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The Bizarro FDR

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Posted on Aug 4, 2011
Tony the Misfit (CC-BY)

By David Sirota

Barack Obama is a lot of things—eloquent, dissembling, conniving, intelligent and above all, calm. But one thing he is not is weak.

This basic truth is belied by the meager Obama criticism you occasionally hear from liberal pundits and activists. They usually stipulate that the president genuinely wants to enact the progressive agenda he campaigned on, but they gently reprimand him for failing to muster the necessary personal mettle to achieve that goal. In this mythology, he is “President Pushover,” as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently labeled him.

This storyline is a logical fallacy. Most agree that today’s imperial presidency almost singularly determines the course of national politics. Additionally, most agree that Obama is a brilliant, Harvard-trained lawyer who understands how to wield political power.

Considering this, and further considering Obama’s early congressional majorities, it is silly to insist that the national political events during Obama’s term represent a lack of presidential strength or will. And it’s more than just silly—it’s a narcissistic form of wishful thinking coming primarily from liberals who desperately want to believe “their” president is with them.

Such apologism, of course, allows liberals to avoid the more painful truth that Obama is one of America’s strongest presidents ever and is achieving exactly what he wants.

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Obama is not a flaccid Jimmy Carter, as some of his critics insist. He is instead a Franklin Delano Roosevelt—but a Bizarro FDR. He has mustered the legislative strength of his New Deal predecessor, but he has channeled that strength into propping up the very forces of “organized money” that FDR once challenged.

On health care, for instance, Obama passed a Heritage Foundation-inspired bailout of the private health insurance industry, all while undermining other more progressive proposals. On foreign policy, he escalated old wars and initiated new ones. On civil liberties, he not only continued the Patriot Act and indefinite detention of terrorism suspects but also claimed the right to assassinate American citizens without charge.

On financial issues, he fought off every serious proposal to re-regulate banks following the economic meltdown; he preserved ongoing bank bailouts; and he resisted pressure to prosecute Wall Street thieves. On fiscal matters, after extending the Bush tax cuts at a time of massive deficits, he has used the debt ceiling negotiations to set the stage for potentially massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare—cuts that would be far bigger than any of his proposed revenue increases.

As hideous and destructive as it is, this record is anything but weak. It is, on the contrary, demonstrable proof of Obama’s impressive political muscle, especially because polls show he has achieved these goals despite the large majority of Americans who oppose them.

Importantly, though, Obama himself has not suffered from equally negative polling numbers. While his approval rating is not terrific, he is in decent shape for re-election—and, more significantly, he has suffered only a minimal erosion of Democratic support. He is relatively popular, in other words, despite advocating wildly unpopular policies. Thanks to that reality, every one of his stunning legislative triumphs now has the previously unprecedented imprimatur of rank-and-file Democratic support.

In forging such bipartisan complicity with what were once exclusively right-wing Republican objectives, Obama has achieved even more than what he fantasized about when he famously celebrated a previous Bizarro FDR. In a 2008 interview with a Nevada newspaper, Obama lauded Ronald Reagan for “chang[ing] the trajectory of America” and “put[ting] us on a fundamentally different path.”

Reagan was a truly strong executive—but the Gipper was nothing compared to our current president.

David Sirota is the best-selling author of the new book “Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now.” He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.

© 2011 Creators.com


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By Inherit The Wind, August 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,
You need to go back on your meds.
You are now unable to communicate with ANYONE without being insulting, condescending and rude.

It’s not just me. It’s anyone who dares disagree with your silly and idiotic interpretations about the most minute detail.

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By ardee, August 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, August 9 at 6:12 am

I realize that you find precise explanations of exactly what you disagree with an anathema. Try harder, or better yet get an adult to frame your responses.

You ignore what you cannot refute, change the subject to whatever ground you wish to fight upon, and repeatedly post nothing whatever of value. Congratulations you are exactly like your Democratic Party now.

What a childish little nothing you make yourself out to be.

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CJ's avatar

By CJ, August 9, 2011 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Agreed, Mr. Sirotta, sorta. But what then was the point of electing him?
“Conniving” is the most accurate term Sirotta employs.

A strong President who will go down in history as one of the worst—because
he’s a hypocrite, if in less blatant fashion than was Reagan who for some was
equal orator to Obama, and whom I know I recall with great fondness.

Hypocritical needn’t mean “weak.” Any can name lots of strong hypocrites,
whether presidents or otherwise. Anyway, hypocrisy is practically regarded as a
virtue in Orwellian American politics and culture.

To employ that old commercial that became cliche: “Where’s the beef?”

If he’s still popular in polls, so much the worse for the U.S. There’s another old
adage (more or less): Nothing more dangerous than an ignoramus in a voting
booth. We just keep pulling the wrong levers or pressing the wrong buttons,
unless, that is, even more voting machines than thought are rigged.

By the way, why then is Wall Street so hateful of Obama? Also a rhetorical
question in the case of a crew by nature suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

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By Leefeller, August 9, 2011 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

If one wants to see BArzaro, check out what is happening in Wisconsin today, the recalls will be a deciding factor on how Fascism is going. The common people are fighting for their jobs, and a way of life for all of us who support the concept of the common good, instead of the few!

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By Inherit The Wind, August 9, 2011 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

ardee, August 8 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

entropy2, August 8 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

Who claimed the mantle of progressivism, certainly not I. You have posted that you will not vote thus by inference will not engage the creeping fascism that engulfs us all. Instead you fall back upon some unclear, unstated and thus nebulous method of ignoring the crumbling economy, the loss of jobs, homes, educational opportunities, endless war etal.

Contempt does certainly come to mind…enjoy your solitude.
************

It must be a sickness. You are simply are compelled by your personal demons and dogmatic personality to treat anyone and everyone who disagrees with you like shit. 

“You’re a victim, too, Flagg. But you’re such an example of walking fertilizer, it’s hard for me to care.”—Dr. Sidney Freedman, M*A*S*H

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By ghost jet, August 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought this was a really concise summary of
Obama’s stunning achievements. Accomplishments Rove
and Cheney must envy.

At this point, I’m thinking the politics as sports
analogy (go blue team! go red team!) doesn’t really
apply: it’s more like pro wrestling.

I still hear people on progressive talk shows almost
weeping as they gush about what a great, intelligent,
caring man Obama is. If only Randy Savage and Stone
Cold Steve Redneck
didn’t keep throwing him out of the ring.

For over 30 years it’s been a charade as the knot
keeps racing east. And the democrats continuously
claim that anything west of it is their righteous
ground -and that even where the republicans stood
yesterday is now the ‘crazy radical’ left.

What bothers me more than tea partiers is hearing
educated ‘liberals’ say ‘we are to blame’. ‘it is our
fault we haven’t supported Obama’.

Yes, and we are to blame for O.J. too.
How can a man not do the wrong thing unless we
provide the necessary obstacles to their unavoidable
transgressions?

Since Carter, the accepted excuse has been, not that
we are told which corporate shill phony dems we can
vote for, but that they are all good highly
intelligent (yes, ivy league) humanitarians,
who just keep making the same mistakes over and over!

Somehow all these Harvard and Yale lawyers, clearly
intellectually superior to their right wing
adversaries, just don’t know how to negotiate, don’t
know how to fight.

“Jimmy, don’t turn your back on Macho Man RayGun,
especially since you just agreed to have an non-
officiated fight! Look out for that chair!!!

Bill, don’t shake Macho Man Gingrich’s hand, he’s
going to taze you bro! oh noooo! poor brilliant
decent, Bill.

Barack, don’t turn your back on Sargent Boehner! He’s
got a chair!!!

Well, he tried his best, but the foolish tea party
was just too strong.
Don’t worry - I bet he won’t make the same mistakes
in his 2nd term!

Someone tell me how we are not doomed?

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By OldManCA, August 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

So FOX News is practicing reverse psychology on us all with its constant attacks?

Conservatives really like Obama?

Or would the next Republikin be even worse for the majority of people?

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By entropy2, August 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

@ardee—all inferences are yours and yours alone.

Now, go ahead and get the last word. Buhbye.

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By ardee, August 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

entropy2, August 8 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

Who claimed the mantle of progressivism, certainly not I. You have posted that you will not vote thus by inference will not engage the creeping fascism that engulfs us all. Instead you fall back upon some unclear, unstated and thus nebulous method of ignoring the crumbling economy, the loss of jobs, homes, educational opportunities, endless war etal.

Contempt does certainly come to mind…enjoy your solitude.

Report this

By REDHORSE, August 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Fascist cash has subsumed American politics. A balanced budget and fiscal responsibility is the last thing on their vicious little minds. Looting Social Security and Union pension funds, diversion of MediCare dollars to their pockets, nationalization of the Forest Service, ten and fifteen dollar a gallon gas, privatized water (we own the clouds-it’s illegal to collect rain water), the end of public education, destructuion of environmental and consumer law, these things are just the beginning. American fascist corporate thuggery has done it all over our World and now they’re bringing it home to you. They use high minded ideals to loot, rob and plunder Nations. You only know what they want you to know. You only see what they want you to see. American Democracy is under direct attack. They’re buying D.C. outright and you’re just part of the deal.

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By thospratt, August 8, 2011 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I see a lot of ‘if Americans disagree with us, they
deserve to burn’ in the comments on this and other
Truthdig threads. Do those of you who want to group
around a 3rd party candidate or a primary challenge
this this is a winning message? “Progressives: You’re either as smart as us, or you can go to hell.”

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By Anarcissie, August 8, 2011 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

REDHORSE, August 7 at 5:45 pm:

‘Don’t vote? Look what happened in the last major election! ...’

But then, look at what happened in the one before that.

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By entropy2, August 8, 2011 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

@ardee—

I had no such problem with your “train of thought” only with the complete disregard it shows for your nation and your fellow citizens.

Silly little person.

Ah…there’s some of that famous progressive open-mindedness. If someone disagrees with your dogmatic and failed prescription for solving our problems, he must, by definition, not care about the our nation and its citizens.

But…of course, when your arguments don’t stand up to criticism, by all means resort to insults.
You do the Tea Party proud.

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By ardee, August 8, 2011 at 3:20 am Link to this comment

entropy2, August 7 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

@ardee—sorry you had a hard time following my train of thought. I’ll try to make it simpler in the future.

I had no such problem with your “train of thought” only with the complete disregard it shows for your nation and your fellow citizens.

Silly little person.

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By Basoflakes, August 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

I have never read a more ridiculous article.  Obama pushes through any legislation that the Republicans want him to, including that worthless healthcare plan that bailed out the GOP supporters and did nothing progressives wanted.  Obama is the weakest, worse and most worthless of all Presidents, and when you look at W, that is saying a lot.

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By REDHORSE, August 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Don’t vote? Look what happened in the last major election! Tea anyone? Reality is the present attempt by fascist forces to make sure the power of the vote is meaningless. The power of American Democratic principals is under direct assault. Are you accepting rule by “politcommittee”? Who do you think the “gang of twelve” represent? Why not just install another Pinochet or Putin? The same fascists who placed them in power are the ones behind this coup in progress. They are hogs and you’re the trough. The social disintegration that results from the economic destruction they wreak destroys nations whole. They are evil men in the same way Hitler was an evil man. Their greed allows them to rationalize any action for their own self preservation. Homeland Security isn’t to protect you. It’s to protect them from you.

    Will you stand by while the elderly and disabled are driven into the streets, more children go hungry and uneducated and tens of thousands die from lack of medical care? If so, you deserve exactly what you’re going to get. Choke on it!

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By nick, August 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Article right on, Obama strong not weak. And most importantly let us not let our
politics devolve to personalilty assessments. How much foolish effort was wasted
about Bush’s supposed lack of intelligence? The problem is the office itself.
Obama has already telegraphed his willingness to be a one term president and his
affinity for the one term poppy Bush. This Obama is a cold ass operative of capital
as all presidents are. Bring on Bachman or Perry whoever, let the unveiling happen
so we can get on with a more thoughful response than dissecting some
exectutive’s personality.

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By Anarcissie, August 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Redhorse—Standard and Poor’s are a clown show.  Their calculations were off by 2 trillion dollars, and no one cares.  The time has come to stop supporting these people.

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By REDHORSE, August 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

The recent market “shock” and Standard and Poors devaluation (weren’t they some of the guys giving a AAA thumbs up to the crap stock that crashed us) is propagandist theatre allowing the compromised American Press to further terrorize and disorient an already reeling poor, disabled and jobless American people.(Oooooohh—here comes the fascist “gang of twelve” to loot what’s left of the Treasury and gut what’s left of human decency.) I hope you remember that the psychopath always blames his/her victim to justify the evil it inflicts. This is a coup plain and simple. (Isn’t the press already letting it be known that impartiality on the committee is off the table. Here’s Palin’s death panel folks.)

  Name me one American politician you could call a statesman? Point out one voice of human reason in this storm of deceit. Minions of Corporate Fascism held our Country hostage and with the help of our Wall Street President are now set to destroy us body and soul. You have the vote, but you have no power. So far (in America) it’s a bloodless coup. But the hundreds of thousands disappeared and dead in countless unmarked graves worldwide died at the hands of those now holding the knife to your throats. It is not honorable to be honorable with dishonorable people. A thug by any other name is just as foul. Fight or perish.

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By entropy2, August 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

@ardee—sorry you had a hard time following my train of thought. I’ll try to make it simpler in the future.

My reason for not voting is neither despair nor a desire to “drop out,” but is based in my belief that coercive hierarchies are incapable of bringing about the goals of freedom, justice and abundance. If you think you can vote your way to these goals, go for it. Hasn’t happened yet…I won’t hold my breath.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to believe that concentrated government power is the only way to oppose concentrated corporate power. I disagree. To me, the problem actually lies in the concentration of power in any hands, whether it be an economic, political or religious elite.

My time and energy is going not so much toward fighting the power as toward making it irrelevant in the lives of us little people.

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By Anarcissie, August 7, 2011 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

ardee, August 7 at 11:24 am:

‘entropy2, August 7 at 6:44 am

The crux of your argument, if I have it right this time, is to turn on tune in and drop out. Thanks much but I am too strongly in the camp of participation in the process, if not the system. Those, like you apparently, seem to me to be selfish in their opinion that they can somehow escape the creeping fascism encroaching upon our nation. Or that they have no responsibility towards their fellow citizens.

Democracy only works when we participate, engage and insist. You have fun with your fellow anarchists in your utopian vision of life sans governing. I wish you well, now get the hell out of the way please.’

If you’re going to judge other people’s ways of dealing with things, shouldn’t you be able to show that yours are superior?  By which I don’t mean more aesthetically appealing to you, I mean more effective in a material sense.

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By MK77, August 7, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

There’s no hope for the electorate.

The electoral system exists to produce untruth and unmeaning, to freeze existing (and non-existing) social relations into place.

I would normally tell people to vote third party or don’t vote at all, but even this advice is empty, because for every person who sees things clearly there are 10 million nescients, and of these, the most obnoxious by far are those Democrats whose job it is every 4 years to tell people that “this election is far too important to throw your vote away.”

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By ardee, August 7, 2011 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, August 7 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

I am so thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with Barack Obama that I don’t know how I could vote for him in 2012.

Oh ITW I know you to be far too loyal to the democrats to really, truly mean that. Less obnoxious perhaps than your fellow loyalist on the distaff side but true blue enough.

Do you honestly propose that Supreme Court nominations are the crux of your decision to remain a democrat? That peg upon which you hang your political hat seems to be shrinking.

Just an opinion, meant in a good spirit.

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By balkas, August 7, 2011 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

i do not think that any prez is weak; regardless what sirota’s weaknes means to him or
anybody else.
for one thing, no generalization can be understood—it can be only interpreted by each
person and each in own and quite diff way from anyone else’s.

a label=a generalization. use of any generalization intends to confuse and divide people
into billion and one camp, create linguistic bedlam/chaos, etc.

most people are not aware of this fact. even the label “god” cld be considered
meaningless or that each person interprets it [including all atheists] differently; however,
makes serious error by identify their meanings of “god” with that of anybody else’s;
includes that of a priest, imam, rabbi, et al.

and which leads to general insanity; to wit, legalized murder, exploitation, prostitution,
genocides, etc. tnx b.b. vancouver

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By ardee, August 7, 2011 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Madprops, August 7 at 7:32 am

You people write too much.  Comment.  Don’t write your own article.

I understand how all those words, strung together in sentences and growing into paragraphs, can hurt your widdle head…poor thing.

entropy2, August 7 at 6:44 am

If I misunderstood you I apologize, but perhaps it is your framing that is responsible. I re-read your efforts here and note that you tend to bounce around or emulate a Thom Wolfian stream of consciousness.

The crux of your argument, if I have it right this time, is to turn on tune in and drop out. Thanks much but I am too strongly in the camp of participation in the process, if not the system. Those, like you apparently, seem to me to be selfish in their opinion that they can somehow escape the creeping fascism encroaching upon our nation. Or that they have no responsibility towards their fellow citizens.

Democracy only works when we participate, engage and insist. You have fun with your fellow anarchists in your utopian vision of life sans governing. I wish you well, now get the hell out of the way please. wink

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By omygodnotagain, August 7, 2011 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Redhorse, run for President… I think a lot of people share your outlook

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, August 7, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Most of the writing on the internet is by anonymous avatars… virtual things that might have possibly been humans before, but chose to not remain human beings.

It’s a curious thing that so many non-human avatars have such a preoccupation with the human condition.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By pundaint, August 7, 2011 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

If it’s a choice between a Republican and a Democratic Congress to oppose him, or Obama and a Democratic congress to enable him, I’ll take the Republican president next year.

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By Madprops, August 7, 2011 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

You people write too much.  Comment.  Don’t write your own article.

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By entropy2, August 7, 2011 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

@Anarcissie

wink

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By Anarcissie, August 7, 2011 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

entropy2—As one of my relatives likes to say, the Internet is mostly a write-only medium.

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By rbrooks, August 7, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not weak: fundamentally and knowingly dishonest; corrupt and proud of it.

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By Leefeller, August 7, 2011 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Okay place the whiny bickering aside for a moment and Google
israel protest!

It emulates what has been done to us here in the good old Kubuki Two Step by partisan song and dance routine USA.  Except the people protesters in Israel seem a hell of a lot smarter then people in the USA.

TD, should be covering this.

They are mad as hell about the privatizing of public services! ...sound familiar?

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By entropy2, August 7, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

@ardee—rebuttal of what? If either you or The Worm had read my post, you would have noted that my point was:

Primary challenges and third party blather are useless if you are willing, at the end, to “hold your nose and vote Dem.”

The Worm’s lengthy “rebuttal” went off on why he wouldn’t vote Dem.

I agree. Neither am I.

(Personally, I believe that the problem lies in the authoritarianism of the state itself, not necessarily in the political iterations of its authoritarianism…so I’m not voting. I believe that the road to freedom and justice lies in a different realm.)

But if you or The Worm wants to vote third-party, more power to you.

I’m just saying that, when the rubber hits the road, and there’s a decent chance the Repubs may win (i.e. Mitt) or there’s a certified Repub nutjob with any chance to win (i.e. Huck), a lot of the current fist-shakers and “third-party or die” bloviators will hang their heads and vote to put BHO back in.

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By David J. Cyr, August 7, 2011 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

The deeply racist rooted Democrat faction of the corporate party never was anything other than a marvelous means for the corporate-state to co-opt people’s movements, and put them into service of the corporate-state’s interests.

Good intentioned people shouldn’t have any interest in restoring it to what it was, because it’s an organization that never had good intentions. There never was a Democrat machine working in the best interests of people. Its greater evil has just gotten more transparent now that the collapse of the American empire is imminent. Let it die!

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By Project Mayhem, August 7, 2011 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

ITW,

I’d second your call for a Sanders primary challenge, but I don’t see him becoming a Democrat. A Dean gambit would be interesting, however. His early showing in 2004 was encouraging, and he’s become a good deal more polished and statesmanlike since. But as much as Obama deserves a vote of no confidence, I don’t see one coming his way. If much of what is being conjectured these days is true, then the prez has been quite a “success” for those who financed and marketed him. Hey, if it ain’t broke, right?

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By ardee, August 7, 2011 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

entropy2, August 6 at 10:55 am

I offer that The Worm has done an eloquent job of rebuttal yet I would add one more thought.

You are, I am certain, aware of the old definition of insanity; doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. You posit that old saw about voting third party gives the GOP victory, and I have two responses to that position.

1. So?
We have seen , for three years in this current administration, a democratic President and Legislature act as if GWBush was still in the Oval Office, thus tell me what difference it has made to this nation’s course that you voted democratic?

2. I find the reluctance to undertake a course of action that perforce will require years to bring to fruition rather typical flaw to the need for immediate gratification among our people. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step” is as true today as it was when Mao uttered it so long ago.

You seem to choose the familiar , regardless of how many times they betray you, over the more difficult decision making necessary to end the strangle hold that money has over our political system.

I know you are in the company of several others here in your seeming loyalty to a group that betrays you with every vote. But you also share another such trait as well. In all the polemics and hyperbole shown third party supporters here, amidst all the insistence that voting Democrat is the only real choice, I have never, not once, seen a single suggestion as to how to reform said party and restore it to what it once was, and is no longer!

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By Inherit The Wind, August 7, 2011 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

I am so thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with Barack Obama that I don’t know how I could vote for him in 2012.  At this point, the only advantage he has over the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, is who he will appoint to the Supreme Court.  While there have been criticisms of the Obama’s two appointments (Kagel and Sotamayor) to compare them to Bush’s two (Roberts and Alito) and consider them indistinguishable is spurious and irresponsible.  One can expect, with 100% certainty that Obama’s next appointment will be better than Romney’s.

But with the rise of the secessionist traitor Rick Perry to the point that he may enter the race for the nomination, and will be the first and only real competition to Romney, the choice becomes somewhat easier.  What is it with the far Right’s love of secessionist traitors? After all their long-term darling, Sarah Palin, is one as well.

Yet, perhaps splitting into two nations isn’t as bad an idea as it sounds.  If the blue states form a nation, its debt will be cleared up very quickly, and the budget balanced, whereas the red states’ nation will be unable to fund itself and will find itself in 3rd world status in a year.

But, what I would really like to see is a primary challenge to Barack Obama.  Two months ago I was totally against this, but his total capitulation and inept management of the phony debt crisis has shown there is NOT a point “further down the road” where he will simply refuse to negotiate and let the chips fall where they may.  Some say this is really what he wants, and that he’s not weak.  But I don’t care. The effect is exactly the same.

And the solution is the same.  Personally, I’d like to see Howard Dean mount a challenge to Obama. He’s got the progressive chops to not be painted as a “racist”, and he’s the one who invented the idea of Internet fund raising that Obama used so effectively.  He’s also politically savvy, having engineered the recovery of the House and Senate in 2006 (squandered by Reid and Pelosi, and Obama) and has the backbone to stand firm where he must.  I’d go for Bernie Sanders as well, but I’d prefer Dean.

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By arnie, August 7, 2011 at 3:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What strength does it tak to be a corporate compliant shill when they have the whole system bought off

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By Alan, August 6, 2011 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Your analysis is correct.
The problem with our political reality is not in
our political movie stars, but in ourselves.
An opposition Democratic candidate must be
identified NOW! NOW! NOW!

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By the worm, August 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

“The answer is to hold your nose and vote Democrat”: Really?

Why?

Because by voting third party, it alleged that you are either ‘wasting your vote’
or ‘helping the Republicans to win’.

But, here’s what Obama has done:

1.  Extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich with McConnell.

2.  Extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich with Boehner.

3.  Extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich with Grover Norquist and the Tea
Party.

4.  Appointed the CEO of a company that paid no federal taxes, received federal
bailouts and in invests heavily in ‘job creation’ efforts in foreign countries to
head of his ‘Jobs Council’.

5.  Accelerated Bush ‘bailouts’ to banks and other financial institutions and then
insisted on a ‘hands off’ policy when the CEOs and top-level employees
received “bonuses” paid with taxpayer money.

6.  Promised “change” and then kept Bush key appointees to continue to advise
you on military and financial affairs?

7.  Extended the Bush ‘war on terror’ wasting thousands American and Afghan
lives and billions of US dollars and leading to the killing of 31 American soldiers
this morning.

8.  Set aside all efforts to reform immigration.

9.  Led an effort to pass a Republican Governor’s health insurance subsidy in
lieu of single payer universal coverage.

10. Ash-canned the most qualified candidate for the consumer protection
bureau.

11.  Halted meaningful reform of the financial system, leaving in-place (and
even larger) the six largest ‘banks’.

12.  Preserved government sponsored tax cuts, tax breaks and low-to-no
interest funding for the financial system, corporations and the wealthy.

13.  Administered a failed ‘program’ to help middle class families holding
‘underwater mortgages’.

Few Republicans could ask for more from their own candidate.

As a long time-voter, long-time Democrat and contributor to Democratic
candidates in races around the country, I will vote for a real Democrat (if one
challenges Obama in the Democratic primary), but I will not ‘waste my vote’ by
voting again for Obama, under any circumstances I can currently imagine.

I say that as a committed, long-time Democrat.

First-time voters who supported Obama simply will not be back. They’ve seen
Obama’s actions, they’ve noted the results, they’ve suffered the consequences.

Younger and first-time voters have learned ‘not to bother’. They will not return
to ‘support Obama’, only to see the results.

Those who dont regularly vote, but saw in (or projected onto) Obama an
idealism have now seen him in action and will not be back.

Many single issue voters are gone and will not return.

Loosing these former supporters has certainly doomed a second term for
Obama - so, voting third party will not ‘help the Republicans’.

Obama lost these folks all by himself.

Looking at the list above, one can conclude only one thing: Barak Obama has
done as much to ‘help the Republicans’ as Ronald Reagan and certainly more
than George Bush Jr.

The most recent instance: Obama signed the most recent ‘debt deal’ (while
Pelosi, Hoyer and Reid all voted to ‘support Obama’).

Are we all going to be like Pelosi, Hoyer and Reid: Voting for tax cuts for the
wealthy, for stripping middle class programs, for maintaining the absurdly low
taxes corporations actually pay, for supporting 1400 millionaires who pay no
taxes last year, for… “in order to support Obama”. I wont.

If we Democrats cannot run a Democratic candidate, then I will vote third party.

Do I believe that will ‘help the Republicans win’? No. I believe Obama’s anti-
Democratic policies have ‘helped the Republicans win’.

I will not ‘hold my nose and vote for Obama’; to do so is to ‘help the
Republicans win’, just as Obama has done.

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By entropy2, August 6, 2011 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Primary challenges…third party sabre-rattling…to what end?

There’s nothing wrong with venting, but let’s be realistic.

Pretend it’s November 6, 2012. The failed primary challenge is long past. Let’s say the Repubs have done the smart thing and run a “centrist” (i.e. a mewling corporate lickspittle like Mitt). The third party bid has enough support to sink the Dems, but not enough to win.

What will you do?

If the answer is “hold my nose and vote Dem,” then quit squawking now. You’ve already lost. All your blustering and whining is futile and embarrassing.

The sad fact is, government is dependent on the plutocracy and WE are dependent on the tender mercies of the government. That won’t change.

Unless we break our dependency, we will never truly have a voice in our own destinies.

The way to do that is to develop bonds of interdependence with the people around us that transcend political labels. We need to start taking care of ourselves and each other, on a local and individual basis. That’s the playing field where we can win.

It’s nice to imagine that we can find (and elect) politicians who are, at once, smart, honest and non-sociopathic, who will take from the rich and give to us. But it’s never happened and it won’t.

Authority cannot reside in two places at once. Power cannot be concentrated and distributed at the same time. If a farmer has the *power* to decide to sell raw milk to his friend and neighbor, then the FDA doesn’t have the *power* to kick his door down.

Top down or bottom up? How do you want society to operate?

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By Amon Drool, August 6, 2011 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Dvmx: “...a progressive libertarian alliance is not
so far fetched.”

like you, i feel we of the social democratic left
have some definite commonalities with libertarians
and under a more open democratic system, we could
work together on a variety of issues.  but i’m afraid
our constitution would need some tweaking for this to
take place.  the structure of the US senate, with its
giving of equal representation of 700,000 wyoming to
40,000,000 california, is absurd…grossly violating
the democratic principle of one man, one vote.  also,
six year terms for legislators leads to inertia and a
lack of ‘supple’ governance when issues/problems
become pressing.  and, ‘first past the post’ may be
good for deciding the winner of a horse race, but is
sheer madness for representing the varied will of the
people…somehow a degree of proportionality has to
be built into the system to make it representative
of our varied populace.

we need a multi-party system.  i’m sure there are
well-meaning people in the democratic party and even
some in the republican party, but the rot has set in
and now all we have is a political duopoly doing the
bidding of an international rent-seeking banker/bond-
holding class.

in a way, i wish things would get border-line
desperate before the 2012 election and social
democrats, independents, libertarians and even tea-
partiers would get together and form a constitutional
reform party.  all they would have to do is agree
that our present system of governance isn’t working
and is unsustainable.  a broad-based constitutional
reform party would have as its main plank a call for
a constitutional convention that would have the goal
of opening up our democracy beyond our present life-
choking duopoly.

i’m all for social democrats forming alliances with
libertarians when called for, but it ain’t gonna
happen under our present constitutional design.

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By DaveZx3, August 6, 2011 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

There is no comprehensive vision for the left or progressive movement.  If there is, I can’t detect it from reading all these comments.

At least the Tea Party is organized around a few key points, Debt, deficits and taxes.  They are hot on a trail which could lead them to real solutions, because they are starting to see that an “illegal” Fed is the real cause of excessive debt.  Read Ron Paul, “End the Fed” and you will see what motivates most of these people.  It is a big, big issue, and people are starting to see it. 

Hell, why don’t you lefties at least get out and protest the wars or something.  Be of some use.  Get organized, get united and get a vision.  Otherwise, go back to your knitting.  With the election of Obama, you have shown a complete inability to take advantage of even 8 years of George W.

END THE FED.

http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/time_to_buy_the_fed.php

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By Drew Torne, August 6, 2011 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It makes me furious to see journalists trying to dissect the left over mediocrity
of leadership and paying any attention to the puppet role of the US president, in
the big picture of world events. It’s like trying to turn an old rubbery piece of
left over pizza into a fresh baked apple pie.

My first impression would be to ask David Sirota if he’s paid by some PAC to
boost Obama’s image. The second impression is that David Sirota must have no
standards, to praise a president who is overseeing massive fraud by
corporations, from whom he panders for more cash for reelection. I guess that
when the whole left-center-right entity moves completely to the right, one can
see see the left as left, while it is on the right.

I just saw a documentary about the upcoming trial of whistleblower Thomas
Drake and the appalling record of Obama on terrorizing and intimidating the
true American heroes. What makes Obama a good political player, doesn’t make
him a good overall man, specially with that big stain of torture on his record.

Obama is no JFK, for sure. If he had any courage, he would risk his life for the people he represents. US Soldiers do that everyday. Why can’t the captain do the same.

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By REDHORSE, August 6, 2011 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

The “chicago boys” (Obama and Timmy G. being just two of the legion) have subverted and destroyed elected and fledgling Democracies, tortured and murdered the innocent all over Planet Earth. “-the chickens have come home to roost—” (Rev. Wright). But these are bloody chickens. Renditioned chickens. Disappeared chickens. Tortured chickens. Electrified chickens.

    You do remember that Ford Motors had a torture chamber in its South American plant. That the torturers came to see themselves as therapists. That American corporate fascists gladly joined hands with corrupt Chinese communists to destroy the peoples struggle for Chinese Democracy, disappear/murder tens of thousands and enslave the remainder. Now they’ve come for you. But you’re different. You’re the indignent chickens.

    It’s the money stupid. Dick and W. set you up for the fall with the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. President O is going to push you right over the edge. The Friedmaniacs have bound American Democracy hand and foot. (Corporations are people and money is King.) You can shout at the wolves as they slaughter but can do them no other harm. Obama and “boner” are puppets. There is no difference between them. They intend to see you destroyed or see you dead and it doesn’t matter to them. They’re gonna take it all and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

    I’d like to remind you that no peoples have been able to overthrow the Dictatorships they’ve installed without open revolt and revolution and none have been able to regain their prosperity once the vampires have struck. When our Unions and social safety nets are gone they won’t be coming back.

    Got fight?

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By Rixar13, August 6, 2011 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

“In forging such bipartisan complicity with what were once exclusively right-wing Republican objectives, Obama has achieved even more than what he fantasized about when he famously celebrated a previous Bizarro FDR.”

I will focus on re-election of President Obama in 2012… smile grin

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By the worm, August 6, 2011 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Let’s be clear about the nominal Democrats and the recent fiasco and its pathetic ending.

Barak Obama signed it; Nancy Pelosi voted for it; Denny Hoyer (her trusted companion) voted for it; Harry Reid voted for it.

Now, Obama wants to blame the Republicans for it. Really?

The American people are sick to death of the Tea Party, yes. But, they are ‘sicker to death’  of its enablers: Obama, Pelosi, Hoyer and Reid.

If we, as Democrats, are not smart enough to see what is right before our eyes, then we too are Tea Party enablers.

Here is Obama’s three year track record on major issues:

a. Obama did not support us on debt and fair taxes: Washington Post-ABC poll Washington Post-ABC poll, Spring 2011: 72 percent supported raising taxes on the rich including 68 percent of Independen­ts and 54 percent of Republicans. Obama twice ‘bargained­’ to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and will
soon extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy a third time.

b. Obama did not support us on TARP & Financial Bailout: Over 70% of us opposed the bailout. Obama accelerate­d it with Geithner and Bernanke - both
Bush carryovers embraced by Obama. Geithner is soon to receive his ‘bailout’
from the financial sector (as he soon ‘retires’ from the Obama administra­tion).

c. Obama did not support us on Health Care: 72% of us supported “a
government­­administe­red insurance plan - something like Medicare for those
under 65—that would compete for customers with private insurers.” Supporting
Max Baucus, Obama blocked hearings on single payer and chocked off true
health care reform. Instead he supported a private-sector, for-profit health
insurance ‘reform’ that provided insurance companies fabulous guaranteed
profits.

d. Obama did not support us on Afghanistan: 64% of us opposed expanding the
war in Afghanistan and wanted to disentangle from Bush-era ‘War on Terror’
and ‘preventive war’ policies. Today, still over 60% of Americans oppose the
war. Obama continues it. Today, 31 more Americans were announced dead,
needlessly and for a lost cause. Thanks to Obama’s policies.

e. Of course “e” would be the newest Obama ‘debt reduction deal’ with the Tea
Party and Grover Norquist.

Please, let us resolve today to find a candidate to run against Obama in the
primaries prior to 2012.

The man and the current Democratic ‘regime’ have no credibility and are
harming working people, families, the middle class and America and protecting
the corporations and the wealthy by keeping place the government protections
their lobbyists have obtained for them, whether it’s ‘carried interest’, low-to-no
taxes, corporate tax loop holes, bailouts, low interest loans, etc.

Enough with the Party of enablers, enough with the nominal “Democrats”,
enough.

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By omygodnotagain, August 6, 2011 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

“today’s imperial presidency almost singularly determines the course of national politics.’  The coherence and consistency of policy since the 1940s shows that it has been created by a class of people (whom I call ‘the ruling class’) and the behavior of the president is narrowly defined by their consensus.  At present that class is evidently dominated by kleptocrats and conservatives”.

Anarcissie
I completely agree with your analysis, and what upsets me about progressives is they go off on tangents of race, gender, sexual politics, which are second or third string issues, and waste valuable political capital on these things. Politics is about money and class. A lot of the issues progressives see as race or gender are really class issues. As someone who grew up in Europe, it is hard to take some gender issues seriously when the two most powerful monarchs in English History(Elizabeth 1 and Queen Victoria) were women, the most powerful post WW2 Prime Minister was a woman. Race issues are related to class, it is about education, cultural attitudes and how one presents oneself to the elites. Snoop Dogg if he dressed and acted appropriately would be accepted the same way Dizzy Gillespie was a regular invitee at Buckingham Palace, or Nelson Mandela is now regarded. Tiger Woods needs I say more.. he showed bad taste was kicked out by the elites ( if he was banging Princess Caroline or some Super Model instead of porn stars and hookers it would have been forgiven)...nothing to do with race…
Progressives need to dump the third rate issues and concentrate on the real issues, of economics and class warfare.

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By Sodium-Na, August 6, 2011 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

I totally disagree with the conclusion reached by writer/columnist,David Sorato.On the contrary,the information accumulated in one of my files proves the opposite of what Sorato had/has concluded. Reasons:

(1) The destruction of Obama’s Presidency has been planned by the neocons/Republins,since day one Obama was elected.

(2) Because of his obvious desire to paint his Presidency with bipartisonship,he has overlooked or forgotten reason number(1)stated above,and bent over to please/appease those who wanted to destroy his Presidency.

(3) When any setting President has the majority in both houses of Congress,such a setting President can almost do anything he or she may want for serving the common good. Obama had such majority in both houses of Congress from January of 2009 until November of 2011,and he let it slip from his hands.

In short,based on President Obama’s first two years in office,I regret very much to say that Obama is not a strong President,let alone being another FDR.

His re-election is not even 50 percent guaranteed,based on a recent poll,especially if the Republicans nominate some one whose demeanors and qualities are similar to President Dwight Eisenhower. Therefore,the Democratic Party should push for an open primary for nominations beside Obama.

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By Anarcissie, August 6, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

I’d say nonviolence worked out pretty well for the Civil Rights movement.  The alternative, of course, would have been violence, which would require the formation of armies and other state apparatuses.  Going head-to-head, their richer, more numerous opponents would have been able to defeat them.  In defeat they would have the choice of death, exile or the concentration camp.  Or, at the very best, the reservation.

But that has little to do with contemporary progressives.  The Civil Rights movement was a revolt against the state; the issue was how to carry it forward.  Prior that revolt, etablishment progressives or liberals had favored deracializing the legal and political order, but had made little progress working within the state.  The revolt gave them the upper hand.  There is nothing like that going on now.

In regard to Boomers, I regard Reagan and Reaganism as the first political appearance of the Boomers.  ‘Do your own thing’, ‘me first’, ‘if it feels good, do it’, ‘my g-g-g-generation’ and so on, whatever their virtues may be, do not lead to the Welfare state.

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By Project Mayhem, August 6, 2011 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

THEORY IS DIVORCED FROM REALITY

In your gratingly formulaic style, you have once again seized upon a statement from another post and used it as a “sound bite” from which to regurgitate yet another high school civics lecture. Instead of addressing the legitimate concerns I.B. Tinken raised (i.e. the mythos of the “American Dream”, the interrogation of power and its effects upon identity) you instead offer more platitudes on the theoretical functionality of the “tripartite system” with its internal checks-and-balances. Yes, yes, we all know how the system is supposed to work in theory. Most of us also understand that, in reality, the system has been corrupted to the point of utter dysfunctionality. Your tired old canards about working within a two party system toward incremental reform ignores completely the fact that both parties serve a master that is NOT the American public. Your inability to own up to this reality is curious, and is probably related to an unwillingness to interrogate the horrors visited upon the remaining shreds of our democratic core by pure, revolutionary capitalism.

THE REALITY

While traditional “big money” continues to finance the Republican wing of the “two party system”, Wall Street and its high finance affiliates bankroll the Democratic wing. The distribution of this largesse has been well-documented, and the effect of this obscene amount of money is obvious. When a politician becomes dependent on such monies to ensure his or her office, that person ceases in any meaningful way to be a public servant. And this is as true for the lowliest freshman rep as it is for the PotUS.

MY POINT

plu·toc·ra·cy? ?/plu?t?kr?si/ 
noun, plural -cies. 
1. the rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy.
2. a government or state in which the wealthy class rules.
3. a class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.

It no longer matters whether one casts one’s vote for a Republican or a Democrat, because the agenda served will not be the one of the public good. It will, of course, be the agenda of those that ensure that the politician in question will have the funding necessary to remain in office. All the rest is so much window dressing, a sideshow to distract and entertain a populace increasingly receding into an unreality of somnambulant myths.

It is better to come to terms with reality, no matter how grim, than to persist in a fantasy in which progressive agendas can be realized if only people will vote, vote, vote for the candidates who so clearly have the public good in their heart of hearts. When one recognizes that to defend such fallacies is to defend plutocracy, then one might begin to understand why long-term efforts to establish third parties should be a priority.

But some, I suppose, will simply continue to blithely bloviate-in-a-blog, over and over and over, ad nauseum.

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By David J. Cyr, August 6, 2011 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

For some pertinent history of why America’s Boomer “progressives” supported the welfare state…

The Violence of “Nonviolence”

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=492&Itemid=1

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By Anarcissie, August 6, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

There is certainly an important difference between the nominal position of libertarians on the Welfare state and that of progressives.

There is a considerable connection between war and the Welfare state in history.  Bismarck’s regime might be considered its poster child.  One of the characteristics of the aggressive fascist states of the 1930s, especially those of Mussolini and Hitler, were big social programs.  For these leaders the Welfare state ensured that the home front would remain obedient and hard-working while the troops were away at the front.

From the point of view of liberal capitalism, where military conquest was subordinate to acquisition, the development of the Welfare state was been more of a defensive strategy.  In Europe, experience with fascism and Communism showed the capitalist ruling class the value of buying off the working class and the poor.  In the mid-20th century, the motives of the American ruling class were probably more Bismarckian than defensive; they were going to build a new world order.

The libertarian position is somewhat fanciful historically.  The real-live liberal states of the 18th and 19th centuries may have been pretty indifferent to the lot of the working class, but they were ardent imperialists and warmongers.  The empires of Britain, France, and the Netherlands did not fall from heaven.  But as there are few libertarians around here, I won’t pursue this point.

The progressive position—that it is a leftist position, that is, in favor of greater peace, freedom and equality than now exist—is also somewhat fanciful, historically speaking.  Progressives like Wilson, both Roosevelts, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson and their hangers-on were major war leaders (and advocates of greater domestic Welfare and regulation!)  Not much peace there.  Equality?  A Welfare state implies a class system and a major hierarchical bureaucracy.  Freedom?  If the people cannot take care of their own business without bureaucratic assistance, is it wise to let them off the leash?  I think our discussion of video-game censorship answered that question.

In short, the progressive ideology seems rather schizzy, which might help explain its lack of power and persuasiveness.

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By David J. Cyr, August 6, 2011 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

A Libertarian is a person who believes their luck was skill.

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By ardee, August 6, 2011 at 5:15 am Link to this comment

Dvmx, August 5 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

ardee- a progressive libertarian alliance is not so far fetched. Both are against the empire, the wars, and the banksters and big corporations, and would like to audit the fed.
see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py8cXlLyX18

That there is a bit of commonality between the left and libertarians is overwhelmingly fractured by libertarian desire to end all regulatory powers of government, end all welfare, medicare, social security,public education, et al responsibilities of government.

Those who advocate for an alliance between left and libertarian are either shallow thinkers, libertarians seeking to broaden the appeal of that selfish, whites only, “I got mine screw you” political philosophy or sadly deluded.

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By Lafayette, August 6, 2011 at 1:48 am Link to this comment

USING WORDS LOOSELY

IBT: Despite all the lofty rhetoric about “democracy” and “equality” in this country, we know that our institutions are designed to serve and perpetuate wealth and power.

There is a very good reason for that “feature”. Without institutions this country would crumble into anarchy.

Whether these institutions promote particularly wealth is debatable. (Taxation does that and taxes are not an institution per se.) That they preserve power is true, however.

Which is why that power should never be allowed to aggregate and is why we have a tripartite system of governance (the Executive, the Legislature and the Supreme Court) and they are replicated on the state level as well.

So, power is as power does. That is, the power of the Executive is to nominate heads of institutions. That power is limited by Congress and, thankfully, the institutional heads are tenured along with that of the PotUS.

Let’s not exaggerate in just one phrase a fact that is not immutable in time. Because preserving power in a democracy is not the same as in an autocracy.

In a democracy, power lies with the voters and if you think that ours is not of that kind, then I invite you to go live in Russia or, say, Saudi Arabia?

MY POINT

Let’s please understand the difference between plutocracy and democracy. Otherwise we generate the polemic that infests forums by using words loosely.

We have established a moneyed plutocrat class that tries to influence elections. We have a Supreme Court that has allowed them to do so, which produced the result of the 2010 mid-term elections where the majority of Americans (52%) did not vote.

Ultimate democratic power nonetheless remains with the voter - unless of course one decides to not vote. In which case, they also have the duty to not complain about the political mess in which this nation finds itself.

POST SCRIPTUM

I.e., you vote and you get to complain. You don’t vote and you get to shut up. Regardless, your right to change political structures remains unaltered - if you know how to exercise it.

Others prefer to bitch-in-a-blog annoyingly.

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By Lafayette, August 6, 2011 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

LIGHTENING ROD

DS: Barack Obama? is a lot of things—eloquent, dissembling, conniving, intelligent and above all, calm.

Seems like the recipe for most politicians nowadays. Except for the intelligent bit.

So he’s an Intelligent Politician, is he? Well - given the wreckage in our Political Class, that’s not bad for starters. And, Most Certainly, the Lightening Rod for all their complaints.

POST SCRIPTUM: Balance of power

He plays basketball, so he also knows how to dribble well. That too helps in a world where Americans naively think that the PotUS is the be all and end all of governance in this country.

Anybody for a lesson on tripartite political governance in America? For good governance, we must get all three “just right”. (At the moment, two of them are Just Right ;^)

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By mark mais, August 6, 2011 at 12:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Russians have a word Pijon,like somebody who is not
real man,acts and speaks like asexual,spineless and
impotent,who avoids dealing with real men,and he fails
in everything.Shame on you John Carry for supporting
this kind of chameleon,who ruins everything progressive
to serve his masters.Watch all his body
language:Nothing of the man,just corporate black
butler.Democrats need to find the man,with heart and
guts,to oppose this weakling on primary

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By mrfreeze, August 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

I. B. Tinken -What an interesting and thought-provoking post. Thanks for that.

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By indc, August 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think your point is well taken, although I would not call his behavior strength.  He is hypocritical and duplicitous, a liar, a fake, a fraud.  I don’t see that a liar is very strong.  He is a Trojan Horse, a plant, a function of the interests of the wealthy and powerful. He has should he is incapable of independence of thought or action, he is always pandering, even if it is behind closed doors, for acceptance by the establishment.  It is his life history. Brilliant?  He got good grades in school and is manipulative.  Betraying tens of millions is not the sign of brilliance, only of an untrustworthy character and sociopath personality contained within a fake persona.  Neither brilliant nor strong.

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By Dvmx, August 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

ardee- a progressive libertarian alliance is not so far fetched. Both are against the empire, the wars, and the banksters and big corporations, and would like to audit the fed. 
see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py8cXlLyX18

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By ardee, August 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Three quarters of a billion dollars.

A rather staggering amount of money to spend for a job that pays 400K for a four year term. Does anyone think he got the bulk of that money from you and I? He knows what he must do to serve his masters and he is doing it.

There may well be a 3rd party challenge from “the left”; maybe even combined with a libertarian ala Ron Paul. This will pull say, 15% of the vote, and Rick Perry wins the election.

I see no significant third party challenge on the horizon, and, as a Green Party worker, I state that we will continue to build at the grassroots level, the local and state elections which will continue to grow this party.

I do not think Perry will run this time out, but will await the next election when Obama, who will quite probably win re-election as the incumbent has all the advantage and this one has all the money too, will term out. But we shall see.

As to this talk of a Ron Paul alliance with “the left” I want what you are smoking! No real leftist would tolerate Ron Paul’s libertarian idiocy much less vote for it.

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By cruxpuppy, August 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

A confidence trickster is not “strong”. Obama talks the most glorious bullshit because he is afraid of confrontation. He then betrays the expectations his words have created once the threat of public heckling has been avoided. He demonstrates a purely expedient approach to life & politics. He has no principles he will defend. His presidency is all that matters, the great privilege he has achieved. He’s frightened to confront belligerent white people. If the political muscle were left of center he would appear as a progressive. He is above all impressed with himself as President. He’s a celebrity, not a leader. He serves those who put him in his position of privilege. David Sirota is the bizarre factor here. Obama is a weakling, a political non-entity. FDR was clearly an outstanding president because he was a man of principle and a fearless man, despite his wheel chair. Ronald Reagan had no principle other than self-interest. He was a blustering egoist incapable of serving the public interest.

This article stinks, Sirota. Cut back on your booze intake. You’re losing it.

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By Dvmx, August 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

The debt-ceiling debate was completely unnecessary- it is normally a procedural vote not a budget debate venue. BO should have invoked the 14th and told congress to hold their budget debates at another time.  That Obama rolled with the GOP agenda on it and “settled for a bad deal” is seen as either a huge strategic error, a failure of character, or evidence of service to some larger inscrutable agenda. Which basically sums up what Obama’s 2008 supporters are feeling about him now.
We either think he has failed, he’s been boxed in, he’s been badly advised, he was all along a corporate man (finance for example), or finally, he was the financial wing of the corporatocracy’s new Benetton style public face. A manager to arbitrate the conflicting interests of the corporate syndicates jockeying in washington while giving to the people a likeable face to The System. 
There may well be a 3rd party challenge from “the left”; maybe even combined with a libertarian ala Ron Paul. This will pull say, 15% of the vote, and Rick Perry wins the election. There follow 4 disastrous years of bad governance as the syndicates battle viciously for whatever flesh remains on the public bones. By 2016, people have had enough of the DC 2-Party Kabuki Show, and give the progressive/libertarian alliance 40%, winning the election. 
I think that may be the only way it can happen

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By Roger Evans, August 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What you call strength is definitely what I would call weakness, i.e., he negotiates with himself to adopt a position as extreme as the fantasy-land Republicans.  I predict Obama will go down in the history books as the weakest president of the last century.

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By AZPADDY, August 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Your thesis has appeal and seems to make perfect sense given the outcome of every ‘fight’ Obama has championed.  He keeps ‘losing’ them. All of them, at least from a progressive viewpoint. And yet apparently he is getting precisely what he wants.  If you are correct he is much more than an extraordinarily talented dissembler.
As Chris Hedges’ has said, the public Obama was and is no more than an advertising slogan (“Hope and Change”) masking a deeply conservative agenda, one to the right of almost all Democrats, and many, many Republicans. 
Obama’s key advisors are, and have been from the get-go,  anything but ‘progressive’.
Although ‘Hope and Change’ sounded progressive in 2008, and is still heard as ‘progressive’ by many, nothing, other than tepid support on ‘culture war’ issues (e.g. repeal of DOMA), Obama has supported could be characterized as ‘progressive’.  Or even mainstream Democrat for that matter.  His policy positions have not fostered “hope” for his base.  How could they when Obama’s
‘change’ has served “W’s” constituency, the “have mores”. 
‘Bizarro FDR’ is wrongheaded.  ‘Anti FDR’ is the correct term.  As you pointed out, FDR challenged “organized money” (not ‘wealth’) and FDR “welcomed their hatred”.  By contrast Obama characterized today’s Wall Street oligarchs as “....savvy businessmen..” and then said ” I….do not begrudge…..” their multi-milion dollar bonuses (this in 2010 ) despite the fact those very banks that paid those bonuses would have failed had they not been being saved by the taxpayer bailout!

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By Robert Colgan, August 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Sirota.

Obama is an excellent rhetorician.
His strength is speaking to the truth————-but not
in acting on it.

So, in keeping with his legal background, he is
essentially a “mouthpiece” as gangsters once
described their retained counselors:
as mouthpiece, he is perfectly on task defending the
poor (“rich”) the downtrodden (megacorporations) and
the weak (“all things military”) . . . . .

one thing he is not:  an honest person.

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By Cole..., August 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When george W (W is for White power and War)
the best I could come up with is ‘Thanks that he has no brain’ that limits the harm that that sadist could do.
The sbove long list of comments. I agree with darn near all of them, what it boils down to is that we now have a sadist with a brain and there is ‘no limit to what he can do’—-and he is doing just that.
Obuma deserves to have the LBJ treatement, mountains of protesters everywhere he goes.
Day after day and soon enough leaders will be pulled from the crowd and a dejected Obuma will step away, or crawl away.
Protest or whine. Which is it to be?

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By dailyplanet, August 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Sirota demonstrates a shocking case of wishful thinking. To try to tie
Obama to FDRs ballsy strategy for aiding a country in crisis is well…boardering
on delusional.

Is Obama weak, strong? Not being present in the back rooms of power, we can
only guess what really transpires there…the dynamics, the tactics, the threats,
the extortion techniques employed by the participatory elites.

No, the public analysis can only be based on what the media feeds us. And
what America has seen of Obama’s performance leads to two conclusions,
neither of which speaks well for the President.

1. Obama is an impotent, non-leader, a man who will not or can not be a
forceful advocate for the issues he professed to support as candidate for the
office.

3. Obama is never was what he sold himself as. He was a product marketed for
sale with a message that would bring consumers to the cash register to buy his
“line.” He got the votes but the voters never realized his heart and mind
supported the same poisonous goals as the financial, corporate elites.

Is Obama simply a puppet, or have the people who really run this country…put
a gun to his head?

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By I. B. Tinken, August 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Who better to dismantle the “welfare state” than a man “of color”, “community organizer” perceived by liberals and others “of color” as a defender of of the “Great Society”, while the rabid Right provides a smoke screen by calling him a “communist”, “Socialist”, “foreigner” and one who will advance the interests of “colored people” over those of “real Americans”?

One way to understand Obama or anyone else who has risen from nowhere to the corridors of power is through literary portrayals. For example, consider the novel/film “Remains of the Day” in which we see how the butler assumes the values of the aristocrat as he lords over the lesser staff in the manor house. The butler truly believes in this hierarchical system which validates his place in the pecking order.  Unfortunately, the butler ultimately loses his role and identity when the manor house is sold and the elegant system of aristocratic land owners is displaced by a new less formal system of wealthy entrepreneurs, who are not British.

Or one could look at another analogy, the Antebellum Southern Plantation, an analogy which some will immediately call “racist”, but serves nevertheless. Who does the “house negro” identify with—the “Massa” or the “slaves in the field”?  In the event of a slave rebellion is the house servant going to slit the throat of his master?  Or defend the system that enabled him to achieve power and privilege?  I don’t know for sure, but if you look at the history of oppressed people, labor history for example, there are always those amongst the oppressed sign up with the “Pinkerton’s” and shoot their brothers and cousins for a bit of extra money and job security.

Despite all the lofty rhetoric about “democracy” and “equality” in this country, we know that our institutions are designed to serve and perpetuate wealth and power. Even with widespread poverty, hunger, and injustice, the system has survived thanks to the illusion of upward mobility. Work hard, study hard, play by the rules, and you too can achieve wealth and power—or at least financial security.  Barack Obama is the new and revised, “politically correct” extension of this classic “Horatio Alger” story which gives Americans “hope” that they too can rise up without an uprising.

However, if the middle class is destroyed, and the illusion of upward mobility evaporates, leaving a clear and unalterable class divide between rich and poor, the system can not easily be be maintained.  One common alternative to enforce class immobility is the terror of the police state.  Another is the universal belief in the caste or class system,  that “God” wants the rich to lord over the poor.

I don’t see Americans buying into the belief system that sustained Medieval serfdom. So stay tuned for trouble when the white and educated as well as the poor and colored realize they have been sold down the river.

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By henrydeluxe8, August 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Mr Sirota is devout. No reality is gonna get on the way of his unshakable beliefs
that Mr Obama IS the messiah. If Mr Obama has done the complete opposite of
what he promised he would do, In mr Sirota’s eyes this is either an optical illusion
or a masterful plan to accomplish these goals.  The perfect example of a blinded
ideologue unable to accept he has been had. Clue: Mr Obama is a checkers player-
NOT a chess master.

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By So Disappointed, August 5, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So glad to read so many people feel as disappointed and cheated as I do. Now we need to find a viable 3rd party to defeat the two and set things back on track….

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By Dr Bones, August 5, 2011 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Few would have voted for him, if he said where he really stood in the issues… Milton Friedman, disaster capitalism, corporatist, fascist.  So he lied. 

Noam Chomsky told us who he was and what Mr. O would do once in office and how he was Wall Street’s puppet.  Dead right about it, too!

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By bobi6, August 5, 2011 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama’s swing to the far right was apparent to me before his
inauguration. I knew we were in trouble just looking at his appointments.
Obama from day one rewarded the criminals and punish the honest
people. That seemed rather strange to me but it escalated.

To be truthful we have a lot of evidence that the man is a psychopath. 
He lied his way through his campaign never suffering a moment of
cognitive dissonance and the continues to do that with every speech.
When he assures the public things will get better, when he pretends to
oppose the tea baggers. He even feigned a bit of anger publicly to unline
his opposition to them. I will never understand why he bothered to run
as a Democrat except that may have been part of his plan - fool the
country and especially the Democratic party. I read that even after all this
many somewhat progressive Democrats voted for the debt limit bill
because they didn’t want him weakened anymore.

And I sincerely believe he has been bribed and collects at the end of his
time in office. Some deal was made before he ran. I wonder if Michelle
knows about it. The payoff, even if exposed, will not appear to be illegal
because no one would ever admit it and the money would be collect after
his presidency. I think he is after both power and money. Then he can
buy his way into the elite circles except they would never let him in. Most
of those people are bigoted against most groups except their own. 

We need him weakened to point of no reelection. If he did this much
harm to the people in just 2 1/2 years think of the tragedy after 8 years
of his treachery. He’s treacherous, evil and he may be smart but there are
a lot of much smarter and savvy people out there. If they will help get the
word out we might just have a new Republican president in 2013. At
least we will know from Day one where he or she stands.

I say elect Michelle Bachman and let her destroy herself. She will no
doubt b make millions of Americans switch to the Democratic party.
Then we might have some hope.

On the other hand we need to start peaceful demonstrations right now. I
don’t have the money to organize but for the majority who have been
stomped on go out and find a group and join them Or join Chris Hedges
in Washington DC. The revolution must start now. WE are fighting our
own party but Obama is clearly the enemy.

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By gerard, August 5, 2011 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Lots of mind-reading going on here—assumptions based on what little we actually know about what’s going on, plus judging from the results according to how they are likely to affect us.  Fact is, a big
part of our problems is that we actually DO NOT know what is going on or why (largely because of a corrupt media system plus the blinding affect of our belief in our own national virtue). And yes, the presidency has become too powerful and Congress too weak, due very largely to the changes wrought upon that office by Bush-Cheney and company. Then, of course, there’s the money, and the deceits it can buy. And on top of all that, the excesses of the Pentagon and the surveillance industry.
  Clearly, ignorance is not bliss.

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By Alan MacDonald, August 5, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Welcome to Obama’s Depression “at home”.

It’s not so much that Obama singly created Great Depression II, as that stage was set over the last three decades by every faux-Emperor/president: Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II before Obama, but rather that Obama, the “anti-FDR”, folded like a cheap suit-case and missed the best chance ever in 2008 to expose and rally the naive American public “Against Empire” [Michael Parenti].

Obama missed leveraging the financial crisis caused by the Empire’s Ponzi crash of 2007 and missed turning the public against the global corporate/financial/militarist Empire because he was always the paid slave of this Empire—- who said slavery was dead in America——based on the sure bet that he was chosen to be the gutless complicit pawn of the Empire.

Now, in a brief and drastically condensed time-frame, average, honest, middle/working-class Americans, in the heart and temporary headquarters of this global corporate/financial/militarist Empire which controls the US, UK, Israel, et al will have a last chance to quickly recognize, understand, confront, and excise the first, last, and only truly effective global Empire.

This opportunity is breath-taking but fleeting. The odds are certainly against a positive and progressive outcome, but the effort must be made both for the destruction that the global Empire causes"abroad”, but also for the now highly visible “tyranny” that this Empire is imposing “at home”.

Hannah Arendt’s prescient warning based on her lifelong study of Empire, not to mention her direct painful experience with the Nazi Empire, never rand so painfully true——“Empire abroad entails tyranny at home.”

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Liberty & democracy
over
violent
empire

New America Peoples’ Party 2012—- (our last chance “Against Empire”)

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By lasmog, August 5, 2011 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Sirota is right. Liberals are very reluctant to admit that we were tricked into voting for a neo-con in liberal’s clothing.  By continuing most of the egregious policies of the Bush II Administration, Obama has succeeded in pulling the country sharply to the right.  Even if we have to lose the next presidential election to a Republican hack, I think the time has come to publicly reject Obama as a traitor to progressive politics.

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By ohiolibgal, August 5, 2011 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

I think David could well be right…..one thing that surely bolsters this case is who he appointed, right out of the gate, as his financial team. No true progressive would appoint these Wall Street insiders, but rather people like Robert Reich.

The very early jettison of the public option, the steering of the health care bill to a committee chaired by DINO Max Baucus, those are also strong clues.

It’s not that hard to build a case for him being a smooth bait and switch artist, a more polished used car salesman.

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By Leefeller, August 5, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

I want to see an angry black man, like Marten Luther King,... not a black Gipper!

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By DeeV, August 5, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

you know, if you’re going to compare obama’s will to
that of fdr (who, by the way, was more progressive than
obama when it came to the well being of america), you
might as well compare him to hitler as well. i mean, he
got shit done too, right?

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By B. Henley, August 5, 2011 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh, I see David, Obama is not weak, he’s merely a liar whose calculating
mendacity is matched only by finely honed Machiavellian instincts making him
capable of duping half the electorate and leading us (against our inferior
judgement!) to this wonderful place in which we now find our country.

Are we meant to admire this, one wonders? Is the supposition that Obama is
getting what he wants supposed to make it all better? Look where we are!

More likely, this article is Mr Sirota’s bid to be the first with some keen new
revisionist insight, one which might well constitute an effective platform upon
which to launch a post-Obama book tour. Don’t worry, David, that tour will
probably happen sooner than you think.

The truth is that Obama is both weak AND a liar. Weak because he cannot take
a real stand on anything other than “changing the tone in Washington”. A liar
because he has gone back on every single meaningful promise of “change” ever
made by candidate Obama. Crucially, he didn’t lose the fight for these
promises, he did not re-frame the debate. No, he took them “off the table”
before the negotiations even began.

If such comparisons can be useful, it’s clear that Obama is the new Nixon.
Politically expedient, enamored of power, eager to please, nauseatingly centrist
(he would say cautious, but still nauseating), deeply insecure, and desperate for
popularity. Yes, anyone who needs to be liked as much as this man will be
reviled by anyone with a decent pair of—political ideals.

Unfortunately, the folks he most wants to please are not the people who put
him in office. Obama yearns to be accepted by the “smart guys”, you know, the
ones running Wall Street, the Investment banks, the media. He is the ultimate
social climber, and his personal ascendency to that glittering tower has been
the chief characteristic of his administration. There’s your insight, Mr Sirota.

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By prisnersdilema, August 5, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Obama is the O.J. Simpson of American politics, the boyish smile, the friendly hand
shake that gets you off guard, so he can stab you in the back.

Then come the blood, the pain the suffering, and the reassurances that every thing is
going to be ok.

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By oddsox, August 5, 2011 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

from the beginning, Obama has emulated the wrong Roosevelt.

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By D.R. Zing, August 5, 2011 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

The line you quote raised an eybebrow for me as well. 

David Sirota,

Regarding the rest of the article, well, it really pisses me off that you so precisely described President Obama’s policies in a way that violates my preconceived notions.  How dare you utter truth in the face of my delusion!  May you be trapped in a thunderstorm and eaten by mosquitoes atop Mt. Evans. 

Peace.

Give peace a chance.

What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding.

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By TDoff, August 5, 2011 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

This post leaves me speechless. Were I able to write a comment, I’d title it:

‘The Bizzaro David Sirota’

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By Anarcissie, August 5, 2011 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

I don’t agree that ‘... today’s imperial presidency almost singularly determines the course of national politics.’  The coherence and consistency of policy since the 1940s shows that it has been created by a class of people (whom I call ‘the ruling class’) and the behavior of the president is narrowly defined by their consensus.  At present that class is evidently dominated by kleptocrats and conservatives.  The kleptocrats want to junk any semblance of social democracy and the Welfare state and, presumably, fly away to some happier realm when things fall apart; the conservatives aren’t so sure.  But so what?

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By Jim Yell, August 5, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Probably I am in line with the other comments so far, but there are other ways to say it. Obama was a Trojan Horse, filled with Republican or at lest Corporate soldiers. He immediately appointed corporate shills to solve the problem that had been created by Corporate Shills.

He abandoned immediately his proclaimation against torture, un-necessary wars and so on. So why call Liberals whinning when Obama based upon what he said he stood for has violated every single thing he promised to do?

Most of us were probably ready to accept that there are things he could do and things that he may not be able to do, but Obama is a traitor to the voters he needed to become President. We don’t need two extreme Right wing parties.

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By SarcastiCanuck, August 5, 2011 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yo,the fat lady hasn’t sung yet on the street brawl that the GOP have brought to Obama.My money says that Mr.O will be remembered by history in a lot better light then W,tea baggers and the right wing,lying media that has been trying to castrate him since day one.Ding,ding,round four….

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By madisolation, August 5, 2011 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

The title of Ian Welsh’s blog this morning says it all:

“If you’re pro-Obama you’re an idiot, on the payroll, or evil”

http://www.ianwelsh.net/if-youre-pro-obama-youre-an-idiot-on-the-payroll-or-evil/

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By Inherit The Wind, August 5, 2011 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

I don’t give a damn if Obama is a weak liberal who has been rolled by Wall Street and the GOP, or is really deliberately an agent for them.

The negative effect is the same.  Progressives need to draft an effective leader to challenge Obama in the primaries, like a Howard Dean or Bernie Sanders.

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By Mountain, August 5, 2011 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He was hired by the corporations to do a job and he’s doing it well. Those bribes, er excuse me, campaign contributions weren’t for nothing you know. Of course politicians from both parties take the same bribes, excuse me, campaign contributions, from the same corportations so there really isn’t a choice (nor an argument) these days. It makes my new voting strategy easy. Going forward I will ALWAYS vote against the incumbent. I will continue to do so until either our facist system falls under it’s own greed or corporate campaign money (bribery) becomes irrelevant due to there being no doubt as to whether the incumbent will always be thrown out…if we keep throwing them out they can’t get too established on the corporate bribe, I mean campaign contribution, gravy train. I know it’s a fantasy, but I need that to have some hope for the future, cause the reality of the situation just isn’t doing it for me.

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By Ron_B, August 5, 2011 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

We Progressives love to laugh at Teapartiers who unwittingly serve their corporate masters pulling the strings behind the scenes. Yet, the hijacking of a popular movement by Right-Wing Corporate interests was most effectively pulled of by Barrack Obama in 2008.  Shame on us.

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By John Poole, August 5, 2011 at 6:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama has yet to face a defining inescapable crucible of his presidency. Once he
fails to do the right thing he’ll finally be labelled as a weak male. He’ll be seen as
pathologically flawed.

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By thecrow, August 5, 2011 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

“But one thing he is not is weak.”

True. In the sense that a crowbar is not weak. Yet they are both tools.

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/the-ones-who-attacked-us/

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By David J. Cyr, August 5, 2011 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

FDR provided the crumbs of reforms that liberals used to exterminate the socialists who were seeking whole loaves for society, and FDR thereby made the world safe for neoliberal fascism to arrive and thrive.

The liberal liberals perpetually strive to reform their “enlightened” form of fascism, to make it more sustainable.

The “progressive” liberals claim we’ll all get real sensible socialist policies, by voting for (D) anti-socialist fascists.

The (D) supporting “progressives” competently get whatever greater evil done that the incompetent (R) supporting conservatives can’t.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By Awi, August 5, 2011 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

You can’t polish a turd.

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By Sheila, August 5, 2011 at 12:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I came to the conclusion that the progressive I thought I voted for was actually a Rethuglican long before this.

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By ralphdd, August 5, 2011 at 12:35 am Link to this comment

I think you are on to a bizarro but possible truth here. Imagine during the december tax negotiations that the pres only wanted one thing out of the deal, extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax deduction and no value was assigned to the demands from the other side. And imagine that during the debt ceiling debate all that was valued by the pres was that it not return before the 2012 election and no value was assigned to the demands by the republicans. He stood firm on these demands and backed the democrats down when they didn’t want to vote for the wealthy tax cuts in december.

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By Marian Griffith, August 5, 2011 at 12:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess this article is why the phrase ‘damning praise’ was created.

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