Monday, November 12, 2012

President Svengali

If you believe the piece in today's White House propaganda bullhorn (a/k/a the New York Times), President Obama thinks the reason he lost the Grand Bargain last time around was because he didn't do a good enough job selling "folks" on the idea.

His place in history in danger, Barry will first have a meet-up with a group of corporate fat cats to ask them what they want. He will later hit the road and do what he does best: hold rallies, and campaign, campaign, campaign. He will persuade crowds of adoring fans to pressure Congress to just get along and shovel the bipartishit. I am not kidding. Here is exactly what the Gray Lady is spewing this morning:
And with the election campaign over, the campaign for the Obama legacy begins: Mr. Obama will keep his grass-roots organization in place to “have the president’s back,” as its members like to say, on the budget negotiations and other issues in the second term.
Some of the business leaders the president will meet with on Wednesday are members of the new Fix the Debt coalition, which has raised about $40 million to urge lawmakers and their constituents to support a plan that combines spending cuts with new revenue. That session will follow Mr. Obama’s meeting with labor leaders on Tuesday.
His first trip outside Washington to engage the public will come after Thanksgiving, since Mr. Obama is scheduled to leave next weekend on a diplomatic trip to Asia. Travel plans are still sketchy, partly because his December calendar is full of the traditional holiday parties.
This is so sickening, on so many levels. First, his campaign operatives persist in falsely portraying him as a hapless warrior prince. We, his loyal subjects, must give him cover as he battles the dark knights of the Republican Party. But as temporary Emperor, he must first travel to the Far East to extend the American realm, chest-thump at the Chinese, and negotiate trade deals for the creation of more wage slaves. Then, he will sacrifice his precious time in order to mass-hypnotize regular people between rounds of holiday parties to which only the elites are invited. What a busy, busy man. So much to creatively destroy, so little time.

Not that it will do any good, but I did write a response to the White House press release. Here it is:
Let me get this straight. President Obama is going to "rally the public" by first making nice with the deficit scold/corporate crowd.Then he will essentially fall back into endless campaign mode, somehow convincing us that cutting Medicare and Social Security will be good for us.
What's he going to say? "Call Congress and tell them you can make do with a smaller retirement check if Warren Buffett pays a few dollars more in taxes! Tell them it's not fair to ask you to cut back on your medical care without first asking Jamie Dimon to give up the tax loophole on his corporate jet". That will go over very well at public rallies, I'm sure. 
Oh, he'll use more subtle phraseology. Words like "shared sacrifice" and "economic patriotism" and "the wealthy should be asked politely to pay a little more" will flow like honey from his lips.
The president should get a clue, pronto. A lot of people voted for him only because Romney would have been worse. If Barack Obama thinks he's Svengali, and we are a nation of Trilbys who will sing for our own destruction, he'd better think again.
Lo-o-o-o-k Into My Eyes, Sh-a-a-a-re the Sacrifice
Paul Krugman wrote a follow-up to his last column, warning the president not to listen to deficit hypocrites Erskine Bowles (rumored to replace Tim Geithner) and Alan Simpson. Uh-oh. Too late. Krugman's paper just informed us that Obama will indeed be listening to them, real hard, this coming week. But the good professor in certainly right about the nefarious methods to their madness:
It’s not just the fact that the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far. Recent events have also demonstrated clearly what was already apparent to careful observers: the deficit-scold movement was never really about the deficit. Instead, it was about using deficit fears to shred the social safety net. And letting that happen wouldn’t just be bad policy; it would be a betrayal of the Americans who just re-elected a health-reformer president and voted in some of the most progressive senators ever.
But, same as last time, he stopped just short of mentioning that it was President Obama himself who dreamed up the Bowles-Simpson Catfood Commission. He does not mention that the president himself is taking a leading role in the slashing of the safety net. My response: 
The only thing scarier than appointing Erskine Bowles to replace Timothy Geithner is appointing Geithner to replace himself. BFF to the banksters that he is, he agreed to stay on at least through January to steer us through the fiscal bluff -- oops, "fiscal cliff" negotiations.
Cutting Social Security and Medicare is so unpopular that every politician who ran on a platform of deficit reduction based on the Bowles-Simpson plan was defeated last week. Every single one, that is, except President Obama. He made his wish for a B-S grand bargain a highlight of his acceptance speech. He mentioned it frequently during his campaign. Far from being pressured, he himself is pressuring "the party of regular folks" to join him in the dismantling of the New Deal.
Editorial boards and centrist think tanks and greedy CEOs are in bandwagon echo chamber mode. They're clamoring for safety net cuts right in the middle of this humanitarian crisis of unemployment and plummeting wages. The other looming catastrophe of climate change coupled with crumbling infrastructure is ignored, while B-S trial balloons are soaring through the stratosphere.
Former OMB director Peter Orszag (now a Citigroup vice chairman), just wrote a piece suggesting that Social Security needs to be cut, despite admitting that it has zilch to do with the deficit!
Something is rotten inside the Beltway. Mitt may have lost, but this whole thing is beginning to smell like the Bain method of creative destruction.
The other reader comments, for the most part, fall along the lines of "gee, I hope the president gets a backbone and fights back this time." The kool-aid opiate has a long half-life. I reckon. It's going to take some time for them to emerge from the post-election euphoria in order for the full impact of the Barack Smack to register. 

The readers who responded to my comment were right on the mark, though. To view those, scroll down to mine, the seventh comment under "Oldest". Robert Sadin of Brooklyn thinks we need to Occupy Obama. The trick, of course, will be getting past that new law that protects elected officials from having to actually hear the voices of citizen demonstrators. 

President Obama, you remember, signed H.R. 347 last spring to make sure that protesters at the NATO summit in Chicago were neither seen nor heard by his invited guests and global dignitaries.

He doesn't really need the law, though. The few hecklers at his campaign speeches all tend to get drowned out without the help of the Secret Service. As if on mass hypnotic cue, the crowd roars.

"Four more YEARS. Four more YEARS. Four more YEARS."


James F Traynor said...

Oh, he is a smarmy bastard is our prez.

Valerie said...

I am getting really weary of my friends who supported Obama sending me articles from the mainstream media saying how progressive Obama is and how the "landslide" victory was a mandate from the American people that we want to swing back from conservative policies to more progressive ones.

Well, I've heard it all before. Let's see if Obama, true to form, sits on his hands and then gives the rest of the safety net away because those mean ole Republicans won't budge and inch.

Just because Obama was better than Romney and his machine was able to scare people who had no faith in him into voting for him, does not a mandate make.

Let's just see if Obama is true to form and talks a good line while giving the plutocracy everything it wants. Already Moody has predicted that Obama will approve the XL Pipeline. So much for doing the will of those who elected him. More like doing the will of those who paid for his billion dollar campaign.