None of these esteemed pundits appears willing to cop to the fact that Obama is being completely consistent with what he campaigned on - a platform of feel-good rah-rah and center-right policies, coupled to a deliberate rejection of identification with the Democratic party. Obama was a transformational figure only in their self-indulgent wet dreams. (BTD in particular has no grounds to complain as he explicitly said the reason to support Obama was his media darling status, not his policies.) They supported Obama in order to defeat HRC, and, rather like Obama himself, failed to consider the all important closing line of The Candidate "What do we do now?"
In the rush to anoint The Precious, the actual work of governance became a pooh-poohed afterthought. Of course Obama will be liberal! We're voting for him, aren't we? They projected on to him their political fantasies and did not believe what the candidate himself was saying.
I knew Obama was not going to be more liberal or progressive than Hillary long before the primaries wrapped up:
- No Agenda Except to Win - Thursday, January 17, 2008
- Who Pays for a Party's Mistakes? - Monday, January 21, 2008
- Fights Worth Having - Tuesday, February 12, 2008
- Words Matter When Struggles Matter - Monday, February 18, 2008
- It's the Missed Opportunities, Stupid - Friday, February 22, 2008
- Policy vs. Personality - Monday, March 03, 2008
From the first of the posts linked above, No Agenda Except to Win, I said:
What is it that Barack Obama, self-anointed next-president of the US, what is it precisely that he thinks to do with this position? He has no interest in the detailed wonk stuff, he doesn't think he should get deeply involved in anything, he has yet to articulate a single, true objective or goal or achievement for his tenure in office.In light of the fact that Obama never stood for anything remotely approaching the political philosophies these newly awakened critics claim to hold, just why do they think their words hold any water with those of us who were well aware of Golden Boy Barry's failings all along?
Hillary has two huge objectives - to implement national health insurance and to restore the national economy - and a list as long as her arm of things like raising minimum wage, expanding citizen privacy rights, reversing the unconscionable expansion of executive power, and so forth. Edwards talks about restructuring power relationships. Biden spoke of resolving crisis in the middle-east and restoring American stature in the world. Dodd talked about fighting against the encroachments of state power on privacy. Even Kucinich has a list of to-do items, including promoting peace and turning back global warming.
Golden Boy Barry has nothing but his own awesomeness and a vague platform of feel good about being hopeful for, umm, something. His policy proposals, as Krugman has relentlessly documented, amount to little except watered down and incomplete versions of what he stole from Clinton and Edwards. He makes people feel dreamy, but he has no dream to articulate, except becoming the first black president. He is so determined to become that, he will crawl on his knees and beg Republicans, the party dedicated to disenfranchising minorities, degrading women and exploiting immigrants, to vote for him in order to get the margins in the primaries.
For me, I keep coming back to the demographics of who doesn't vote for him - Democrats. He is not very popular with the party he wants to lead because he is not promoting the interests of people who need the government to be squarely on their side. It is all about him, his desires, and a one-item agenda - vote for me because I say you should. It speaks volumes that his supporters are behind him more because they want someone to beat HRC than because he represents anything they actually support. People who don't actually need Social Security or FHA loans or health insurance have the luxury of voting Obama.
The rest of us are Democrats.
Clinton Democrats knew all along that he was not on our side.