Ted Van Dyk, who self-identifies as a life long Democrat, writing at Crosscut, has some concerns about the Obama administration. Which is fine, although I think it’s worth addressing.
As a lifelong Democrat, I am concerned that President Obama could come out of his first 100 days decidedly weaker than when they began. His November victory was not as strong as anticipated, given the unpopularity of the outgoing Bush administration, a weakening economy, and an often inept McCain-Palin Republican ticket. Yet Obama has proceeded as if he were a landslide winner, like Lyndon Johnson in 1965 and Reagan in 1980, and has pushed forward a costly and ambitious domestic agenda even though we remain in a severe economic downturn.
Obama’s audacity — I consider it politically dangerous overreach — has energized Republicans and, in particular, conservatives as they would not have been had Obama followed the bipartisan, consensus path he promised on taking office. The politically polarizing economic-stimulus package and his proposed federal budget have done it.
Well, Obama tried to reach out to the Limbaugh Party and was rewarded with zero votes in the House. Then three “moderates” in the Senate hijacked the entire process on behalf of Susan Collins. So that explains that. It’s not the Obama administration that is obstructing things, so I’m not quite sure what Van Dyk means.
You can’t be bi-partisan and work with a batshit insane party that doesn’t understand basic economics, and more to the point, defines itself almost solely on cultural and racial resentment. They have a great deal of fun hating the dirty fucking hippies, but that’s not much of a policy position. There’s no “there” there. It’s just tribalism, with all its venomous, spittle-spewing invective coursing through the diseased veins of AM radio. If they’re not hating the dirty hippies, it’s the gays, or the immigrants, or the ACORN (black people mainly, in their view,) or left-handed people who wear green socks.
Without hate there is no conservative movement. And just like FDR did, we should welcome their hate, because it means we are doing something right.
Conservatives today are not serious people, because if they were serious they would put forth policy proposals that match the challenges ahead and they would not wish for the failure of the president. “Bi-partisanship” has ceased to be a word with any concrete meaning in the real world. Now, knowing Obama the door is still open, but Republicans will have to choose to walk through that door, meaning they will have to possess the balls to stand up to the Joe McCarthy of our time. Not bloody likely in my estimation.
As for recovery, spending and the budget, the very strange thing is that a lot of people don’t seem to understand that the immediate threat is of intense deflation and world-wide collapse of the economic structure. To paraphrase the hell out of John Maynard Keynes, you could go around burying millions of bottles of money and it would help prevent Depression, because then the private sector would busily engage in massive efforts to dig up the bottles. Of course, if instead you wanted to do something that would also provide a longer term benefit, like building bridges or wind farms, that would be good too.
The biggest short term concern is not the amount of spending that we must engage in, but the failure to address the “too big to fail banks” and by extension, their “too big to fail” insurance company, AIG. Talk about wasting money. I’m always amazed how Americans will get their noses all bent out of shape regarding urban legends about “welfare queens in Cadillacs” but will be nonplussed at incredible waste and fraud in the corporate world. The people complaining about the stimulus package and the budget, which at least contain many measures that will provide real relief to regular Americans, do not generally express much concern about the way we’ve all been robbed by Wall Street.
The people who brought us this calamity are yet to be held accountable in a meaningful way, and are reaping high salaries and other rewards still, not to mention frequent contributions to their firms by taxpayers that will doubtless total in the hundreds of billions of dollars. You don’t really hear any talk of a “tea party” because of that, now, do you? The conservative-Republican opposition is the same old suspects spouting the same old bullshit, bitching that the wealthiest 2% of Americans might have to pay the same tax rate they did a decade ago. Poor babies.
The deficit hawks have a long-term point. But we’re sure in the hell not going to reduce the deficit or the debt if the global economy falls into Depression, and for now the political battle is essentially an extension of the last eight years: the malignancy of movement conservatism has to be defeated if we are to prosper.