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Repudiating Liberalism or Obama

2010 October 17
by Ian Welsh

We’re coming up on the midterms, and the Republicans are cruising.  Odds are very high that  they will retake the House, there is an outside chance they will retake the Senate.  This is being spun as, is being seen as, a repudiation of liberalism and progressivism.

Back in early 2009 I told others in the blogosphere that we had to come out against Obama.  And by early, I mean late January.  The reason was simple enough: having seen what he did on TARP and then seeing his stimulus bill, I knew for a fact that he wasn’t going to fix the economy.  His “negotiating” strategy, if it was that, indicated he wasn’t going to take Republicans on, and that he was either spineless or essentially a right winger, just not crazy right wing.

Given these facts, it was clear that his policies were going to be seen to fail.  Quibble all you want about the stimulus, the bottom line is that it didn’t kick the economy out of the recession (in large part due to the bail out the banks policy which TARP symbolized, even if it was not the largest part of that policy.)

If Obama was seen as liberal, and his policies then failed, liberalism would be discredited.  It must be made clear, starting as soon as possible, that he was not a liberal and that liberals and progressives repudiated him.  A few people doing it in 2010, mostly half-heartedly, when he had already been seen to fail, simply looks like rats deserting a sinking ship, as it did when conservatives in 2007 started saying Bush wasn’t actually a conservative.

I lost that argument.  Frankly, opinion leaders aren’t willing to take those risks.  They saw that Obama was popular with the base, that everyone was still in “hope without reason” mode, and even when they agreed (and some did) that his policies were a failure, that he’d betray unions, that he was going to be a disaster on civil rights, they wouldn’t do it. “The audience isn’t there yet.”

The art of opinion leadership had become “see where the mob is going, get out in front and pretend you lead them there.”

So be it.

What is done is done.  What needs to be done is this.  The liberal wing of the Democratic party must be SEEN to take out Obama.  There must be a primary challenge.  If there is not, liberalism will be discredited for at least a decade, time America cannot afford, since liberal solutions work and conservative solutions,  whether pushed by right wing Dems or Republicans, don’t.

Are you a liberal first, or a Democrat?  You can’t be both.

The Lesser Evil Argument: I’ll discuss the fear-monger “Republicans are so bad” defense of supporting Dems no matter what at greater length in a later post, for now, the short version is this: Republicans ARE going to to  win again, Dems are not going to stay in charge for 20 years.  If Dems don’t do the right things when they can, the country will still slide into ruin.  The status quo of Dems moving slightly to the right, then Republicans rocketing to the right leads America to ruin.  All “Dems at all costs” partisans are doing is making the process go on somewhat longer.  That’s fine if you’re 70, or younger and in really bad health, but if you don’t expect to die soon, all you’re doing is putting off the catastrophic meltdown of America, not doing what is necessary to stop it from occurring.)

127 Responses
  1. October 22, 2010

    It’s so hard to imagine that anyone would dislike Lambert. Is it because he is pretty?

  2. Ian Welsh permalink
    October 22, 2010

    Let’s keep the personal attacks down folks.

  3. October 22, 2010

    Zzzzzzz ….

  4. October 22, 2010

    Pepe (and Z) have and can have, of course, no response to the factual point that real wages rose during the Clinton era (see above for link); rising wages mean that, on the whole and on the average, people were better off in terms of concrete material benefits then, as opposed to now. Apparently, Pepe (and I assume his tag team partner, Z) define “bad for ordinary people” as a bigger paycheck. Perhaps they’re closet Austerians?

    In any case, to speak to Pepe’s especially loathesome crotte of snark about a “pretty smile,” see this from a review of Unemployed in America:

    According to Sered and Fernandopulle, people who lack or lose access to health care become a separate caste. They use the word caste deliberately and in its traditional sense to describe a group of people who are characterized “by the absence of mobility” and by “recognizable external markers.” When health affects employment and appearance, people lose the middle-class markers that define success in this country:

    In a broader sense, the death spiral serves as a metaphor for the deep changes taking place in American society as the demarcation between rich and poor — a traditionally fluid distinction in our society — hardens into a static barrier between the caste of the healthy and the caste of those who are fated to become and remain sick.

    Teeth are one of those caste markers. Healthy, white teeth are a sign of middle-class success. Almost everyone in the book said that if they were suddenly given health care coverage, the first thing they would is go to the dentist.

    Please, deliver me from a “left” that thinks delivery of concrete material benefits to ordinary people isn’t important, and that mocks those who can’t afford dental care!

  5. Pepe permalink
    October 22, 2010

    Neoliberalism with a human face. And that face was – Bob Rubin’s.

  6. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    October 22, 2010

    I see Ian’s post has been hijacked by the usual suspects again in their infantile nattering of pseudo and intellectualistic nabobery (h/t Spiro T. Agnew).

    A mature cognizant reader recognizes opinion when encountered and accords that opinion whatever weight it deserves toward the tendered post, dismissing those opinions of little consequence.

    Not so, this covey of jejune jerks, wrapt in self-importance and self-esteem, gnawing on fleshless bones and old grievances as if their growling mattered. One suspects it is the sound of their rattling keyboards that motivates their endless, pointless fracas; the rattling keyboards giving meaning to their dull existence.

    The mature reader quickly discerns their “its all about me” and tries to keep, not always successfully, the distraction they create from deflecting the object of the original post. The consequence of these endless assaults is the commentator whose observations are made, many times of significant value, but overcome in this onslaught of needless, and sometimes worthless words trying to validate insignificant opinions.

    Most of the foregoing comments are nothing more than a waste of Ian’s valuable bandwidth. Please show the host some manner of consideration.

  7. October 22, 2010

    Yes, Pepe. Yes, Yes. Let me try this more slowly. Yes, Clinton was a neo-liberal (to the left end of the spectrum of acceptable neo-liberalism) just as Obama is (to the right end). What gave the Clinton era its “human face” was the concrete material benefits that Clinton delivered, and that Obama isn’t. The increase in real wages (link above) that you believe was “bad for ordinary people” (your words). Yes, neo-liberalism has to go. But I think it makes sense — unless you don’t want to appeal to “ordinary people” — to look at why they might look back at the Clinton era as a better time. Does that help?

    * * *

    I am glad you’re not making fun of poor people for having bad teeth, though. For somebody on the “left”, that’s a rather ineffective talking point…

  8. October 22, 2010

    lambert, my love: you’ve made it. you officially have crazies making up conspiracy theories about you. damn. i’m sort of jealous.

    hey Z: talk about lambert’s questionable sexuality. and how much money he’s making f4om the republicans. also: his asian hareem of sex slaves. he’s got all that too. get serious about your oppo research, man.

  9. Pepe permalink
    October 22, 2010

    Do you qualify for medicaid? I believe there are dentists who accept medicaid, depending on your state. There are even free dental clinics in some major cities (like Chicago).

    Clinton’s economic policies were better than Obama’s, but there were a whole host of other conditions worldwide that created the perfect storm for Clinton’s strong dollar, and at the end, his policies were losing steam. If oil was cheap today, if foreign money was seeking protection of the dollar, if there was a dot-com bubble, if there were no major wars ongoing, then Obama might be looking pretty rosy right now himself. After all, it’s essentially the same economic team.

    There were losers to Clinton’s policies, from manufacturing due to offshoring, from poor folks kicked off welfare, to Mexican farmers who were outpriced in Mexico by cheap American produce.

    I don’t hate Clinton; I voted for him twice (I held my nose the 2nd time). I do hate nostalgia, generally speaking. Nostalgia is a fucking liar.

  10. October 22, 2010

    Pepe, thanks, yes, I’ve done my due diligence on dental care.

    Yes, there were losers in Clinton’s policies. On the average, “The real wage for the typical worker rose by 6.6 percent.” Not nostalgia, since the material concrete benefits were real. I agree that NAFTA was teh suxx0r — yes, neo-liberal policies were responsible, and the Clinton administration is on that spectrum.

    As for the dot com bubble, one difference between that bubble under Clinton and the real estate bubble under Bush and Obama was that there was actual value produced during the dot com bubble (as there was during the railroad and canal bubbles, say, and not during the tulip bubble, say). Google, et cetera, aren’t negligible achievements (though they aren’t on the par with the achievements of the industrial era). But the real estate bubble is just out and out control fraud — elite criminality. I don’t think it’s the nature of the economic team that’s makes the difference, but a transition from normal ruling class rapaciousness to out-and-out looting in broad daylight. I think that has a lot to do with our ability to come out of the recession — “we” literally can’t clean up the balance sheets of the big banks because if we do, a lot of banksters are going to jail. Can’t have that. Not the case in 2000.

  11. October 22, 2010

    I too remember the Clinton era as a kind of a minor Golden Age. Even though I was living in Canada under Clinton’s partner-in-crime Ti-Jean, but it was much of the same dish served up, and the US tech boom had a big ricochet in Canada too. I’ve no doubt that some of it was Clinton’s policies and that he and Gore really did invest in and encourage the tech sector, leading a typically Randroid SV-associated population to become a fairly loyal Democratic constituency.

    But it’s not enough to forget that he willingly watered older neoliberal trees and planted new ones that are now bearing fruit, and this wasn’t *just* because he was forced to by Congress (credit some people are willing to give Clinton but somehow not Obama). Many of us seem to have forgotten the Seattle confrontation and why it happened—and it was big news back then. Some of us seem to have forgotten why there was a Nader/LaDuke run in the first place even as they rush to embrace non-Democratic electoral politics…

  12. Hugh permalink
    October 22, 2010

    Just wandering by. I counseled, like you, early on opposition to Obama. Obama was not only not progressive. He was anti-progressive. Yet progressives were going to be blamed for him and his policies. It was such an obvious case of us being left holding the bag. I would say the one thing that has changed about this is that we can extend Obama’s anti-progressivism to the entire Democratic party, at least all of its officeholders.

    This brings up a point I have been trying to press. The liberal orgs and liberal orgs have not gone into opposition because if you look at who runs them you will find many Democrats. Obama and the Democrats can’t really control the hoi polloi but they do effectively control these groups. There may be some grumbling and some opposition to some Democrats but not an outright rejection of them all. Obama and the Democrats can’t use the considerable organizing capabilities of these groups to energize the left. That’s a sell even these groups can’t make. Obama and the Democrats are just too obviously not progressive. But what they can do, and have done, is neutralize their ability to organize against them via the large Democratic representation in the leadership of these groups.

    As I have written elsewhere, look what a few Tea Party kooks have done on the political scene, and then compare that to the near absolute absence of anything similar on the left, despite all of these great political organizing groups and the huge potential they represent.

    It’s not that the liberal orgs and elite blogs are unaware. It’s that they are co-opted and tied into the Democrats. How then can they oppose them, except here and there, on this issue or that candidate?

  13. Hugh permalink
    October 23, 2010

    Re the dot com bubble, perhaps the most salient difference was that the risk remained in one place, principally the NASDAQ. While with the housing bubble, the risk migrated throughout the system and multiplied itself as it went. It’s sort of the difference between a bubble in the system and the system as a bubble.

  14. KLCarten permalink
    October 23, 2010

    I am gonna chime in on the Clinton Era and then on Obama. I know in my personal experience is that wages rose, I started as a I.B.E.W. apprentice in the late 80’s. Seen both of my parents lose jobs in manufacturing during Reagan and Bush, and knew that if I couldn’t afford college, I had to either go the trade school route or into a factory that would be iffy at best. So went to trade school and because I am a woman got into the apprenticeship pretty easy. I put my time, watched and learned a trade, worked and made a decent living, but construction is hard on a body. Construction work is iffy also, but if you got a trade you could make a bit on the side if times are tough. I figured if it don’t work out, I would know what to do at my own house, wouldn’t have to hire someone and trusted that they did a good job.

    So, well in the trade, during the Clinton years, it was booming, worked local, mostly car plants at 7 days a week 16-18 hours a day I was tired with a nice healthy saving account, in 94 our local did a fine job on the contract, we would be making $21 an hour with retirement added another buck in benefits ( $2 in retirement an hour with time in half and double in holidays and sundays and anytime after midnight which would be $4 an hour) so in real terms we were doubling what our retirement benefits would be and five bucks in wages during the three year contract. The first year we would receive $2, the following $1 and the final year $2, the old timers said that was about what they received before Carter cut the unions throats. My dad who worked for the Teamsters agreed with what the old guys were saying. So, for me, as a Union Member, actual wage increased which were flat or had cuts just to stay working. Every one I knew was working overtime, and was pretty happy with being able to buy a new car or just go to the store and buy what they wanted. Now, its pick and choose what you really need and what is a want, and you get what is NEEDED. There is no going and buying crap just to buy. So, this bullshit about Clinton era is just that, there were real concrete wage increases. What people need to remember is we had a Republican Congress that had the members to override a veto in some of those years. The Dems only had the house for the first two years of the first administration. Call Clinton a DLC, call him anything you want, but be honest, people did make increases in real wages, and that the job market was a employee not a employer market. If you wanted or able to work there was a job, period.
    Now onto Obama, he is a conservative, and its all about him, its not party its about Obama. I thought well the worse will happen is that he is another Carter. Not a total fuck up, just kind of blah, kind of like you just can’t catch a break, not that he would fuck up attentional just his I am above all the bullshit type of thing he does. Was I so wrong, its like he sold his soul to the banks, investor class, and the super rich , the billionaires because millionaires are not even close to the uber rich. I figure he do what they require and he will get his pay day after he is out, to me the tell was when he said he rather have one good term instead of two dismal terms or something like that, was on 60 min. and I thought fuck, were screwed.
    So a garden was put in and all my cheapness came out, I can squeeze every penny out of a dollar. Sure its hard, and it sucks to be poor, but then I have a house paid off and only one car but it will be paid off in two years. I don’t know if I will be able to afford another car, I am kind of out priced on things now. I buy union and american when ever possible, not much out there anymore. Growing up, you bought american made products, my dad would say, the job you save might be your own, this is what we lived by.

  15. October 23, 2010

    No shit there were wage increases during the clinton years … fuck, damn near anyone with a internet dream could find financing for an ipo during those early bubble years … thanks to wall street and greenspan’s bubble economy, which was very much encouraged by clinton’s wall street-centric secretary of treasury. Those companies did have to hire people after all. So therefore there were wage increases becoz there were more people being hired due to the bubble. Bubbles are created by money after all and they DO create jobs (didn’t the housing bubble create jobs?) but then they turn out to be malinvestments and cause future problems becoz the economy has been focused on ventures that, overall, don’t turn a profit. And in the end, we saw just how sound the foundation was to these wonderful years … which again, were also helped out by another ultimately damaging clinton policy, free trade, that initially benefited the economy with the influx of cheap goods … the jobs would leave later … when so many of these highly capitalized companies went bust becoz they couldn’t produce a profit.

    And it wasn’t just the dotcoms themselves that were involved and recipients in that malinvestment, it was the telecoms like worldcom that was able to sell shaky bond deals … with the help of wall street … that wouldn’t have been possible without accounting fraud. These bond deals, based upon a criminal inflation of their true financial health, helped fund the build out of the internet infrastructure … which ended up being far overbuilt … to keep these bond deals rolling in to the telcos and the balls in the air in those companies’ ultimately fraudulent financial “health”.

    And all this corruption regarding wall street with their rigged ipo deals, wall street’s merging of their research and sales divisions to sell these deals, and the corruption with the telcos began during the clinton years although the damage and the fraud didn’t primarily surface until 2002-2003. But, of course, that is lost on the clinton fandumb who conveniently can’t see past 2000-2008. The economy was also on its way down in the last year of the clinton era, another fact frequently overlooked by his admirers … it didn’t start falling apart the moment that bush came into office.

    The bubbles that began during the clinton years: the stock market bubble (the nasdaq doubled in a single year!) and the related dotcom bubble and telecom bubbles … were very much facilitated by clinton’s secretary of treasury, robber rubin who got into the ear of greenspan, who then bought in the productivity miracle and increased the money supply to reflect those beliefs. That led to a credit bubble where people’s dogs could get credit cards during those years. The effects of that money supply increase were hidden by the cheap goods that were coming in due to those free trade treaties becoz they kept down inflation. wall street used their additional leverage to go wild upon our markets, which again was very much facilitated by rubin … who didn’t, by the way, fall like an asteroid from the sky into clinton’s cabinet. Hell, clinton and co. also allowed them to go wild and loot Russia as well, causing a ton of financial damage in that country too. rubin’s strong dollar policy … which helped lead to the deportation of so much of our manufacturing … also added to wall street’s leverage in the world markets, of which there was some significant turmoil in during those wonderful clinton years.

    As far as the clinton economy was concerned, there also was a legitimate technology boom that clinton had very little to do with that boosted the economy and would have happened no matter who was president. It wasn’t as if clinton created a manhatten project during those years that set that off the technology boom.


  16. October 23, 2010


    Laying any portion of the real estate bubble on obama is utter fucking nonsense.


  17. October 23, 2010

    And by the way, to make my position completely clear, this is the way that I see our three most recent presidents: clinton > obama > bush … with the jury still being out on obama being any better than bush; in fact, he may end up being worse, as unimaginable as that was at one point. But I don’t grade presidents by a no-president-left-behind standard and say everything above the abominable bush baseline is okay. It’s not. They were/are all unacceptably poor presidents that heavily favored corporate interests over the populace’s. I think we’ve probably had three of our worst presidents in American history back-to-back-to-back … and look where we are.

    And, also, if someone with a time capsule put a gun to my head and hijacked me back to 2008 and forced me to make a choice between hillary clinton and barak obama, I would DEFINITELY choose clinton based on the reasoning that obama has been so deplorable that I can’t imagine her being any worse … and, in fact, the odds favor her being better. I’d BET on her being better, if I could. But I don’t believe that ms. dlc would have been BETTER ENOUGH to make the changes necessary to produce an acceptably equitable society … to me … and neither do I see anything in her past to suggest that she would rattle the power structure of this country to the extent that it needs to be in order for us to make significant progress against the forces that are covertly waging class warfare against over 98% of the country.


  18. October 23, 2010

    Another amusing tale told by the true cdsers: clinton played little role in the welfare reform and the repeal of glass-steagall becoz the bill that hit his desk was veto-proof. Clinton made welfare reform a PRIORITY … and ran to “end welfare as we know it” … and I find it highly doubtful that the welfare reform movement in congress veered very far off of what he wanted and that he couldn’t have pressured enough congressional dems to stop it from reaching those veto-proof majorities if he really wanted to. He was pretty proud to sign it.

    robber rubin was very much involved in the repeal of glass-steagall and yet so much of the clinton fandumb wants to pretend that the bill just hit bill’s desk out of the blue and went down similar to this:

    clinton: Oh, what the hell is this? The repeal of glass-steagall? Who would have thought that? I wonder why bob didn’t tell me about this? Ah, he’s been so busy hanging out with sandy weil lately, I guess he just didn’t get around to it. Oh well, I guess there’s nothing I can do about it now.

    Hell, if you want any accounts of clinton’s deceitful deals with the congressional republicans … and against the best interests of the people … clinton’s odious and unnecessary deal with gingrich over social security “reform”, aka cut benefits to seniors, is fairly well chronicled at this point. It appears that only the corporate lap dawg’s personal political survival, that was endangered due to the Lewinsky affair, got in the way of that.


  19. October 23, 2010

    Correction on a post above:

    But, of course, that is lost on the clinton fandumb who conveniently can’t see past 1992-2000.

    I had originally wrote:
    But, of course, that is lost on the clinton fandumb who conveniently can’t see past 2000-2008.


  20. October 23, 2010

    Z burbles:

    Laying any portion of the real estate bubble on obama is utter fucking nonsense.

    As we have come to expect, Z is full of — let me play at being Canadian here — merde.

    Obama is playing the end game (that being “any part” of the real estate bubble). By whipping for TARP, Obama ratified and consolidated the bailouts that Bush’s Treasury and the Fed had already performed in 2008. And by refusing to recognize accounting control fraud by the “savvy businessmen” banksters, Obama is allowing them to escape with their ill-gotten gains.

    Youth or inexperience may excuse ignorance of the past; but surely not ignorance of the present?

  21. October 23, 2010


    Okay, here is the sentence that you wrote:

    “As for the dot com bubble, one difference between that bubble under Clinton and the real estate bubble under Bush and Obama was that there was actual value produced during the dot com bubble (as there was during the railroad and canal bubbles, say, and not during the tulip bubble, say).”

    The bubble did not develop or begin its collapse during obama’s reign, so I don’t think it is fair to imply that it also was his bubble … any portion of it … or that it came under his leadership. That’s nonsense. The bubble was blown and busted before obama came into office.

    I don’t agree with obama’s actions regarding its “clean-up” … or maybe more accurately termed: his “white wash” … so we do have a general agreement on that.


  22. October 23, 2010


    By the way, I don’t need a tag team to defend myself against your dreamer team. And I don’t think pepe does either. The vast majority of the facts support our positions. In contrast, you true cdsers need a tag team that consists of:

    lori, who actually believes hillary, of tarmac infame, knocked on reagan’s office door and talked him out of cutting a legal program for the poor. Note that the other principals are dead, Reagan and Vincent Foster, and can’t refute hillary’s likely fable. But who knows … it could have happened, though it sounds an awful like a chopping down a cherry tree story to me and it takes a true cdser to outright take that at face value and buy into it as fervently as she does. Especially since, again, the same heroine in this story also was a “heroine” in another story involving a tarmac that was demonstratably false. But I guess that so many bullets have whizzed by hillary’s ear that she’s done lost track of where they all occurred at. lori also never answers retorts to her nonsense such as hillary took a stand against the iraq war … while voting for the aumf (which didn’t require her vote to pass, but she voted in favor of it anyway in a valiant, pragmatic … AGAIN, IT DIDN’T REQUIRE HER VOTE TO PASS … attempt to maintain leverage over the bush administration’s lust for war … even though she voted against another bill that would have been more effective in insuring that, which hillary, graduate from yale law school, claims she misunderstood ( )). And she buys hillary’s claims that she was against nafta when she was actively working to promote it. ( She has no response to any of this, becoz ideologues are known to have a profound distaste for facts that don’t support their position.

    Silly little mary, who postures that she is taking on the cause of keeping internet boards on-topic while blissfully overlooking lori’s opening salvo in this argument. Of course, like most true cdsers, her principles are entirely based upon whether or not someone supports her hero, hillary. She then runs over to a pro-hillary board and writes about how she can’t believe the irrationality of the clinton haters over on Ian’s board. Well, at least she stayed on topic on that post becoz …

    myiq goes over there and initially posts my response on the board and completely mischaracterizes my position as being one of those “lefty purity trolls (who) HATE Bill and Hillary more than than they dislike Reagan, Bush, Bush II or Bush III.” Note that this hillary enthusiast pulls out the old lefty purist troll canard … just like the obamabots do … to characterize those that stick strong to their principles. But, again, there is little fundamental difference between the hillary fandumb and the obamabots and the bushites … it’s just a different brand of the same bullshit … except that the clinton fandumb uses misogynism insults instead of racism in the case of obama and cds instead of bds in contrast to the bushites. Myiq then yanks my clarification to my position and then comes over here and denies mischaracterizing my position and saying that he only posted what I did … I guess his aforementioned comments at the end of his post slipped his little mind.

    And then, of course, bringing up the ass end of the clinton fandumb caravan comes lambert, who once argued that clinton deserved a huge hand for winning elections fairly … well, there was that little scandal about the Thai temple fundraising and foreign funds being funneled in thru there, though it is hard to quantify how much those illegalities effected the election and I personally doubt that he would have lost against the corpse he ran against anyway … and that clinton also deserved credit for discrediting the right wing nut jobs during the Lewinsky scandal. Some discreditation there, they somehow recovered from the corporate lap dawg’s bite and went on to capture the oval office twice … well, at the very least, they got close enough to steal it … and then went on to gain majorities in congress from 2002 to 2006. And now he thinks clinton deserves credit for putting a smiley face on neo-liberalism. Oh, boy …

    So yeah, it’s quite a crew you gals and guys got there, but I don’t need any help from any tag team to hold up against your coalition … whose arrogance is only usurped by its ignorance … that is heavily armed with delusion, but very weak on facts, objectivity and cognition. Collectively, you comprise a very simple, single mind.


  23. October 23, 2010


    How old are you?

    I ask that because your comments strike me as coming from someone who was too young to really remember the nineties.

  24. Ian Welsh permalink
    October 24, 2010

    Ok folks. No more personal attacks. I will start deleting comments or shutting down comment threads if I must. I have avoided mandatory registration or author approval comments, and I’d prefer to continue to do so (not least because this blog is a cost, not a revenue generator), so I’d greatly appreciate it if you would self-police.

  25. Pepe permalink
    October 24, 2010

    Chris Hedges: “Bill Clinton is the greatest traitor to the working class that this nation has ever produced.”

  26. October 24, 2010


    Sorry, it was primarily my fault … I started most of it. I’ll lay off the insults.


  27. October 26, 2010

    wow lambert, what a weird thread. i’m almost afraid to join the pile on, but my impulse control is not good enough to refrain from replying to this:

    One shouldn’t mistake Clinton’s ability to deliver concrete material benefits during his term for the general failure of the neo-liberalism as a project. One might consider the Clinton wing of the D party as “neo-liberalism with a human face.” Sadly, the human face isn’t on offer with The Big O.

    jmo, but i think the human face some people saw in the Clinton administration is the same one some people see with the Obama administration. just different versions of a very similar propaganda.

    re clinton. i don’t know how to do an accurate count, but it’s quite possible that the policies of his administration killed more people than bush’s if one includes economic warfare as well as the bombing kind.

    a short list, just off the top of my head:

    nafta (especially chapter 11), welfare “reform,” repeal of glass steagall, CFMA 2000 (includes the enron loophole and prohibition of otc financial derivative regulation), global financial deregulation (WTO’s Financial Service Agreement) including capital flow liberalization and IMF demands (asian financial crisis anyone? the back story on geithner on that one is fascinating) — and the resulting perceived need for countries to accumulate dollar reserves in self defense which means unless the usa runs a massive current account deficit, we’ll force deflation on the rest of the world.

    and that increase in real wages? doesn’t distribution matter? if this post is accurate, take a look at where that increase in real wages went: what did matter was there was a short lived time of full employment – but it was built on bubble economics and a massive increase in non productive non-gov sector debt. just because clinton was around for part of the upside of a bubble but not the downside doesn’t mean his administration doesn’t bear some responsibility for the downside as well.

    and don’t get me started on the looting of the post soviet states. in my book larry summers is a mass murderer.

    when i look at the “human face” of the clinton administration, i see the face of corporate globalization, especially financial corporate globalization.


    disclaimer: before someone calls me an obamabot (on this thread is seems almost anything is possible), i didn’t even vote for obama because as soon as it looked like he won the D nomination, he 1) repudiated his promise on FISA and lead the effort to immunize the telcos and 2) started loading up his economic advisors with the worst kind of neoliberals.

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