The only difference is that Trump's brand of fascism doesn't have the traditional filter, which has enabled glib politicians from Reagan to Obama to put a friendly face on things for purposes of fooling some of the people most of the time, or most of the people some of the time. For too long, we've been conned into believing that this is a representative democracy.
If there is one positive thing to be said about the Trump presidency, it is that the con is dead. If the wool hasn't already been removed from 330 million pairs of American eyes, it will be soon enough.
Barack Obama was able to welcome Donald Trump so easily to the White House on Thursday because the nasty words spewed in this election had all been mainly for show. Obama even admitted that he and Donald are essentially on the same side, that governance is a sporting event, an "intramural scrimmage" between two cohesive factions of the same duopolistic team.
Grotesquely ignoring and insulting the thousands of protesters now marching in the streets, many of them Latinos and African-Americans and Muslims who are now more afraid than ever for their very lives, Obama launched into the same conciliatory pandering that's been his style ever since he won office in 2008 with a super-majority in both houses of Congress. He once again sickeningly caved in the service of the oligarchy by remarking that if Trump succeeds, America succeeds. "America," of course, is code for the ruling class.
And that's why I'm confident that this incredible journey that we're on as Americans will go on. And I am looking forward to doing everything that I can to make sure that the next President is successful in that. I have said before, I think of this job as being a relay runner -- you take the baton, you run your best race, and hopefully, by the time you hand it off you're a little further ahead, you've made a little progress. And I can say that we've done that, and I want to make sure that handoff is well-executed, because ultimately we're all on the same team.The New York Times, which only the other day was lashing out at Donald Trump's ugly rhetoric, has already done a near-180 since his victory. The paper of record, which also functions as the propaganda mouthpiece of whomever is in charge at any given time, enthused that Obama and Trump, if not exactly enveloped in an instant bromance, at least succeeded in breaking the ice on their first blind date. Their mutual, man-spreading admiration society spoke volumes.
Everybody was ever so civil about the whole transition-of-power thing. Michelle and Melania had a dainty tea for two. Trump took in the view of the Washington Monument and unsurprisingly gushed out his admiration for the nation's great phallic symbol.
Barack Obama, of course, was well-prepared for the emergence of Donald Trump. That is because he personally helped orchestrate the emergence of Donald Trump.
He saw him coming more than a decade ago, and even then, he welcomed him with open arms.
It would have benefited neither him nor the Citigroup bankers with whom he was collaborating to actually prevent Donald Trump. Why would they? They knew full well that the working class destruction caused by wage-suppressing global trade deals and the weaponized corporate coups known as CIA regime changes and all-out wars would give rise to social unrest and mass hardship on a global scale.
Back when Barack Obama was still the callow junior senator from Illinois, he was guest of honor at a new Wall Street-funded offshoot of the Brookings Institution, dubbed the Hamilton Project. Effusively praising corporate globalization, offshoring, deregulation, profits for the few and austerity for the many, he casually remarked that millions of people would be victimized in the process.
In words that make Hillary Clinton's own paid speeches to Wall Street seem mild in comparison, Obama warned his enthusiastic plutocratic hosts of the inevitable populist backlash to their greed. He did not, however, warn them to cease and desist. He only suggested that they prepare themselves for looming social upheavals. And he assured them, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted to be an integral part, parcel and beneficiary of their neoliberal Hamilton Project and the continuing destruction of the working class. In the event of any populist backlash occurring or a strongman arising during his own hoped-for presidency, he would always have their backs.
It was Obama's de facto audition to star as the Democratic presidential nominee. His hosts simply wanted a guarantee that the politician with the golden voice who'd so inspired the nation at the 2004 party convention was still totally on board with their greed program.
Obama's appearance at the inauguration of the Hamilton Project took place two and a half years before the 2008 financial meltdown, and more than a decade before the election of Donald J. Trump. And he was nothing if not prescient, telling the bankers:
Just remember, as we move forward, that there are real consequences to the work we are doing doing here. There are people in places like Decatur, Illinois and Galesburg, Illinois who have seen their jobs eliminated. They have lost their health care. They have lost their retirement security. They don't have a clear sense of how their children will succeed in the same way they succeeded. They believe that this may be the first generation in which their children will do worse than they do. Some of that, then, will end up manifesting itself in the sort of nativist sentiment, protectionism and anti-immigration sentiment that we are debating here in Washington. So there are real consequences to the work that is being done here. This is not a bloodless process.People will get bloodied, people will lose their jobs, people will see their wages stagnate, people will suffer and die prematurely -- but as long as Wall Street keeps its avaricious eyes on the prize, the "real consequence" of what turned out to be right wing Trumpism will have been ultimately worth it, both to Barack and all his new buddies:
I think that as long as all of us retain the sense of passion about the ultimate outcome that we want, a stronger more prosperous America than we are passing on to our children, then I think we will do well in this process. I am glad to be a part of it.That Obama ultimately kept his promise to the plutocracy is all the more grotesque, given the Wall Street meltdown and mass hardships and unemployment and foreclosures that "we" allegedly never saw coming. He kept his promise by refusing to prosecute the oligarchs who made the whole mess and rewarding them with a bailout -- because these were the psychopathic friends who'd rammed through deregulation and bankrolled his own rise to power.
In that now-infamous private Oval Office speech he gave to cowed and cowering banksters in 2009, Obama boasted that he was the only thing protecting them from the pitchfork-wielding rabble. Nobody would lose a bonus. Nobody would go to prison. He more than kept the promise he'd made to the Hamilton Project three years earlier as his own price of admission to the highest office in the land.
It was during the same inaugural Hamilton Project meeting at the Brookings Institution that Obama had also promised to couple corporate global coups with the continued Democratic unraveling of the New Deal, begun by the Clintons during their administration. Obama euphemized the privatization of the Social Security long desired by Wall Street as "too many of us (Democrats) defending programs as they were written in 1938."
"People often ask me how I keep my idealism," he cynically bragged to his potential backers.
He vowed that working class jobs would be destroyed, and that the working class would then have to endure reduced retirement incomes and other punishments, all in the service of the plutonomy. If the oligarchs succeeded, then Barack Obama would succeed right along with them.
It was only the Monica Lewinsky scandal that had prevented Bill Clinton from at least partially privatizing Social Security in his second term. And it was only the Tea Party that prevented Obama from finalizing his own "Grand Bargain" of Medicare and Social Security cuts with House Speaker John Boehner during his first term. When that planned assault on the working class failed, Obama humorously groused that Boehner had "left him at the altar."
Ironically, Donald Trump's election is what could preclude any further "bipartisan" cuts to the safety net by deposed empress Hillary Clinton and Speaker Paul Ryan. Democrats are always more prone to raise a ruckus when the presidential cutter and slasher is not a member of their own party. And perhaps luckily for us, Trump is not as gifted at talking from both sides of his mouth as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan before him. When and if Trump tries anything dodgy with Medicare and Social Security, he simply won't have the requisite verbal and intellectual skills to fool people into thinking that starvation is actually good for them.
Ultimately, even Obama's legendary glibness and personal popularity have not been enough to protect his legacy through a Clinton restoration. Try as he might, he couldn't delay the "not-bloodless process" until after he was safely out of office, long enough to start raking in the big bucks for his own family foundation slush fund and for the building of an obscene billion-dollar library shrine to himself in Chicago. He won't have the requisite political influence, because he won't have the Clintons as his White House partners. His personal neoliberal Hamilton project may be on the skids, if not a complete wreck. Potential donors, currently in a frenzy of swallowing their liberal pride for purposes of that smooth, successful transition to a more unfriendly fascism, might end up pragmatically deciding that it would behoove them to grovel before the new president instead.
Maybe Obama can get a gig where he'll feel more at home.The Hamilton Project at Brookings might be an ideal, permanent and lucrative fit, especially since he plans to stay in Washington so that younger daughter Sasha can continue her pricey private high school career without being rudely upended like so many thousands of her evicted American peers.
After all, the Silicon Valley billionaire (Peter Thiel) reportedly heading Donald Trump's transition team also sits on the oligarchic advisory board of the Hamilton Project, as do former Obama Treasury Secretary and current vulture capitalist Timothy Geithner, Obama Catfood Commissioners Laura D'Andrea Tyson and Alice Rivlin, and billionaire Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her Clintonoid mentors Larry Summers and Robert Rubin.
It's a small world in a small-minded intramural town. When they succeed, they all succeed.
So keep on marching, Citizens. But please don't restrict yourselves to Trump Tower. Be sure to include K Street, and the Brookings Institution, and Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup in your busy itineraries. Donald Trump is only the ruling establishment's latest, most hideous placeholder.
"I am upset with those who prefer to remain spectators until it may be too late. I am shocked by those who seem to believe - in Anne Morrow Lindbergh's words of 1940 - that 'there is no fighting the wave of the future' and all you can do is 'leap with it.' I am appalled by those who stiffly maintain that nothing can be done until things get worse or the system can be changed." -- Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism.