Proud member of the Firebagger Lefty blogosphere!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Arianna misses the point

Arianna's latest post has some good lines but sadly she makes a fundamental mistake - she assumes that Obama cares what we think even when there is no evidence he does.

While I whole heartedly agree with the following statements:
Progressives, for your own good, it's my duty to point something out to you: the president's just not that into you.
I get that the progressives, and the activists, and the young people who voted for the first time, and the disillusioned voters who returned to the polls in '08, feel slighted by the president. You thought you had a special connection with him, but it turns out he'd rather hang out with Larry Summers, flirt with Olympia Snowe, or play war games late into the night with David Petraeus. Face it: he just isn't that into you. But, in the end, it doesn't matter where the president's heart is -- it matters what he does. LBJ wasn't that into the National Voting Rights Act until Martin Luther King and the Selma march pushed him into it.

If Obama is going to do the right thing for America's middle class by sticking to his promise to start winding down (for real) the war in Afghanistan in July 2011, and by prioritizing jobs over the long-term deficit, the passion is going to have to come from outside the White House.

The thing Arianna doesn't seem to understand is that its more than "the president's just not that into you" she doesn't seem to see that we can organize, protest, scream and shout and it won't matter at all - Obama simply doesn't care what we think and isn't interested in listening to what we say. The situation is way worse than he's "just not that into" us.

Actually its harder to oppose him than it is to fight a Republican because all our normal allies are compromised - afraid to openly oppose the White House. All we have left is to snipe at him and his cave-ins to Wall Street, the Big Banks and Republicans and keep hope alive for a primary challenger in 2012.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MUST SEE – D Trip-C’s head won’t say no to Social Security cuts

This is a must see folks.

Cenk Uygur puts the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Representative Chris Van Hollen, in the “corner” on cuts to Social Security and the guy will not say he opposes cranking up the retirement age to 70. Cenk did a great job pushing him on this but he would not say he would oppose raising the retirement age to 70. All Van Hollen could mumble was something about its gonna be part of a big package and he would have to see what’s in there.

Its so obvious – the deal is done – its like the public option in Health Care Reform. Insiders in DC knew that Obama had promised it away early on in the process so it never was going to happen. It was just a matter how to tell us - the little people - that we could stuff it. They are using their classic tactic of Kabuki Theater yet again and trying to focus our attention on one issue while selling us out on another. The whole road show Obama and the DC Dems are orchestrating right now, about privatizing Social Security, is a smoke screen to cover up what they really want to do – raise the retirement age to 70. Republicans aren’t talking about this – its the Dems that are pounding the drums of privatization and its not just to scare us but also to hide reality from us. The Dems do so because its an essential part of the charade they are playing out - first they elevate the possibility of privatization then to save us from that they agree with the Republicans to raise the retirement age to 70, that's the age you must hit before you receive full Social Security benefits. Its a sick and beautiful plan - first you create a crisis and then solve it with your intended outcome - a classic example of the crisis creation/crisis management process. No doubt Rahm E. would approve - its simply a logical extension of his observation that you should never let a crisis go to waste. This time however the crisis can be shaped by its creator to promote the desired outcome. For the Republicans its yet another win-win situation - they won't have to lift a finger to get it done - the Dems will do it for them. This is what the Bankers and Wall Street want and since Obama and the Dems are their most loyal servants that's what they will get!

Sadly this is a prediction you can take to the bank!

((found via Scarecrow's post at FireDogLake))

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lawrence Lessig on the rage of Gibbs

Once again Lawrence Lessig explains some hard truths. This time he explains why the Left has issues with the Obama Administration and why the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs can just go stuff himself.

From the Huffington Post:
On the Rage of Gibbs

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has been slapped around silly by commentator after commentator, decrying his anti-Lefty rage. But as I read the battle, it seems to miss a pretty fundamental point:

It's certainly not fair to criticize Obama for not being a Lefty. He wasn't ever a Lefty. He didn't promise to be a Lefty. And there's no reason to expect that he would ever become a Lefty.

But Lefties (like me) who criticize Obama are not criticizing him for failing our Lefty test. Our criticism is that Obama is failing the Obama test: that he is not delivering the presidency that he promised.

When Candidate Obama took on Hilary Clinton, he was quite clear about what he thought about the way Washington works. And he was quite clear about why he was running for President. As he said:
[U]nless we're willing to challenge the broken system in Washington, and stop letting lobbyists use their clout to get their way, nothing else is going to change. And the reason I'm running for president is to challenge that system.
Read it again: "The reason I am running for president is to challenge that system."

Or again:
[I]f we do not change our politics -- if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works -- then the problems we've been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come.
Or again:
But let me be clear -- this isn't just about ending the failed policies of the Bush years; it's about ending the failed system in Washington that produces those policies. For far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, Washington has allowed Wall Street to use lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the system and get its way, no matter what it costs ordinary Americans.
Or again, as he asked, again and again:
Do we continue to allow lobbyists to veto our progress? Or do we finally put our national interests ahead of the special interests and address the concerns people feel over their jobs, their health care and their children's future?
Or again, as he explained:
We are up against the belief that it's OK for lobbyists to dominate our government -- that they are just part of the system in Washington. But we know that the undue influence of lobbyists is part of the problem, and this election is our chance to say that we're not going to let them stand in our way anymore.
Or perhaps put best:
We need to challenge the system... And if we're not willing to take up that fight, then real change -- change that will make a lasting difference in the lives of ordinary Americans -- will keep getting blocked by the defenders of the status quo.
Once Obama clinched the nomination, however, his rhetoric changed. And as he came to office, his focus, as a senior administration official explained, was to clean up the Executive, and leave to Congress the problem of cleaning up Congress (begging the obvious question: Does the president believe the problem with Washington is the presidency, and not Congress?)

Since coming to power, Obama has pushed just one piece of legislation that would have any effect at all on the power of lobbyists over Congress. That bill has not passed, and even if it had, it would have changed nothing in the lobbyists' power. He has not even indicated that he would support the only substantial reform of lobbyists power with support in Congress today -- the Fair Elections Now Act. Indeed, "congressional reform" doesn't even merit a mention on the "Additional Issues" page of (though "sportsmen" does).

Obama's strategy as president has not been to "change the way Washington works." Rather, he has pushed reforms in the same old way, with the same old games. As Glenn Greenwald put it, speaking of health care:
The way this bill has been shaped is the ultimate expression -- and bolstering -- of how Washington has long worked. One can find reasonable excuses for why it had to be done that way, but one cannot reasonably deny that it was.
Now I'm not sure whether it is leftist, or rightist, or centerist to govern through special interest deals. It certainly is Clintonist. It's precisely the administration that Hillary "lobbyists are people, too" Clinton promised. And were she president, and had she done exactly what Obama has done, then no one, I included, would have any reason to criticize her.

But beefed up Clintonism is not what Obama promised. He promised to "take up the fight." His failure to deliver on that critical promise -- the promise that distinguished him from his main primary rival -- or even to try, is a failure that everyone, Lefties included, should be free to complain about without suffering the rage of Gibbs.