FOX, HEN HOUSE

A quick summary of why I never got on board with ObamaMania and why, at its top dollar best, our political system today can produce a reformer about as radical as William Howard Taft. Shorter title: This is why we are so fucked.

News item, July 13, 2011: "Immelt: Obama jobs council devising plans for job creation." General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt was the logical choice to serve as Barack Obama's "jobs czar" – who knows more about creating jobs than the CEOs of large, multinational corporations?

News item, July 25, 2011: "GE Moves 115 Year Old X-Ray Unit to China." See? Look at all of the jobs he created. In China. By closing something that has been in Waukesha, WI for more than a century. To "tap growth" in China. And these aren't the kind of pull-the-lever-on-the-kick-press jobs that we keep being told are fated to go overseas because they involve no skill. These are exactly the kind of high-tech buzzword jobs that Obama won't shut the hell up about, excepting the absence of "green" in the description.

This. This is why Barack Obama is a failure of colossal proportions and why I don't want to hear any of the half-assed excuses about how everything that has happened to him is the fault of nasty Republicans, stupid voters, and the like. He's a failure because despite what many of you managed to convince yourselves in 2008, he's just another smiling face in a long line of corporatist whores that have rotted what used to be a somewhat liberal party from within and left us with a political system offering little but the illusion of choice.

For the last decade, many people who study political participation have speculated that 1996 and 2000 might have been the nadir of voter turnout and interest in politics in the U.S. The 1996 election in particular was contested during a strong economy between two candidates no one much cared for. Increased turnout was observed in 2004 and again in 2008. I can't wait to see 2012. We're going to see campaigns spending previously unfathomable amounts of money in an effort to fire up voting bases whose attitudes toward the candidates range from boredom to white-hot anger.

Tell me something: where is that wave of energy and enthusiasm that swept Obama into office in 2008 going to come from in 2012, with the President owning two wars that didn't end (plus a third that just started), the Teabagger austerity agenda that he endorsed wholeheartedly, and supporters already resorting to arguments of last resort like, "Well, he's better than the alternative." On the Republican side the nominee will either be a semi-sane candidate who the base will hate (see: McCain) or a lunatic for whom sane people will be too embarrassed to vote. That record voter turnout in 2008 could turn into record lows in a single election cycle.

Aside from the half-assed health care reform that he allowed insurance companies to write, what has Barack Obama accomplished to encourage – or even mildly please – his core supporters? The Immelt appointment as Jobs Czar and the vignette about GE's job growth plan for China is a good representation of what Obama is all about: repeatedly, naively believing that untrustworthy people – Teabaggers, John Boehner, CEOs of companies that pay no taxes and employ 60% of their workforce outside of the U.S. – will work with him "in good faith" if he uses a lot of soaring rhetoric and asks them nicely enough. He seems fundamentally incapable of realizing that these people do not like him and do not care about his interests or those of anyone but themselves. And so they break it off in his ass, not occasionally but every single time.

The alternative hypothesis is that he fundamentally agrees with a corporate, Wall Street friendly version of liberalism (aka Moderate Republicanism) or, even worse, he is essentially a Manchurian Candidate right-winger. I find that possibility so disheartening that I prefer to believe that he is stupid.

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65 Responses to “FOX, HEN HOUSE”

  1. Comrade Luke Says:

    I'm going with the "Wall Street friendly version of liberalism (aka Moderate Republicanism).

    If he quotes Reagan in another speech I'm going to break my fucking TV.

  2. BruceJ Says:

    Two words: President Bachmann…

    Damn straight I'm gonna hold my nose and vote for him!

  3. Middle Seaman Says:

    Obama represents Wall Street, his intelligence is average or below, i.e. stupid, he lacks a backbone and he is to the right of moderate Republicans.

    He wants to cut the whole safety net to a size 27 pants, he gave and gives to Wall Street more the W Bush and, as mentioned above, he likes wars.

    On us, most of this time bomb was clear as daylight in 2008. I voted against him in the primaries because most of the above, but voted for him in the presidential.

    It will get even worse. We are super fucked.

  4. Major Kong Says:

    Once I just accepted the fact that I was well and truly fucked it was much easier to deal with.

  5. negative 1 Says:

    Tell me, which jobs is it that corporations feel Americans are the only ones qualified to do if Chinese will do it for 60 cents a day? I know quality is job one and all, but 60 cents a day…
    Why we are fucked is because go ahead and say 'protective tariffs' in a political context and see if you can get even one politician to back you up. At the heart of any market based economy is one fundamental truth… you've got to make shit to sell. Anyone who tells you different is lying, or delaying the inevitable.

  6. Ivan Ivanovich Renko Says:

    We've been fucked since fucking Reagan stuck his poxy yard into the American body politic.

    You thought the inadequate black man was going to fix this shit in two fucking years? Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

  7. c u n d gulag Says:

    Well, Obama's either 100% good, or 100% bad, according to a lot of bloggers and their commenters.
    You go to Digby's site, or FDL, and he's worse than Little Boots Bush.
    You go to other sites, and he's never done anything wrong, and made miracles out of what he had to work with.

    I'm kind of in between.

    He couldn't close Gitmo – mostly because Congress passed a law and wouldn't let him. And he's continuing the Bush surveillance – though we don't openly torture anymore, and he's slowly getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan without getting us into Iran.
    And he did what he could, which was a lot in his first 24 months, with the Red Dogs (ain't nothin' blue about 'em!) in the House and Senate – including ending DADT.
    And now, he's getting around Congress some by ignoring DOMA, and not prosecuting immigrants who didn't break any major laws.
    I call that smart. Would a President McCain have done as much? No! Would a President Hillary Clinton? Yeah. Maybe. Probably. But I doubt much more.

    So, with flaws, he's been about as progressive as a centrist like him could be when he had a Congress that allowed some progress – and thank god for Pelosi.
    I just wish he had more fight in him. More of a spit-in-their-eye attitude. And, maybe now that he's getting back in campaign mode, we'll see some of that. I'm hopeful…

    The world isn't black and white. At least not always, like it was from 2001-2009. And Obama isn't Bush/Cheney, where the only redeaming social thing Little Boots did was involving AIDS in Africa – and even then, he fucked that up. But, at least it was ONE thing. And yeah, I'm reaching…

    If for no other reason, we need Obama because of the SCOTUS positions that might need to be filled. And no, he won't be able to put on any flaming Liberals, mainly due to the fucked-up Senate. But that's better than anything President Romney, Perry, Bachmann, or Jeb Bush would do.
    Want more Thomas's, Roberts', Scalia's, Alito's?
    Then sit the 2012 election out. Or, openly show your disdain for Obama and the Democrats and vote Republican.
    That'll teach 'em!

    And yeah, both parties are full of corporate whores – I call them Whoreporatists. but there's still a difference. At least one party believes in science and evolution. The other believes only in Jesus, which is in itself, proof of evolution via de-evolution.

  8. Edward Says:

    "what has Barack Obama accomplished to encourage

  9. Edward Says:

    For some reason my comment didn't fully post; this is what I meant to write:

    "what has Barack Obama accomplished to encourage – or even mildly please – his core supporters?"

    If his core supporters are Wall Street, they have much to be grateful for. His B.S. 2008 campaign won an advertising award.

  10. Grumpygradstudent Says:

    I voted for Obama because he was popular. The presidency is a weak office, but one of the few sources of power it has is the bully pulpit. When the president is popular, he can get some shit done. When he isn't, he is at the mercy of the Congress. My basic reasoning was that an awful lot of people despised Hilary Clinton, and fewer despised Obama, so he was more likely to be able to get something accomplished. Which was true at the time! Just didn't last very long. Which means Obama is once again at the mercy of the Congress, just as Hilary would have been. Obviously we have no counterfactual here, but I can't imagine she would have done appreciably more than Obama has.

  11. comrade x Says:

    I'm looking forward to standing in some future bread line and having a Democrat tell me " Well, at least Bachman never became president!"

  12. Joe Bauers Says:

    I'll stop blaming the Republicans for the absence of progressive domestic policy victories when they stop deserving it. Health Care Reform was going to be no more liberal than Ben Nelson allowed it to be. Remember him? The 60th vote in the "Democratic supermajority"? Remember why he was the 60th vote, and why everything had to be done to his specifications? Because all 40 Senate Republicans voted against it en masse. If even three Republican senators aren't on board with their party's "Destroy Obama at all costs" agenda and want people's health care to not be contingent on them having full-time jobs, then we don't have to deal with Ben Fucking Nelson, Joe Fucking Lieberman, and Evan Fucking Bayh. And the HCR law is suddenly a lot better.

    Great president? No. But not bad, given the constraints of who is electable in this brain dead conservatard country and the shitstorm he walked in to. Ed, maybe your next post can discuss specifically, and by what mechanism, some reincarnated FDR could get any kind of legislation that we would all like through Congress today. Because I don't see it.

  13. Michael Says:

    > The alternative hypothesis is that he fundamentally agrees with a corporate, Wall Street friendly version of liberalism

    Read Glenn Greenwald, he pretty thoroughly proves that this is the case.

    Bill Clinton explicitly promised a new, non-liberal Democratic Party. The 1980 election was the turning point – the liberal wing of the party got smashed and was kicked out of power, and Bill Clinton's people came into power, and the party has never turned back. Obama is a direct descendant of that wing of the party, and you'll notice the other wing isn't even strong enough to compete in the primaries – the final primary choice was between H. Clinton and B. Obama, who are both, obviously, from the same corporatist wing.

    We've already seen exactly what the Democratic message will be: "Sure Obama is terrible, but look at the other guy!" A large number of Democrats will fall in line when suitably prompted. So enjoy your shit sandwich. And even worse, enjoy all the apologists who will insist, despite all evidence, that the "Presidency is a weak office" and similar tripe.

  14. butler Says:

    As if we need another reminder that we are dealing not with a fox (singular) and a henhouse (singular). We need to modify this metaphor considerably. Something along the lines of the agribusiness equivalent – i.e. every fox in the country coming and going at will via the open back door of every factory chicken farm in the country.

    Today the NYS Attorney General was removed from the national "investigation" of our banking industry's massive Mortgage Fraud Initiative for refusing to sign off on a deal to let the banks off with fines that they can probably make back in a day or 2 of normal business. The White House wants this resolved quickly. And quietly. And cheaply (for actual political constituents the banks).

    I hope to god Schneiderman doesn't back down and puts some banking execs in jail.

  15. grumpygradstudent Says:

    I do insist that the presidency is a weak office, yes. Evidence? See Constitution, The (1787).

  16. Da Moose Says:

    He's just taking a longer term view on policy. We're too stupid to understand his political tactics. He's the most brilliant man to ever be elected, don't ya know? (vomit)

  17. Townsend Harris Says:

    True confession: I worked for and voted for the lesser evil in the general election in 2008. And I expect to do both again in 2012. I can't indulge my pique and write off appointments to SCOTUS and the NLRB.

    It was very fun in 2008, watching one centrist DLC Democrat outflank another centrist, DLC Democrat from her left, very fun watching Obama out-hustle Clinton in the primaries. I feel bad for people who mobilized for Obama hoping he was mostly progressive most of the time. For the GOP, it's crucial that Obama's 2008 supporters demobilize in 2012, that they fail to turn out and vote their interests in appointing to SCOTUS.

  18. Verne Says:

    "The alternative hypothesis…" Bingo. Duh!

  19. Michael Says:

    Weak office:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/21/obama

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/22/impotence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Presidency

    As Greenwald correctly lays out, the idea that the Presidency is a weak office is one that no one except Obama defenders has ever pushed, and one that anyone who pays any attention past the Saturday morning "I'm just a Bill…" blurbs finds laughable.

  20. Monkey Business Says:

    Obama is, fundamentally, a centrist. He thrives on compromise. He needs it. He craves it. But, the second Mitch McConnell said "Our primary goal is to make Barack Obama a one term President.", the gloves should have come off.

    So maybe he is a corporatist moderate Republican in Liberal Democrat's clothing. I'm going to hold my nose and vote for him and I'm okay with that, because it's better that the proto-Nazi theocrats and arch-Randian plutocrats in Tea Party and Republican clothing the GOP has cooked up.

  21. grumpygradstudent Says:

    Well, those people, Richard Neustadt. Oh, I'm sorry…does actual political science contradict your wikipedia entry? I'm sure it must be right.

  22. grumpygradstudent Says:

    *and Richard Neustadt.

  23. Michael Says:

    > True confession: I worked for and voted for the lesser evil in the general election in 2008. And I expect to do both again in 2012. I can't indulge my pique and write off appointments to SCOTUS and the NLRB.

    Uh-huh. Both of B. Obama's appointments have moved the Supreme Court to the right.

  24. HoosierPoli Says:

    With a Republican House, it wouldn't matter if he were the second coming of Eugene Debs.

  25. NoPublic Says:

    To be fair, what was moved to China was a management layer. Most of the developing XRay business in Asia was already being designed and built in country for country. Waukesha didn't lose much headcount in this particular move. Not that GE hasn't moved a lot of manufacturing jobs to LCCs over the years but this move wasn't really that.

  26. garry Says:

    there's a difference between his appointments moving The Court to the right, and moving it to the Stone Age.

  27. K. Says:

    I'm actually sick of hearing/reading people (mostly Liberals, now) complaining about Obama. He hasn't done anything that's surprised me, not has he done much that has made me overjoyed. Then again, I didn't have some weird conception of him as The Second Coming when he was running: He is a POLITICIAN. He has always been a POLITICIAN. He always will be a POLITICIAN. So the fact that he hasn't been the Liberal Messiah isn't exactly a shock. All of the angry Liberal disillusionment is getting old. Shoulda known it when you voted for him.

  28. K. Says:

    p.s.– Don't get me wrong, I voted for him, too! I just didn't expect him to be all that different from any other presidential candidate.

  29. Elder Futhark Says:

    Well, I've got my bumper sticker for 2012:

    "What's one more thing broken off in my ass?"

    (And no, I'm not gay. I settled that issue when the Comte du Teche Reterdez-Pionche tried to mount me from behind when I was tuning the harpsichord. Rather than go into full homophobic lather, I just told him (in French) "Ain't gonna happen, dude!"

    Or wait a minute, maybe I just dreamed that).

  30. Denn Says:

    This posturing is much the same as pro wrestling, with its rivalry narratives designed to incite fan enthusiasm. A recent case in point: the publicly expressed petulance of the banksters and friends, making a show of withholding their donations because O called them fat cats. He'll get the money later, quietly; he doesn't really need it anyway. What he does need right now is the mask of a crusader for the little guy, who is being hammered by aforementioned fat cats.

  31. HoosierPoli Says:

    As for Ed's point about turnout, he's spot on. it'll be 2010 all over again, and the Republicans will get back to the serious business of grinding the whole world into bitter, acrid dust.

  32. bb in GA Says:

    From the Right…

    Blame the Repugs (who mostly are, fer sure) all y'all want to, but until the coming of Scott Brown to replace the late, lamented, Lefty Sen Kennedy the President had 60 votes in the Senate and a majority in Ms Nancy's House.

    The way the system works is that there was no parliamentary hope of stopping anything of significance in the Senate and when you are in the minority in the House you live by the Grace of the Speaker and her majority.

    You might as well just work on constituent services 'cause they don't even have to let you attend any meetings much less offer amendments to Bills or even introduce anything. It is all by Grace.

    Deal with it…You can't assign any blame (credibly) to the Rs. They have no obligation to vote for anything w/ which they disagree. Same, same for the Ds.

    Wimpy Health care bill? That would be Mr. Obama and friends compromising with themselves. Everybody that got paid off in that deal had a D after their name.

    TS – the Right has RINOs, the Left has DINOs or my favorite DIABLOs (Democrat In All But Label Only)

    //bb

  33. bb in GA Says:

    yeah I know they did it under Reconciliation…

    //bb

  34. acer Says:

    There were THREE unpopular candidates in '96. Maybe 2 and 1/2.

    It's frustrating that half of the country thinks this guy is a runaway Marxist progressive and that we all fucking worship him. Any genuine progressive who supports Obama unconditionally is as hypocritical as a "libertarian" who locks arms with theocrats.

    But, yeah… the fucking SCOTUS. And the fact that the country is stuck so far to the pro-business right that we're not likely to see anyone better for a long time, and trying to primary him with someone like Kucinich would be insanely dumb.

  35. acer Says:

    Also, what do you expect from someone who trusts David Brooks?

  36. Major Kong Says:

    Of course, the right-wing spin machine would have us believe that he's the leftiest leftist since Karl Marx.

  37. Mo Says:

    Remember Sarah Palin?

  38. Michael Says:

    The comments here are representative of why progressives will never get anything better from the Democratic Party.

    Faced with unacceptable candidates, the Right rebels – the Tea Party people turfed out what, 8 or 10 incumbent Republican politicians in the 2010 elections?

    Faced with unacceptable candidates, the Left says "What can you do, I gotta vote for this shit sandwich. Here's my vote and my money!"

    The Republicans heard the message from their voters, and turned farther to the Right.

    The Democrats heard the message from their voters, and turned farther to the Right. The beatings will continue until you rebel. As long as you vote for them, there's no incentive to improve.

  39. duck-billed placelot Says:

    @ acer: Trying to primary Obama with ANYONE would be the opposite of dumb, I think, and a primary challenger who is significantly to his left would be great. The progressive/liberal wing of the Democrats is all but gone, and it would be nice to get some public airtime on what real progressive/liberal solutions are to these problems.

  40. Sad Iron Says:

    Why don't you quit beating around the bush and tell us how you really feel.

  41. acer Says:

    @placelot:
    I agree with you in principle, but that's really playing with fireworks right now. The Tea Party gets inflated power because they're essentially pro-business and pro-plutocrat. A 1% army of organic farmers on the left wouldn't enjoy that luxury. They'd field someone like Kucinich who would tap out his $1000 budget attacking Obama, go home disillusioned again, and sit out the general election on principle, thereby electing Rick Fucking Perry to the most powerful office in the world.

    I support fundamental change, but I can't support more left-wing nose-vs-face masochism. Obama doesn't even qualify as a Band-Aid, but it beats rubbing raw AIDS directly into the wound.

  42. acer Says:

    I say this as a Nader supporter in 2000 with serious egg on his face.

  43. acer Says:

    I also think that Perry is a bigger piece of shit than W ever was. Sit this one out on principle and call me in eight disastrous years.

  44. My Says:

    I would profoundly enjoy Dennis Kucinich running again and, at least, shaming Obama (and let's face it, nearly everyone else at that echelon of society) righteously/publicly/nationally/globally/mercilessly for the fact that they all are (or are tools) shamelessly of, for, and with the plutocracy, inversely gang-raping us all while screaming "Raaape!" as their thugs and toadies punch us about the head, ears, pocketbooks, futures, et al.

    In a darker age, Ms. Guillotine might have been counted on, but these days a loose agglomeration of hackers and grassroots quasi-hippies are seemingly all we have on which to count.

    My excuse? I work for the man, gots a mortgage, nookyular fambly, etc. I know it's weak, but my personal shame is that I live on a double-edged sword of not doing too terribly my own self coupled with an ever-firmer belief that things like the New Deal, the American Revolution (among others), the Enlightenment are usually born in the utter, rather than mild, dissatisfaction of the mass of humanity (c.f., the Arab-ish revolts of this year) rather than the principled understanding of those who already realize that Soylent Green is people…sorry.

  45. eau Says:

    Another alternative hypothesis might be that Obama has taken note of trends in US politics in the last say… 30 years, and realises he couldn't get elected without giving big business what it wants.

    Political change is incremental by definition. "New broom" bullshit is just for delusion fuckwits like the 'baggers. It can't really be sold to the left because deep down, we all know that we fumbled deep in our own territory by letting the right take control of the narrative in the 80s & 90s. It's a long, hard slog back to anything that even remotely resembles middle ground from here.

    Baggers, libertarians, "third way" utopianists, etc are nothing but fucking dupes for big money. Trying to get all the various bits of pieces of the left to line up behind anything, fucking ANYTHING, really is like trying to herd cats. Idealists refusing to vote for Gore got us Bush II. As someone who doesn't get the opportunity to vote in the US elections, but has been enjoying the repercussions of that one ever since, I'd like to respectively request that all of you, no matter how disillusioned, just fucking vote for Obama for now. Please. For the love of all that is *not* holy, as defined by Michelle Fucking Bachman.

    I swing back and forth between "He's doing what he can, considering…" and "Fuck, this is the best he can do? FUCK!", but to suggest he's a fool, or a right winger, is just fucking silly.

    Vote. For Obama. Please.

  46. Rob Says:

    I cannot agree more with eau. Also, to me, contrary to this post, the intelligence level of American voters really is key to the problem. We've got a significant number of people in this country that dependably vote against their own interests (think tea party). We can't just ignore these people, because we can't realistically balance things by simply voting for super-liberal progressives. We can already see, as moderate as Obama is, that there is already a wide enough ideological divide to prevent practically any useful legislation from being passed. We can't solve that by replacing Obama with a truly progressive candidate. What we desperately need is to educate people so that someone making 25,000 dollars a year doesn't get into a heated argument about why we shouldn't raise taxes on Warren Buffet. We don't need someone more progressive than Obama – not yet. What we need right now is to get rid of all these fucking tea party loony toons before they tear this country apart. And they'll keep getting voted in until they get a decent education.

  47. Coffeeman Says:

    The best gauge of any political leader is who they pick to advise them. Obama chose Summers, Geithner, Emanuel et al. What is just as telling is that with a real unemployment rate over 15%, he has continued with Bernanke and Geithner. The reality is this: with the exceptions of the "crazies" like Bachmann, no one gets to become their party's candidate unless they pass the (corporate) test. The system is broken. We do not have a representative democracy. The empire is crumbling, but until the oligarchs have completely removed all the value that can be removed, we will continue on the same course. It really doesn't matter who the president will be, unless a Bachmann were to somehow be elected. But the oligarchs will never allow that to happen.

  48. prairiedaag Says:

    I live in South Dakota, the home state of current lobbyist and former Senate majority/minority leader Tom Daschle. While Tom is a nice guy and I voted for him, his philosophy in my opinion was very much middle of the road (with appropriate Democratic tendencies) and showed an instinct towards accomodation and compromise in all occasions. This was probably needed to survive as a Democratic in this heavily Rethug state.

    My point here, though, is that Tom was one of Obama's earliest supporters, and ever since I have noticed that on most occasions you can look as Barack's actions, ask yourself "What would Tom do?", and get the same answer. This continues. I'm not surprised, just dissapointed. I'm afraid that Obama may suffer the same fate as Daschle, losing to whatever well groomed mouthpiece the R's put up.

  49. DS Says:

    I'm actually wondering what people expected with Obama. His ideal health-care reform which he presented in the primaries – a utopian land where people are expected to present red-meat to their base and which always always have to be modified to suit the needs of congress – was terrible, a lukewarm mish mash of corporate dick-sucking veiled in the guise of social reform. He spoke out in favor of Charter Schools. He basically showed no ability in understanding economics, just muttered the phrase "green jobs" over and over without any notion of how to create them, never discussed tax reform or industrial policy whatsoever. And, if I recall, no "progressives" actually called out Obama or Clinton to actually explain their views on economics. What do you think of Keynes ideas? What economists do you read? Who would you appoint to your administration? None of this was asked during the primaries. None of it. You get what you pay for America. Until primaries are actually turned into an arena for debating policies and not some American Idol popularity contest you will continue to be fucked. He always made clear he was going to escalate the war in Afghanistan. He kept a Republican as his Secretary of Defense for almost three years. What foreign policy achievements does he have? Well, he has rightly shit on Israel a few times, but that's pretty much it. It's amazing to me how invisible he is outside the United States these days. I don't see how people could have expected anything different and the fact so many people on the Left went to Obama in 2007-2008 totally baffles me. In hindsight, I think we can say that the 2008 primary field was awful for the Left, and I just don't see anyone else who is much better for 2016.

  50. Screamin' Demon Says:

    "I also think that Perry is a bigger piece of shit than W ever was. Sit this one out on principle and call me in eight disastrous years."

    After eight disastrous years with Perry at the helm, some people won't be able to afford phones.

  51. Mike Says:

    "Dennis Kucinich"

    You need to primary with someone who could theoretically win the election. (Not that I have anyone in mind.)

  52. Alex Says:

    "The alternative hypothesis is that he fundamentally agrees with a corporate, Wall Street friendly version of liberalism"

    He taught at University of Chicago for years. I've never understood why this doesn't come up more when people grapple with their disappointment in his economic perspective.

  53. Death Panel Truck Says:

    Obama never promised to be your goddamned savior, but you're gonna nail him to the cross all the same, aren't you, Ed?

    Enjoy President Perry, asshole. You'll get the president you deserve. What pisses me off is that I will also get the president you deserve.

  54. mclaren Says:

    You people all talk as though any president could stop or even slow the relentless destruction of the American economy and the collapse of the American middle class.

    It's systemic, people. The way U.S. corporations survive is by lowering their costs so they can compete with corporations located in Asia or South America. If they don't lower their costs, they get undercut on price and go out of business.

    "In the years ahead, sizable numbers of skilled, reasonably well-educated middle-income workers in service-sector jobs long considered safe from foreign trade—accounting, law, financial and risk management, health care and information technology, to name a few—could be facing layoffs or serious wage pressure as developing nations perform increasingly sophisticated offshore work."

    Source: 30 May 2010 Newsweek international edition article “Europe: The Big Squeeze.”

    Martin Brain and Martin Ford have been talking about this for years.

    And you think by electing some different guy president you can change this systemic process?

    Out here on planet earth, computers + software + databases + robots are relentless driving humans out of the workforce. And it's accelerating.

    Meanwhile, as Marc Andreesen notes, software is eating the world.

    Trouble is, when you get a software-based economy, the profit goes away. Anything that's mostly software soon gets downloaded for free. And despite all the efforts to criminalize bittorrent or ban filesharing sites, it's just never going to get harder to download stuff from the net. Ever. The internet is not getting slower, hard drives are not getting smaller, file searching is not getting more difficult.

    The end result is simple. A world in which everything is mostly free, and no one has a job (as Bruce Sterling put it).

    Capitalism as we know it doesn't work in that kind of world. Capitalism blows up. You can't sustain capitalism as we know it in a world where most of the people have no jobs and there's no middle class and most of the stuff people need gets produced by robots. That's today, right now. The Japanese are working hard on agricultural robots, one of the last links in the chain. Robots that do restocking in big box stores or that handle food in fast food chain restaurants or that drive cars are already being tested and well on the way to becoming a mature technology. (Google "self-driving car" and see what you come up with.)

    This stuff is all hurtling toward us at lightspeed, and capitalism as we know it is coming apart. Something else will have to take its place. It won't be socialism and it won't be communism. Maybe it'll be something like Wikipedia, or maybe it'll be something more like kickstarter.com. I don't know. What I do know is that capitalism as it existed from Adam Smith's time until now is done. Stick a fork in it, it's toast.

  55. Confused Says:

    I have to say, I am slightly bewildered by the Obama isn't what I expected crowd. He is pretty much what he represented himself to be during his campaign. How much did he talk about radical change? Not much. His idea was about changing the tenor in DC. About working together. His promise to end the war in Iraq even came with caveats, and he said he was going to increase our troops in Afghanistan. His healthcare proposal was middle of the road at best, and wall street was his biggest donor. He was never a progressive, and never pretended to be one. By the way, Hillary was the exact same, only a little more hawkish on the war front. Now people are mad because he isn't bringing the type of change they thought he promised them. Be upset with yourself for your poor listening skills. He is being basically the kind of pres he told you he would be.

  56. mclaren Says:

    "I have to say, I am slightly bewildered by the Obama isn't what I expected crowd."

    Then you're either dishonest or dyslexic.

    Barack Obama campaigned on hope and change. People in America today discern little hope for the future, and less change. Essentially all of Obama's policies, with the exception of his health-care non-reform which involved a massive giveaway to the corrupt collusive cartel-ridden U.S. medical-industrial complex, represent the third term of the Bush administration.

    This kind of blatant lying does nothing to further the conversation about our political options today. A commentator can try to defend policies like Obama's decision to increase American military spending by 8% per annum in one of the largest economic downturns in American history. Or, alternatively, a commentator can admit that policies like agreeing to unworkable national health insurance mandates or the decision not to prosecute for fraud any of the Wall Street thieves who created the economic collapse, are policies that will have very bad effects in the near future…but then attempt to defend those policies in the context of larger issues. Perhaps the claim that the Republican party has become so insane that Obama had no other choice. Or possibly the assertion that the American people have consistently supported such foolishly self-destructive policies as the Reagan tax cuts and the uncontrolled growth of the military-industrial complex, that Obama must try to wean the American people off their crazy self-destructive behavior a bit at a time, like a parent dealing with a teenage daughter addicted to cutting herself.

    But a commentator can't simply get away with the outright lie that Obama campaigned on ordering the assassination of American citizens without even charging them with committing a crime, or that Obama campaigned on conducting the largest legal assault on government whistleblowers in American history, or that Obama campaigned on letting the Joint Chiefs and the pentagon overrule his direct orders about pulling troops out of Afghanistan, or that Obama campaigned on giving the Wall Street criminalswho wrecked the economy a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    Obama didn't campaign on those things, and everyone knows it. Claiming that Obama did campaign on these policies is not just foolish, it's stupid. If you want to tell lies, the first rule of thumb is that those lies must be at least remotely believable.

  57. Confused Says:

    really Mclaren,
    Lies? Let's review actual policies that Obama did talk about. When did you ever hear Obama talk about radically changing our policies when it came to the infamous global war on terror? Other than wanting to close Gitmo, and stopping torture, he didn't exactly call for any massive change in how we were dealing with terrorists. Hell, I don't even remember him coming out against crap like rendition, or the Patriot act, and all the abuses that are involved with that garbage legislation. If he ever did, he certainly never actually spent any time stressing that in his campaign. So, yes, as far as homeland security is concerned he is not that different than Bush, and he never said he would be.
    Hope and change? Your crying because he hasn't provided you with enough hope, or the change you wanted. Boo as well as Hoo. Only morons think that campaign slogans are the same as policy proposals. Did he campaign on cutting military spending? no. Did he campaign on sending the folks at Goldman Sachs or hedge funds to jail? No. ( He did vote for TARP after all). And yes, he did indeed campaign on giving the Generals on the ground important input as to whether or not we left Iraq or Afghanistan. What the hell do you think he meant when he was talking about his policy to end the wars was contingent on the conditions on the ground. He often said explicitly that he would listen to his Generals. I'm sorry that you have the attention span of a gnat, and couldn't recall his repeated emphasis on that point.
    You are a perfect example of assigning your expectations as to what hope and change were supposed to be, while ignoring what policies he put forth.
    He was never a progressive and never pretended to be one. He was a centrist Dem who believed in the power of pragmatism and compromise. If you spent any time listening to the substance of his campaign, and less to the prose and soaring rhetoric, you would realize that while there are things to be disappointed about, he has been pretty close to what he told you he was going to be. Which is basically the same type of President that Hillary told you she was going to be.
    I'm dyslexic or dishonest? You're deaf or high. Because Obama came up to you and said hi, I'm a lot like Bill Clinton, and you heard, Hi, I'm the long lost twin of Dennis Kucinich.

  58. charles pierce Says:

    "Hey, you fell for the bait-and-switch, dummy, and I didn't." isn't exactly a ringing endorsement as regards re-electing the incumbent. Just sayin'.

  59. Joe Blow Says:

    "he's just another smiling face in a long line of corporatist whores that have rotted what used to be a somewhat liberal party from within and left us with a political system offering little but the illusion of choice"

    wow. I hoped it was not true. I thought maybe he would be better.. progressive, environmental, bold when needed against those with power.

    ha ha boo hoo.. only campaign promise he kept was to up the war in Afghanistan.

    mining coal, shooting wolves, bailing out the rich and screwing the middle class. now we have Keystone XL about to be approved. that is a mess from all angles.

    I don't think Obama is being used or manipulated. This is who he is. a corporate tool.

  60. mngstrfy Says:

    A poli sci prof who loathes teaching and detests politics? Good for if you want to take a look at the curdled side of the soul a couple times a month; ambulatory self-loathing with HTML. Not worth a daily read any more unless you have a depression fetish.

  61. Confused Says:

    I agree he is not much more than a corporate tool.
    But Bait and switch is the wrong analogy. It's more like he ran an ad that said in big bold letters "our lowest price ever on such and such". Then he listed that price, which wasn't particularly low, in slightly smaller print right underneath the big sale proclomation. I can't really feel sorry for the folks that only bothered to see the big letters, came to the store, and are now angry that the price isn't what they expected.

  62. NYD3030 Says:

    @Mclaren —

    The August 25th comment about the end of Capitalism was the smartest thing anyone has said in this comment section. Elected officials *could* ease the transition to the post-capitalism, post-consumerism, post-jobs-and-a-house-and-a-car economy by passing smart policies (once it becomes clear(er) what exactly is coming next), but the American electorate is so hopelessly stuck in a hissy-fit about whose version of the 1950's should be Frankensteined back to life that nobody we elect can deal with this situation by facing reality and adjusting accordingly.

    This process is going to take hundreds of years and probably involve some chain of horrific wars. I will not be shocked if one of – if not the first – of those wars is us finally flaming out as an empire and squandering the last bits of treasure on a hopeless attempt to resurrect the 20th century post-war world order.

    I can't fucking wait, it's gonna be so rad!