Friday, January 13, 2017

Obama's Biggest Regret: Insufficient B.S.

A media goodbye which rivals even Ronald Reagan's funeral for overkill and hagiography is rapidly reaching its apogee. Or, if you cynically wish, its low point. Because this Sunday, Barack Obama will claim that it was mainly his own faulty propaganda which prevented regular folks from happily accepting their nasty, brutish fates under the plutocrat-serving neoliberal policies of the Duopoly.

In a tantalizing preview of a self-eulogy promoted as his last presidential appearance on network television, Obama tells 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft that if only his bullshit had flowed a little more slickly, the citizens of America would be satisfied and Donald Trump would never have been able to co-opt their grievances and pain.

Obama is also pitifully proud of the fact that he was able to keep his pants on during his entire eight-year tenure -- as though "major scandals" don't include such things as droning people to death at his whim, preaching austerity and urging people to "share the sacrifice" via his deficit reduction "Catfood" commission, deporting more Latinos and prosecuting more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, imprisoning refugee families, bombing seven different countries, force-feeding Gitmo hunger-strikers at a prison he'd promised to close, and siding with Wall Street bankers over people losing their jobs and their homes and dying ever younger in the process. 

Obama's inability to "get stuff done" is such a shock to him personally, given how his initiatives have largely been conservative and market-based. Look at Obamacare, for crying out loud, the biggest gift to the predatory health insurance cartel in history. He even secretly scuttled the public option to placate those nasty old Republicans and a passel of Blue Dog Democrats. And then they wouldn't even consider his last Supreme Court nominee, the most conservative law-and-order high court candidate ever suggested by a modern Democratic president.

Don't people get that Obama is a truly nice, smart guy who only aims to please rich and powerful people on behalf of all of us?  Why did people vote against their own interests, a/k/a  the interests of Obama's and Clinton's socially liberal donors? Why couldn't people envision their future ladders of opportunity and level playing fields 20 years from now as clearly as Obama could? 

Obama is the epitome of elite liberal victimhood. Nonetheless, he nobly offers to accept some of the blame for his party's implosion --  not by admitting his deliberate chronic failures to match his words and campaign promises with ensuing deeds, but by acknowledging his failure to bury the electorate in a large enough avalanche of sweet-smelling bullshit:
Steve Kroft: You couldn’t even get a (Supreme Court) hearing.

President Barack Obama: But we couldn’t even get a hearing. Trying to get the other side of the aisle to work with us on issues, in some cases, that they professed, originally, an interest in, and saying to them, “Hold on a second. You guys used to think this was a good idea. Now, just because I’m supporting it, you can’t change your mind.” But they did.And what that did, I think, made me appreciate. And I’ve said this before. But it’s worth repeating. Because this is on me. Part of the job description is also shaping public opinion. And we were very effective, and I was very effective, in shaping public opinion around my campaigns.
But there were big stretches, while governing, where even though we were doing the right thing, we weren’t able to mobilize public opinion firmly enough behind us to weaken the resolve of the Republicans to stop opposing us or to cooperate with us. And there were times during my presidency when I lost the P.R. battle.
Since CBS at this point cuts off the promo of the full interview, we'll have to wait until Sunday night to discover just what specific times in his presidency Obama is talking about. This is assuming, of course, that Steve Kroft presses him for details and Obama isn't allowed to veer off into more bathos about Michelle and the troops and the kids and the dogs and the dogs crapping in the Lincoln Bedroom and other sweet-smelling bullshit.

Judging from the pre-eulogy teaser, it is painfully obvious that Obama is either oblivious or cynical. Given his much-vaunted intelligence, I would guess the latter. He probably knows full well, in his heart of hearts, that if we had Medicare for All, Republicans would not even be daring to whisper about repealing it. That's because they wouldn't be able to co-opt resentment and use it as a divide-and-conquer weapon. The expensively and inadequately insured population would not be attacking the "undeserving" poor Medicaid recipients who are not required to pay costly premiums and deductibles. There'd be no 30 million people deliberately exiled from health care staying silent rather than harassing their congress critters on behalf of their fellow citizens deemed to be more privileged than they are.

"All against all" is how we roll in this neoliberal political system created by the movers and shakers of the two right wings of one duopoly. Divide-and-conquer is the real propaganda tool which political leaders utilize time and time again to keep the rich comfortable, and the poor and middle class either apathetic or pitted violently against one another in a constant battle for sheer survival.

The Democratic wing "lost" this time because resentment and pain can no longer be tempered by false hope. And probably next time the Republican wing will "lose" because that's the normal cyclical tendency; from frying pan to fire and back again to scorched frying pan.

 And maybe a miracle will happen, and the remaining ashes of any legitimacy they still possess will go the way of the funerary urn.

Notice how Obama himself frames his failure in "public relations" in terms of one elite faction at war with another elite faction. He and Steve Kroft are members of the same class, the media-political complex. They're having a private conversation that, through the magic of TV, we're allowed to witness. But we are not allowed to participate or contribute to it in any meaningful way. We're supposed to take it for granted that a bunch of experts and technocrats were "doing the right thing" and these busy bees with credentials had simply neglected to tell us proles about their total awesomeness. If only we'd known, we would have stormed Washington in support of... what, exactly?

It seems never to have occurred to Obama that the "folks" whom his propaganda campaign failed to reach were out in the streets in 2011 protesting Wall Street greed and wealth inequality, and that his police state and his Democratic governors summarily broke up the Occupy camps in one week-long orchestrated campaign of state-sanctioned violence.

Yes, Republicans are and always will be nihilistic sadists. And as long as basic insight and awareness and empathy continue to be deliberately scrapped from its own agenda, the Democratic Party will never recover. The utter lack of respect for the intelligence of American citizens displayed by Barack Obama in just the interview clip above is what is truly shocking and scandalous.

 When one-quarter of all American children are going to bed hungry, he wants us to think that all we need is a more comforting bedtime story.

Please don't let the door hit you on the way out, Obama. Good night, and good riddance.


On my own personal and self-serving behalf, meanwhile, I am proud to announce that today marks the sixth anniversary of Sardonicky. 

Here's a reprise of my very first post, entered on Jan. 13, 2011. (Remember the good old days when all good liberals were so shocked and appalled at Sarah Palin? Little did we guess about the fright-fest that was truly in store for us. "Caribou Barbie" has actually improved with age, though, because now she's bipartisanly warning us about Trump's crony capitalism and blaming Obama for the "Mexican Muslim" airport shooter.)

Out, Out Damned Spot! 

Blaming Sarah Palin for the Tucson Massacre is just as unfair as blaming Lady Macbeth for the mayhem at Inverness Castle.  All these two maligned ladies did was lay out the weapons: Sarah, her cross-hair graphics and Lady M, a few carelessly placed daggers.  Subtle hints do not a murderess make.
Along with their histrionics and lust for power, both women have a fixation with blood. Palin, subdued from her usual frenzied harangues, looked like a robot on tranquillizers  as she You-tubed herself into the queen of the martyrs and the victim of “blood libel” of the biased liberal lamestream punditocracy.  To give her credit, I doubt she knows the anti-Semitic origin of the phrase, but the blood part likely was what appealed to her.  And Lady Mac was  totally obsessed with blood, even to the point of sleepwalking and being unable to wash the imaginary stains from her hands. Sarah, of course, also had difficulty scrubbing her website clean of the infamous Cross-Hairs map.  It had already gone viral all over cyberspace. “Out, out damned cache!” could be heard echoing through the valley, according to Wasilla lore.
The Lady Sarah really doth protest too much, methinks, and all the sanguineous references in the world can’t mask the fact that this anti-mother/mama grizzly has ice water running through her veins and a stony heart totally lacking in the warmth of human kindness.


Jamie said...

Aside from her pro-life delusions, I would take Sarah any day over Obama. She is not corruptand paid off like he is.

annenigma said...

Happy Anniversary to Sardonicky!

Karen, thanks for writing such good essays year in and year out while still managing to keep a great sense of humor.

I don't know how you do it, but I'm glad you've stuck with it.

Zee said...

As annengima says, "Happy Anniversary to Sardonicky!"

Oh, for the good old days--Were they actually only 8+ years ago?--when the biggest thing that I had to worry about was whether or not John McCain was healthy enough that I would never have to see that idiot Sarah Palin step up to the presidency.

Now I have to worry whether or not we will be seeing something resembling civil war as the sore-loser Democrats continue to try to delegitimize a Trump presidency:

"I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” [Rep. Lewis] said in a portion of the interview, published Friday."

I really don't know what this ongoing war on Trump's victory will mean for the country. I can live with Democrat obstructionism and simple gridlock, just as we have done for the past eight years.

But if this accusation of "illegitimacy" takes to the streets, well, who knows what will happen.

I used to discount the possibility of violence, but now I'm not so sure,

Elizabeth Adams said...

Congratulations, Karen! I don't remember when I first started reading your blog, but I found you from reading the NYT comments (the best part of the paper) before they starting requiring subscription status. 2011 is when I really woke and started actively questioning and challenging things. Millions more need to get "woke", and your blog is an excellent resource.

I won't watch any of Mr. Obama's speeches or interviews. But I have always looked forward to any breakdown you have ever had of them. I feel a lot of righteous anger, and you expressed righteous anger in this post. Thank you for not pulling any punches.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Karen, you're the first blog I check in the morning. Happy anniversary.

As for President Maudlin, yes, applause, please, as he heads out the door. What an utter failure. He is only worthy of heckling, not hagiography. I hope he is troubled now and then in the knowledge that many of us know him, for good reason, as a swindler.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks very much for all your kind words and encouragement. I hope to keep this place going for as long as I am able.