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Obama’s Just the Enemy and Always Was

2017 September 18
by Ian Welsh

One of the most amusing things about the 07/08 primary season was how often Obama praised Reagan and how few people took him seriously. Obama thought Reagan was great and said so repeatedly.

“He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people just tapped into — he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

What’s important about this is that Obama agrees with Reagan about what was wrong with America.

He also felt, correctly, that Reagan was a transformative President, but Obama wasn’t one, because what Obama did was follow Bush: He enhanced the security state, cracked down further on civil liberties, deported more people, ran TARP and the bailout, and so on. Obama was the person who institutionalized Bush, not a President who turned in a different direction.

Fundamentally, Obama agreed with Republicans on a lot of key issues, he just didn’t always want to do as much (no more tax cuts). Even Obamacare was a Republican plan, something Republicans have forgotten.

None of this is to say Obama did no good things; of course he did, but overall he was disastrous.

A lot of people, however, want to say that isn’t what was in his heart. For them, I offer this:

Barack Obama rang Conservative headquarters on election night with a mistaken but reassuring message for Theresa May because Labour insiders had told him the party was expecting to lose seats, according to a new book about the election.

Shortly before the exit poll, which sent shockwaves through both party headquarters, the former US president contacted a friend in Tory central office with the soothing news that Labour was expecting to see the Conservatives increase their majority.

It’s really impossible to overstate how evil the Tories have been. These are people who literally have been taking wheelchairs away from cripples. They’ve tripled the deficit, de-funded health care and generally acted as cruelly as possible.

A particularly egregious example is the following.

The thing is, if you follow the British news, you know this is what Tory policies are designed to do: Shove the most vulnerable people off any support. Examples are legion, and for every case that makes the media, one knows there are many, many more.

This is cruelty by design. The Tories tripled the debt largely because of tax cuts, austerity, and bail outs for rich people, and then they tried to make some of it up on the backside by hurting the most vulnerable people; people who were not responsible for the financial crisis and have not benefited from the tax cuts.

This is what Obama is okay with–this is what he prefers to a social democrat like Corbyn.

Obama’s just an evil man. He has always been an evil man. He has spent his time since office hobknobbing with billionaires and getting rich off the very people he helped bail out as president, and whom he refused to prosecute despite their clear crimes.

He’s just a bad man. He was never left-wing in any sense, and he’d rather see vast amounts of cruelty than see any sort of social democrat anywhere near power.

Again, for the dull, this does not mean he is not better than, John McCain, say. It just means that he’s still evil, still a bad man, still someone whose hatred of the left is so strong he’d rather see cripples losing their wheelchairs than have the left win.

The enemy.

For America, or the world, to improve we need to start electing people who are, on balance, good, not evil.

We simply cannot expect to routinely elect evil people and have good results come from it.

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72 Responses
  1. Anonymous permalink
    September 18, 2017

    “The Tories tripled the deficit”

    This is completely inaccurate. I think fiscal austerity was moronic, but the deficit as a % of GDP (and, I think, in nominal terms) has declined since the Coalition took office in 2010, though Osborne repeatedly missed his targets.

  2. bowtie jack permalink
    September 18, 2017

    It’s not really a mystery.
    The CIA is Wall Street’s paramilitary. Ever notice how many CIA heads have been Wall Street lawyers and execs? Not a coincidence.
    Obama’s family, his mother and her parents, were career CIA. Her parents were, in fact, pre-CIA with the OSS in Lebanon during WWII.
    His parents met at a Ford-Foundation-fronted CIA training program in Hawaii for up-and-coming African leaders run by her father.
    Starting to see any dots connect yet? Yes Virginia, there is a deep state.

  3. nihil obstet permalink
    September 18, 2017

    One of the most amusing things about the 07/8 primary season was how often Obama praised Reagan and how few people took him seriously. Grrrr!!! I turn into a raging spitting maniac at the mention of Reagan, a truly evil man. I never understood why good people I know, generally well informed, politically active, willing to show up for demonstrations for the good causes, were excited over Obama. When I pointed out to them in my “you-idiot” tone (can’t help it, it’s Reagan) he likes Reagan! He wants to be like Reagan! they explained to me that he didn’t mean he liked what Reagan did; he liked Reagan changing the direction of the country, as he, Obama, would change the direction to what they wanted. The few that understood when I pointed out that Obama was in fact saying he liked Reagan shifted to “He has to say that to get elected.”

    Yes, we have to elect good people. A big problem is that most people now feel that they’ve become expert political analysts. Yes, all politicians lie, but they can see what the politicians really mean. All it takes is a formula or two that echoes their beliefs and they’re certain that the politician agrees with them. Anything else she says is just campaigning. This of course will be confirmed by their group’s news sources.

    So we need to get back to demanding acceptance of party platforms and punishing candidates for lying. Otherwise, we will continue to get betrayers.

  4. Ian Welsh permalink*
    September 18, 2017

    Yup, had a brain fart and wrote deficit when I meant debt. Corrected to debt, thanks for the correction.

  5. Bill Hicks permalink
    September 18, 2017

    Well and succinctly stated. Perhaps the biggest obstacle the left faces in trying to take power in America is Obama’s continued (and inexplicable) popularity and that he’ll use it to undermine real reform at every opportunity.

  6. V. Arnold permalink
    September 18, 2017

    That Obama is so popular is all one needs to know about the U.S.; a psychotic society on its way out; one can only hope.
    I gave up decades ago…

  7. Herman permalink
    September 18, 2017

    I think you point out how important leadership is. Not that I totally agree with the Great Man theory of history but I think you could make a strong argument that history would have been very different if say FDR never existed. Who knows what kind of government would have arisen during the Great Depression without him.

    FDR had flaws and the New Deal wasn’t perfect but on balance FDR was a good man and the New Deal was a good thing. But if you browse Democratic websites you will see plenty of partisan Democrats talking about how the New Deal and New Deal-style policies are some form of racism and sexism to benefit white males only. But if you dare to criticize Obama you are a racist. No wonder the Democratic Party keeps losing.

    As for Obama, he had the opportunity to possibly be another FDR. The Republican Party was in the gutter ruined by the disastrous George W. Bush. The economy was in the toilet and it looked like neoliberal capitalism was on its last legs. But instead of fighting for EFCA, a major public sector jobs program (not a stimulus bill filled with tax cuts) and at least a public option in health care we got rickety Obamacare and almost got the TPP. The last straw for me was when Obama betrayed the workers fighting Scott Walker in Wisconsin by never showing up to support them even though he promised to put on his comfy walking shoes and march with the workers.

    Obama and so-called “liberals” like him are only interested in the top ten percent of the population. It is like Thomas Frank pointed out, if you are not part of the affluent professional class you are a scumbag and a loser to these people and deserve your fate. That is why Obama and others like him love Silicon Valley because they see SV magnates as meritocrats who are “disrupting” all of the lazy, stupid hillbillies in flyover country.

  8. someofparts permalink
    September 18, 2017

    Strategically for the right wing, however, getting Obama into office was a coup against the left. He would always sweep the black vote, which is the backbone of left politics. Good luck mounting an opposition liberal candidate who is not also black without getting slapped down for racism.

    Reminds me of the way fundamentalism stopped feminism in its tracks. Women had figured out that the Abrahamic traditionalists were old foes of justice for women. But when the fundies went public with it, what could women do? Denounce Jesus? Checkmate.

  9. someofparts permalink
    September 18, 2017

    bowtie jack – thanks

    I always wondered how his mom, a mere secretary, managed to be such a globe-trotter. None of the secretaries I ever knew had that kind of money and nobody became a secretary so they could travel.

  10. V. Arnold permalink
    September 18, 2017

    bowtie jack
    September 18, 2017

    Very interesting; any links?

  11. Frank Stain permalink
    September 18, 2017

    FDR had flaws and the New Deal wasn’t perfect but on balance FDR was a good man and the New Deal was a good thing. But if you browse Democratic websites you will see plenty of partisan Democrats talking about how the New Deal and New Deal-style policies are some form of racism and sexism to benefit white males only. But if you dare to criticize Obama you are a racist. No wonder the Democratic Party keeps losing.

    Herman, I agree 100% with the rest of your post, but disagree with this bit. I don’t know what goes down at democratic websites, but it’s pretty difficult to look at the large scale effects of the New Deal and not see very deliberate and insidious racist and sexist structural outcomes, the legacy of which we are still very much dealing with today. The New Deal normed the ‘male breadwinner’ model of work and family formation. Women actually had reduced opportunities in work as the New Deal kicked into gear, as the idea of full time, well-paid, unionized work as men’s work gained currency. And the agricultural and service occupations which were heavy employers of african americans were deliberately excluded from the major provisions of the New Deal.
    I point this out not in order say Dems are racist. I point it out because I believe baby boomers are the way they are largely because they learned these lessons of institutionalized racism all through their formative years. When the attack on the racist and sexist elements of the New Deal began in earnest in the late 1960s, this proved intolerable to large numbers of the white middle and working classes, who had learned to see their institutional advantages as the natural results of their own effort and ‘hard work’.
    It can still be true that the New Deal was largely a ‘good thing’. But it also exacerbated fault lines that are clearly being exploited endlessly today. In fact, Trump’s noises about a new trade and industrial policy, protection of social security, his coal industry fetish, etc., might well be said to comprise a ‘New Deal’ for whites. At least, the rhetoric points that way, even if in practice it’s actually the executive committee of the bourgeoisie running things.

  12. Rich permalink
    September 18, 2017

    Ian Welsh!!!!

  13. HopeLB permalink
    September 18, 2017

    Love you Ian Welsh! I am so glad you just came out and said it, “Obama is a bad man”. Wish I had listened to Adolf Reed. Wish I had listened to the warning signs when Obama was here with Sen Casey expounding the virtues of A. Hamilton.

  14. bob mcmanus permalink
    September 18, 2017

    Depressed today after having read a vicious attack piece on Sanders by Blair Durkee at Medium, and Catherine Rampell’s attack piece on Sanders/Conyers single-payer. There are huge powerful parts of the Democratic Party, maybe the majority, with rich allies who are determined not only to bury the insurgency, not only to avoid any lessening of the “Obama Legacy,” but also working their way to revenge. At the cost not only of single-payer, but also 2018 and 2020. They would rather lose to Trump than lose power, or their senses of righteous victimhood. Harris winning would mean Clinton sucked.

    Thus it was after 1968 and 1972 and 1980. But this feels much worse, more brutal, more homicidal.

    And Trump is already in full opposition research mode against present and potential opponents and enemies, raising millions.

  15. realitychecker permalink
    September 18, 2017

    Folks who understood early that it was about corporate oligarchy vs. regular folks, NOT Dems vs. Rethugs, knew exactly what Obama was going to be when he voted for telecom immunity.

    We were called racists for noting that Obama was a corporatist.

    I doubt that the lesson has been learned, even now. 🙁

  16. September 19, 2017

    bob mcmanus:
    Who is Blair Durkee? And who was pushing this piece by that person? I used Google and if my searching is correct the piece is 6 weeks old. It has gotten, by far, the biggest response ever to a piece written by that person. That person has been drastically wrong so far though, going by theit posting history. So I wonder who is pushing this Durkee person now.

  17. September 19, 2017

    “We were called racists for noting that Obama was a corporatist.”

    Actually, you, realitychecker, get called a racist because you are a racist, as your comments here have repeatedly shown.

  18. relstprof permalink
    September 19, 2017

    @bob mcmanus:

    When you lose — Obama on Banks/TPP/DACA/Paris, Clinton for the whole ballgame — public opinion begins to shift.

    Witness Bill Clinton’s reputation after he shilled Hillary against Obama in 08. That’s when Ds started to reassess his presidency in re the negatives. When 2016 rolled around, even Hillary supporters were arguing Bill should STFU (read the centrist-liberal boards like Metafilter — or, better yet, don’t).

    It’s not without possibility that Obama gets situated within the neoliberal downturn narrative for the wider public. Reagan —> Obama. It takes time.

    Sanders can only be helped by the fact that healthcare costs aren’t coming down anytime soon. Pundits write what they write. Struggling singles and families pay what they pay. And the 35 and under population is just entering the struggle. The 2016 electoral data look good on this front — where the issues are for the middle-aged and younger.

    If you have donor money, yet votes are scarce where you need them, then what do you have? The time to write a pointless book.

  19. V. Arnold permalink
    September 19, 2017

    If you have donor money, yet votes are scarce where you need them, then what do you have? The time to write a pointless book.

    Spot on; all of it.

  20. bob mcmanus permalink
    September 19, 2017

    So I wonder who is pushing this Durkee person now.

    I picked it up at Naked Capitalism, where it was linked with very little comment, but I can’t imagine approval at that site. The Catherine Rampell piece at WaPo was taken down by Bruenig at Jacobin. I am just trying to get a feeling as to how the winds are blowing reading tea leaves and mauling entrails.

    I am wondering if there is a coastal fight building, East-West, Wall Street vs Silicon Valley (which is coincidentally starting to catch heat), Harris vs Gillibrand/ Patrick/Booker. Sanders doesn’t quite feel Eastern/Southern black to me, more comfortable with Cali hippies and Latinos. Power base moving to the West Coast would be a very big deal, and Cal moving the primary up to March almost determining.

    I don’t know if Obama even likes politics enough to be a player. I think he wants to make money, play with investors, venture capital.

  21. September 19, 2017

    I documented Obama\’s links to the CIA/USAID/NSA years ago and lost a score of readers who were aghast at the thought of this agent hidden in plain sight. I lost the contributors also who had kept me financially viable up until then, never to be heard from again.

    Thanks for your courageous reporting, Ian. I find a home here.

  22. V. Arnold permalink
    September 19, 2017

    bob mcmanus
    September 19, 2017

    First, I despise Obama, Trump, Clinton and Bush (both); just to be clear. IMO, I think it’s pretty obvious continuity is the #1 priority of the U.S. government.
    If that is correct, then he/she who sits in the oval office can not possibly go counter to the established continuity.
    Okay? Just how would that be possible if, in fact, the U.S. is a two party democracy?
    The odds are heavily against that as a possibility.
    The alternative is chilling; and probably already upon us…
    The only remaining question is; what, if anything, can be done?
    My own, 15 year analysis is; nothing will be done…

  23. realitychecker permalink
    September 19, 2017

    ” NR permalink
    September 19, 2017

    “We were called racists for noting that Obama was a corporatist.”

    Actually, you, realitychecker, get called a racist because you are a racist, as your comments here have repeatedly shown.”

    Another hopeless moron heard from.

    Gotta be a racist to hate corrupt corporatists like Obama. Got it. You are a moronic Dem plantation dweller. Voted for Hillary. In mourning now. Suffer, bitch. I delight in your agony.

  24. realitychecker permalink
    September 19, 2017

    @ NR

    FYI, moron, I voted for Obummer in 2008. I hate black people so much I thought we should have one as President.

    You are a special kind of stupid.

  25. September 19, 2017

    As a disabled person who owes what I have been able to achieve to the original, pre-neoliberal NHS, I echo all you say in this piece. Go see the movie ‘I, Daniel Blake’. One important caveat. Please do not use the word ‘cripple’. Not only is it the disabled world’s’ ‘N’ word, but to be crippled implies being helpless and useless and disabled people are anything but that.

  26. Albatross permalink
    September 19, 2017

    Here’s my tweet about Obama from 2015. He celebrated an Arab-American boy who built a clock after blowing up a different Arab-American boy, who was trying to find his dad (spoiler: Obama had killed his dad.) Since that time Nawar, the 8 year old sister of Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki was ALSO killed in a US attack.

    @POTUS invited #IStandWithAhmed to display his clock at White House. #AbdulRahmanAlAwlaki can’t come, was killed in 2011

  27. Ché Pasa permalink
    September 19, 2017

    Whose “enemy” is he and who are you trying to convince?

    Obama is not in office. He wields no governmental power and little political power. He has a certain inspirational cachet that is not likely to be sullied by contrarians. He accomplished something that not that long ago was considered inconceivable. That will stand no matter how History regards his reign.

    He ruled as a reincarnation of Hoover, not FDR — or Reagan for that matter. It was clear to many of us well before his election(s) that he was as much of a corporatist, imperialist warmonger as any Bush or Clinton, McCain or Reagan or Trump you could name. No matter what he said, it was clear how he would rule. And so he did.

    He couldn’t have accomplished what he did or destroyed what he did — whatever you think of it — unless he fit the parameters of a warmongering, corporatist imperialist president. That’s how it works, even if your name is Trump.

  28. sid_finster permalink
    September 19, 2017

    @V Arnold: Unless and until the Deep State is eradicated root and branch, it matters not who is the titular president.

  29. September 19, 2017

    Can I have more?

  30. V. Arnold permalink
    September 19, 2017

    September 19, 2017

    I thought, in other words; I said that…

  31. Willy permalink
    September 19, 2017

    A fair number of ‘How and why empires decline’ writers speak of the common theme of an oligarchy gaining inordinate wealth and power with the citizenry (the ones that matter) losing their ability to care about their particular state. When integrity finally loses and sociopathy becomes the cultural value, the empire falls.

    I’ve seen this happen when a small ma and pop company grows into a corporate multinational. “Who can do” becomes “who you know”, and the once good and decent company starts employing cheats and tricks like covert government connections and assistance, H-1Bs, and well-marketed crapweasel products… to stay profitable. True innovation declines. Empire or corporation, it’s probably all part of the same process.

    Obama was just going with the flow.

  32. September 19, 2017

    It’s long been my contention the Retards threw those elections.

  33. Alex permalink
    September 19, 2017

    Judas effing christ anyway. Reading these comments is hi-larious.

    Pass the boubon and the popcorn!

  34. bruce wilder permalink
    September 19, 2017

    “We simply cannot expect to elect evil people routinely and have good results from it.”

    Conventional human morality — I am referring to the phenomena of culture; deciding what is taboo or shameful or honorable — seems almost random. I know it is conditioned to some extent on the conveniences of power — what isn’t? — but so much of it is just random and arbitrary and people can be remarkably unquestioning of traditions. The great achievement of Enlightenment liberalism was to begin to criticize and rationalize morality, just as the earlier Scientific Revolution has begun to criticize and rationalize knowledge. It forced christianity to revise and revive its better impulses and launched a multitude of reforms to meliorate authoritarian practices.

    It seems like generational change is a big factor in the ebb and flow of the cultural politics that the liberal, rationalist critique presses relentlessly. Maybe, there is some hope in tearing down memorials to treason in the cause of slavery, or exposing child molestation by authoritarian hierarchies. Who knows? Maybe, Harvard can be persuaded to honor whistleblowers more and torturers less. We live in hope, as Robert E Lee said.

  35. September 19, 2017

    As I said, your comments here speak for themselves, realitychecker. Like back in the Bannon post when you said that a journalist with a Hispanic last name was incapable of doing his job because of his race.

    You can protest all you want, but your own words betray your racism.

  36. realitychecker permalink
    September 19, 2017

    @ NR

    Um, I think you said that, asshole. I never said any such thing,

    I challenge your lying ass to provide the quote, not your perverted paraphrase. I just said it was worth considering whether a judge was influenced by his ethnicity, given that Trump was being portrayed as a Hispanic-hater.

    If that is just too much reality for you to handle without getting all butthurt and stuff, you can just GFY.

    And if that is all the evidence you need to call someone a racist, then I think we have all learned everything we need to know about your limited capabilities.

  37. different clue permalink
    September 19, 2017

    @nihil obstet,

    I also dissonantly cognified away the meaning of the Obama quotes in praise of Reagan. I did not know of the existence of Adolph Reed’s analysis of Obama at the time. I only heard about that years later. I did not know of Obama’s speech to Bob Rubin’s “Hamilton Project” group till years after the fact. Would that have affected my thinking if I had known about those latter two things at the time? I cannot say. It is unfair that I and millions of others were denied knowledge of these things at the time.

    I do remember blogger Larry Johnson at his No Quarter blog pushing the Birtherism agenda very had and long at his website, along with his support for Clinton. I heard about Birtherism from Larry Johnson long before I ever heard about it from Donald Trump. I figured if this kind of nasty behavior was common among Clinton supporters, that was one more reason not to support Clinton.

    Purist that I was, I voted for Kucinich in the Michigan primary of that Clinton v. Obama year.

    I voted Obama in 2008 to spare myself 4 or 8 years of President McCain and then 8 more years of President Palin after that.

    In 2012, I voted for Rocky Anderson, the “Other White Mormon”.

    And yes. In hindsight, Obama was clearly James-Bond-Villain evil.

  38. nihil obstet permalink
    September 19, 2017

    @different clue

    I don’t take the time to listen to speeches — I wait for the transcript and read them. Maybe that’s why I saw Obama as totally vaporous at best because the speeches are heavy on lightweight platitudes. There’s still a lot of positive feelings towards Obama based on his being “cool” as opposed to the fratboy Bush, but since I didn’t see him on TV I missed that. The first things I heard about Obama were his praise of Reagan and his statement that progressives must quit denigrating the religious community. What??? The civil rights movement, the sanctuary movement, the anti-war community are all heavily lead by people of faith. Essentially, Obama was saying that religion consists of the sexual prurience of the fundamentalists, not the peace and love actions of the social justice congregations. I concluded that Obama was a rather ignorant, shallow man, spouting Fox news propaganda. And then, the telecom immunity vote was unforgivable.

    Nonetheless, I voted for him in 2008, hoping I was wrong. I probably was, in that I don’t think he’s ignorant and shallow any more. I think it’s worse.

  39. September 19, 2017


    “Um, I think you said that, asshole. I never said any such thing, ”

    Yes, you did. You said that the journalist couldn’t be trusted to provide objective reporting about Trump because of his race. Since a journalist’s job is to provide objective reporting, you literally said that a non-white journalist was incapable of doing his job because of his race.

    And here’s the quote, since you’re now trying to deny what you said.

    “Christopher Suarez is such a nobody that wikipedia doesn’t even know him, but S-U-A-R-E-Z might give you a clue about his sentiments vis a vis Trump”

    Your racist words speak for themselves.

  40. bbig permalink
    September 19, 2017

    JS Mill was wrong, and Immanuel Kant was right.

  41. Hugh permalink
    September 19, 2017

    I supported Obama for a few months in 2008 because I could not abide an arrogant, crooked, rotten creep like Hillary Clinton. But it was with increasing misgivings. I tried the rationalizing eleventy dimensional chess approach for a while, that he was only talking up bipartisanship and Reagan or throwing his minister under the bus for tactical campaign reasons. But there were more telling indicators like the complete absence of progressives in his campaign or outreach to them. And more than that an arrogant TINA attitude toward them. As with realitychecker, all this came to a head in July 2008 when Obama reneged on his pledge to fight the granting of retroactive immunity to the telecoms for their part in the illegal surveillance of Americans for years after the immediate emergency of 9/11 had passed. I broke with Obama, and I remember catching a lot of heat from other progressives. You know the type, we need to defeat McCain, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, you aren’t being realistic, etc. I remember having a conversation about this time with a neighbor, a liberal, and saying that people felt good about Obama but they weren’t really listening to what he was saying and didn’t understand how bad he was going to be for them. I never voted for the man. As I have said so many times since, no one owns your vote but you. If a candidate can’t give you substantial, affirmative reasons to vote for them, then they don’t want your vote. So don’t give it to them.

    I wrote scandals lists for both the Bush and Obama Administrations. I eventually had to give up because the Obama scandals all flowed into each other and so it became very difficult to write about one without bringing in all the others. I would just add to Ian’s list Obama’s repeated attempts to gut Social Security and Medicare, the most famous of which was his Cat Food / Bowles-Simpson commission. It is illustrative. Obama sponsored a fiscal responsibility conference one month into his Administration. Initially, the billionaire, entitlement hating Pete Peterson was to be the keynote speaker. The blowback was so strong Obama substituted his OMB director Peter Orzag who called for reducing benefits. The Great Healthcare Debate delayed further action until January 2010 when Obama along with the whole of the Democratic Congressional leadership, including Nancy Pelosi, and the strong backing of VP Joe Biden signed off on a proposal to establish the Cat Food Commission. All recommendations of the commission were to go for a straight up or down vote without debate or hearings. A week later the Senate killed the deal in a rare bipartisan rejection. But much like Clinton, Obama never gave up on a really bad idea. So he established the Commission by executive order and named Bowles and Simpson to run it. Who were they?

    Alan Simpson was a conservative former Senator from Wyoming and longtime critic of Social Security. Erskine Bowles was a pro-business Clinton conservative, who was involved as his Chief of Staff in crafting the 1997 Balanced Budget Act and was the then president of the state university system in North Carolina. He was also an investment banker and on the board of the investment bank Morgan Stanley. Even as rigged as the commission was, it could not agree upon any recommendations. So Bowles and Simpson decided to publish their own. All this went nowhere in part because 2010 was an election year and with the subsequent Democratic losses became moot. However, even to the end of his second term, Obama continued to express interest in gutting Social Security and Medicare.

    I would also add that Obama continued Bush’s wars, never prosecuted anyone for the largest frauds in world history (resulting in the 2008 meltdown), and in fact bailed out/foamed the runway for the perpetrators of those frauds.

  42. ProNewerDeal permalink
    September 20, 2017

    Ian, if you give you had to rate on a scale with your top US president (FD Roosevelt?) a 100, & your worst a 0, how would you rate Bush43, 0bama, & the in-process Trump Admin?

    0bama’s continual focus on enacting the TPP & Grand Ripoff robbing SS/MC, instutionalizing/normalizing the “gig” crapified job market (with absurdities such as PhDs working as Uber taxi drivers), 0bama may have been Even Worse than Bush43 or Trump.

    I doubt Trump can focus on actively working on any policy for 4 or 8 years.

  43. Hugh permalink
    September 20, 2017

    Two more: Obama having government agencies and departments run interference for BP following the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf.

    And running, much like Trump, on renegotiating NAFTA even as one of his economics advisers Austan Goolsbee was telling the Canadians, not to worry, he didn’t mean it.

    ProNewerDeal, I think each President since Bush, and maybe Clinton, has been the worst President until the next one comes along. And just for points of reference, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were both to the right of Nixon and at least as far right as Reagan.

  44. realitychecker permalink
    September 20, 2017

    @ NR

    So, you think if a lawyer like myself takes likely biases of political or media actors into account, that equals being a racist.

    You prove yourself to be a hopeless moron with that thoughtless mental dynamic.

    But that thread you cited is great for showing that you were totally incoherent all day long on that day. Surprise, now we all know that antifa are ALSO violent–what a fool you look like now, for pretending that all the lefties were saints at Charlottesville.

    @ Hugh

    Great comments above running down the actual Obama record. You must be a racist lololol. 🙂

  45. nihil obstet permalink
    September 20, 2017

    Statements that leave you breathless: “We tortured some folks,” while indicating that we’ll just forget all about it. What does folksiness mean to this man?

    HAMP: what was the point of insuring that HAMP didn’t help anyone. I can accept as capitalist money-grubbing that you set up a program to “foam the runway” for the bankers who will take good care of you later, but the gratuitous cruelty of making sure that applicants for assistance were strung out in a financial death march is beyond my ability to comprehend.

  46. rangoon78 permalink
    September 20, 2017

    As Lambert said at the now moribund Correntewire; “Hillary would have been incrementally better.” On the foreclosure issue for example, she proposed a plan that would have let people keep their homes: not Obama’s cruel -Extend and pretend- HAMP. So, yes they’re all “corporatists,” but Obama came at the right time to sink the Democratic Party… enter Trump.

  47. September 20, 2017

    “The New Deal normed the ‘male breadwinner’ model of work ”


  48. September 20, 2017


    “So, you think if a lawyer like myself takes likely biases of political or media actors into account, that equals being a racist.”

    No, saying someone is incapable of doing their job because of their race is racist.

    Hey, since you’re so fixated on “biases,” answer this question for me: can a WHITE journalist provide unbiased reporting on racially controversial candidates and issues?

  49. realitychecker permalink
    September 20, 2017

    @ NR

    All I meant by that quote was that possible bias is always a factor to be considered, that is the way grownups who deal with actual situations conduct their business. You offered that guy up as authority, and all I knew about him was his name. If you are denying that anti-Trump sentiment among Hispanics was not yuuuuge, than you have again shown how hopelessly out of touch you are. You probably don’t realize the degree of approval Obama got from blacks, either. Totally hopeless.

  50. bruce wilder permalink
    September 20, 2017


    Our politics has been post-irony for a long time. Of course, identity politics both indoctrinates in a politics of artificial subjectivity, in which a synthetic point of view tied to elements of racial or sexual “identity” determines political attitudes and response to tailored propaganda, and it then defends the redoubt of such robotic attitudes with accusations of racism or sexism.

    It seemed like Suarez could be just following his identity politics programming. His testimony in such a case is pretty worthless. I am not confirming that was the case, but I understood your remark as suggesting that it might be the case.

    Complaining about identity politics cant should not be confused with actual racism or sexism.

  51. September 20, 2017


    “You offered that guy up as authority, and all I knew about him was his name.”

    Yes, and simply based on the fact that he had a Hispanic-sounding name, you concluded that he could not be trusted to provide unbiased reporting; i.e., that he could not be trusted to do his job. That is racist sentiment, no matter how much you try to deflect and distract from that fact.

    And you never answered my question: Can white journalists be trusted to provide unbiased reporting about racially controversial candidates and issues? Obama had net disapproval from white people for most of his presidency; are you contending that we shouldn’t have trusted anything that white journalists said about him because of that?

  52. realitychecker permalink
    September 20, 2017

    @ NR

    Your problem is that you can only think in absolute binary fashion, and reality hardly ever, if ever, aligns with any binary absolutes.

    If I was representing you, and failed to look into a possible bias against you in a serious matter, it would be professional malpractice.

    Debating this with you is like debating with a three year old. I get nothing out of it.

    @ bruce wilder

    Thanks for the support. I place much higher value on your opinion than on most others here, and infinitely more than that of Mr. ‘Not Rational’ in particular. 🙂

  53. wendy davis permalink
    September 20, 2017

    @ Ché Pasa: +1; thank you.

    to whom it may concern: a lightbulb finally went on for me, and i emailed two former firedoglake denizens i believed might have been there ten years ago. yes, both were. i’d asked if they remembered reality checker wanting to talk about (plans, strategies?) for revolution. one said that yes, he’s asked, and that jane hamsher had said that ‘revolution is not an option, so No.’ he/she said he’d brought up again later, maybe twice, and offered that it was no wonder he’d been banned.

    another said he didn’t really recall such, but at the time miz hamsher was just getting gigs on teevee, so small wonder she would object to such. now he’d told me that he’d been banned for racism; he appealed the decision, but miz hamsher wouldn’t provide any such evidence. at the time, i found it impossible to reconcile the charges with what i knew of him. now? derogatory racialist, at least.

    realitychecker permalink , May 30, 2017

    “My next needlepoint will be:

    Just wait for the magic indigenous mudwomen of the world to sprinkle their magic pussy juice on the Earth, and that will make everything all better. The first thing to do is to get all the men out of power. Wendyworld is coming!”

  54. Ian Welsh permalink*
    September 20, 2017

    Didn’t see that comment at the time. That’s past the red line.

    Limit the ad-homs people, and keep the sexism and racism out of them.

  55. September 20, 2017


    “Your problem is that you can only think in absolute binary fashion, and reality hardly ever, if ever, aligns with any binary absolutes.”

    And yet, you are perfectly comfortable claiming that non-white journalists are incapable of doing their jobs simply because of their race.

    Thinking doesn’t get much more binary than that. Or more racist.

  56. cripes permalink
    September 21, 2017

    —–> someofparts permalink
    September 18, 2017

    bowtie jack – thanks

    I always wondered how his mom, a mere secretary, managed to be such a globe-trotter. None of the secretaries I ever knew had that kind of money and nobody became a secretary so they could travel.


    Ann Dunham-Obama-Soetoro, whatever else she was…CIA, Ford Foundation, Deep State whatever, was certainly not a mere secretary.

    She had a BA, MA and eventually PHd in Anthropology and worked as Director, researcher etc for numerous USAID-type developing country and rural projects including microcredits, before it was so popular and revealed to be another avenue to exploit the poor and drive them to suicide…

    Mere secretory, no.

    Best to fact check your facts, first.

  57. realitychecker permalink
    September 21, 2017

    Someone here who has claimed her own brain-damaged status thousands of times online should stop acting like she is a competent investigator already.

    Just sayin’

  58. realitychecker permalink
    September 21, 2017

    ” . . . now he’d told me that he’d been banned for racism . . . ”

    A BLATANT LIE!!!!!!!!

  59. Ché Pasa permalink
    September 21, 2017

    So just whose enemy is Obama? To claim that he is “just the enemy” presumes a false universality. He’s everyone’s enemy? No. Not at all. Not even close.

    Obama is not the enemy of most of the bankers and corporatists, most of the neo-imperialists and warmongers with whom he cheerfully hob-nobs to this day. He’s not the enemy of so many Americans who continue to hold him in the highest esteem regardless of his many flaws and regardess of who he hob-nobs with. He’s not the enemy of the hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of people around the world who see him still as representing the greatest hopes of mankind.

    There’s a reason why the Trump regime invokes him constantly — while trying to denigrate him. The regimes and their adherents are mirror images of one another. If Obama is the “enemy”, he’s the enemy in the mirror.

  60. wendy davis permalink
    September 21, 2017

    oh, my. and here i’d thought that my addle-pated corroborative investigative results would please reality checker, although why it was such a badge of honor to him…is baffling to me. and i did check my emails, and the main corroboration came from a woman, not the he /she i’d used in my confusion.

    i am not lying about what you’d told me was the reason you’d been banished from fdl; if i’m wrong, it’s totally unintentional, and i’d love for you to refresh my memory as to the reason. as i said, i couldn’t credit it at the time.

    @ Ché Pasa: “There’s a reason why the Trump regime invokes him constantly — while trying to denigrate him. The regimes and their adherents are mirror images of one another. If Obama is the “enemy”, he’s the enemy in the mirror.”

    yes, had ian invoked his name to show that trajectory it would have made more sense to me. but bloomberg notes that obomba’s not just gone through the revolving door already, he’s galloped through it.

  61. Richard McGee permalink
    September 21, 2017

    Obama’s actions in office tell us everything essential we need to know about him as a person. It would be helpful, however, to be able to look at some objective verifiable research about his background. Can anyone point to some helpful links (of the non-infowars/tinfoil hat variety)? What I’ve found online so far seems heavily tainted.

  62. realitychecker permalink
    September 21, 2017

    @ Wendy

    The blatant lie is that any administration anywhere ever took any action against me due to “racism,” and you know full well how poisonous it is to associate me with that, whether you do it maliciously or only carelessly and recklessly. I have previously detailed on these threads exactly what happened.

    And the rest of your comment makes very clear just how hard you are trying to “help” me.and I’ve already made it abundantly clear to you that I do not want anything to do with you.

    Don’t do me any more fucking favors, OK? You are dead to me, and I like it that way.

  63. Peter permalink
    September 21, 2017


    It appears you are getting the snowflake’s Trump flaming treatment depicting you as a regular Georgia Cracker. These self-righteous projections are all the snowflakes have to offer and most people seem to understand that they come from a very dark place .inhabited only by true believers.

  64. cripes permalink
    September 21, 2017

    Since the assault from Clinton and Google on left websites, there are precious fewer sites every day we can go to learn and dialogue.

    Maybe RC and co. should get a blog where you can re-litigate the real or perceived unjustices of all your prior internets arguments, bannings and so forth. Crackers, racists, magic vaginas, whatever the hell you’re fulminating about is a distraction, an intrusion, an obstruction and a rude pain in the ass. Your conduct seems to come straight from the Hasbara Manual. It’s not on topic, doesn’t belong here and needs to go away.

    Get a room.

  65. realitychecker permalink
    September 21, 2017

    @ cripes

    Every time I go silent for awhile, trying to give you room to make a more meaningful contribution, you offer nothing.

    You only seem to emerge from the ‘Tooobz to take a shot at me.

    What’s up with that?

    I come here for intellectual sharing and stimulation. All you name-callers and dogmatists are the ones stinking the place up.

    But, I will say nothing for the rest of the day. Let’s see you fill the space with your wisdom.

  66. realitychecker permalink
    September 21, 2017

    @ Peter

    Way too little introspection going on around here, I have to concede.

    Ever hear the expression “circular firing squad’?

    Everybody is a heretic to the truly pure./s

  67. Willy permalink
    September 22, 2017

    Strange. I’d tell people of color that the Obamas were the best looking/acting family in the White House since the Kennedy’s, but they weren’t being nearly progressive enough to make any hopeful change difference. And none called me a racist.

  68. realitychecker permalink
    September 22, 2017

    Willy, you obviously didn’t talk to many POC. Hey, you might be a racist for that lol.

  69. wendy davis permalink
    September 22, 2017

    i’m glad for you that the commentariat here knows the reason for your banning, then. but as far as your drama queen repetitions of “you are dead to me”: Oh, how i wish it were so. and yet you feel compelled over and over to come to my home website, quote things i’ve written, especially when i quote other sage people of color whose aspirations i love, then crow: “here’s the evidence of who wd really is!” please leave me and my diaries totally alone in the future.

    yes, i love the notion that one day we won’t be divided by ‘race’, just class, and that the underclass will globally decide to make some massive changes in ‘democracy’.

  70. realitychecker permalink
    September 22, 2017

    I just like to keep occasional track of how you and your minuscule commentariat are slandering me. Funny how my name keeps coming up there. Funny how you keep coming after me here.

    You’ve proven yourself correct in your insistence that Internet friendships can’t be real. Thanks for the lesson.

    Ignore me, if you can. I will ignore you. A recipe for mutual satisfaction?

  71. Willy permalink
    September 23, 2017

    I was simply expressing that what had worked for me, might work for others.

    But apparently, in the world according to rc:

    POC cannot be changed because they’re POC.

  72. realitychecker permalink
    September 24, 2017

    Willy, try to be less of an idiot. There are plenty of POC who would call you a racist for expressing any criticism of Obama. Trying to turn that fact into an attack on my supposed racism just makes it obvious that your brain does not work very well.

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