Thursday, July 5, 2018

Democrats Must Get Over Barack Obama, He's No More Going To Save Us Now Than He Did Then

As with just about everyone who has made his living in our fabled "free press" I think Charles Pierce will probably never really address the part that the Bill of Rights, as interpreted by courts in the past century has played in the corruption of our democracy.   Democracy only being as good, or possible, as the accuracy of the information on which people vote and, I would hold even more so, the good-will and generosity of the American People, anything that is successfully sold in by the "free press" through "free speech" which discourages that in an effective percentage of the population will destroy egalitarian democracy.  Our free press through its unleashed free speech has spent most of the past sixty years doing its best to discourage that, entertainment probably even more effectively than what passes as news. 

I think that some of my heroes of journalism,  Mr. Pierce, Rachel Maddow, of those living, such figures as Molly Ivins, now no longer with us, are too invested in the culture of their profession to ever face the fatal consequences of allowing lies to flourish with impunity, the promotion of fascism, Nazism and Marxism as well as a whole host of other isms under the absolutist, literalist interpretation of the First Amendment.   The proof, though, is in Donald Trump's ascendancy and continuation, he being 100% a creation of the media, news and, more effectively, entertainment. 

The rise of fascism through the media here isn't an isolated phenomenon, Mussolini was a journalist, Burlusconi is a media mogul.  Though I think the media here, under the cultural myth of the First Amendment has proven to be a uniquely American aroma of that rotted corpse. The media, freed of any responsibility to tell the truth, isn't just as likely to destroy democracy as to protect it, lies being easier to craft for sale than the truth generally is, appealing to peoples' weakness being easier than appealing to their reason, an absolutely free press will, almost inevitably, serve the promotion of fascism which is more easily sold than the truth.  And that's not even beginning to mention the financial interests of those who own the largest and so most influential media with the most resources. 

That's all a very long introduction before I say that Charles Pierce's article of two days ago is something that everyone should read.  The piece analyzes the role that Barack Obama's at times absurd and not infrequently dangerous idealism was in aiding the rise of Trump.   The article is titled,  Barack Obama Needs to Get His Hands Dirty.  I don't know why anyone would think that Obama will do as an ex-president what he didn't do while president.  I barely remember him being willing to break a sweat, never mind dirty his hands.  I know he worked very hard, especially as compared to Trump, but he was never willing to risk anything past a certain point, that point being far, far short of what was needed.   While he clearly didn't mind disappointing his own supporters and base, which he always took annoyingly for granted, he was never willing to court the dislike of Republicans who never lost a chance to kick his ass.  Or, rather, his supporters'.

The list of problems with the Obama presidency - his appointment of a sleazy crook like Tim Geithner,* his absurd courting of Republicans to support his policies, years after they proved they never would, the cloying centrist idealism of his rhetoric and his failed attempts to court his opponents, it makes you wonder why anyone would think at this way-too-late stage of things him making the empty gestures to do anything would be a good idea. 

I could write a weeks worth of posts on the points that Charles Pierce makes, I agree with most of what he says though there are points I completely disagree with.   You should read the piece if you haven't already,  I don't share Pierce's guise as a cynic (I don't think he really is one) because I don't think it had or has to be the way it is, though I think anyone who expects a man of Obama's age, of Obama's self-concept, of his, yes, his conceit and arrogance and his wishy-washy, at best, concern about the disaster he helped bring about to do a turn about and suddenly, as an ex-president take an important role in defeating Trumpian fascism is doing more wishful thinking than I've ever done in my whole life.

I can't remember when it first occurred to me that Barack Obama was probably as much a TV creation as Trump.   I think the totally unrealistic and so dangerous fantasy of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing probably had more than a little to do with his election.  I remember people talking about him as if they expected him to be President Bartlett and his staff to be like CJ and Toby and Josh and Leo.  Well, they weren't.  They were Obama and Axelrod and Rahm and the rest of those who blew the best chance Democrats had had since 1964 when they didn't have to.  I think a lot of the disaster of 2010 was due to people being disillusioned when it didn't play out as seen on TV.   I'm not sure Barack Obama is able to understand what a disaster it was, I don't think he has the character to face that, I don't think he ever did and I doubt he intends to now. 

It's time for Democrats to leave the past behind and find new leaders who are not so caught up in their own myth.   I would include Joe Biden in that.  I hope like anything that he doesn't run.

* For anyone who doesn't take the advice to read the article, after a long description of the legalized loan-sharking that is the American financial system, even with Obama's reforms that have been so short lived, he points out that the owner of the loan sharking operation is Tim Geithner's company.

Mariner Finance is owned and managed by a $11.2 billion private equity fund controlled by Warburg Pincus, a storied New York firm. The president of Warburg Pincus is Timothy F. Geithner, who, as treasury secretary in the Obama administration, condemned predatory lenders. The firm’s co-chief executives, Charles R. Kaye and Joseph P. Landy, are established figures in New York’s financial world. The minimum investment in the fund is $20 million.

Anyone who reads the account and trusts Barack Obama's judgement is deluded.  In order to trust his judgement you'd have to conclude that Obama intended what happened under Geithner's regime (not to mention others in his cabinet such as Eric Holder) to happen.  I believe he did, he certainly didn't do much of anything to correct if he was surprised.


  1. David Axelrod's high dudgeon over Sarah Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant was the capitulation of Obama's administration in one anecdote. Pundits still bleat that Dems will "lose" voters if they don't mimic Republicans, even though that's pretty clearly why Clinton lost.

    Thanks, Obama!

  2. P.S. Went to the national park for LBJ's boyhood home. They have an historical display of his 6 years in office. It is literally stunning how much he accomplished. Civil rights, Medicare, PBS, CPB, NEA, education access, housing, beautification. The man practically created the world we live in and government programs we take for granted. A direct comparison of his accomplishments against FDR's would be illuminating. We haven't seen the like since, and probably won't. Giants used to walk among us; now our leaders are small, or worse, idiot children.