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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still in the Tank for Obama

Yes, yes, brainless Boehner is telling the GOP to vote against the stimulus even though the stimulus was crafted at Obama's insistence in order to attract GOP support through useless, utterly discredited, frankly immoral tax cuts rather than vitally necessary potentially transformative public spending. (This was a campaign promise of his, you know, were you sleeping in class?)

Rather than just leaping to the assumption that this reflects Obama's naivete or disorganization or stealth corporatism, has it not occurred to anybody that this might be a set-up? Democrats will still get their stimulus and it will still be incomparably more progressive than anything I could have dreamed of since Clinton's first term (Clintonism Failed, btw, y'all), meanwhile the dwindling Republican minority are exposed in harsh headlines and sound-bite hairballs as extreme out-of-touch ideologues and obstructionists in a moment of unprecedented national crisis.

Am I the only one who observed Obama's masterly maneuverings during the primary? Obama dog-whistled his awareness of who's who and what's what with his "I won," but everybody is leaping to the Lucy and the Football analogy anyway.

Progressives have been betrayed and abused beyond reckoning since RFK's assassination and Carter's difficulties gave way to the Movement Conservative world-destroying bullet-spraying looting spree, but shake off the Stockholm Syndrome, people, and open yourselves to the possibilities that we have elected a President (yes, imperfect, yes, rather centrist, yes, he really listens to the vile Lawrence Summers) who has actually learned a thing or two from history, who actually knows something of what he is doing, who actually demands that we push him into progress rather than promising to deliver it?

I don't get why so many progressive people are ill-disposed to attend to differences that make a difference the better to build on them, rather than endlessly decry as betrayals what look like suboptimal compromises on the left wing of the possible.

It's good to push a centrist like Obama from the left -- and he actually seems to welcome this -- but this relentless naysaying among so many writers I habitually turned to for commonsense through the long nightmare of the Killer Clown Administration feels to me weirdly disproportionate and undercritical and pointlessly demoralizing.

I think Obama is doing great and I think the Democrats are doing better than I expected. Still in the tank, I suppose.


Kyle Parry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Actually, Obama's position is much more precarious than many realize. Even most optimistic forecasters think economy would barely recover by 2012. And if, as many are afraid, US are new Japan it would stagnate for much longer.

And as Carter and Bush Sr. presidencies show, publuic won't be interested in "whys". Whatever else Republicans don't have, they have enough astute strategists and charismatic figureheads to play the same "Morning in America" card they did with Reagan.

So, including SOME tax cuts as poison pill for the the next administration, if nothing else, (See, we tried that too. It really-really doesn't work, and you can't promise that and be popular.) and promoting bipartisanship, if only to keep Republicans and their failures in the public memory might indeed be beneficial, to Obama and Democrats, if not for progressive cause. As far as I can determine, apart from those tax cuts everything else Obama conceded so far were mostly symbolical things, with litle effect on the economy as such. (Like Surgeon General. Impressive-sounding post with little real power.)

Martin said...

this relentless naysaying among so many writers I habitually turned to for commonsense through the long nightmare of the Killer Clown Administration

Who are these writers? I must admit that I got tired of reading DK and all the rest after the election.

Anonymous said...

this relentless naysaying among so many writers I habitually turned to for commonsense through the long nightmare of the Killer Clown Administration

So do you agree or disagree with Paul Krugman's criticism of Obama's economic recovery plan?

Dale Carrico said...

do you agree or disagree with Paul Krugman's criticism


Dale Carrico said...

I still read dKos, Sirota, Digby with pleasure and profit, but they all seem to me more tone dead post-Obama than they did pre-Obama. I think all of them are underestimating Obama's savvy and underestimating the value of being supportive rather than always only denunciatory.

Please, if you can help it, don't confuse this for a recommendation that progressives should be uncritically enthusiastic of the actually centrist Obama.

There is a question of striking a balance between buoying up all this positive energy and hope and directing it to positive use, of appreciating the actual complexity and facility of Obama's moves in the service of practically possible progress, and the necessity of pressing a too centrist, too militarist, too corporatist (and sometimes, of course, just plain wrong on my view) Obama from the left to the benefit of all.

Judging that balance is a thing people of intelligence and good will can differ on. But as I said, a lot of my favorite Netroots people -- from Atrios to Open Left have sometimes felt to me, for the first time almost *ever* in any kind of consistent way, simply a bit off tone and off point in their reactions to Obama's moves.

The last time I felt this way about progressive discourse was when people I respected were telling me there is no difference that makes a difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush. I saw the point then, too, of course.