Hawking Up Hairballs

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

And So It Goes

People I know called me a cynic back during the Presidential campaign when I said that Obama was just another political hack. I don't understand it. If I stood on the roof of a building holding a bowling ball over the edge, would I be a cynic if I said that it was going to fall to the ground when I released it? Of course not. Anyone who insisted that it wouldn't, would be viewed as deluded. Well, it's the same thing with the political campaign. Certain political and historical forces were at work that made it certain that no one with a truly progressive agenda would get elected. The only candidate with anything like such an agenda was Dennis Kucinich, and he couldn't even get a sniff as a serious candidate.

The fact is that the game is rigged, folks. It costs so much just to run for the Presidency that one has to be thoroughly compromised if one is to become a serious candidate. No matter how audacious your hope, you have to make a deal with the Devil to get elected, which Obama is quickly making clear. Take a look at his proposed economic stimulus program as an example. It's not much different from Bush's, socialism for the rich, and the cruelties of the market for the rest of us. It's a pathetic attempt to return to the status quo ante, and it's not going to work. A blogger I sometimes read put it in more colorful terms. He said that the proposed stimulus is like filling the gas tank in a car that is wrecked and wrapped around a tree. Think that's just the opinion of a few curmudgeonly bloggers? Think again. No one's more mainstream than the economist Paul Krugman. He's won the Nobel Prize and he teaches at Princeton. Read his column from the New York Times. (I've linked to it below.) Krugman sounds not just concerned, but scared. I've seen a video clip of an interview with him on MSNBC and got the same impression.

We live in the age of image, and most people find it impossible to get beyond the packaging. Obama is undeniably intelligent. He's proven himself to be a skillful politician. He throws around the optimistic words that people love to hear, words like "hope" and "change", and he's African-American, so people think he must be a progressive in his heart, evidence to the contrary. We've been gamed, folks. It's our own fault too. The record was there, and we should have known better. Obama's just another political hack, Clinton redux perhaps, or Bush in a prettier package. Of course, some will make the lesser evil argument, and I will agree to a certain extent. Obama is undoubtedly preferable to McCain, but that's not what progressives were saying before the election. Those of left-leaning persuasions that I know were positive, if not enthusiastic, about the prospect of an Obama Presidency. They didn't vote for him while holding their noses.

The sad thing about this is that we're probably going to end up with a McCain-like figure as President in four more years. Obama has yet to show an inclination to take on the forces of reaction. Instead, he seeks to compromise with them. There are times when that might be the way to go, but we're in the throes of an economic crisis that is shaping up to rival the Great Depression. Bold and innovative action is required, action that will upset Obama's Wall Street backers. There is nothing to indicate that Obama is up to it. The bowling ball is falling. Harder times are ahead.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gore Vidal hit the nail on the head when he said that in America there is no left wing, rather a right wing and an extreme right wing.

W in PDX

9:47 PM  

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