But do you know what people are fed up with most of all? They’re fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word. They work all day long, many of them scraping by, just to put food on the table. And when these Americans come home at night, bone-tired, and turn on the news, all they see is the same partisan three-ring circus here in Washington. They see leaders who can’t seem to come together and do what it takes to make life just a little bit better for ordinary Americans. They’re offended by that. And they should be. -- Barack Obama's Speech, 7/25/11
What should offend most people is the fact that Washington (and that includes Obama) has taken the humanitarian crisis of massive and unrelenting unemployment and turned it into an utterly phony Debt Ceiling/Deficit Crisis. And what passes for TV news has turned journalism on its ear. Rather than Republican seditionists being called out for what they are, they are given equal time in the name of "fair and balanced". The pundit class and the President are on the same page in thinking (or pretending to think) that Republicans actually have the interests of the country at heart. Begging traitors and terrorists to make deals is symptomatic not only of political weakness, but a kind of pathological complicity. And we are supposed to feel sorry for a beleagured president as he asks us to call Congress and demand some niceties. And help his re-election, of course.
(The fact that John Boehner lied through his teeth in his follow-up riposte should come as no surprise. Like many a mendacious psychopath, he could probably pass a polygraph test with flying colors -- he has no conscience, no shame.)
Obama took some precious TV bully pulpit prime time and wasted it. He could have reassured the nation and announced that he would invoke the 14th Amendment and unilaterally raise the debt ceiling. Of course, that would not have been in keeping with the maintenance of National Crisis Mode, and would have ruined the 11th hour rescue in which he unilaterally orders the Debt Ceiling raised anyway, and makes us all so grateful we will become true believers in cutting Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security to save them. Instead of mouthing the same tired platitudes of shared family sacrifice and timidly "asking" hedge fund managers to pay just a little more, he could have called for an increase in the FICA tax on only the first hundred grand to "protect Social Security for future generations." (Congressman Dennis Kucinich ispointing to the many occasions when Candidate O promised just this option.)
Kucinich asks: "In a lifetime, will our party have journeyed from the New Deal to the Raw Deal?"
Exactly.... and the journey to perdition is commencing at such breathtaking speed, we are left sitting open-mouthed, not knowing what has even hit us. Or, as Paul Krugman put it in his blog today: "Meh, Bleh and Eek."
Update: Speaking of mendacity and cluelessness, Dean Baker now writes that Obama committed a real bad gaffe (or lied) about the origins of the deficit. Obama blamed the trillions number purely on the Bush tax cuts and wars. But according to Baker:
The huge deficits came about entirely as a result of the economic downturn brought about by the collapse of the housing bubble. This misunderstanding of the origins of the budget deficit could explain President Obama’s willingness to make large cuts to core social welfare programs, like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Do you think that Obama's "misunderstanding" has anything to do with the fact that his treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, was chairman of the NY Fed during the bubble and collapse -- that he was asleep at the switch or complicit when the banks were recklessly funding and investing in and selling toxic subprime mortgages? Or that his current Chief of Staff, Megabanker Bill Daley, was on the board of the public/private Fannie Mae when it was buying up Countrywide mortgages and enriching its CEOs with obscene bonuses even as it too burst from the bubble of its own greed? The Oval Office is a corporate racket, notwithstanding the equally corrupt lunatics of the Republican wing of the Uniparty. Obama's minions are among the tangled web of culprits who helped cause the suffering that just won't stop, the ones who left we the taxpayers holding the bag. Not only have they never been held to account, they have been rewarded with the job of running the country. And yet we still wonder why Obama is doing nothing about jobs for the rest of us.