After Obama

by David Michael Green

Eight months into it, it now seems pretty clear that the Obama administration is finished.

There were some of us — indeed, many of us, myself included — who thought there was a possibility that Barack Obama might seize this moment of American crisis, twinned with the complete failure for all to see of the regressive agenda, to become the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt.

Many think that was a naïve position from the get-go.  I disagree.  Not only do I believe that it was a legitimate possibility, I would argue that it was the logical choice even just from the narrow perspective of Obama’s personal fortunes.  The president is every day committing political suicide by a thousand cuts because he chose not to take that track.

That’s certainly his prerogative, and at this point I wish him all the worst of luck in whatever comes next.  Since I never assumed he would be a progressive once elected, any bitterness that I feel is not rooted in his failure to become the new FDR.  However, I am irate that, in domain after domain, President Obama has become the personification of the very Bush administration policies that Candidate Obama so roundly criticized.  And I feel deep hostility toward him about the betrayal of legions of voters — especially the young — who believed his message of hope and thought they were getting a president on their side, not Wall Street’s.

More on that in another column.  Right now, the question is what comes next?  The Obama presidency is probably already toast, though of course anything can happen in three or seven years.  But he is on a crash course for a major clock cleaning and, what’s worse, he doesn’t seem to have it remotely within him to seize history by the horns and steer that bull in his preferred direction.  Indeed, near as I can tell, he doesn’t even have a preferred direction.

Obama was complete fool if he ever believed for a moment that his campfire kumbaya act was going to bring the right along behind him.  Even s’mores wouldn’t have helped.  These foaming-at-the-mouth lunatics have completely lost all sense and proportion, and were bound to viscerally hate any president left of Cheney, let alone some black guy in their white house.  Meanwhile, centrist voters in this country seem pretty much only to care about taxes and spending, and so he’s lost them, too, without the slightest rhetorical fight in his own defense.  And he’s blown off a solid progressive base by spitting in their eyes at every imaginable opportunity, beginning with the formation of his cabinet, ranging through every policy decision from civil rights to civil liberties to foreign policy to healthcare, and culminating with his choice not to even mobilize his email database in support of his policies.

So if he’s lost the left, right and center, just who does he think is going to be clamoring to give him a second term three years from now, especially if the economy remains lousy for most people in the country, as it’s likely to do regardless of GDP or Dow Jones growth?

There is the possibility that Obama could change course significantly, just as Bill Clinton did in 1995, following the mid-term election in which his most astute political stewardship managed to turn both houses of Congress over to the Republican Party.  But Clinton turned to the right and became just a less snarly version of the Republicans, while Obama is already there.  I don’t really think he could conceivably turn further rightward at this point, and I don’t think he has anywhere near the guts to turn to the left and do what he should have done in the first place.

What all this suggests to me is that Obama and his party will manage by 2012 to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and return the GOP — and probably an even nastier version of it than the Bush-Cheney junta, at that — to power.  It suggests that the Democrats, who were riding high six months ago over an all but destroyed Republican Party, will be switching places with them within three years time, if not sooner — and all because of their own cowardice, corruption and ineptitude.  This outcome is hardly inevitable, but it is fast approaching. Looking out over the horizon, I see five key factors most likely to effect the health and longevity of the Obama administration, and not one of them looks positive.

Continue reading: COMMON DREAMS

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Posted in American Politics, Congress, Politics

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