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The Call of the Lame Duck

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Michael Hirsh of Newsweek is asking the pertinent question of the week: Has Obama Hit Bottom?

Hirsh takes a positive stance on the sudden emergence of the president that the voters thought they were voting for in November 2008. He quotes Norman Ornstein of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute in suggesting that "…in the vacuum of Republican ideas, the Dems have a great opportunity…" Yet even Hirsh can't hide from the truth, concluding that "Come November, the president and his party may find themselves succeeding most by failing the least."

The fact that neocon David Brooks comes to Obama's defense has to be taken as a sign that the Republicans basically like what he's been doing — or not doing, to be more correct: "Obama is as he always has been, a center-left pragmatic reformer. [He believes] Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market."

Ah, yes! The Market! The High Temple of the Cult of Mammon. The center of the religious-like belief that monetary wealth is a much greater standard of virtue than any offered by the great religions of the world. And – based on the actions and their beneficiaries – is there really any doubt about where Obama's loyalties lie? If not, then why are there questions as to why Obama's support is lapsing?

Some see the forest in spite of the trees. Mimi Hall of USA Today writes of liberal angst in regards to "the administration's positions on protecting state secrets and war crimes" and "the depth of voters' anger towards corporate politicians". Ms. Hall quotes Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who deems the angst on Obama's left a "sure benefit" for the GOP. Luntz crows:

"It's the perfect storm" for Obama. All the conservative groups are coalescing out of anger and all the liberal groups are disappearing out of anger. If he moves to satisfy one, he destroys himself with the other. … He's in a really tough spot."

Eternal optimist and Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile says, "If this was September, I would hit the panic button."

September will be far too late, Ms. Brazile. Hear the words of longtime Democratic activist and blogger Chris Bowland, who has already changed his party registration to the Green Party: "It's very clear the [Democratic] party hates us and has no respect for its base…we've had it. I'm done."

Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, while attempting to take a pragmatic stance in regard to what little Obama has accomplished, still is very critical: “We have wasted month after month negotiating with people who do not support serious reform.”

Some of the comments from the Sanders article are also very pertinent to the question:

  • meowomon: "I'm pretty fed up with [Obama's] lack of leadership and his coddling of corporate Amerika [sic]. I thought he was different, but he's just another politician."
  • jimbo92107: "Obama talks about leadership, but doesn't know how to lead…he's just an eloquent wimp that doesn't really have much of a vision of where he wants this country to go."
  • carol h.: "He has remained a 'gentleman,' and left the heavy battles to others. He has not done his job. And the others have wandered around rudderless for a year."
  • matticusfinch: "If Obama and the Democants would have put as much force and action into this as they did in renewing the PATRIOT Act[,] and as Bush and the [Neocons] did with the War, we would all be healthy as can be right now."

Ah, yes! Health care – something that my regular readers know is especially important to me lately!

On this, Glenn Greenwald has fired a scathing J'accuse aimed at Obama and the Democrats: "Senate Democrats (and the White House) were willing to pretend they supported a public option only as long as it was impossible to pass it." He offers as support an article from Huffington Post, which takes Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller to the woodshed for coming up with lame excuses why the public option isn't going to merit his support — when he was formerly in support of it — and providing the evidence to prove Greenwald's contention that the Democrats are out to throw the game. Jay Rock really was for it before he was against it. His own words prove it. Read them for yourself.

Jay Rock is only a representative of the entire Democratic Spinelessness Society. Jim Hightower looks at how the entire Democratic Party has done little to nothing on an issue of much greater importance to the people of this nation, much more so than even health care: JOBS.

Hightower notes that when the banks cried out for rescue from their malfeasance, the government responded "with trillions of public dollars that they put directly in the hands of … Wall Street". Meanwhile, back on Main Street, Hightower notes with disdain that "What the Democrats have done is to pass a do-nothing Republican bill…Rather than directly creating jobs that pay workers…the $15 billion is going into tax breaks for businesses." But who cares about the little people, right Leona?

Robert Reich reports that what tax breaks are in place, they aren't benefiting small business. Small business can't attract dollars from their customer base if they are more interested in reducing their debt than they are buying things. American consumers once accounted for 70 percent of the total activity in the American economy, and are tapped out. The small businesses which catered to them are closing in droves if they need credit they can't get to remain open. As small businesses are the real engine of job creation, and as their customers aren't spending, there isn't going to be any job growth, no reduction in unemployment, no increase in consumer spending, and no improvement in the economy. Without jobs, what good is a health insurance subsidy plan?

While the Republicans are premature in their concern for the deficit spending they refuse to allow, there will come a time when these debts will need to be paid. A healthy economy could shrug them off without effort, but the lame economy the Republicans seem to want to create will be crippled for decades. Obama won't rise up to the challenge and do what is right for the nation.

Many economists — not all of them liberals — insist that only the government can act as the employer of last resort. Obama can't or won't see the need for this, choosing instead to allow The Market — which put us into this mess in the first place — to dictate his activity. Obama's fears of Wall Street are why his stimulus is ending long before any real tangible results can turn the economy around.

As Reich queries, "So what happens when the stimulus is over and the Fed begins to tighten again?" His conclusion indicates that it may be too late for Obama to provide the answer. Without that answer, the Republicans will regain control of the Congress and reverse what changes Obama has been given by the Congress' mighty-flighty effort. The people will be left only with the options of starving or providing the muscle to create more oiligarchies around the world — and as Stanford professor Larry Diamond noted in an essay published earlier this year, "Not a single one of the 23 countries that derive most of their export earnings from oil and gas is a democracy today."

Preserving and extending democracy, indeed! Yet another lie from the candidate most deserving the title American Lame Duck President since George W Bush. And still he and his staff can't see why we do forsake him?

Oh — and the call of the Lame Duck President? Bar-ACK! Bar-ACK! Bar-ACK!

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About pessimist

  • Some editor needs to take care of the link in this article to Rep. Sanders speech. The Realist did right. But it is coming through as he typed it in the article, and not as a live link.

  • Excellent article, Reb Realist. One minor picky point. Universal health care need not be tied to employment. It can be tied to paying a premium to a National Insurance Institute that passes the premiums (as in flow-through) to privately owned health care providers.

  • Baronius

    Realist, are you arguing that President Obama is unelectable for a second term? I don’t believe that’s true. In the next two years, he’ll have a Republican House that will block his worst ideas and restore calm to the economy. Jobs will finally start to increase. We’ll be out of Iraq. Obama can rail against Congress and blame them for everything. If somehow inflation doesn’t skyrocket, he’ll look good for 2012, especially if the Republicans choose a bad challenger.

  • Realist,

    I am going shoot
    the elephant in the room that is our biggest road block to solvency!

    We need to bring back the Sherman Antitrust Act and we need to charge all of the schemersin this country and bring them to justice, not just Lehman Brothers.

    We have a country that is being strangled by huge corporations that just keep getting bigger, stronger, and more out of control, lobbyists who are lobbying only for themselves, and a financial system taking hand-outs that an individual would go to jail for, after being charged with welfare fraud!

    We called to find out what our credit card balance was yesterday, and the 1-800 numbers changed to a 1-900 with a nine-dollar charge! When will enough be enough!

    Stop blaming OBAMA!

    🙂 Thank you, I’m going to go make a cup of coffee now and not because I’ve joined a cult…I also see the number word agreement, but I don’t feel agreeable right now.

  • OK, I read this article again, and I’m sorry that I flew off the handle @ you. I can’t wait until this bill passes or fails, just get it over with so we can all argue about everything else…I Hope that you are feeling well, today. Bye 🙂

  • @Baronius

    “Realist, are you arguing that President Obama is unelectable for a second term?”

    Is unelectable? Not yet. But at the rate he’s going, …

    “In the next two years, he’ll have a Republican House that will block his worst ideas…”

    Correction. They will block ALL of his ideas, just like they now try to do. They will promote their agenda, allow Obama to veto it, then override his veto to demonstrate that Obama has no power anymore.

    “Jobs will finally start to increase.”

    Do tell! Four of my immediate family would love to know just how much longer they will remain un- or underemployed.

    “We’ll be out of Iraq.”

    And leave all that oil behind??? Fat chance!

    “…he’ll look good for 2012, especially if the Republicans choose a bad challenger.”

    Obama’s only realistic chance at re-election.

  • Baronius

    Realist, we definitely see different scenarios, but we can agree on two things: that Obama will be able to run against the “do-nothing Congress”, and that the Republicans may nominate a terrible candidate.

    I think that Obama scares the investor. A partially-Republican Congress (they probably won’t win both houses) will prevent any harmful legislation getting through, and reassure the business world. Jobs should increase. You disagree with that, but it doesn’t matter: if unemployment drops, the president will take credit; if it doesn’t, he’ll blame Congress.

    In studying politics, I’ve learned that you always have to keep your powder dry. Sentiment turned against the Iraq War quickly, and Republicans weren’t prepared for it. Democrats won big in 2008, and they weren’t prepared for opinion to shift against them. Opinion always shifts. There are no finished arguments.

  • Baronius,

    May I add to your conversation by asking you a question?

    Who has blocked this Congress from accomplishing anything? and I think now, you are going to see that change.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, the minority party couldn’t block a hat. If this Congress has failed, it falls on the leadership of the House and Senate. But I wasn’t talking about the current Congress as do-nothings. I meant the next one, the one in office when President Obama runs for a second term.

  • Baronius,

    I think if all goes better than it has in the past, then there are going to be a lot of new faces in Washington, I’ll agree with you. Although, I think we see two different out-comes to the next election.

    Maybe, if politicians stopped worrying so much about their next election while they are in their present election, then they would actually do what they were elected to do.

    I also left a response and question for you over on the Vote thread.:)

  • cannonshop

    Maybe, if politicians stopped worrying so much about their next election while they are in their present election, then they would actually do what they were elected to do.

    You do realize that’s the primary argument for Term Limits, right?

  • YES, and I am for those term limits.