” on Palin. An effective ruse used to avoid focusing on the reality of what is going down. “All the better to eat you with,” said the Wolf to Red Ridinghood. the effects of the SCAM/culling of the herd are easier to see for some.

    No paved roads, no street lights, no public transportation, anything to do with the “Public” is a “waste of Taxes. no Social contracts, as with police, firemen, teachers, and especially unions. Anything to do with the “public” is evil and done away with. How long have we heard that about the Government and public ownership, taxes and society. It’s all BAD, EVIL.

    Look at California. No taxes to pay for its’ society to function as a “unit.” Grover Norquist’s strategy to destroy functioning Society down the bathtub drain. “the divide and conquer” method to keep the pubic in disarray, and push the destruction of society and its’ safeguards. Gosh it is so easy to see how this “disunion” was achieved, and how easy it is to foment “us vs them” thinking.

    with Glen Beck fueling the loonies and Fox as the Republican standard bearer of “us vs them” politics, can violence do anything but increase. How many more people will be killed due to the “us vs them” mantra.

    the only hope we really have is a crash of the whole economic system, which seems to happening in bits and pieces here and in Europe. The Bankers are calling in their chips now in Europe. It seems now is the time for Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Greece to empty their pockets. Apparently, there is still lots of money to steal from America yet. Still enough people watching TV’s ” the Desperate housewives”and “Dancing with the Stars” which allows the Kabuki going.

    Even the New York Times had Government approval for the “published” Wikileaks cables! yet they are still called “classified” data. all the bs/press. lol. Good for Kabuki drama, Good for the Government.

    screwed! America will make Germany’s Weimar Republic appear like a walk in the park.

  76. December 5, 2010

    “Are you serious? Do you realize how radical Issa is compared to Obama? ”

    I’m not sure what you mean. It’s not like Issa becomes president if Obama is impeached. I’d love to see the left help impeach Obama–it might teach the Democrats a lesson.

    “Until folks get it through their skulls that Obama is not and never was a liberal, a progressive or left wing in any way, shape or form they are going to continue misdiagnosing the problem. ”

    I’ve been thinking about this, and happened to have talked to a few people about Obama. They are quite open to a primary challenge or an outright replacement of Obama without realizing how bad he really is in relation to what they value. “He just doesn’t have the guts to get things done. We might need someone else” is a common refrain.

    Do we really need to convince someone who is already giving up on Obama to give up on him the same way we have?

    “I am back from my holiday. I may write about Vegas when I have a chance, it was interesting.”

    Please tell me you were assigned to cover a national sherriff’s convention with a suitcase full of narcotics and a Samoan doctor

  77. beowulf permalink
    December 5, 2010

    I meant “radical” ironically. Since we think of politics as being on a left-right continuum, then we’d expect a Republican critic of a Democratic president to propose policies to the right of the president. Issa is sort of an odd duck in that he’s rich enough he doesn’t need to fund raise to get re-elected. As a practical matter, the rest of the GOP won’t endorse any proposal that isn’t clearly to the right of an incumbent Democratic president.

    Have ever heard Obama use the words “living wage” or suggest ways to make unemployment benefits more generous? Or for matter (to go back to Nixon’s 1974 healthcare proposal) suggest that health insurance should be an employer mandate versus an individual mandate?

    Granted, politics is often a feedback loop. Nixon’s plan for an employer mandate for private health insurance was a response to Ted Kennedy’s National Health Insurance bill that would have taxed employers and the wealthy to provide public health insurance (I’d point out though, Kennedy’s two lead co-sponsors, KY Senator John Sherman Cooper and OH Senator William Saxbe who passed away this summer, were both Republicans). And when Clinton took up Nixon’s employer mandate plan, the Republicans moved right with their Chaffee-Dole individual mandate. And when Obama and Baucus ran with the Chaffee-Dole plan, the Republicans moved right with… strong opposition to death panels (ironically, “the death panel”– end of life counseling– had first been proposed by a GA Senator Johnny Isakson, a Republican of course).
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/08/death_panels_debunked_sen_john.html

    A compromise means splitting the difference between two sides. If Obama sincerely wants to make deals with the Republicans, he’d have to move left first, instead he keeps chasing the GOP to the right, and he keeps getting his ass kicked.

  78. December 5, 2010

    But for want of a candidate, you may actually get your wish re primaries. dKos of all places has gone sour on Obama, some of Obama’s biggest booster diarists have left the site. If *that*’s the case, there’s now actually a significant market looking for the product. So will the product arrive?

    I fear the outcome but half the time I am also curious simply to see what would happen.

  79. S Brennan permalink
    December 6, 2010

    “he keeps chasing the GOP to the right, and he keeps getting his ass kicked.”

    He’s not chasing the GOP to the right, they’re trying to keep abreast of his proto-fascist extremism. Obama is NOT getting his ass kicked. Obama is going to be getting fellatio from
    from right wing media [US Media] to his dying days for enacting extremist right wing policy with Democratic votes.

    I can hear it now, “visionary…only Obama could bring otherwise sensible Democrats to the table of Fascism” – WaPo

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