Why Obama was a no-show in Wisconsin

Matt Stoller doesn’t pull any punches in assessing the Wisconsin recall disaster and President Obama, who continues to work hard to distance himself and the entire Democratic Party from progressive traditions and policies:

…Obama’s policy framework is now the policy framework of the Democratic Party, liberals, and unionism. Up and down the ticket, Democrats are operating under the shadow of the President, associated with unpopular policies that make the lives of voters worse and show government to be an incompetent, corrupt handmaiden to big business. So they keep losing…

…Obama has largely insulated himself from the consequences of his policies, so far, with a strong and aggressive PR campaign that has kept his approval ratings high enough to potentially win in 2012. This PR campaign blames everyone else for policy failures, from Democrats in Congress to Republicans in Congress to the Eurozone. Regardless of what happens, Obama will reap enormous monetary rewards for what he’s done, as Bill Clinton’s $80 million post-election payday shows. And if Obama loses, the recriminations will start, and liberals will take the blame for not allowing Obama to be centrist enough. At this point, the Democratic Party is hopelessly broken and overrun by the same interests that are running the Republican Party…

Read the whole, damningly persuasive piece in Naked Capitalism.

12 thoughts on “Why Obama was a no-show in Wisconsin

  1. Criticizing Obama is the easiest thing in the world to do. There’s plenty to criticize. Just ask the Republicans who are criticizing Obama 24/7. But how does helping Romney to get elected help the Left? If the Left were actually serious about taking down the corporatist plutocracy that they’re always complaining about, they would be organizing at the grassroots level to defeat every Republican holding public office. But,the Left has never been known for being all that bright now have they? After all there ain’t too many of them holding public office are there?

  2. i like how stoller claims (after the fact, of course) that the recall was a big mistake, and that they should have done a general strike instead. (never mind that a general strike is much harder to pull off than a recall election, especially since general strikes have been against the law since 1947. i guess stoller never got the memo…)

  3. Stoller’s wrong a lot, but right a lot, too. Some labor historians say that they have to go back to the days of civil disobedience. If they don’t do general strikes, what leverage do they have? What realistic avenues can they pursue? Look how hard they worked for Obama. Did they get card check? Nope.

  4. As i said on facebook, reading Stoller’s article -to the extent that I did before rolling my eyes and getting a headache- was no different than reading a right-wing article that also laid the blame for everything that’s gone wrong over the past 70 years at Obama’s feet.

    Stoller’s got one setting: outrage. And it’s really impotent outrage at that.

  5. @susie,

    the bottom line is that labor unions are not going to participate in a general strike because it puts them and their leaders in legal jeopardy. so yes, in theory labor leaders throughout wisconsin might have decided to risk arrest and crippling fines and disobeyed the law in the name of civil disobedience to bring down the walker administration. but in practice, that’s highly unlikely to have happened, especially when there was an available legal route to bringing down walker (that is, the recall election). to say that a general strike would have been more likely to succeed than a recall election strikes me as completely detached from reality.

  6. I’ve no idea whether a general strike would have been more effective than the recall attempt, but I doubt it. What I connected with in Stoller’s piece was outrage over the fact that Obama continues to set the tone of Democratic efforts to fight a highly effective reactionary movement. Stoller’s outrage might be impotent, but not half as impotent as Obama’s leadership style. The man will not fight, and therefore will never convince working people that he is on their side. I fear that many registered Dems will stay home on Election Day.

  7. Look here folks, if we stay home—-regardless of the faults we’ll endure under Obama for the next four years—-we must hold our noses and vote for him in November. Can you imagine the generations that will have to deal with a Supreme Court that will vote 6-3 in favor of Conservative causes for the next 25-30 years? THAT, ALONE, oughta get your asses up off the fucking couch and vote—-straight Democratic, at least for now!

  8. Obama and the Dems don’t want a people-powered regime change. Period. They are afraid that if today the proles overthrew Walker, it could be them too some day.
    Dems (and Repubs) hate democracy. Period. I mean real, grassroots democracy. It is a joke that they want to “promote” democracy abroad in countries ruled by “rogue: dictators (Saudi, Bahrain etc are “friendly” dictators).

  9. @g3: Well I heard that Obama and the Dems hate America and apple pie too. Also, IT’S MADE OF PEOPLE!

  10. Yeah, general strike vs. the Ds — genuinely tough call because the infrastructure would have to be in place, and even industrial strikes aren’t much practiced these days.

    Still, as for the Ds, “they are who we thought they were” — no voter registration drive, no prep for vote shenanigans, lots of money to TV (and D consultants and the “creative class”), happy talk from the operatives on polling for the proles while insiders either knew the score or were self-deluded, no message discipline — many voters weren’t even persuaded that a recall eas appropriate — and no formal or even informal voice for the thousands who stood in the snow. And a candidate who used Walker’s Law 10 against his own workers, which is why the TAA didn’t support him.

    And. — what a shock this must have been to everyone — an attitude from the national Ds that ranged from dismissal to sabotage. My favorite was Debbie W-S’s comment that the recall was a “dry run” for November. Way to motivate the troops, there, Debbie.

    Maybe before the recall we couldn’t be completely sure that the Ds aren’t where movements go to die. znow we can be sure. There’s no excuse for thinking otherwise.

  11. Dandy, Obama’s mortgage settlement retroactively legalizes robosigning, and because each and every robosigning is a fraud on the court, it retroactively legalizes thousands and thousands of felonies.

    There is no rule of law, and what does the Supreme Court matter if there’s no rule of law?

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