Friday, July 08, 2011

The Obama Spell

Will they or won't they? After President Obama finalizes his debt agreement with House Republicans, House Democrats will have to decide whether they are all in with the President or are more committed to economic recovery. Radio talk show host and author/blogger David Sirota has already made his decision. Criticism of the President's track record on the economy has been met by himself, his aides, and his sycophants by complaints that the economy was in freefall when Obama assumed office and it really was worse than what he was led to believe. Sirota asserts

It is, dare I say, an audacious claim, especially coming from a candidate who asked us all to have the "audacity of hope" -- and it's more than a little insulting. After all, much of the complaints about the president have been about campaign promises that he didn't just fail to fulfill -- but that he refused to even try to fulfill.

Responding to speculation that Social Security cuts- in the form of adoption of chained CPI- are being considered, Sirota writes

Inherent in that ideology ("a regime that believes it can say one set of things over and over and over again, and then do exactly the opposite") is the assumption that Americans -- and particularly Democratic voters -- are either too stupid to see the heist in process, or if they do see the heist, are too entranced by their president's power/fame/celebrity/charisma to want to do anything about it, even if what's being pilfered is Democrats' Social Security crown jewel.

The assumption, in other words, is that ignorance and fealty will permit a president to serve as an accomplice to the very grand larceny he was explicitly elected to office to oppose. Should the assumption prove true -- should Obama now be cheered on for doing to Social Security what no Republican president has ever been able to do -- the date on the calendar may say 2011, but it will really be 1984.

Reduction in Medicare and Medicaid- a key portion of Obama's wish list- is more than speculation and all the President's men expect to "be cheered on for doing" to those programs what Republican Presidents would have liked, but were unable, to do. Failure by his fellow Democrats to applaud as lustfully as will the mainstream media this attack on the poor and the middle class will bring upon the former considerable opprobrium, Sirota observing

But, then, merely citing this record brings accusations of treason, at least from Democratic staffers, pundits and activists in Washington. In an age of politics that has melded politicians with celebrity and activism with starfucking, to be a rank-and-file progressive and honestly examine a candidate's record during a reelection campaign is to risk being portrayed as a dangerous, seditious, ideologically zealous revolutionary.

In attributing Democrats' blindness to Obama's "power/fame/celebrity/charisma," Sirota covers it all. Or almost all. Recalling primary challenges to Democratic Presidents in 1968 and 1980, Digby speaks the nearly unspeakable:

I don't see that happening this time because there just isn't anyone in the Democratic party who will run against the first African American president. And you can't blame them. That designation has created a terrible backlash from the right and thus it offers protection by the party. It's understandable.

There are additional reasons there will be no challenge to Obama's re-nomination, and a desire to circle the wagons around a president who has been continually condemned by ideological extremists is understandable. What is also understandable, but completely unjustified, is the reluctance to do so because he is the first black President. Really, haven't we come a little bit farther in some 48 years?


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