THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Rest and the Rightest

Obama’s Center-Right Cabinet Foreshadows Center-Right Presidency

A bunch of Clinton- and Carter-era hacks. George W. Bush’s leftover defense secretary. Of the dozens of Obama’s top appointments announced to date, there’s only one liberal: David Bonior, who ran John Edwards’ primary campaign, as secretary of labor. Maybe.

Remember the Democratic primaries? Among the top three presidential contenders, Edwards was the liberal. Hillary Clinton, she of repeated votes for war against Afghanistan and Iraq (and Iran!), was to Edwards’ right. Obama, who also voted for war but didn’t commit to Clinton’s bigger healthcare plan, was even more conservative than she. “Mr. Obama,” David Sanger writes in The New York Times, “is planning to govern from the center-right of his party.”

If nothing else, I had guessed, the U. of Chicago egghead would appoint a team of the Best and Brightest. We’re getting the Rest and the Rightest.

Asked by a reporter how his center-right coalition of Republicans, pro-war Democrats and other assorted has-beens squares with a campaign marketing hope, change, and Soviet-inspired propaganda posters, Obama pledged to “combine experience with fresh thinking.”

“Understand where the vision for change comes from, first and foremost,” Obama said. “It comes from me. That’s my job, to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing [that vision].” Pretty words.

Obama’s argument–that his center-conservative cabinet will carry out radical change if he orders them to do so–is denied by recent history. The U.S. government, as micromanager Jimmy Carter learned, is too big for the president to manage on his own. And, as George W. Bush learned after 2000, the people you hire are more likely to change you than you are to change them.

As governor, Jacob Weisberg wrote in his book “The Bush Tragedy,” Bush was fondly remembered by Texas Democrats as a moderate Republican who crossed the aisle to get things done. But campaign manager Karl Rove “used his influence to steer Bush away from being the president he originally wanted to be–the kind of center-right consensus-builder he was as governor of Texas–and into a too-close alliance” with the right wing of the GOP.

Even more fateful was Bush’s choice of Dick Cheney to head his vice presidential search committee. Cheney chose himself (!), then hijacked the would-be “compassionate conservative”‘s presidency by packing it with “neoconservative ideologues, who combined hawkish American triumphalism with an obsession with Israel,” as Juan Cole put it in a memorable 2005 essay for Salon. By February 2001 Cheney had already ensured that the Bush Administration would focus on international affairs to the exclusion of everything else. He also made sure that his aggressive, Manichean worldview would prevail in cabinet discussions. “Cheney had 15 military and political advisors on foreign affairs, at a time when the president’s own National Security Council was being downsized,” marveled Cole.

The moderate guy who ran against “nation building” in 2000 never stood a chance against his own staff.

It’s possible that Obama has stronger force of will than Bush. But, so far in the 219-year history of electoral politics, there is no example of a president successfully enacting radical changes without likeminded lieutenants to carry them out. Will Obama be the first to change his cabinet’s spots? Probably not.

“The last Democratic administration we had was the Clinton Administration,” Obama said in his attempt to calm his liberal base, which is starting to get hip to the reality that Obama is about to betray them. “So it would be surprising if I selected a treasury secretary who had had no connection with the last Democratic administration, because that would mean that the person had no experience in Washington whatsoever.” Or maybe not. What about Paul Krugman, the Princeton economist and Times columnist who won the Nobel Prize this year? He’s progressive. As a bonus, he’s been right about everything for years.

“We want ideas from everybody,” Obama continued. But not from liberals. And not from the socialists John McCain had everyone stirred up about. Speaking of McCain, the right-wing Arizona senator is tickled pink: “I certainly applaud many of the appointments that President-Elect Obama has announced,” McCain said last week. “Senator Obama has nominated some people to his economic team that we can work with, that are well-respected.”

What Obama and McCain consider respectable might not pass muster with polite company. Obama’s economic advisor Lawrence Summers thinks women aren’t good at math or science, which bodes poorly for the quality of his own thinking. Marie Curie, call your office.

Former Bush intelligence official John Brennan was, until last week, Obama’s pick to head the CIA. ABC News reported: “Brennan had been a top aide to former CIA Director George Tenet during what critics of the Bush administration refer to as that agency’s descent into darkness post 9/11, and he had spoken in favor of various controversial counterterrorism strategies, including enhanced interrogation techniques and rendition–sending terror suspects to allies where torture is legal.” After Congressional liberals threatened to block his nomination, Obama crossed Bush’s torturer off the list.

Lefties who swooned on Election Night had might as well get used to the truth: Obama isn’t one of you. Never was. Never will be.

COPYRIGHT 2008 TED RALL

Advertisements

35 Responses to “THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Rest and the Rightest”

  1. Albert Cirrus Says:

    “Obama isn’t one of you. Never was. Never will be.”

    I’ll give Obama 2 years to prove you wrong.

  2. Albert Cirrus Says:

    “Obama isn’t one of you. Never was. Never will be.”

    I’ll give Obama 2 years to prove you wrong.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Until Obama proves disasterous I’m going to repeat to myself, “He kept Palin out of office. He kept Palin out of office…”

    Dorme bene…

  4. Maura Says:

    Whoa Ted. Not only are you skewering the man you voted for, you’re also sounding a lot like a Bush apologist. Suddenly he’s just a victim of his own staff? No. I don’t think so.

    And, yeah, I know you’ve been skewering Obama from the beginning, but if you disapprove of him this strongly, maybe your reason for voting for him was misguided. One vote can make a difference, and all that stuff. You could have voted for McCain, or a third party candidate, or sat this one out.

    Are you really surprised that Obama is going center-right? I’m one of his biggest fans – big enough to sit through 15 minutes of his interview with Barbara Walters – and I knew damned well he wasn’t going to be a leftist president. That will never happen.

    As for him never having been one of us, I disagree. He sure as hell didn’t grow up privileged and in luxury. That he’s privileged now hasn’t made him forget what it was like not to be, in my opinion. For various reasons, I assume you won’t hold him Ivy League education against him, not the least of which is, unlike the man currently occupying the White House, Obama actually earned his.

    Is style part of his appeal? Definitely. But he’s smart and focused and, I suspect, a complete control freak, all things we need now. I think he does care, and actually believes in something more tangible than being on a Mission From God.

  5. Clownstotheleftofmejokerstotheright Says:

    Let me see if I get this right:

    You lament that Bush was unable to govern from a center-right position and THEN lament that Obama might?

    Maybe (probably) I’m wrong, but, if I’m not, then this seems an inconsistent argument.

  6. G. M. Palmer Says:

    He wants brownshirts in the streets. He’s the worst sort of statist.

  7. Ted Rall Says:

    Maura,

    I thought Obama would choose the best and the brightest team of advisers he could find. These days, those are the lefties who were right over and over and over while others–including moderates–were repeatedly wrong. I am terribly disappointed by these cabinet picks. William Gates is the worst, but Hillary is a piss-poor choice as well. How is Hillary, who wants war against Iran, going to carry out Obama’s supposed desire to normalize relations with that country?

    Clowns,
    For a Republican, center-right is moderate. For a Democrat, it’s conservative.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    More crap from Ted “Obama Schlobama” Rall. For those who don’t know, Ted predicted Obama would never even win the primary, much less the presidency – so he’s going to run down Obama for the next four years, pretty much non-stop. Rall’s ego must be protected.

    To the point: If Obama doesn’t enact a single-payer health system, Rall will claim “ha-ha I told you so!”. Even though Obama NEVER promised single-payer.

    If Obama doesn’t remove all the troops from Iraq on day 1, Rall will claim “ha-ha I told you so!”. Even though Obama NEVER promised to remove the troops immediately.

    And on and on it will go for Rall …

    The fact is, most liberals knew exactly what they we’re getting when they voted for Obama. If you read Ted’s older column about what HE would do on day 1, you quickly realize why he’s so disillusioned. Frankly, the only thing that would have appeased Ted at this point is if Obama had appointed:

    Paul Krugman as Secretary of the Treasury.
    Noam Chomsky as Secretary of Defense.
    Howard Zinn as Secretary of State.
    The staff of PETA as Secretary of the Interior.

    Get real Rall. It’s YOU that Obama was never one of.

  9. Pieter Says:

    Like you, I was expecting Obama to be a right-end-of-the-party, Clinton-style Democrat, much as I dislike them, and even though I’d never voted for such a presidential candidate before, I voted for Obama anyway.

    The point about not appointing Krugman is excellent. He’s smart, he’s been consistantly right about what’s wrong with the economy, and no one can deny he has sufficient expertise to do the job.

    Those of us on the left can’t really act surprised, but we shouldn’t act pleased either. Unless Obama makes real progress and fast, we shouldn’t extend our support to him. He should bring in his (watered-down and weak) health care plan as soon as possible. He shoud do everything to signal that he’ll abide by the Iraqi parliaments decision to have US troops completely withdrawn in 2011 and meeting the earlier deadlines to withdraw to bases. For some reason, in his speech in Berlin, he also said it is time to eliminate nuclear weapons. If he got those three things done, I’d happily support him. Without them, I won’t, and I’d hope other leftists woouldn’t.

    (Clowns: it is perfectly reasonable to be dissappointed that candidates that tried to suggest they’d govern from the left of their parties ended up ruling from the right.

    Palmer: I’m guessing you knw a lot about brown shirts at BJU. You guys allow interracial dating yet?)

  10. Pieter Says:

    Like you, I was expecting Obama to be a right-end-of-the-party, Clinton-style Democrat, much as I dislike them, and even though I’d never voted for such a presidential candidate before, I voted for Obama anyway.

    The point about not appointing Krugman is excellent. He’s smart, he’s been consistantly right about what’s wrong with the economy, and no one can deny he has sufficient expertise to do the job.

    Those of us on the left can’t really act surprised, but we shouldn’t act pleased either. Unless Obama makes real progress and fast, we shouldn’t extend our support to him. He should bring in his (watered-down and weak) health care plan as soon as possible. He shoud do everything to signal that he’ll abide by the Iraqi parliaments decision to have US troops completely withdrawn in 2011 and meeting the earlier deadlines to withdraw to bases. For some reason, in his speech in Berlin, he also said it is time to eliminate nuclear weapons. If he got those three things done, I’d happily support him. Without them, I won’t, and I’d hope other leftists woouldn’t.

    (Clowns: it is perfectly reasonable to be dissappointed that candidates that tried to suggest they’d govern from the left of their parties ended up ruling from the right.

    Palmer: I’m guessing you knw a lot about brown shirts at BJU. You guys allow interracial dating yet?)

  11. Angelo Says:

    Maura said:
    “I knew damned well he wasn’t going to be a leftist president. That will never happen.

    anon said:
    “The fact is, most liberals knew exactly what they were getting when they voted for Obama.”

    No no no. Have you guys forgotten?!! Obama is a sleeper. This is all a ploy to get elected. Once he gets in…

    BAM!!!

    FDR city baby!!

  12. Maura Says:

    Ted, I’ll grant you the disappointment in Obama’s choices. Summers, who is obviously very good at sticking his foot in his mouth. Gates – I admit, I don’t know much about him. But there has been lots of cheerleading to keep him on, apparently because we’re in the middle of a war. Isn’t that one of the reasons Bush got a second term?

    I’m still trying to figure out why he chose Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. Maybe to appease her supporters. Maybe to keep her as close as possible and under control. One problem though. It doesn’t matter if she’s a US Senator or Secretary of State, or if she decides she wants to be Michelle Obama’s hairdresser. He can’t control her. She has no loyalty to him or the party.

    So OK, I’ll back off on that point. But I stand by my contention that, as a child, Obama was one of us and that he hasn’t forgottenn that. And I don’t know that I want someone who is currently “one of us”. Again, wasn’t that one of Bush’s supposedly selling points? People wanted to have a beer with him. (Except, of course, he’s a raging alcoholic/dry drunk, so there wouldn’t be any moments hanging out around the keg trading stories with him.) So, you know, that didn’t work out too well.

    It’s a bit early to be passing the Generalissimo hat to Obama, or to be viewing Bush with sympathy. Bush is the guy who made people long for Nixon, and it took Nixon a lot longer than five weeks to obtain the title Elder Statesman in some of the more twisted minds of our political pundits.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Ahhh…Nixon

  14. Geoduck Says:

    From the start, I have suspected that despite Obama’s intellect and eloquence, his administration is going to be a failure, because, yes, he’s too cautious and centrist, and the situation has gotten so bad that cautious centrist solutions and personnel ain’t gonna cut it anymore. I just hope that he’s smart enough to realize that and try something more drastic. If he doesn’t, we’re facing the serious possibility of President Palin in 2012.

  15. Geoduck Says:

    From the start, I have suspected that despite Obama’s intellect and eloquence, his administration is going to be a failure, because, yes, he’s too cautious and centrist, and the situation has gotten so bad that cautious centrist solutions and personnel ain’t gonna cut it anymore. I just hope that he’s smart enough to realize that and try something more drastic. If he doesn’t, we’re facing the serious possibility of President Palin in 2012.

  16. Aggie Dude Says:

    Listen up people, Sarah Palin does not have a political future on the national stage, so stop having convulsions about it. C’mon, how’d being the new leader of the GOP work for Dan Quayle? Quayle might have been incompetent, but he hasn’t had an exorcism performed on him!

    Palin is a nutjob that appeals to a dwindling group of out of touch idiots. These people can’t tell you the difference between evolution and metamorphosis. They’re all incompetent! A President Obama will walk into a 2nd term without a problem.

    Anyone who wants to bet me serious money on Sarah Palin being out of the republican primary in 2012 faster than Fred Thompson, I want to make a bet with you. That’s of course giving you the benefit of the doubt that she’d even be in the running. I don’t think she will.

    She appeals to the same group that Huckleberry does, except he’s actually got content in his message. She’s another Fred Thompson, people!!!!!

    As far as Obama goes, he’s done a terrific job so far, I hope I don’t have to deal with this incessant whining for too long.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    You’re being to kind to bush.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Well, I guess I am probably the only minority who is a Goldwater Republican who reads this. But at least with John McCain we knew what we were getting.

    Those who think they knew Obama must be his close friends or advisors, because he was and is wishy washy.

    For those who said he is a down trodden minority and a symbol of success with failure surrounding him, I laugh and laugh.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Well, I guess I am probably the only minority who is a Goldwater Republican who reads this. But at least with John McCain we knew what we were getting.

    Those who think they knew Obama must be his close friends or advisors, because he was and is wishy washy.

    For those who said he is a down trodden minority and a symbol of success with failure surrounding him, I laugh and laugh.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Barack hasn’t even entered the White House.

    Y_S
    Pakistan

  21. Ted Rall Says:

    “You’re being to kind to bush.”

    That’s a new one. But be careful. The American presidency is a study in entropy. We may end up missing him someday.

  22. SDS Says:

    Ted,

    A question: a prominent former state department wonk at my school has been arguing that we’re about to see something cool regarding Iran. He says we have an inevitable thawing of relations to address the opium growth on the border of Afghanistan and Iran. The theory goes that the poppy growth hurts both nations and creates warlords who destabilize both. Am I being Pollyannish in believing that this could be the first warm salvo to normalcy with Iran?

  23. SDS Says:

    Ted,

    A question: a prominent former state department wonk at my school has been arguing that we’re about to see something cool regarding Iran. He says we have an inevitable thawing of relations to address the opium growth on the border of Afghanistan and Iran. The theory goes that the poppy growth hurts both nations and creates warlords who destabilize both. Am I being Pollyannish in believing that this could be the first warm salvo to normalcy with Iran?

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Ted, you’re an idiot when it comes to anything south of the Durand Line (Wiki that all you v(omit)loggers, except Angelo who has enough brains to remember what that is).

    But when it comes to your judgement on the American System, there is no other save the Rall-Meister.

    “Wake Up You’re Liberal” was one of the best dissections of American politics written anywhere. You kicked Zinn’s People’s History more ways than a Brazillian soccer match.

    So when it comes to your judgement of Obama turning establishment-Gimp, I agree with you 110%.

    So I take back what I just said about Obama not even moving into the White House. Go Read Matt Taibbi’s new blog post (suppressed-scream-of-horror)

    The Best example of your correctness on this is the Obama pick for Healh and Human Services Secretary is:

    I gripe writing this…..(shudder)….Tom Daschle X(

    :@ :@ :@ :@ X(

    T O M D A S C H L E

    You all remember who he is? The name should be sending red lights glowing. Because this unlike Robert Gates (who was bought in as firefighter for Rumsfeld’s conflagrations ), was deep in the bowels of Bush Country, pouring Kerosene on every Cheney-plosion in sight.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/blogs/taibbiunbound/2008/12/the-whore-factor.php

    This is where always having different sources of news comes in handy.

    Keep reportin’ on America, Rall. We need ya there.

    Y_S

    Pakistan

  25. Aggie Dude Says:

    Anon 5:59, the Germans knew what they were getting with Adolf Hitler too, that doesn’t mean it was the right choice.

    And I don’t think people knew what they were getting with McCain, they only repeat that because for some reason Republicans have a lock on the whole “I’m a straight shooter” thing. People didn’t know what they were getting with Reagan, or Bush Jr. Bush Jr. campaigned on a completely different set of values than he enforced as executive.

    McCain was a completely different person from one moment to the next, he was erratic and rebranded himself about 10 times during the campaign. If you truly believe he represented something you could count on, you’re delusional. There’s no other way to put it.

  26. Clownstotheleftjokerstotheright Says:

    Ted;

    Ah. I see. Fair point.

    Best,
    Clowns

  27. orvillethird Says:

    In all fairness there are quite a few Republicans who would be good for the Obama Administration. A few for starters:

    Paul O’Neil (sp?) – While you may disagree with his economic policy, he did America a great service by releasing those documents to Ron Susskind.

    Walter Jones – You can’t doubt his conservative bona fides. You can’t doubt his knowledge of defense. You also can’t doubt his opposition to the Iraq War. He’s said he was wrong, which is more than Biden or the Clintons have done.

    Patrick Fitzgerald – I’m assuming he’s a Republican, even if he isn’t registered. He’s got great legal skills, experience fighting terrorism (first man to mention Bin Laden in a US court), dealing with high profile cases, dealing with political corruption (among Democrats AND Republicans). Best of all, Obama can SAY he opposes “Scooter Libby justice”, but why not nominate the guy who tried to BRING Scooter Libby to justice?

    Scott Ritter – He’s a registered Republican who supported Bush in 2000- back when Bush spoke of a “humble” foreign policy. Also in 2000, he was one of the first public figures who wasn’t an Iraqi who began publicly stating that Iraq had no WMD. Back when he opposed Saddam, some neocons suggested (tongue-in-cheek) that he be Secretary of State… if he got the post, they would wind up eating those words.

    Walt Monegan III – While he may not be a registered Republican (I’m not sure), he has a long career in law enforcement, and has worked in nearly every facet of police work. He’d make a good FBI director.

    All these are Republicans. All have good qualifications. Only one can be considered to be an “Insider” (And he only served in the Cabinet for 2-3 years).

    Would anyone disapprove of these picks?

    (PS Not all those who studied at Bob Jones are like Palmer. (I attended BJ for Junior High…) And they did apologize for many of their past racial actions recently…)

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Aggie dude,

    I think a lot of people would completely disagree with you about the Germans knowing what Adolf Hitler was all about. On another note, he practically hijacked power. Shooting at Red barracks or buildings to murder people is a pretty good deterrent to vote.

    “And I don’t think people knew what they were getting with McCain, they only repeat that because for some reason Republicans have a lock on the whole “I’m a straight shooter” thing.”

    I would have to disagree with you completely. They knew more about John McCain than they did about Obama. But, I guess standing in line listening to people talk about all the places where they already voted and this was their 5th time and wanting Obama because he was going to pay their car… I guess I have a little better grasp. Just because YOU understood (perhaps) what he stood for, I guarantee you not a lot of people did.

    That was different with John McCain.


    McCain was a completely different person from one moment to the next, he was erratic and rebranded himself about 10 times during the campaign. If you truly believe he represented something you could count on, you’re delusional. There’s no other way to put it.”

    Whatever his aides told him to say is irrelevant. He didn’t rebrand himself, he was rebranded. He still is the same person as he will be in the Senate.

    Oh, and if you are planning on making the comment of why I didn’t call the Election Commission. I did. They told me to go fuck myself.

  29. G. M. Palmer Says:

    Pieter,

    BWAHAHA!

    Did you read what I put as my job? “Chair of Creationist Evolution at Bob Jones University, San Francisco campus.”

    Does BJU even have an SF campus? Hell, I don’t know.

    To Anonymous AuH2o — The others on here were right — McCain was a whack job (I’m guessing some sort of anti-depressant), so we didn’t know what we were getting from either (but when have we, ‘ceptin that we knew Clinton couldn’t keep his pants on), but you aren’t the only conservative who reads Ted (though, honestly, I’m pretty far to the right of conservative these days [and that doesn’t mean fascist for those of you who are dumb — it means somewhere around monarchist]).

  30. Jana C.H. Says:

    G.M. Palmer–

    Many of the people on this blog know and use the real definition of fascism: the fusion of state and corporate power. This is exactly what neo-conservative Republicans have brought about during the Bush administration. Traditional American conservatism has a lot in common with Libertarianism, but today’s conservative barely give it lip service.

    It sounds, from your brief mention of monarchism, like you’re more like a European conservative. Monarchy has never been an American gig, but I’ve come to think that constitutional monarchy is a good thing because it separates the Head of Government from the Head of State. Thus you can criticize person who’s running the country without attacking the person who symbolizes your nation.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Will Cuppy: Attila the Hun was an awful pest, but there are plenty of others. You mustn’t blame him for all your troubles because most of them are your own fault and the sooner you realize it the better.

  31. Jana C.H. Says:

    G.M. Palmer–

    Many of the people on this blog know and use the real definition of fascism: the fusion of state and corporate power. This is exactly what neo-conservative Republicans have brought about during the Bush administration. Traditional American conservatism has a lot in common with Libertarianism, but today’s conservative barely give it lip service.

    It sounds, from your brief mention of monarchism, like you’re more like a European conservative. Monarchy has never been an American gig, but I’ve come to think that constitutional monarchy is a good thing because it separates the Head of Government from the Head of State. Thus you can criticize person who’s running the country without attacking the person who symbolizes your nation.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Will Cuppy: Attila the Hun was an awful pest, but there are plenty of others. You mustn’t blame him for all your troubles because most of them are your own fault and the sooner you realize it the better.

  32. musician/songwriter Says:

    Rall – you ARE MISSING THE REAL STORY.

    OBAMA IS A BODY FASCIST.

    He is “obsessed” with “keeping fit” proof that the deepest character trait he has is “self-indulgent narcissism.” 😀

    The biggest qualification he considers is “how good you make him look standing next to him!!!” hehehe.

    That means there is hope for Paul Krugman too. Obama would thoroughly enjoy constantly towering over the recent, and always very short, Nobel winner!!!

    But give him a chance to get over the joy he’s feeling at standing next to a bunch of very pale, saggy skinned, white guys with tired, hound dog looks (what we expect our leaders to look like) and the big hipped women on the other.

    Together they frame him and make him look like Adonis in Chief!

    To create this image might be impossible were he to select from liberals and progressives who like Obama and all elitists share his “obsession with fitness” “eating healthy.” That means they would NOT make him look as good as his current selections.

    As always there is a far more important reason for his choices than simple silly politics.

    You need to look bigger, to see the entire picture!!! 😀
    (and nowhere will you see the likes of the one remaining attractive Kennedy Jr. but you’ll see lots of images of big uncle Teddy LOL)

  33. Anonymous Says:

    All the secretaries are is symbolic window-dressing. It’s all about the undersecretaries and deputies, etc.

    And if Ted weren’t going reactionary each week over everything, he’d be out of a job. Expect it to continue.

  34. Quasit Says:

    Friends and family begged me to vote for Obama despite his unforgivable actions on FISA and telecom amnesty.

    “One last time,” I thought as I stood in the voting booth, “I’ll give the Democrats one more chance. Maybe…maybe they’ll surprise me.”

    I’ve played Cassandra for many, many years. It’s not a comfortable role. And for my own peace of mind, I’m trying to give it up. So I’ll just say this: just as only Nixon could go to China, only a Democrat can dismantle Social Security and the rest of the remnants of the New Deal.

    And government won’t give back the wiretapping, internal spying, and torture powers it has accrued under Bush/Cheney; government never gives back such powers, the people must take it back.

    But they haven’t. We haven’t. And we won’t. Obama will throw us a few cosmetic crumbs; here’s a website with the word “change” in big letters, and an invitation to submit your oh-so-valuable ideas! Don’t expect to ever see any meaningful action, but you’ll get a beautifully-formatted form in response, and you’ll be added to the DNC’s mailing list when contribution-time rolls around.

    Joe Lieberman screwed the Democratic party, and was rewarded. Howard Dean pushed through the 50-state strategy over the objections of thugs like Rahm Emmanuel, was vindicated again and again, and what happened? Dean is out and Emmanuel has been rewarded.

    The signs are clear. The headlong rush of this country towards destruction is not changing; we might have slowed infinitesimally, but we are still headed over that cliff. The new driver is just giving us some more-diverting happy talk to distract us from onrushing doom.

    Bush/Cheney were the symptom, not the cause of our national decay. The real problem is…the American people themselves. We’re isolated, apathetic, ignorant and smug about it, xenophobic, and utterly blind to the realities around us. And it seems very likely that we’re going to take the world and our species down with us.

    Why? There are two reasons, I suspect. One is that the vast majority of the rich are amazingly short-sighted; they don’t realize that untrammeled greed and unregulated capitalism are ultimately fatal to any society.

    The other problem is technology. Improved transportation technology has scattered extended families to the winds, turned neighborhoods into mere collections of residences, and undone the informal social support networks – that is, friends, family, and neigbors – that let us be citizens and human beings, rather than mere economic production and consumption units.

    And then, of course, there’s television. Go through any community in America some evening, and you’ll see it: the ghostly, shimmering pale glow from behind the curtains that announces to the world that The TV Is On. We spend a HUGE percentage of our lives worshiping that box and the money-religion that it preaches.

    We spend out lives watching TV…and therefore, not informating ourselves about the issues, not learning about the stands and actions of the candidates, not paying attention to the people who are supposed to be representing us, serving us. Can anyone honestly claim to be surprised when corruption and greed run amok and destroy the American dream? What did we expect would happen?

    We, the people, are guilty of the most profound neglect of our democracy. Unfortunately the terrible penalty will be paid not only by this generation, but by many generations to come.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    G. M. Palmer,

    The weird thing is that I am actually a Bolshevik (probably the only ideological one left) who sees the Republican party as the chariot towards Socialism…

    I guess, I’d be more of a Khrushchevite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: