Late Night: Obama and the Bite Me Point
If we had a sane polity, it would be clear that for all of Obama’s popularity and obviously stellar political skills, he’s hardly invulnerable. Indeed, taking a very broad historical view, it’s incredibly obvious just how exposed he is: if he had a serious, thoughtful rival in either party, a genuine Nemesis, such as other similarly gifted American politicians have had to put up with, right now he’d be battening down hatches, loading the cannon, delivering bracing damn-the-torpedoes pep talks to loyalists.
But he’s cool. He’s calm. He’s smooth. And why shouldn’t he be?
Because the man has no rivals. He has no challengers. From a raw, hardcore political calculus, Barack Obama does not have to do anything aside from what he wants to do, because there is nobody who can make him do it. And what does that mean? It means complacency, is what it means. And that means — well, this, is what it means.
You see, Obama is vulnerable from the left. He’s not breaking promises to the right. He never told the right what they most wanted to hear.
And that means he’s invulnerable.
Because we don’t have a left in this country — or at least, a left with an insider media and DC villager presence, which amounts to the same thing. Hence, Obama is quite correct not to bother with it. From a political perspective.
Now, I’m not saying that I dislike Obama. Because I don’t. I phone-banked for the motherfucker, and I hate the telephone far more than I hate, say, having toothpicks inserted under my eyelids. I cold-called for Obama, God-fucking dammit, and I make no apologies. It does give me bitching rights, if nothing else, though.
Which is, I think, the issue. I am not an Obamabot. He is not my Messiah. He is the politician I preferred in very specific circumstances. And still do I suppose, given the embarrassing alternatives on the right, and the invisible ones on the left.
We’ll never have a political system in which doing the right thing is always the winning move, but that doesn’t mean we need to accept a political system where not doing anything much at all always means checkmate. Though I kind of think it’s going to be like that for a while.