That should be his new rap name, don’t you think?
Obama retains the support of most progressive interest groups, which are working furiously to help him advance immigration reform (generally favored by big business and also supported by some Republicans) and gun control. But his chief claim to liberal greatness since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 is probably the policy “evolution” that led him to support marriage equality—and that position is also supported by most major corporations. After all, the Defense of Marriage Act causes a lot of bureaucratic problems as well as moral ones, and Wall Street donors have been instrumental in pushing gay marriage into the political mainstream. So Obama’s personal progress on that issue has been consistent with changing corporate mores as much as any concept of justice.
“In 2008 you could sort of hope [Obama] was not going to be phenomenally corrupt,” said another Democratic congressional aide. But, “He believes corporations should run the world. Obama was hired to destroy liberalism and he succeeded.”
The big argument taking place among Beltway reporters and bloggers in recent weeks has been over how much power Obama has when it comes to the gridlock besetting the government. But the genuinely challenging politics of advancing big-ticket items like immigration in the face of unprecedented partisan polarization should not obscure more troubling—and personal, rather than institutional—facts. The growth of income inequality has worsened under Obama, no one has been put in jail for destroying the economy, and cash is sloshing around elections more than ever before. While the mildly redistributive impact of his health-care overhaul remains admirable, getting rid of the one part of the sequester that only affects rich businessmen by restoring funding for air-traffic controllers is not.
So while it is true that our political system is dominated by a bunch of conservative old white men from sparsely populated states and a Senate that probably shouldn’t even exist, Obama isn’t necessarily part of the solution. So far in his second term, he’s beginning to validate the left-wing caricature of himself as a technocrat tool of financial elites intent on earning a shitload of money after he leaves office.