Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 8:19 AM
When Barack Obama said he wanted to be a transformative president I’m sure he did not have in mind a transformation from the personification of hope in 2008 to the personification of despair this year. Yet this is the only transformation his (predominantly Republican) critics see.
What is delusional about this, however, is that chief among those lamenting this despair are people who have benefited most during his presidency. Most notable are Wall Street bankers whose firms he bailed out and who raked in record profits as the DOW rose an unprecedented 56 percent. But they are joined at the hip by corporate CEOs whose companies are sitting on trillions in profits and who earned so much in compensation that the cause of their despair must be some perverse form of thriver’s guilt.
Yet these bankers and CEOs would have you believe that Obama’s economic policies burden them with so much regulation and foster so much uncertainty that they dare not invest in the economy or hire new employees, respectively. Moreover, that for these specious reasons they are going to donate some of the obscene wealth he helped them amass to the Republicans who are hell-bent on defeating him. Frankly, they make used-car salesmen seem honorable.
Ironically, though, no group is doing more to propagate these delusions of despair than the liberal media, which Obama’s critics once accused of having a “slobbering love affair” with him. For you’d think the Obama-friendly media would be challenging these ingrates – not just with sector-specific data showing that Obama has been very good for them, but also with macro-economic data showing that his polices have rescued the country from the Great Recession, which Wall Street bankers were most responsible for creating in the first place.
Instead, the purportedly liberal media seems to have become infected with that virulent strain of obamanitis that causes right-wing reporters and commentators at places like FOX News to either marginalize every laudable thing Obama does (like killing bin Laden) or make every day under this presidency seem like “the end of the world as we know it.”
The way obamanitis manifests in the liberal media was very much on display last Friday following a White House press briefing. Specifically, instead of focusing on the historic directive Obama announced about ending deportations of the children of illegal immigrants, they dedicated most of their coverage to some right-wing nut who heckled him.
Which brings me to erstwhile supporters who have bought into this patently contrived notion that Obama’s aura of hope has transformed into despair. As best as I can tell, their disaffection stems primarily from their ideological view that he has failed (or refused) to govern like a left-wing nut. But to give you a sense of the fallacies inherent in this disaffection, here’s a sample of the nonsense no less a person than Obama’s former law professor at Harvard is proselytizing:
The president must be defeated [because among other things]:
His policy is financial confidence and food stamps; and
He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices…
(Professor Roberto Unger, Beyond Obama, YouTube video)
So, on the one hand you have right-wing nuts declaring that Obama must be defeated because he is turning the government into a nanny for poor folks; while on the other hand you have left-wing nuts declaring that he must be defeated because he is turning the government into a piggy bank for the rich….
Mind you, where (most of) his critics on the right are motivated by nothing more than rabidly partisan politics suffused with racial resentment, those of us on the left are motivated by nothing more than a desire to see more of our ideology reflected in his policies. For example, even though no peacenik, I am informed by the lessons of Vietnam which dictate that no president should send Americans to die for a politically motivated or lost cause (i.e., Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively). This is why I’m on record criticizing Obama for sending more troops to Afghanistan in 2009.
But, unlike fellow progressives like Professor Unger, I have never even considered betraying Obama simply because his policies do not reflect my views exactly … in every case. Indeed, Unger’s conceited and misguided call for Obama to be defeated makes a mockery of what defines a progressive approach to politics; namely, a pragmatic willingness to take any step, no matter how incremental, as long as it moves us progressively towards our ideal of a more egalitarian society.
Which is why:
I was also mindful that the bane of his presidency would be left-wing ideologues who would mistake his pragmatism for weakness. But I was confident that Obama would always have enough self-confidence to make pragmatic compromises despite carping from the left.
(“Mutiny against Obama over Bush Tax Cuts,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 9, 2010)
[F]ar too much of this criticism is fickle, hypocritical, and emotionally wrought… The real narrative arc of course is that progressive columnists (like Maureen Dowd of the New York Times) who once fawned over Obama’s style are now criticizing it.
(“BP Spill Turns Swooning over Obama Toxic,” The iPINIONS Journal, June 7, 2010)
That said, nothing indicates how much delusions of despair are undermining Obama’s presidency quite like poor, unemployed and uninsured (White) folks, who depend on food stamps for their daily bread, opposing his healthcare/insurance reform (aka Obamacare). They are doing so because they too have bought into the Republican “big lie” that this reform, which Republicans like former President Nixon once championed, will turn America “into a socialist state like Europe [sic].” (Polls routinely show that the vast majority of those who oppose Obamacare actually approve of its provisions.) Idiots!
Incidentally, much is being made in the media this week about a Federal Reserve survey which found that there has been a nearly 40 percent drop in household net worth between 2007 and 2010. But you’d be hard-pressed to find the following clarification anywhere in the liberal, let alone the right-wing, media:
The entire drop in household wealth between 2007 and 2010, the period covered by the Survey of Consumer Finances, occurred in 2008—before the President took office…
Household wealth has risen every year President Obama has been in office — by a total of 23 percent overall…
(The White House, June 13, 2012)
Still, despite all of these political and media headwinds:
My support for him is as strong as ever and, despite all of the kvetching by progressives and demonizing by conservatives, I predict he’ll be reelected in a Reagan-style landslide.
(“In support of Obama: my abiding … HOPE,” The iPINIONS Journal, August 12, 2011)
Trust me folks, race matters. This is why disillusioned and disaffected supporters like actor Matt Damon, as well as White independents whose votes are so indispensable, will think twice about causing this first Black president to go down in history as a failure – especially given all of the mediocre White presidents who have cruised to second terms.
(“Obama Will Be Reelected in Landslide,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 30, 2011)
Meanwhile, the craven agenda of bankers and CEOs to transform Obama’s presidency from hope to despair is surpassed only by the cynical agenda of Republicans and their media enablers to simply destroy it. Which makes it as perverse as it is ironic that the book currently at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list is The Great Destroyer by Obama hater David Limbaugh (yes, Rush’s baby brother).
In any case, voters would do well to bear in mind that none other than the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declared his Party’s intent as follows:
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
(Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2010)
This explains why, from day one, Republicans have done everything in their power to undermine all of Obama’s initiatives to create jobs and improve the economy. And they have done so just to be able to claim that he does not deserve reelection because he did not do enough to create jobs and improve the economy: this is what politics in America has come to folks.
It also explains why they all voted in lockstep just yesterday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to hand over documents that Obama asserts are protected by executive privilege. (The documents are related to what Republicans and their NRA paymasters claim — with scant evidence — is a botched Justice Department gun-walking operation called “Fast and Furious” aimed at undermining the Second Amendment.) And only a Kentucky hillbilly would think that Holder’s “uppity” black ass has nothing to do with this being the first time in U.S. history Congress has voted to hold an attorney general in contempt.