Thursday, August 18, 2011

Of The President's Boosters

On August 9, the American Dream movement, inspired by union activism in Wisconsin and elsewhere, put out a ten-point manifesto for economic justice. Its founder, Van Jones tells author and Daily Beast columnist Michelle Goldberg he is building a progressive version of the tea party with, whose Executive Director explains “If the American Dream Movement is the Tea Party, then Rebuild the Dream is Americans for Prosperity or the Tea Party Express."

The former White House special adviser for green jobs, canned when he became politically toxic to Barack Obama, contrasted the role of the president to that of activists such as himself, who have "the job of creating an independent movement that brings out the best in the American people." He argues "People forgot that our slogan was not ‘Yes he can.’ It was ‘Yes we can.’ The minute we have a vehicle to be ‘we’ again, a lot of this stuff goes away."

Jones might want to reassess. Promptly after passage of the bill lifting the debt ceiling Obama for America (OFA) New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval sent to supporters an email (text, here) reading in part

Paul Krugman is a political rookie. At least he is when compared to President Obama. That's why he unleashed a screed as soon as word came about the debt ceiling compromise between President Obama and Congressional leaders - to, you know, avert an economic 9/11. Joining the ideologue spheres' pure, fanatic, indomitable hysteria, Krugman declares the deal a disaster - both political and economic - of course providing no evidence for the latter, which I find curious for this Nobel winning economist. He rides the coattails of the simplistic argument that spending cuts - any spending cuts - are bad for a fragile economy, ignoring wholeheartedly his own previous cheerleading for cutting, say, defense spending. But that was back in the day - all the way back in April of this year.

But as I said, Paul Krugman is a political rookie compared to Barack Obama. He is either unwilling or unable to actually look at the deal that was announced and realize what just happened: Barack Obama ate John Boehner's lunch, and then he turned Boehner out to go preach to his conservative colleagues that this eating of the lunch by Obama is actually politically good for them....

Now let's get to the fun part: the triggers. The more than half-a-trillion in defense and security spending cut "trigger" for the Republicans will hardly earn a mention on the Firebagger Lefty blogosphere. Hell, it's a trigger supposedly for the Republicans, and of course, there's always It'sNotEnough-ism to cover it.

No, the loudest screeching noise you hear coming from Krugman and the ideologue Left is, of course, Medicare. Oh, no, the President is agreeing to a Medicare trigger!!! Oh noes!!! Everybody freak out right now!

It's understandable if the Obama Administration is peeved at the Nobel Prize-winning economist, a frequent critic of the President. Ironically, if Obama had followed Krugman's long-ago advice and substantially increased the size of the economic stimulus, the President probably would be in fat city politically now, with a recovering economy (rather than 9.1% unemployment) to boast of.

Whether this is part of a concerted strategy by the White House- which has attacked the "professional left" on other occasions- or mere personal pique by one entranced Obamite has not been determined. Obama apologist Jones told Goldberg "some people forgot that our slogan was not 'Yes he can.' It was 'Yes we can.'" Now, at least one well-known and highly accomplished blogger has called for Sandoval to be fired and a public apology given to Krugman, It presents a golden opportunity for Barack Obama to demonstrate a distaste for attacks upon liberal activists, still generally supportive of his re-election bid and the embodiment of "yes, we can."

This should provide insight into the character of Jones, who became an early victim of the President's fetish to avoid controversy, cater to the noisy right, and capture support of independents in campaign 2012. If Barack Obama continues to target Van Jones' fellow activists and Jones maintains his unquestioning support of the President, the effectiveness of the progressive movement may be undermined by a leader with fealty to an individual over principle.


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