‘Deserves to be dumped’

Harper’s publisher John MacArthur on Obama:

By now it should be obvious that the system, and the Democratic Party, run Obama, not the other way around. Under this arrangement, the president carries out his duties as pre-eminent party functionary — fundraising being at the top of his list of responsibilities — and defers on legislation, leaving it to corrupt Democratic barons such as Sen. Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), devoted friend of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and banking crowd and sworn enemy of reform.

As Ron Suskind’s book “Confidence Men” confirms, there was never any question of doing things differently. Describing the then president-elect’s choice of economic advisers, he notes, “Obama, after all, had selected for his top domestic officials two men [Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner] whose actions [in the Clinton Administration] had contributed to the very financial disaster they were hired to solve.” These anti-reform appointments did not go unnoticed by party regulars, even though they were ignored by Obama groupies. “I don’t understand how you could do this,” Suskind quotes Sen. Byron Dorgan (D.- N.D.) saying to Obama. “You’ve picked the wrong people!”

The “wrong people” included Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, and his replacement as White House chief of staff, William Daley; both of these advisers were four-star generals within the Chicago Democratic machine who cut their teeth in Washington during the campaign to pass that job-killer North American Free Trade Act and who later worked for investment banks. But Obama’s hypocrisy in Osawatomie, Kan., set a new standard in deception. Among other things, his speech blamed “regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this [the unfettered sales of bundled mortgages], but looked the other way or didn’t have the authority to look at all. It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility all across the system.”

What’s truly breathtaking is the president’s gall, his stunning contempt for political history and contemporary reality. Besides neglecting to mention Democratic complicity in the debacle of 2008, he failed to point out that derivatives trading remains largely unregulated while the Securities and Exchange Commission awaits “public comment on a detailed implementation plan” for future regulation. In other words, until the banking and brokerage lobbies have had their say with John Boehner, Max Baucus, and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. Meanwhile, the administration steadfastly opposes a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, the New Deal law that reduced outlandish speculation by separating commercial and investment banks. In 1999, it was Summers and Geithner, led by Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (much admired by Obama), who persuaded Congress to repeal this crucial impediment to Wall Street recklessness.

And then there’s Afghanistan. Obama should be condemned for escalating this grotesquely expensive, destructive, and self-defeating war. Thoroughly discredited by analysts on both the left and the right, the Afghan madness seems to bore liberals who once would have marched against Vietnam. I suggest they watch the brilliant new documentary “Hell and Back Again” to enhance their knowledge of the war’s casualties. The pitiful story of Marine sergeant Nathan Harris ought to make them furious at our commander in chief; shouldn’t it also spark an intra-party revolt?

I urge people who haven’t given up on politics to examine the career of Allard Lowenstein. Lowenstein founded the Dump Johnson movement in 1967 and, against all odds, persuaded Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota to launch a Democratic primary challenge against the incumbent president over the issue of Vietnam. His example, I hope, might inspire someone to challenge another Democratic incumbent who has forfeited the trust of the people.

You may say it’s too late, that Obama is impregnable. Consider Gene McCarthy’s obscurity on Nov. 30, 1967, when he announced his insurgent crusade. At the time, many Americans confused him with Sen. Joe McCarthy (R.-Wis.), the notorious communist hunter, and in January 1968 a Gallup poll showed him winning just 12 percent of the votes in a presidential election. But on March 12, McCarthy nearly beat Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. The opposition was galvanized, Robert Kennedy jumped into the race, LBJ announced he would not seek re-election, and American democracy was revived.

Granted, there are big differences between 1968 and 2012 — for one thing, there’s no military draft to frighten the young — but the great issues are the same: an immoral war and a merciless money power. Moreover, high unemployment and the dominance of Wall Street do frighten the young. They need a tribune.

In November 1967, before he announced his candidacy, McCarthy told an audience of college students, “There is deep anxiety and alienation among a large number of people. . . . Someone must give these groups entrance back into the political processes. We may lose, but at least in the process of fighting within the political framework, we’ll have reduced the alienation.” Two days later, in remarks that would have pertained just as well to the current Occupy Wall Street movement, he said, “Party unity is not a sufficient excuse for silence” and Vietnam was “not the kind of political controversy which should be left to a children’s crusade or to those not directly involved in politics. It should rather be taken up by adult political leaders and activists in America.”

Are there any adults left in the Democratic Party?

10 thoughts on “‘Deserves to be dumped’

  1. Yea, and we ended up with Nixon! I remember it well, and the Hope Gene McCarthy gave us. We also saw the hope of Bobby Kennedy get gunned down and there Nixon stood as president. I don’t know if I want to go thru that again. Or if the Democratic party is worth it. I think we have to have an external force which holds whomever is in as president (and Congress) accountable. And I think we should work first on taking back the media. I still have hopes for Occupy. Maybe we should really be occupying the New York Times and the Boston Globe, and the rest of the media elites. Here’s the big thing: we did better keeping W’s hands off SS and Medicare than we are doing with the O man!

  2. Well, obviously the electorate, but a movement that advocates for, and presents the worth of liberal policies to the American people, who, BTW, believe in those Liberal policies. That’s why, IMO, I think the media has to be brought under control, or at least made to give that movement coverage, simply put. I think our problems in this country are due primarily to the left being so trivialize, the left where most of the answers to those problems exist. In answer to the question, do you think it was the D’s who kept W’s hands off SS and Medicare, or do you think it was just people who formed an ad hoc movement against any diminution of SS or Medicare? I agree most of them were D’s, but it was more a people movement than it was a Democratic movement. So it should go for all the things we think we can correct.


  3. Hillary’s White Elephant. Depending on who you ask Hillary has hired between 10,000 and 16,000 armed mercenaries from Triple Canopy, Global Strategies and SRC to guard her “diplomats” in Iraq. In addition Hillary has asked for 5000 US combat troops and 1500 “diplomats” (from USAID, CIA, FBI, NSA, etc., all spies) to guard and staff the largest embassay in the world. $6 billion dollars a year is what US taxpayers will cough up to operate Hillary’s gigantic palace in Baghdad. 237 Marines were killed in a terrorist bombing in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. In 1996 the Khobar Towers was blown up in Saudi Arabia killing 19 Americans. Hillary’s largest embassy in the world will become the target of every terrorist on earth. Maybe that’s what Hillary is counting on? You know, to keep Iraq destabilized so that we can continue to steal their oil.

  4. I won’t vote for a war criminal no matter who else is on the ballot.

    Anyhow George Wallace played as big a role as anyone in siphoning off Democrat votes to defeat Hubert Humphrey. He lost, not because of the anti-war left, but because of the backlash against the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of 1964 and 1965.

    Since then the Democrats have done everything they could to repudiate and disconnect themselves from anything to do with civil rights or the Great Society programs. Ironically (or should I say ignorantly) Obama has been the conclusion of that process, explicitly saying that he wanted to get away from the 1960’s and 1970’s when government got big and out of control and embracing Reagan as the one who “transformed” the situation.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly. Obama needs to step down. If he faces Romney, he’ll lose. If he faces Gingrich, he might still lose. And Gingrich would be far, far worse. But Gingrich is only the cheerleader for the absolutely crazy authoritarian followers that Fox News and the rest of the right wing noise machine empire has spawned.

    As for Hillary, people who jump on these threads pushing well known left dogma buttons to turn people against her might want to consider a couple of things. 1.) She’s not her husband and she rejected the very same advisors that Obama ended up with. 2.) The party, who seems to be the target of MacArthur’s piece, rejected her. Presumably because the finance industry cut a deal with it. One has to wonder if the bankers didn’t want her because they didn’t think she would be pliable enough. 3.) Her job isn’t to draft national security policy or end wars. Her job is diplomacy and running the state department. The fact that she has been isolated from domestic policy says a lot about the wisdom she possessed in getting out of the senate and not accepting the VP position (I’ll continue to believe that she sent a strong signal to Obama’s team that she wouldn’t accept it if offered so they didn’t offer.) and 4.) She is the most highly respected politician right now. The rest of the country wants her. There is no liberal messiah coming. Hillary may be the best you’re going to get.
    And for those of you who are screaming with your hair on fire that if a Republican gets in, there goes the Supreme Court, take a look at your odds of retaining Obama. They’re not so good right now. No, really, they’re not. You can’t blame republicans for the simple fact that Obama is a lousy politician. In fact, his lack of political experience was one of the reasons so many obama supporters wanted him, with disastrous consequences. Be careful what you ask for.
    I don’t believe the mantra about only an incumbent can win. These aren’t ordinary days. We have an extraordinary economic crisis right now and a lot of pissed off people who want a different choice. But if Hillary doesn’t want to take this on, and she’d have a much better chance of winning, there are other Democrats who would work. Just get Obama to bow out gracefully and let’s get on with it.

  6. Good observations, riverdaughter. (Which river, BTW?)

    I don’t understand Imhotep’s ongoing demonization of Hillary.
    He’s one of the best (and best informed) posters here, but these recurring complaints don’t make a lot of sense to me.

  7. Ugliest avatar contest:
    I nominate every one I’ve seen here so far.
    (Well, maybe with the exception of k’s.)
    Any seconds?

  8. To explain. Whenever an ‘Obama sucks, let’s dump him and run somebody else’ piece pops up it should be met with, “So who would that somebody else be?” Surely not Hillary who is even more two-faced and corrupt a politician then Obama is. And Hillary is something that Obama is not. She is a fuc**** warmonger. “I would obliterate Iran,” said she during the presidential debates. That statement alone shows that she’s crazy and not fit to hold public office. Any public office including Secretary of State. Obama will win the election in 2012. Bet on it. The 1% has already arranged for that outcome. Anyone who believes that their vote counts on the presidential level is living in a fantasy world. In most cases our vote seldom counts even on the Senate or House level. The fact is that 94% of the time the person with the most cash wins the election. The 1% will see to it that the people that they want in office will have the most cash. Bet on that too. So where does that leave all of you political junkies? Probably walking around muttering to yourselves while sniffing your undergarments. Oh well, nobody said that life would be fair. One more thing. Politics, as rigged as it, is much too important to be left up to the emotional.

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