The predictable president

Charlie Pierce sums up the compulsive compromising of the Obama administration:

There was never any doubt that, in a great many instances, Barack Obama was going to accommodate and compromise because that’s the way the man’s built. He took a dive on telecom immunity in July before he was elected. That should have been a caveat emptor moment for everyone.

While running for his first term as president, on a campaign speech in Columbus, Ohio, FDR said:

“It was the heyday of promoters, sloganeers, mushroom millionaires, opportunists, adventurers of all kinds. In this mad whirl was launched Mr. Hoover’s campaign. Perhaps foreseeing it, a shrewd man from New England, while in the cool detachment of the Dakota hills, on a narrow slip of paper wrote the historic words, ‘I do not choose to run.'”

I can’t recall Barack Obama’s ever saying anything that direct or harsh in 2008, either about the incumbent, or about the situation in which the incumbent was handing over the country to him. (I don’t recall him saying anything that harsh and direct about anything or anyone, ever.) The moment of that election desperately needed — hell, demanded — an FDR, but there was no FDR on offer. Anyone who was listening to Barack Obama and thought they heard FDR was tuned into his own private frequencies. Handed an economic catastrophe a month before his election, and then governing through the worst of it in the early days of his administration, he sought consensus because that’s the most basic instinct in him, and, alas, consensus was that claque of Wall Street Magi whom he brought aboard. Not good, but entirely predictable.

So what now? There are some signals that the president is realizing consensus is impossible with an opposition made up primarily of Bible-banging pyromaniacs, and that, anyway, consensus is not always a desirable goal in and of itself. (His reflexive proposal to cut the corporate tax today, however, is not a good sign. He’s bidding against Mitt Romney on Romney’s home turf, on an issue that will not resonate with any great mass of Democratic voters at all.) His chances of being re-elected are better than they were a year ago, but it’s still going to be a long pull up a dirt road to get to 270 electoral votes. Once in that dreary effort, I’d like to hear all the eloquence that made him a star edged with the faintest amount of vitriol, just a dollop of scorn to liven it up. The country deserves that. A little more consensus and we might all go down together.

14 Responses to The predictable president

  1. Imhotep February 24, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Obama compromises with whom Charlie? It looks like Hillary’s failed Afghan experiment in “nation buliding” is in its final death throes. Obama wanted no part in tripling the number of ground troops in Afghanistan for the purpose of “nation building”. But he lost the argument to Hillary’s neo-cons (Zionists) and her partners in crime the generals and Bill Gates at Defense. Obama was forced to compromise. The sooner Hillary retires the better.

  2. JosephW February 24, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    So, Imhotep, I see you’re one of the Hillary-bashers. (Were you one of Obama’s little cadre of “bros before hos” in 2008?)

    If you haven’t been paying any fucking attention for the past three years, there’s been almost NOTHING that Obama hasn’t “compromised” on.

    His health care plan? What happened to single-payer? Oh. Compromised after the GOPers screamed “death panels” because Obama was too chicken to FIGHT the GOPers with the FACTS.

    LGBT causes like DOMA, DADT and marriage equality? He wouldn’t tackle them directly because he believed they were better left to the Congress or the States. When he finally did do something on the first two, well, DOMA was just a case of “administration won’t defend it in court” (a far different thing from “we’ll WORK to end it” and he only went THAT far after the GOPers took control of the House) and DADT? Please. The courts forced the issue–not the Obama Admin (and if we’d waited for Obama’s leadership, we’d STILL have DADT in effect). And marriage equality? For fuck’s sake, the man telegraphed his feelings in 2008 over Prop 8. Do you think any GOP candidate would’ve said “I won’t endorse it because that’s a matter for the state’s voters and I have no reason to take a position?” But Obama sat on the sidelines. (Hell, the man was endorsed by CONSERVATIVE BLACK MINISTERS in California as a matter of “pride”–many of the same people who fought to ensure that gays and lesbians lost the right to marry.)

    And, on the budget, Obama’s basically been giving the GOP nearly every last thing they wanted. They want to cut 100 billion, he offers to cut 50; they then want 110 billion, he offers 75 billion.

    It’s just too bad that we DON’T have the “hope and change” man that was elected. (I saw Obama for who he was even before the Iowa caucuses. His little tour with Donnie McClurkin proved Obama was NOT a friend to the gays. And his lack of willingness to take charge and tell his supporters to back off the sexist language against Clinton and knock off the cries of “racist” whenever whites had LEGITIMATE questions about Obama was evident to anyone willing to actually LOOK. But there was a good reason why a large number of Obama’s supporters were termed “Obots.”)

  3. Woodsider February 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Obama has struck me as being the kid in the family who tries as hard as he can to make peace between all the other family members. (Had he been older when his father left, he might of tried to mediate his parent’s problems.) He does not usually like to fight; he wants people to compromise, to find a consensus that solves the problems. That’s why he tries so hard to be bi-partisan. It isn’t a good stance. Sometimes it is how politics works but not always.

  4. jawbone February 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    And who can be sure that many of his economic decisions are actually compromises — or just where he wanted to end up in the first place?

    Recall that he brought up cuts/changes to Medicare/Medicaid and SocSec before he even declared he would run for nomination, back in 2007. Krugman was aghast, but Obama has stuck with offering to change/cut these programs repeatedly.

    To me, seems like he really, really, really wants to that. He has to be prevented from “compromising” away the whole safety net!

  5. Imhotep February 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    JosephW, not all things are doable when you’d like them done. Take a turkey for example. Ever try to eat a whole turkey in one bite? It can’t be done. But if you eat it a bite at a time it’s doable. As for Hillary, she has been a failure at her job. An abject, unadulterated failure. That’s because she’s a neo-con (Zionist) pushing an outdated and discredited worldview rooted in military adventurism. (See: Sen. Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson) Not because she’s Hillary.

  6. dandy February 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Reading all the comments re: Obama makes me wonder—if not Obama in ’12, then who? Exactly which one of the moronic Fab Four of the out-dated Re-Past Party will you spend your precious vote on in November?

    I been been a harch critic of the president since, oh, I dunno, February ’09, or so, but don’t tell me there’s anyone out there who would do any better, given the situation and circumstances “W” left us in.

    And now, we’re all gonna hear the arguements about (1) staying home in November, and/or (2) wasteing your vote on “someone who can’t win (as in the Green Party). We all know these arguements have been at the center of American politics for most of our lives: we’ve NEVER had real clear choices, not since Kennedy beat Nixon in ’60!

    Think about it—Why should it be such a tough decision between Obama and whatever the assholesnameisthattheyput out there??? If one of those idiots is elected, we’re in real, deep, fucked-up shit for many decades to come!

  7. dandy February 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    …..and one other thing. Nothing against red-headed step-children, but that’s how bad Obama is gonna beat his next opponant come November—-regardless of how YOU vote!

  8. Snarki, child of Loki February 24, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    I recall an article, during the runup to the 2008 election, that stated that they only way that a black man could get to a position of power is by being “non threatening”.

    (which is more an indictment of our society and politics than anything else)

  9. Akenaton February 25, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    Hillary is not only a neocon thug, she’s Dixie Mob (and so’s Bill). I’m not a sexist. personally I think Roseanne Barr would make a better president than Obama has been. But Hillary is a gangster who will probably be president in 2016 if her cadre doesn’t blow up the planet trying to control it or subject it to some hairbrained one-world government scheme with a hokey false-flag alien invasion.

  10. Imhotep February 25, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Akenaton, that’s pretty humorous. Do you perform a comedy routine on the weekends that we can catch?

  11. jawbone February 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    In regulatory capture, the regulators become so close to those they’re regulating that they begin to identify with their goals and objectives. Those goals then become the more “reasonable” and ways are found to justify allowing them under the current regulations. Or, a very industry friendly executive appoints industry friendly regulators in the first place while the industry is working mightily to increase the laws which benefit their interests. Both situations lead to less protection to the general population, environment, etc.

    I’m beginning to think there’s a version of the first situation I describe above which affects people who are nominated to cabinet and other high administration positions by presidents. They have a position of power; they feel they can achieve goals they believe are very good and important; they also must achieve the goals of their president. They begin to justify those actions, both to relieve cognitive dissonance and to maintain their areas of power. Eventually, they are promoting actions they did not previously believe in, and justify that as necessary to stay in their positions of power to accomplish other things which they view as very worthwhile.

    Eventually, they become someone other than they wanted to be, possibly not really noticing it happening as they find their justifications.

    That is why I was disappointed that Hillary left the Senate to accept the Secty of State position.

    I said about the Bush/Cheney administration that no one would leave offices held under those two with their reputations intact. I see the same thing happening with Obama.

  12. Adams February 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    As usual, Pierce says it better…

    There was never any question that Obama valued “changing the culture” of DC more that leading or governing. He absolutely blew the incredible public and legislative support of the 2008 election right out his ass, motivated by his tragic belief in his awesome power to bring civility, moderation and bipartisanship to the Beltway.

    I wonder if any faux “progressive” leader will ever have the kind of mandate he did again. If so, I hope that person will be born and bred upper crust (like FDR) so they won’t be awed and captured totally by the swells who populate the “national security state” apparatus and who bring us eternal war abroad and social Darwinism at home. Obama’s greatest programme has always been Obama, and he has now reached the pinnacle of his project. No true working class populist will ever be allowed to reach that level unless the “wise men” are certain that they will be “reasonable.”

  13. tsisageya February 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    I’m so very sorry, but I reside within the realm of:

    What-in-the-fuck-are you talking about? I mean, really. You’re kidding, right?

  14. tsisageya February 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    I guess I must agree that he is predictable.

    I voted for him. I didn’t look deep enough though.

    Woe is me.

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