In fact, the only times I’ve ever seen the president get pissed off, it has been at the Liberals and actual Progressives in the Democratic party against whom he has used language and rhetoric I would have expected him to reserve for the Republicans, who are… or at least who many of us thought were… his real enemies. Instead, it’s the Republicans with whom, for reasons of his own, he schmoozes around with as if they were his very best BFFs, wining and dining and doing the golf thing and offering them huge chinks of the wealth and GDP while preaching to the rest of us about “sacrifice” .
As usual, you have to go outside the country to get anything like a “fair and balanced” look at the way that Liberals and Progressives have been marginalized in this country, even under our last two Democratic presidents and especially under this one. This has become so commonplace for me that I’ve even taught my spell checker to recognize British spelling. This article in the Guardian, linked from a Jane Hamsher quickie at FDL, gives insight you’ll never see in the mass media here. It’s a good read.
In 2005, American liberals achieved one of their most significant political victories of the last decade. It occurred with the resounding rejection of George W Bush’s campaign to privatise social security.
Bush’s scheme would have gutted the crux of that entitlement programme by converting it from what it has been since the 1940s – a universal guarantor of minimally decent living conditions for America’s elderly – into a Wall Street casino and bonanza.
Progressive activists and bloggers relentlessly attacked both the plan and underlying premises (the myth that social security faces a “crisis”), spawning nationwide opposition. Only a few months after he unveiled his scheme to great fanfare, Bush was forced to sheepishly withdraw it, a defeat he described as his biggest failure.
That victory established an important political fact. While there are very few unifying principles for the Democratic party, one (arguably the primary one) is a steadfast defence of basic entitlement programs for the poor and elderly – social security, Medicare and Medicaid – from the wealthy, corporatised factions that have long targeted them for cuts.
Well yeah… right up until January of 2009 when the Democratic party… at least as we had known it up until that day pretty much ceased to exist by abandoning not only its core constituency but its very reason for being which was to fight against exactly the kind of rape and pillage we’ve watched Wall Street… through it’s bought and paid for turdminions in Washington… inflict on the people of this country during Barack Obama’s watch.
None of this has a result of some slow evolutionary process by which Mr. Obama slowly succumbed to the dark side. He didn’t magically morph from some starry eyed Captain Planet, out to save the country and the world by righting the wrongs inflicted by the ravening walking, talking blobs of pure Wall Street greed, as epitomized by Goldman Sachs and (nod to Matt Taibbi) it’s squidlets… to some cynical back room behind closed doors wheeler dealer selling off chunks of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the sake of some dubious legacy. He was ALWAYS been Darth Obama and everything he’s ever done has been in service to the Sith.
But in 2009, clear signs emerged that President Obama was eager to achieve what his right-predecessor could not: cut social security. Before he was even inaugurated, Obama echoed the right’s manipulative rhetorical tactic: that (along with Medicare) the programme was in crisis and producing “red ink as far as the eye can see.” President-elect Obama thus vowed that these crown jewels of his party since the New Deal would be, as Politico reported, a “central part” of his efforts to reduce the deficit.
The next month, his top economic adviser, the Wall Street-friendly Larry Summers, also vowed specific benefit cuts to Time magazine. He then stacked his “deficit commission” with long-time advocates of social security cuts.
Many progressives, ebullient over the election of a Democratic president, chose to ignore these preliminary signs, unwilling to believe that their own party’s leader was as devoted as he claimed to attacking the social safety net. But some were more realistic. The popular liberal blogger and economist Duncan “Atrios” Black, who was one of the leaders of the campaign against Bush’s privatisation scheme, vowed in response to these early reports:
The left … will create an epic 360-degree shitstorm if Obama and the Dems decide that cutting social security benefits is a good idea.
Yeah, right. Like Jane, I too eagerly await the shitstorm. Instead, what we’re getting is feeble reassertions that the “people” will not tolerate futzing around with the safety net while Mr. Obama and his Republican friends go right on futzing around with it with virtually no organized opposition and…. far from any kind of shitstorm… all we get is a massive case of constipation.
Where is the “epic shitstorm” from the left which Black predicted? With a few exceptions – the liberal blog FiredogLake has assembled 50,000 Obama supporters vowing to withhold re-election support if he follows through, and a few other groups have begun organising as well – it’s nowhere to be found.
Therein lies one of the most enduring attributes of Obama’s legacy: in many crucial areas, he has done more to subvert and weaken the left’s political agenda than a GOP president could have dreamed of achieving. So potent, so overarching, are tribal loyalties in American politics that partisans will support, or at least tolerate, any and all policies their party’s leader endorses – even if those policies are ones they long claimed to loathe.
And that’s why I… as one of the primary victims of much of the crap that’s already gone down and sure to be even more so if he continues on his chosen path… one of those 50k people and why I will not support in any way, shape or form, the reelection of this president.