Thursday, November 11, 2010

Media Darlings and Policy Disasters

A pattern I'm noticing among former Obama cheerleaders is how quick they are to subsume Obama to Clinton. BTD scornfully dismisses him as a Clinton Democrat, for example, and now Sirota (is it funny that my spell check wants to change "Sirota" into "scrotum"?) is rolling him back into the Clinton/DC/Third Way borg. He has disappointed them, he is no longer top-drawer goods, so now they paint him with the worst epithet they can pull out of their kit-bag - Clinton Democrat.

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:
And, well, just about everything else I posted since October 2007 that looks at what Obama actually says about his specific political objectives points out that he was the most conservative, least inventive, least progressive candidate running for the nomination. There should be no surprises here for anyone who was paying attention to what the guy said. The Purchased Fellows didn't even have to take my word for it - The Shrill One knew all along and told you so, too, though Krugman (like Somerby) held back on his criticisms when the general election outcome was in doubt.

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.

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.
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?

Clinton Democrats knew all along that he was not on our side.



Anonymous said...

One question I'd like them to answer is that, if Barky was so similar to Clinton ... then why was HE the designated media darling and she the antichrist? If he was just like her ... why was it so important to the media powers that be that her candidacy be destroyed?

If Snowball and Napoleon really were interchangeable, then why was Snowball run off the farm?

Bob Harrison said...

Another good rant-- I've read several today-- must be a high pressure system in the Blogosphere today.

Koshem Bos said...

I have several small deviations: first, the progressives are not progressive. They never mention labor, education, address the real issued behind the rich. They are big on wars, foreign policy, and ridiculing the right-wingers. Second, the hate for Clinton is Obama's hate of the working class in Ohio and Pennsylvania. They have a developed class system in which a hick, i.e. Clinton, is always a hick. Third, they loved Obama because not only he is black and they hate HRC, but because they admire the rich investor bankers and movie industry figures, Obama first supporters, who fill up the Huffington Post columns.

They always ignored the fact that Clinton came out the gate shooting health care reform despite a tenfold greater opposition than Obama faced and gays in the military. That is progressive and a hick is forbidden to be progressive.
I totally agree that Obama was always conservative.

Palomino said...

Just a footnote: When BTD calls Obama a Clinton Democrat, he means it as a compliment, or at least as a statement of fact, not as a dismissal. BTD repeatedly has described himself as a centrist, and he sees Bill and Hillary Clinton as centrists as well. He also considers Obama a centrist. As BTD said many times during the 2008 primaries, he didn't see "a dime's worth of difference" between Obama and Hillary Clinton. I disagree with that assessment, but that is where BTD is coming from. He was never an Obot. He supported Obama ONLY because Obama was a "media darling." I think that was a very stupid reason to support Obama, but that is the reason BTD gave. He was never an Obama cheerleader. In fact, he frequently called out the Obama wing of the Democratic Party and the media for sexism directed at Hillary Clinton, and he fully understood and articulated the events of May 31, 2008, which dragged Obama over the finish line in the primaries. In other words, I don't think you can put BTD into the same camp as the "former Obama cheerleaders," regardless of BTD's boneheaded reason for supporting Obama.

Anglachel said...


Good point about BTD. He ended up being the only sane BHO supporter in the blogosphere by the end. I've cut him more slack than anybody else. In the end, I have respect for him that I do not feel for anyone else of the A-List bloggers.

Even so, his protestations about media darling status combined with his insistence that there wasn't any difference points out that he knew very well there was a difference, but didn't have the courage to say so. He was part of the overall media circus, and the fact that he still can't see any difference (or, rather, is trying to pull Obama into the protected circle of Clinton Democratic politics) perpetuates the fantasy that Obama is not *fundamentally opposed* to the principles of the Democratic Party, as tattered and woebegone as they may be.

BTD wants to believe that a tectonic shift has not happened in the party and in Left politics even as it slaps him in the face. He once asked if WKJM and fellow travelers would prefer to destroy the party than allow HRC to win, but could not carry out the rest of the thought.

To be fair, you probably have to be a political theorist and historian to understand the strands of interest and power currently being woven together before our eyes. The proper comparison to Obama is Herbert Hoover, and not on economic grounds. They are both right-wing progressives, a topic I will write about in coming weeks.


Palomino said...

"The proper comparison to Obama is Herbert Hoover, and not on economic grounds. They are both right-wing progressives, a topic I will write about in coming weeks."

I will really be looking forward to that!

Great to be reading you again, Anglachel. Thanks for all you do.