Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's the Re-election, Stupid!

Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors -- New York Times, 8/13/11.
Team Obama is officially nuts.  Granted, not as nuts as the Tea Party they like to hold up as a measure of their own supreme sanity, but crazy nonetheless.  Their campaign strategy is for the Boss to do as little as possible between now and November 2012, despite 20 percent real unemployment and an official poverty rate of one in five adults and one in four children, in order to appeal to all those "independent" voters.  Obama apparently thinks suffering people would rather vote for a nonconfrontational nice guy than somone who will fight for them.  And not only does he believe paralytic good will get him a second term, he makes no bones about slashing the social safety net with abandon if he does get a re-try. Again, from the Times front page article:
As part of this appeal to centrist voters, the president intends to continue his push for a so-called grand bargain on deficit reduction — a deal with Republicans to make even larger spending cuts, including to the social safety net, in exchange for some revenue increases — despite the strong opposition of Congressional Democrats who want to use the issue to draw contrasts with Republicans.
One of the advisers pushing for the do-nothing approach is Big Banker William Daley,  late of Morgan Stanley and the Chicago political machine. David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager, came to the White House after a million-dollar stint with G.E. Yes, that G.E. -- which offshores jobs and evades taxes, whose CEO heads the president's utterly fake Jobs Council.  What, exactly, Plouffe did for G.E. remains vague, but of course he swears up and down it had nothing to do with lobbying.  Obama promised he would allow no lobbyists in his administration, and we all know how well he keeps his campaign promises.

And what about those trade deals they insist will create American jobs?  More prevarication.  The deal with Columbia will enable even more corporations to pay off local drug cartels to get rid of trade unions who might be impeding their free enterprise.  No jobs for us here, but plenty of graft, death and corruption south of the border.  Ditto for Panama.  This job-creator of a trade deal will allow tycoons and corporations one more safe, tax-free haven for their hoarded profits.  The deal with South Korea will be Nafta-esque in its scope and consequences, with one more cheap labor market creating even more job exports and the potential for even more worker abuse if the impoverished "free zone" North Koreans are used as wage slaves.

Obama is counting on Republican greed and eagerness to please their masters to overcome any hatred they have for him, and allow this Trade Trifecta to pass, and then have a big old signing ceremony/ Bipartisan spinorama. The administration envisions brainwashed cheering crowds in Centristland, apparently.

 And that over-hyped patent legislation is simply designed to make it harder for poorer entrepreneurs to file the paperwork to protect their inventions, and easier for -- you guessed it -- corporations top-heavy with legal teams to grab up all the inventions for their own use and shut the little guy out. But in Obama's world, if they hire one or two people at minimum wage, they will be heroic job-creators.  And if they hire one or two disabled veterans, the president will proclaim himself a hero and invite them to the White House for a self-serving campaign photo-op.

It's safe to say that not only is the White House doing nothing to improve the lives of people victimized by this wholly plutocrat-caused economic collapse, it will be making it worse.  Much worse.  The plan is to make the corporations even richer, to make the income disparity in this country even more glaring.  If that isn't corruption in its deepest form, I don't know what is.  

Gone to the Dark Side


dean said...

Today's NYTimes had a front page story "Starved budgets inspire new look at web gambling" and the editorial "a growing gloom for states and cities." This before the job-killing spending cuts really hit. Reminds me of the classic Bachman Turner Overdrive hit.

You are right, team Obama is nuts advocating cuts rather than job creation. They came up with this great title to a White House fact sheet concerning the debt deal: "Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline."
A Win for the Economy?? Whose?

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I am aghast. Speechless. Angry. He has, indeed, gone to the Dark Side.

Denis Neville said...

Obama and the White House strategists, as well as the Democratic Party, could be ignoring the lessons from Kansas at their own peril.

This is just more of the same, what Thomas Frank in “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” called, “the criminally stupid strategy that has dominated Democratic thinking off and on ever since the ‘New Politics’ days of the early seventies.” Make endless concessions on economic issues, Social Security, Medicare, the social safety net, and so forth. Curry favor with the corporate elites, forget blue collar workers and the middle class. They have nowhere else to go. The Democratic Party will always be marginally better on economic issues than Republicans. There is no soft money in representing the interests of the poor. They are not worried.

Can anyone think of a more ruinous strategy? Frank writes, “While Republicans trick out their poisonous stereotypes of the liberal elite, Democrats seem determined to live up to the libel.”

There may be a Kansas lesson for the Democrat Party - “The utter and final repudiation of their historical decision to remake themselves as the other pro-business party.”

“By all rights the people…should today be flocking to the party of Roosevelt, not deserting it. Culturally speaking, however, that option is simply not available to them anymore. Democrats no longer speak to the people on the losing end of a free-market system that is becoming more brutal and arrogant by the day…along the way the things that liberalism once stood for – equality and economic security – will have been abandoned completely. Abandoned, let us remember, at the historical moment when we need them most.”

Frank points out that “Democratic political strategy simply assumes that people know where their economic interests lies and that they will act on it by instinct…The gigantic error in all this is that people don’t spontaneously understand their situation in the great sweep of things.”

Beware “the gospel of backlash.” Frank writes, “This movement speaks to those at society’s bottom, addresses them on a daily basis. From the left they hear nothing, but from the Cons they get an explanation for it all. Even better, they get a plan of action, a scheme for world conquest with a wedge issue. And why shouldn’t they get to dream their lurid dreams of politics-as-manipulation: They’ve had it done to them enough in reality.”

Why did Kansas voters choose self-destruction? According to Frank, “liberalism ceased to be relevant to huge portions of its traditional constituency, and we can say that liberalism lost places like Shawnee and Wichita with as much accuracy as we can point out that conservatism won them over.”

A word of caution to those who think Perry will be easy to defeat. Democrats would be wise to take Perry seriously. He could defeat Obama. As Jon Stewart said, “Republicans are playing chess and the Democrats are in the Nurse’s office because, once again, they glued their balls to their thighs!”

Valerie said...

Oh! Where to begin? More Free Trade? Who wants it other than the giant corporations? I think we can all see that the Emperor has no clothes. Free Trade has cost us good jobs and our Middle Class in America and all we got in return is cheap quality stuff! I wouldn't be so angry if there were winners on the other side of the equation but factory workers are treated like human beasts of burden in most of these Third World countries to be exploited, used up and then tossed aside when they are worn out. I keep watching Obama sell more and more of what is salvageable in America down the river. More Free Trade is supposed to be an accomplishment?

I think it is interesting that Obama is still taking his base for granted and thinks he is wooing the Independents. The disenfranchised who were inspired to get out and vote in 2008 won't bother. With Obama so effectively dragging out the safety net from underneath them, he has only confirmed their belief that they are screwed no matter who is in office. Many of his Base, like me, will write in Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren rather than give Obama their undeserved vote. The margins between Presidential candidates haven’t been all that large. Surely, just those people Obama has thrown under the bus should be enough to cost him the election.

Furthermore, Independents might go either way - it depends on their circumstances. If they are financially well-off and they don't see Obama as hurting their comfortable lives, then he can probably count on their vote. But not all Independents are well-off. Why should they vote for someone who has hurt the Middle Class? They might not like the Republican candidate but they might think more of the same is pointless. And if a Libertarian manages to get himself on the ticket - I would wager there will be a bunch of Independents who will vote that way instead of Obama.

And I agree with Denis. I totally underestimated Bush Jr. - He was such a clown. I couldn't believe that America would choose a stupid man over a smart one to be President. And while we all believe the election should have gone to Gore, it was a close enough election that Bush could steal it. These people like Bush and Perry appeal to the ignorant. They have a simple message and they stick to it. The Republican message is - Everything wrong with our country is Obama's fault. If they say it enough times and for long enough, it will be accepted as conventional wisdom

I think Obama has thrown his lot in with the wrong groups and I don’t think he will win in 2012. I just wish if he were going to be a one term president, that he would step down now and make room for a REAL Democrat.

John in Lafayette said...

Anyone else happen to catch Lesley Stahl's piece on Sixty Minutes this evening? It's a good thing I had had dinner already.

In it she said highlighted corporations that had moved operations overseas, but said they were "forced" - her word - to do so because of corporate tax rates in the United States. She said that corporations would like nothing more than to bring the trillions of dollars of profits they've hidden overseas home to the United States to provide us all with jobs, but won't do su because of corporate taxes.

She went on to say we could have those jobs if only Barack Obama wasn't standing in the way of a lowering of the corporate tax rates.

It was enough to make me physically ill.

CBS and Viacom are part of the same corporate family, by the way. And people think 60 Minutes is part of the liberal media. With friends like these liberals don't need any enemies.

Of course, how much you wanna bet that Obama uses this as an excuse to cut corporate taxes, saying that even people on the left see the need.

Corporations are people, my friend, but apparently not when it comes to paying taxes.

Karen Garcia said...

I saw it when it first aired. At first, you think Lesley Stahl is going to do a big expose on the sneaky corporations, as she discovers one HQ in a Swiss post office box, another in a cubicle of a room. Then, it turns into a puff piece about the poor corps being forced to hoard their cash unless the USA allows them to repatriate it. There was a lot of criticism about the segment at the time, so I'm glad to hear they repeated it at this particular moment, when people are even more outraged.
And it would not surprise me one bit to have Obama push for repatriation of the refugee dollars so they can magically trickle down and create about a dozen minimum wage jobs.

Just as sick-making was a show on nbc, talking about the unemployment and foreclosure epidemic in one small Southern town. Of course, they profiled a woman who lost her business and almost lost her house, except she pulled herself up by her bootstraps and kept her McMansion and swimming pool after all. So stop whining, my friend. If you're unemployed and don't own property, it's your own damn fault (Comcast production). Win the future, etc.

William said...


I still can't believe our ridiculously ignorant electorate gave Dubya ANOTHER term in '04. Of course, by the time '08 rolled around and I bought the Obama brand without reading the fine print, I had unwittingly joined the ranks of those I had previously mocked. Never again will I make that mistake.

Which reminds me, are you the Valerie of VLT fame? If so, just wanted to say your response over at RC to Kate Madison's straw poll (Reader Comments for Aug 14 -- Bachmann takes Iowa) was spot-on. Screw the Lesser of Two Evils paradigm. Obama does not deserve my vote and under no circumstances will he get it.

Valerie said...


I am VLT, Valerie and Valerie Long Tweedie - I used to use my entire name, but others referred to me as VLT on this site so I began to do this as well. Then there was a bit of confusion with the newcomers (VLT and my whole name) so I thought I would just sign in as Valerie. Valerie Long Tweedie just seemed too formal after a while and I feel I am amongst friends in this commentariat. And yes, that was me on RC.

I think we all voted for Obama quite blindly. We might have thought he wouldn't be able to keep all his promises but no one thought an elected official would so openly violate ALL of his campaign promises and immediately jump into bed with the very people he promised to fight on our behalf. I think we all learned a very important lesson - We will vote in future based on a politician’s proven record and history of defending progressive issues, not on his rhetoric.

I don't think Dubya won the second election either. Vanity Fair had a great article called something like "The Funny Numbers in Ohio." It was pretty clear to me that the voting machines were rigged. That was the first time I started to wonder if we had lost our Democracy to the Plutocrats. What frustrates me is how close these elections are. I can only think it is because deep down inside, Americans recognise there isn't much difference between the two parties anymore. There are two political groups in America right now - the Corporatists and the Anti-Corporatists. Sadly, Obama and all the Republican candidates for President belong to the first group and the latter is a very small, often marginalised group that gets no attention from the MSM.