Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pssst, Mr. President, You're Building the Wrong Nation

(Image courtesy Liberal Vision. Click for expanded view.)

Maybe we should all move to Afghanistan. At least that's one country Obama is interested in rebuilding.

Bob Herbert of the NY Times reminds us in his usual understated way of the failings of the Obama administration. And with so much that's wrong with our country, with so much at risk, perhaps it would behoove us to be querulous and see the glass as half empty. It's getting more and more tempting to resurrect that old HW Bush bumper sticker and whisper it in the current President's ear from time to time: "It's the economy, stupid!"

An even guiltier pleasure is to appropriate for our own means and our own reasons Sarah Palin's sing-songy, head cheerleader bitch-like, "How's that hopey, changie thing working out fer ya?" Indeed, when one remembers how Obama got elected in November 2008, on a platform that was entirely supported on a mantra of hope and change, it's hard to see where the change is (and, please, no cheap and obvious puns about pocket change).

When one recalls that Obama had based his sartorial and initially quixotic presidential campaign as an antidote to the preceding eight years that were the most ruinous in living memory and at the lack of change that's actually taken place in the first 17+ months of his presidency, one sees yet another political opportunist, a man who saw his small window of opportunity and dove through it with the adroitness of an acrobat.

But one has to squint harder than a nerd at an optometrist's office to see where the change is. The health care reform bill, on which the Obama administration had foolishly staked much of its domestic policy capital, is a massive giveaway to the HMO's and Big Pharma. The other major domestic "accomplishment", the financial "reform" bill, is another massive giveaway that refuses to close some very lucrative loopholes for the banks that helped get us into this economic quagmire.

Meanwhile, a jobs creation bill has been hijacked in Congress under the tyranny of the minority Republican Party, and there's fading hope of Congress, before its summer recess at the end of the week, voting on much less passing a standalone bill that will extend unemployment benefits to the unemployed until the end of November 2010.

But the only time the President is moved to tell Congress to get off its ass is when he wants another insider or crony installed or to pass another massive corporate welfare bill. No such exhortations are heard from the conditionally hands-off executive branch when it comes to job creation or extending UI and COBRA benefits.

Corporations setting up their shingles abroad and taking all the manufacturing jobs with them are still given huge tax subsidies and breaks, 67% of our corporations pay no income tax at all and murderous corporations like Blackwater and BP are being given one free pass and huge contract after another while people are being displaced from their homes at the rate of 2.5 million a year. The unemployment rate is holding steady at double digits with no signs of going down soon and the debt ceiling has been raised higher than Bristol Palin's ankles.

When Obama warned us in his inaugural address that our nation's recovery would depend upon shared sacrifice, many Americans who weren't blinded by tea bags dangling from the brims of their Stetsons and ballcaps were willing to do whatever it took and to stand behind our bright, shiny new President, this velvety avatar of change.

Instead, less than a year and a half in, the only shared sacrifice is one collectively shared by working class proles. Corporations and the executives who run them haven't had to sacrifice anything. BP, a foreign oil company, didn't even have to sacrifice even the minimal time it would have taken to write environmental impact statements or even an oil spill plan that wouldn't be widely ridiculed on the internet. The second round of corporate bailouts is owned by Obama, which is to say we own it to the tune of $14 trillion.

But the good news is that Obama isn't insensible to nation-building. While last year's stimulus bill fell far short and didn't meet expectations, Obama is willing to sink hundreds of billions more into Afghanistan, a nation characterized by arid desert and rubble, one ruled by warlords and drug lords like the brother of our puppet, Hamid Karzai. Obama's surge and our COIN strategy is ridiculed by Gen. McCrystal's own staff tasked with implementing it and for some damned good reasons.

Yet we think that throwing money we don't have into a festering money pit like Afghanistan deserves a higher priority than job creation and nation-building here at home.

George W. Bush was the most spectacularly inept, incompetent leader under whom this nation ever suffered. Afghanistan is Obama's stepchild but it has Bush's DNA running through its collapsed veins. Yet while we criticized Bush for essentially forgetting about Afghanistan and keeping troop levels year after year at around 15,000, in retrospect the Bush administration wasn't too crazy about throwing literally tons of money into what was plainly a losing cause (that's what Iraq was for).

And spending decades and trillions of dollars into rebuilding a national infrastructure after having already blown a trillion and nearly a decade to that end with no discernible result before actually rebuilding the government is something even a high school social studies student would nowadays call "whacked."

Bob Herbert reminds us:
By nearly 2 to 1, respondents to the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll believed the United States is on the wrong track. Despite the yelping and destructive machinations of the deficit hawks, employment and the economy are by far the public’s biggest concern. Mr. Obama is paying dearly for his tin ear on this topic. Fifty-four percent of respondents believed he does not have a clear plan for creating jobs. Only 45 percent approved of his overall handling of the economy, compared with 48 percent who disapproved.

He follows this up with the hopeful but naive sentiment that it's not too late for Obama to turn things around and give us reason to hope again. He will not. It may be true that Obama is hoping to reelected to a second and final term and enact a truly progressive agenda not beholden to corporate interests.

But we elected him to do that now. The man who made a show of eschewing lobbyists and corporate campaign contributions from his campaign had now loaded Washington with the same people who were told to wait at the door, many of them the very same people who helped get us into the aforementioned economic quagmire.

So maybe we all ought to just pack up, go to Afghanistan, burn our passports and hold out our hands to be heard and helped. That tactic seems to work for the Afghanis.


At June 29, 2010 at 6:18 PM, Anonymous I've given up said...

Sounds like someone did not get that job...

But seriously, the motive of the Repigs (and the corporate Dims who act in concert with them) is to make Obama fail. And Rahm-Hopey is trying to avoid that by doing everything to placate them. But the Repukes will bring on the failure anyway, even though Obummer is serving their ends. And when the failure happens, and the Rethugs regain control in 2012, they will be in charge of a failed state. Enjoy running the world you made, you fucks.

At June 30, 2010 at 12:32 AM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Amen to all of it- except the part about moving to Afghanistan. You'll just end up standing well behind the warlords begging for their crumbs- no different than here.

At June 30, 2010 at 9:29 AM, Blogger Mithras61 said...

Part of the problem Obama is having is on display in Herbert's comment you included. The NYT/CBS poll quoted shows employment and the economy as the top concerns. A recent WSJ poll showed the deficit was the primary concern of their respondents.

What's a corporatist to do? If he addresses the employment picture his corporate buddies with all the dough will back Repugs. If he addresses the deficit, all the votes will go to the Repugs.

In other words, his leadership failure on issues such as health care reform and banking reform have left him with no way out of his current quagmire, and when combined with leadership failures in the military and his total lack of a clue in regards to SSI have left him looking like a lame duck not even halfway through his first term.

The issues will become much more stark for him, though. Unless he wishes to be remembered as the man who followed Hoover's plan right through the third depression, he better start with some sort of serious stimulus plan before its too late, and follow that up with some actual leadership instead of just poll-hopping and hope for the best.

At June 30, 2010 at 9:34 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

That's a pretty astute summation, Mithra. You're right. He's painted himself into a corner and he hasn't even considered appealing to the vast reservoir of liberals and progressive who'd helped vote him into power a year and a half ago. He used us and abandoned us, plain and simple.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #106: The Turkey Has Landed edition
  • #105: Blame it on Paris or Putin edition
  • #104: Make Racism Great Again Also Labor Day edition
  • #103: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Toilet edition
  • #102: Orange is the New Fat edition
  • #101: Electoral College Dropouts edition
  • #100: Centennial of Silliness edition
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 Things Donald Trump Said to President Obama
  • Paul Ryan's Top Ten Conditions on Running for the Speakership
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Mitt Romney Won't Run for President in 2016
  • Top 10 Results of the NYPD's Work Slowdown
  • Top 10 Secret Service Security Breaches
  • Top 10 LA Radio Shows That Are Rated Higher Than Rush Limbaugh's
  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
  • Top 10 Tips for GOP Congressmen Running Against Women
  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
  • Powered by Blogger