Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other

One of the presidential candidates came out today to argue for lower corporate tax rates, increased domestic drilling for fossil fuels, and less government regulations on business, following an earlier push to get rid of whole departments of the federal government.  Rick Perry?  Naw, everything was pronounced correctly.  Mitt Romney?  Nope, too straightforward.  Gingrich?  Much too polite.  Santorum?  Of course not, no nudity was implied.

Well, who could it have been?

President Obama, naturally.  If ever a politician deserved to lose an election (or had less reason to win one), it’s this guy, to whom the concept of rewarding one’s friends and punishing one’s enemies somehow got lost in the shuffle.  The right wing went nuts over Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek cover story, “Why Are Obama’s Enemies So Stupid?”,  only because they correctly saw their slack-jawed faces in the mirror, but Sullivan actually wrote that Obama’s critics on the left were a bunch of dummies, too.  Really?  Sully trots out as unappreciated successes things Obama had nothing to do with, like ending the Iraq war, along with things he opposes, like more states adopting gay marriage and the growing movement to legalize marijuana.  He also touts the corporate-friendly and deeply unpopular health care reform as though it’s something liberals ought to be doing cartwheels over.

I’m left wondering why Obama’s supporters are so stupid, assuming they exist.  The right hates Obama regardless of what he does; yet he invariably chooses to appease them anyway.  The left hates Obama because of what he does or, just as often, what he doesn’t do, and on this score, he’s nothing if not consistent.  He’s as much of a hippie-puncher as, say, Spiro Agnew, but Village bloviators like Sullivan think hippies should love him anyway, perhaps because they smoke so much pot that they can’t remember what happened yesterday.  Another, wiser Nixonite, John Mitchell put it perfectly when he said to a disillusioned supporter, “Watch what we do, not what we say.”

Obama is undoubtedly good at saying things liberals might like; unfortunately he’s also a master at doing things that disappoint when they don’t outright offend.  Worse, the pattern is so predictable at this point that when he does do something marginally good, like, say, postponing approval of the odious Keystone XL pipeline, everyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that as soon as he’s reelected, that thing will be built so fast it will make your head swim.  Remember when the telecoms were going to be refused immunity for their warrantless spying?  Remember when Gitmo was going to be closed?  For nearly every Bush-like policy he has eagerly embraced, there’s a matching speech about how awful that policy was, when it was someone else’s.

On the outside, Obama’s campaign (I hesitate to call it an administration) appears to think that its serial capitulations to its rabid enemies will make it seem reasonable and post-partisan to “Independents,” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  On the inside, I suspect that they are comfortable in the knowledge that Republicans are unelectable by reason of insanity.  As has been said before, Hope and Change is Obama-ese for We Suck Less.  That’s their strategy, and they’re sticking with it.

Of course, sucking up to business interests that are anathema to liberals is probably wise, given the out-and-out bribery unleashed by Citizens United, but I do think that so doing kisses goodbye to the millions of small donations for which Obama was rightly famous in 2008.  He thinks he can win without us, which may be true, but that doesn’t make it any less dispiriting.

10 Comments

  1. nswfm says:

    I’m with you, CH.

  2. Jan 9th poll here: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57355518-503544/poll-among-gop-hopefuls-romney-fares-best-against-obama/

    shows both Romney and (surprisingly) Ron Paul leading Obama among independents. It would be interesting to know the reasons behind this–likely the bad economy for sure, but are there other reasons as well?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, I think “Independents” are at least in part those who are disgusted by both sides. Therefore, Paul and Romney benefit from not being well-known. Obama, though, is already known to be afflicted with Washington-itis, thereby gaining no plaudits from the uncommitted.
      Also, people in general like fighters, even when they don’t agree with them. On the rare occasions when Obama sounds like a fighter, his poll numbers always creep up. Then he caves, and they go back down.
      I hope his minions take note of that poll.

  3. retzilian says:

    It will be interesting to read the transcript of his next state of the union (since I won’t actually watch it), and see what he intends to do this year. I suspect he will throw the left some bones, but it remains to be seen what he’ll do.

    I will not give the Obama re-election campaign one red cent, nor one single hour of my volunteer talent. I have cast my last pearls before swine.

    • cocktailhag says:

      It’ll be a campaign speech, that’s all. Obama seems to like campaigning, but finds governing distasteful. Which in turn makes campaigning harder.
      I get emails from “Operation Dreamcatcher,” his creepy, ubiquitous data-mining outfit, and only read them for content that might make a good blog, one finger hovering over the delete button.
      I too, plan to spend my money on something useful, like booze.

  4. Ché Pasa says:

    There are so many, many bones Obama could be throwing to the ravening masses, and he will not do it. It’s way beyond simple hippie punching. This is a banker’s grandson, and an anthropologist’s and an economist’s son, and he apparently believes that bugger all, he knows best, and y’all can just sit your selves down and shut yourselves up because he doesn’t have to do a damn thing for you, and he won’t.

    Independents? Doesn’t need ‘em.

    The R field is so bad, ridiculous, ugly, and foul, Obama and his campaign figure they can just keep sailing along and win anyway no matter what they do or don’t do.

    So many bones they could have thrown.

    Nope. Not a one.

    • cocktailhag says:

      They chose a different, more elegant path. The best part (for them, not everyone else…) is that this time they won’t have to bother promising a damn thing, at least publicly. That’ll make the next term so much easier. Too bad it makes the next term so tenuous.

  5. rukidding says:

    Obama? Methinks he was an Oligarch “made man,” hired to do the job he’s doing. Obama’s really good at speechifying about American Exceptionalism, which actually does *please* far too many citizens. But that’s about all Obama is “good for,” other than making sure his 1% Overlords get to wring every single drop of blood out of 99% possible… and then some!

    Obama is nothing more & nothing less than a NeoLiberal NeoCon “Republican” masquerading as a “Democratic” President. The corporate owned propoganda media just pumps out “stories” about how insanely “liberal” Obama is to pander to the fears and frustrations of the 99%ers, which works for a lot of ‘em. The conservative rubes can get their hate & racism flag on & rage away and then I guess that’s enough for them. Let’s HATE on the “N” word in the White House – woot!

    Traditional Dem voters often don’t want to look at *reality* either and realize that THEY have been “had” as well. If I had a dollar for every Trad-Dem, who said: I don’t like Obama but I’ll vote for him because I hate Republicans… I wouldn’t be rich, but I could certainly shout a number of pals to a fancy meal.

    There ARE other choices for voters to cast their ballots. Unfortunately even some of the better leftie blogs appear to refuse to even discuss other options, such as the Greens, etc.

    But I think that the Kabuki Show entitled the “Republican Primary” has been so singularly depressing & revolting because the Powers that Be simply want their “boy,” Barack to stay put. From the perspective of the 1%: what’s not to like with Obama???

    From the perspective of ANY 99%er: Obama’s just not that into you.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s been my prediction all along; the righties can flip out all they want, they don’t really mean it. Why should they want a Republican president, when they already have one? Bush damaged their brand; Obama enhances it, while firing up the base, to boot.
      ALEC and the Kochs are focused on the states; they know what they’re doing.