What can I say about the President's half-assed "spending freeze" proposal that hasn't already been said about AIDS? While I've never been a fan of this guy, it would take a herculean effort to get me to ponder – not accept, but at least consider – the charges of his conservative opponents in 2008. Does this guy have the slightest idea what he's doing? Are we going to try a new macroeconomic policy every six months, or are we just slap-dashing bits and pieces of different policies together and hoping that the sum will be greater than the parts? This is just the latest in a string of attempts to "govern from the center" (i.e., do nothing) and it manages to be bad economics and bad politics simultaneously. That's hard to do; I guess Obama really is special after all.

On the one hand, as Ron Paul (!!!) was astute enough to note, the odds of much spending actually being cut by the time Congress caters to the demands of each individual member are slim. On the other, it signals that Obama had the balls for all of about 6 months of governing with any sort of coherent policy of his own. Now, with 58 Democrats in the Senate and an 80-seat majority in the House, he's moved on to full-blown Republican appeasement. Time to "reign in spending" and a bunch of other shit that Republican voters aren't going to care about anyway. I mean, why stick to your guns or follow through for the people who voted for you when you can bend over trying to appease people who hate you no matter what? Maybe the problem, as his supporters are slowly discovering, is that he had no guns to begin with. As I said repeatedly during the election, he offered us nothing but four years of centrist New Democrat bullshit. And he's delivering.

Reich and Krugman have plenty to say about why the economics are fundamentally unsound. Politically, this will pretty much guarantee the Democratic base sitting out the next couple of elections while winning the President exactly zero support from the right in the process. I'm not sure what he could propose that would be a bigger insult to the people who voted for him than a freeze on all non-military spending. Obviously if it's time to start tightening out belts (to achieve deficit reduction that voters won't even know happened) we should start with everything other than Iraq and Afghanistan. Idiot.

It's not the act itself that matters; anyone with a working knowledge of Congress understands that this will result in very little reduction in spending (if any). It's the absence of principles, absence of a backbone, and willingness to cave to the slightest political pressure that augurs badly for the next couple of years. You can't beat the Republicans at being Republicans. If voters want Republicans they'll vote for them. That our political choices since 1980 have been Republican and Republican Lite says everything we need to know about our current economic predicament and the overwhelming disinterest in politics among voters to the left of Trent Lott. Of course the teabaggers are excited. You would be too if you always got what you wanted, win or lose.

12 thoughts on “DAILY DOUBLE”

  • I'll cop to it. I voted for Nader in 2000 and I'm still registered Green. But no matter how many hippies get punched, I'll still get shit flicked at me for voting too far to the left to make any "difference." If this is the difference I'm supposed to be making, I'm going back to voting for psychos who want to do insane things things like reform health care and cut defense spending.

  • How sad. All the right-wing trolls gloating about 'how's your Hope and Change now libs?' since the election have turned out to be correct. Obama doesn't appear to have any spine at all. Damn it's hard to believe someone could be so craven from such a powerful position.
    Oh well, looks like the Repubs have created reality again. Better get on with living in it.

  • I enthusiastically supported Obama once it became clear he would get the party nomination. I was slow, however, to embrace his policies, as they were too centrist and way too accommodating to Republican memes. I guess I shouldn't be disappointed, then, that this is how he has decided to govern. But my disappointment and frustration with Obama are profound. Oh sure–he's still arguably the better choice than McCain and his clueless sidekick would have been for the job–but still. Was it too much to expect Obama to see the reality of our economic, social and environmental challenges and rise to the occasion? I don't know what calamities must befall this great nation before we get the kind of progressive leadership that is decades over due. I guess we just have to muddle through with timid leaders and hope for the best.

  • I always said that the fact he ran as a Democrat precluded any earth shattering political transformation he might bring to his presidency. There was a front page article in yesterday’s Post about how wonderful it was that we had a president who was a voracious reader and information seeker. I don’t agree. I don’t want a book worm. I want a guy who is going to wade neck deep into this bureaucracy and start kicking the shit out of lazy bureaucrats. From Bush the dullard to Obama the academic—two sides of the same coin. Now, he’s going to ensure that we end up with a completely authoritarian society based upon his spineless inability to cut DoD & DHS budgets. The Audacity of Fascism. What a disappointment. Who’s next?

  • Democratic presidents always get their campaign leftist pointy edges worn and filed down to a somewhat Republican position once they're in office. And republican presidents only get maddeningly further to the right. It's simply the system we have in place. Get used to it.

  • Didn't John McCain propose a "spending freeze" during the last debate of 2008 and wasn't he unanimously and rightfully mocked?

  • disrupted Capitalist says:

    The problem is that Daffy Duck could have been elected in 2006 and 2008. People were voting against the establishment, not necessarily against Republicans. The same goes for Massachusetts. People voted for Brown as an objection everything that Martha stood for, but not to "send a message to Obama" as the bobbleheads have suggested.

    If things continue as they are then Daffy Duck will have no problem in November so long as he runs a campaign for "change". I wonder how often people will vote for "change" until they realize that is nothing but bullshit from both parties.

  • "..the absence of principles, absence of a backbone, and willingness to cave to the slightest political pressure.."

    Ah, then Mr. Obama really is a true Democrat after all. That's got to count for something.

  • Maybe its just the mid-winter blues, but I am feeling uncharacteristically pessimistic today. And when that happens, I don't fuck around. So…

    My prediction: continued ineffectual and criminally incompetent leadership performance within the US, increasing pussification at all levels of society, until, as a last resort, demarchy (government by lottery, aka stochocracy) is instituted at the federal level. Right-wing dictatorship in 2020. Canadians sack Washington DC in 2022. Everyone looks and sounds Chinese by 2048. The Technological Singularity occurs, and we are Uploaded into Digital Cartoon Hell in 2054. I get no reports beyond this date.

  • What pisses me off about this whole matter these centrist policies are framed as Progressive/Liberal by the right and the media.

    If the right's framing is successful. These 'Progressive' policies (mandatory insurance, spending freezes, stimulus consisting mostly of tax cuts) will leave a bad taste in the mouth of the general public. It'll be a while before anyone ever votes for cadidates campaigning on a true Progressive platform.

    Obama was not my first choice for the Democratic nominee either. His Senate votes always seemed calculated and politically expedient to me. I was leaning towards Edwards (Let's face it. Kucinich was a long-shot), but in hindsight it would have been a disaster had Edwards won the nomination.

  • I worked for the Obama campaign in 2008. While canvassing, I tripped and fell, tearing my Achilles' tendon in a freak accident. I needed surgery and was on crutches for months. I still did telephone banks when I could. I was thrilled when he was elected. I too had some misgivings about his policies, but I had hoped a decisive victory might give him some wind in his sails to try going left.

    No more. I will not campaign for him again. I will not donate or make any effort beyond voting for him. I respect Barack Obama, and I even think he seems like a nice guy, but unlike Republicans, I did not vote for "nice guy." I hoped for a genuine progressive president. I knew in the American political context I would not get that, but I hoped we could elect someone leaning left and build. Obama is not even giving us that. Yes, he is better than McCain-Palin, but I had hoped for better. I will vote for him again, because all that there is on the other side are Republicans, but I will not make the effort I made before.

Comments are closed.