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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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Telltale signs of buyer’s remorse

Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald, who *used* to be one of my favorite bloggers, posted a piece that was beneath him.  In How New Is Obama’s New Politics?, Glenn attempts to rationalize why Obama can get away with “triangulation” even though Obama’s whole shtick during the primaries, and the single most important thing that set him apart from Hillary Clinton (or so he said), is that he is not a triangulator.

Triangulation was THE selling point.  Obama was above negotiating with lobbyists.  Obama would not have negotiated on the Iraq War Resolution.  Obama was not going to compromise on “don’t ask, don’t tell”.  Triangulation was old and nasty.  Obama was NEW and fresh!

Well, we now know that Obama is not new and fresh.  He smells just like the old gym socks but he’s never done anything but sit on the bench while everyone else played.

Not to worry, says Glenn:

Ultimately, the reason politics is unavoidably “divisive” is because people have really divergent and irreconcilable views on passion-provoking controversies.  That’s what politics is.  It’s what it always has been.  At some point, Obama either will or won’t repeal DOMA and don’t-ask-don’t-tell; he either will or won’t rescind Bush’s anti-abortion regulations and appoint new Supreme Court Justices likely to re-affirm Roe; he either will or won’t close Gitmo; he either will or won’t withdraw from Iraq; he either will or won’t investigate Bush war crimes; he either will or won’t deliver on his promises to unions, etc.  People feel very strongly — and very differently — about those issues.

Someone is going to be angered and feel alienated by what decision he makes, by the outcome, and symbolic paeans to inclusion are unlikely to soothe that.  Those who are eager to escape confrontation, divisions, and angry disputes can probably do so only by renouncing any actual political principles, and are probably best advised to avoid politics altogether.  Because of the very nature of politics — to say nothing of the nature of the contemporary American Right — politics is highly unlikely to exist without angry, often ugly, conflicts of that sort.

Reasonable arguments can certainly be advanced in defense of the virtues of Obama’s post-partisan theory of politics.  But it’s simply unreasonable to depict any of it as new.  It’s exactly what Democrats have been clinging to, desperately and mostly with futility, for two decades at least.  Trans-partisan harmony comes only when Democrats agree to sacrifice what they claim their beliefs are and to show contempt for the “Left,” and even then, the “harmony” is fleeting, insatiably greedy and inch-deep.  It’s certainly possible things will be different this time around, but in the absence of actual evidence, it’s really hard to understand why so many people have become so intractably convinced that it will be.

But Glenn is wrong.  Obama’s supporters and even those of us who think he is exactly the corrupt, “country club” Republican, ultra-rich contributor loving politician that we have always said he is, have every reason to expect that Obama will do everything he said he will do- and more.  Why is that?  It’s because he has solid majorities in both houses of Congress.  With Al Franken on the cusp of winning in MN, he has nearly a filibuster proof majority.  And due to the historic economic period we are going through, the public is going to demand that he take quick and decisive measures to turn things around.  In short, he has a perfect window of time to apply a Democratic version of “shock and awe” measures to turn the country around.  If Republicans get in his way, the public is much more likely to side with the Democrat.

It isn’t like the 90’s when Bill Clinton, who Glenn uses as an excuse for Obama to triangulate at will, was president.  Bill Clinton never had a mandate and quickly lost his edge with Congress in 1994 when Newt Gingrich and his “Contract with America” swept the Movement Conservatives into power.  Glenn and others blame Clinton for  supporting the Defense of Marriage Act and welfare reform bills and every other nasty piece of legislation the conservatives passed.  But with a less savvy politician than Clinton, it could have been MUCH worse.  We have to remember that Gicngrich didn’t want DOMA.  He wanted a federal amendment that would enshrine inequality in the Constitution.  And there was a fairly good chance that he would have gotten it and a zillion other heartless, unfair and stingy things but for Bill Clinton.

But leave it to Glenn Greenwald and other idealistic liberals to blame Bill for getting saddled with a bunch of ruthless Republicans and still pulling off 8 years of peace and prosperity, leaving office with a surplus.  With Glenn and his ilk, no good deed goes unpunished.  Bill was a charlatan and a collaborator to Glenn.  So, if triangulating was good enough for Bill, it must be good enough for Obama.

How else would one rationalize and come to terms with what now seems like an incredibly stupid choice?  Obama promised change.  He voted for the FISA bill (Jeez, Glenn, if that didn’t slap you awake, what would?).  He campaigned with Donnie McClurkin.  Prop 8 passes in CA.  He scares young women into voting for him but makes sure that abortion is scrubbed from most Democratic candidates websites.  Now, he says he will “modify” rather than rescind the grossly unjust and offensive Bush Conscience Rule.  And he helped promote the Paulsen Bailout Bill which makes the Treasury virtually unaccountable to taxpayers while he deep sixed Hillary’s HOLC proposal,which Elizabeth Warren, head of the Congressional Oversight Committee of the bill, says is essential to putting the economy back on an even footing.

The thing that has *finally* gotten the stupid Obot attention is the invitation of Rick Warren to speak at the inaugural, though many of us are already incensed that the sexist frat boy pig, Jon Favreau, will be writing the inspirational speech of Hope and Change!  Obama is deliberately provoking you, you stupid Obamaphiles.  He is giving you your Sistah Souljah moment.  He is telling The Villagers that he doesn’t take orders from the lefties that supported him and that they can be comfortable that he is not going to disrupt their status quo.  Because it is The Villagers, who represent the well-connected, who could make his life a living Hell if he rocks their boat, raises their taxes, implements real change or otherwise attempts to make their lives even a smidgeon uncomfortable.  That’s what’s going on here.

Face it, Obots.  Obama is the biggest triangulator we have ever had.  We know this because he has already won the election but he acts like he’s scared of his own shadow.  He has plenty of backup in Congress and an angry constituency that is ready to tar and feather any Republican that gets in his way.  What is stopping him from promising to rescind “don’t ask, don’t tell”, the Conscience Rule and Gitmo?  What is stopping him from loudly demanding that the Treasury account for every penny right this minute?  What is stopping him from getting ahead of the game on HOLC?  He’s not in office yet but there is no downside to adjusting his rhetoric so that he can ask and demand anything he wants.  He ran like Genghis Khan but if he wants to be a real Messaiah now, there is nothing Hillary or Bush or Rove or the outgoing Republicans can do about it.  He is *not* operating in the same environment as Bill Clinton.  In fact, everything has changed.  Everything but Obama’s approach to politics.

HE seems to be stuck in the triangulating past.

Why is that Glenn?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because Obama has been bought and paid for.  And not by you.

Can you hear us now???

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