April 12, 2011
It Is What It Is

From The Mahablog:

We’ve got a status quo that even a president can’t break out of, folks. It’s bigger than him. We could bring back FDR himself, and in the current political climate, he’d be just as hogtied.

I’m not saying that President Obama is above criticism; not at all. I’m saying that we’re never going to get the president we want in the current political climate. Even a candidate blazing with the most fiery passions of populist economic progressivism and liberal values would be reduced to cutting draconian deals over abortion and tax cuts even to implement a few mildly progressive tweaks.

So, perpetually screaming that Obama has sold us all out or is no better than Bush is pointless and infantile. Grow up and face reality. It’s the system, stupid.

Obama is not the president of Sweden. He is the president of a country in love with ignorance, superstitious and easily frightened. The system of government which he nominally heads has resisted significant structural change for more than two hundred years of the most stunning scientific and technological advances in human history. We provide him with hot poultices and leeches, and resent him for not conquering cancer.

For more on this, Mahablog points us to BooMan’s treatment of the subject, from which this comes:

I stopped being very idealistic when I finally got around to making myself understand our system of government. I don’t get disappointed by a whole lot because my expectations are so low. I see a real threat out there. I see a threat to our way of life and to all humanity, and it stares me in the face every single day. That threat isn’t coming from Barack Obama or the Democratic Party. It’s coming from the other side of the aisle. And insofar as the Democrats are failing to meet the challenge (and they are failing) the real culprit is deep and structural and ingrained in our system and in our laws…

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at April 12, 2011 02:41 PM
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Time for disclosure yet?

Posted by: mahakal on April 12, 2011 2:54 PM

What bothered me about this post when I read it earlier is that the writer doesn't really have a viable prescription to fix the problem. I agree that we have to understand the depth and pervasiveness of our systemic political dilemma, but then proposing basically more of the same as a solution doesn't fly.

"Change from the inside means continuing to support the more progressive Democrats. But change from the outside requires popular support. Instead of complaining about Obama’s pandering to the mushy middle, we need to work on the mushy middle." Good try, but even if we manage to keep a few progressive Dems in Congress and even if they resist the pressure of their party to capitulate Obama-style on every issue, they will never be more than a small minority unable to get anything done.

As for working on the mushy middle, WTF does that mean? How would you work on them? Half the population doesn't vote mostly because they don't see the point because both their choices are miserable liars. She is right that a primary challenge to Obama is doomed and a 3rd party challenge is even more doomed. But her prescription is more or less keep on doing what hasn't worked for the last 40 years. I say if we can't figure out something more productive to do on the political scene, let's bag it and grow veggies in the backyard.

Posted by: Charles D on April 12, 2011 3:54 PM

O bite me!
"President of Sweden” has nothing to do with it. Obama does control the executive; he could--oh, prosecute the Bush torturers; not extend the Bush state secrets doctrine, not persecute whistleblowers, actually implement that whole transparency thing, perhaps he could chose to ‘Be the change we believe in.”

Note that I confine myself to his actual campaign issues, not to the mythical progressive beliefs the hopeful ascribed to him.

But no. He pursues what he thinks will get him re-elected in 12. And I will not vote for him again. Some price must be paid for lies.

Posted by: jhd on April 14, 2011 5:48 AM

To me the issue is not whether the system is rigged. That question was silly centuries ago. The question in this situation is how did so many supposedly intelligent and informed Americans pick such a weak compromising figure under the impression that he was an FDR?

In my opinion the theory that FDR would be in the same boat as Obama sounds ridiculous. Circumstances would of course be the same, but approaches would be as different as Tiny Tim and Muhammed Ali.

On the other hand, it's certainly true that while the President can screw the country royally, he (or eventually she) cannot really do much to fix things, because the real levers of power are not publicly accessible.

I agree, though, with jhd that I'm not voting for Obama a second time. But then I never intended to.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on April 15, 2011 2:20 AM

One question, Chuck. If not Him, Who?

Posted by: Red Tide on April 15, 2011 10:08 AM

It's part of the Master Plan to defeat every Obama initiative so that, seeing that he can't get anything done, the American people will vote for whoever runs from the Republican party. Never mind that we'll damn near destroy our country doing it. No N----rs, EVER, in the presidency, no matter the cost.

Posted by: Bendra on April 16, 2011 9:06 AM
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