At his press conference today, to which I listened on NPR on my drive home from work(praise be to the Odd Gods of the Galaxy that I still have a job!) President Barack Obama spoke the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when he said(and I quote from memory here): “I’m very persistent. When I strongly believe in something, I keep pushing for it.”
Well, I can’t argue with that. Let me start a partial list of what Obama strongly believes in:
1. Bailing out Wall Street criminals.
2. Escalating, as LBJ would say, the Afghan War.
3. Mandatory health insurance premiums for most Americans.
4. Extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and emasculating the estate tax.
5. Extraordinary rendition.
6. The new START treaty(even Ronald Reagan and I would agree on that one)
7. Keeping his Blackberry.
8. For-profit education and the destruction of real public education.
9. “Savvy businessmen.”
10. “Free trade” agreements, ie outsourcing and layoffs of Americans.
These are all things that Obama has either strongly and publicly lobbied for or has quietly extended while applying pressure against anyone who had the nerve to criticize them. Now, a few things that Obama clearly does not “strongly believe in,” largely through malign neglect:
1. The Employee Free Choice Act.
2. The public option for government-insured health care.
3. Unemployment insurance for the “99ers.”
4. Internet neutrality.
5. Redistribution of wealth.
6. Public works programs.
7. Protecting Social Security.
8. Food stamps. (Michelle’s anti-childhood obesity program is funded by cuts to the same).
9. Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Don’t be fooled, folks, Obama did NOT push for that one; the Defense Department, headed by a Republican, did.
10. Raising the minimum wage.
Please feel free to add more here as well.
So, Obama spoke the truth. He WILL push for the things he REALLY believes in. My problem with him is, most of the time he doesn’t push for the things I, most progressives, and often most of the American people, really believe in. He DOES push for the things that Wall Street and the super-rich want. He HAS NOT pushed for anything that really goes against their interests.
Conclusion: Obama’s interests and those of Corporate America are one and the same. Most of the time, anyway.
Especially if you take him at his word today.