Poor Barack Obama. He went to all that trouble to break up the ragtag Occupy Wall Street movement during one hippie-punching, pepper-spraying police state week back in the fall of 2011. And now it's all come back to bite him in the ass.
The elders of the Democratic Party thought that they'd accomplished, if not the death of OWS, at least its co-optation. After all, Obama handily won re-election the following year. But mirabile dictu! Occupy, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Fight for 15 and other activist groups have sneaked right back in to occupy the Democratic Party itself. The national conversation has been hijacked by an FDR liberal named Bernie Sanders, who might end up not only succeeding Obama, but dealing the coup de grace to the entire Neoliberal Project of the Reagan Revolution and the Clintonoid Third Way.
Democracy is rearing its ugly head again, and Obama is reportedly very, very nervous about this whole revolution thing. Even with his legendary genius IQ -- augmented lavishly by the Deep State brains of the CIA, the NSA and the FBI -- he never saw Bernie Sanders coming.
Empress-in-Waiting Hillary Clinton's gross corruption and incompetence has let him down, big-time. He is probably kicking himself for so ever cutely attempting to co-opt her as his Secretary of State, thereby keeping a dangerous political enemy close. Without that patronage fillip, she would only have been a First Lady, an unaccomplished Senator, and a failed 2008 presidential candidate. Without Obama's own arrogant willful blindness to her private Internet account and her use of public office to enrich her family slush fund, she might have even been fired halfway through her frequent flier marathon as his ineffectual Good Will Ambassador.
Obama has only himself to blame for the rise of Bernie Sanders and socialism as the default position of a whole lost generation of over-educated, underpaid, deeply indebted young people who have never known a day when this country has not been at war. And for that accomplishment alone, I think he should be allowed to keep his Nobel Peace Prize.
Since it would now appear unseemly to either actively campaign for Hillary Clinton, bring in Joe Biden, or directly criticize Bernie Sanders, Obama must look to other reliable sources to get his message of displeasure out. So he has turned to his exclusive cadre of journalists and opinion-writers to be his off-the-record conduits of the Obama Story he wants the public to hear.
Over the weekend, Carl Bernstein (both a White House insider and Hillary Clinton biographer) went on CNN to announce how very, very upset the president is about the ongoing bitter Democratic primary. It's hurting Obama's precious legacy. If Bernie Sanders beats Hillary, that legacy might go up in flames. Obama's corporate coup (the TPP) might be dust. His market-based health insurance kludge might morph into a single payer Medicare for All plan. Wall Street and corporate felons might actually be prosecuted instead of being granted the tax breaks and cabinet and government advisory positions to which they have become accustomed.
Therefore, said Bernstein, the White House wants all the people to realize how absolutely imperative it is that Hillary Clinton be elected to succeed Barack Obama:
Obama wants to broadcast the fear-mongering message that Sanders's socialism is out of touch with mainstream America -- despite the fact that millennial voters themselves overwhelmingly identify as socialist. As Bernstein tells it on CNN, Hillary's problem is not that she accepted money from Goldman Sachs and other banks: it's that she doesn't know how to feign proper humility before the public.
The Washington insider wisdom is that Bernie isn't electable, and Hillary isn't delectable.
In other words, she can't do the "I feel your pain" head-fake as well as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
So, cue right-of-center David Brooks, not only an esteemed member of Obama's inner circle of off-the-record pundits, but often described as the center-right president's particular favorite columnist.
Brooks wrote an elegiac piece titled "I Miss Barack Obama" in today's New York Times. The accompanying photo shows Obama wand'ring lonely as a cloud to the Oval Office, embowered in a princely burst of flowering foliage in lieu of the more obvious crown of laurels.
Brooks channels presidential angst in all its froth and narcissism. Barack's greatest fear is not for the dire fates of ordinary people. It's that all his genius will be for naught, given Hillary's tanking numbers, the Republican clown car, and the specter of Bernie Sanders succeeding him.
Brooks mawkishly allows that while he often has had to pretend to disagree with Obama for partisan tribal purposes, the current occupant of the White House stands head and shoulders above mere mortals.
But over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.
There are no mass media-reported scandals because the Obama regime has been rightly described as the most secretive in modern history. We know few details of his drone assassination program, for example, or his own closed-door fundraisers, or what went on behind the scenes of the orchestrated crackdown on Occupy, or the suppression of the 9/11 report section dealing with the Saudi royal family's role in the attacks, or the suppression of the CIA torture report. And those are just the scandals that come immediately to my mind. (For a full accounting of his first term, please see the "Obama Scandals List" on my Blog Roll.)The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton.
Meanwhile, Brooks manages to destroy his own homage by displaying some unintentional colorblind racism, fawning over the Obamas as one of those "respectable" black families. Barack and Michelle have displayed "superior integrity," Brooks gushes. "You'd be happy to have them in your community." (Apparently they would be that rare black couple who would not lower Brooks's property values if they moved next door to him.)
Brooks would not like Bernie Sanders to live within a thousand miles of him, because he is "so blinded by his values that reality doesn't seem to penetrate his mind." He would rip health care away from thousands (SanderScare) and even worse, rip the wings right off the insurance raptors! Obama, on the other hand, knows his proper place in the grand white supremacy scheme of things. He also doesn't "wallow in the pornography of pessimism."
Obama always presents a rapturous, G-rated Pollyannish picture about how great America is, how much the economy is improving, how much he loves peace even as he rains down his bombs and orchestrates his secret coups. Because if he told the truth to people -- the truth that their lives and prospects suck because of the unfettered capitalism he enables -- then the people might just stage a revolution.