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23 December 2010

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Stephen Jones

Before we go too far down the road of saddling the current president with the responsibility for all the ills the country has to grapple with, lets not forget the immediate predecessors in the executive branch and the incalculable damage that gang of numbskulls and neocons did to the country, and the amount of poison they managed to inject into the political and international landscape that has so adversely impacted our country's perceived stature and credibility in the world.

Even if the president had been able to implement smarter and better policies to deal with the monumental, intractable difficulties he inherited from Cheney, et. al., he'd be pilloried for that too, in many cases by the same people attacking him now for not doing a better job.

Obama operates as a centrist and conciliator even if his campaign rhetoric led many to believe he was a dyed in the wool progressive. But so-called 'Centrism' is anathema to effective government, especially when difficult decisions need to be taken and strong arguments are needed to make the case for the inevitability that unpleasant choices are often the only choices available.

Whatever degree of narcissistic dysfunction Obama might exhibit, I think we're firmly in an era now where an ever-growing majority of aspirants for high elected office will be demonstrating more and more serious, clinically defined mental and emotional afflictions and that Obama's bit of self-absorbtion will pale by comparison. (We've already seen plenty of outright crazies in the elections just passed, and there's much more of that to come.) Sadly, because of its entertainment/ratings value, the press is more interested in the sort of incendiary conflict contaminating the political scene than they are in truth or accuracy so these craven nuts will continue to get lots and lots of exposure, further eroding whatever functionality remains in the political process.

rjj

The difference between Bush and Obama is at the level of deception.

NOT AT ALL. The Decider and The One were both imaginary creatures. The difference was the voter fantasy systems to which the political pornographers appealed.

People were not misled. People were credulous. Fix that.


CK

Visa cannot revoke the credulous card. It has an unlimited cred line.

walrus

Stephen Jones:

"Obama operates as a centrist and conciliator even if his campaign rhetoric led many to believe he was a dyed in the wool progressive. But so-called 'Centrism' is anathema to effective government, especially when difficult decisions need to be taken and strong arguments are needed to make the case for the inevitability that unpleasant choices are often the only choices available."

I'm afraid I haven't made my point properly. Obama is NOT a centrist. He will go wherever he needs to go to support his addiction to recognition.

He started as a "community organiser", then he appeared as a "progressive". Now he appears as a "centrist". As the "centre" moves right under the increased Republican influence of a new Congress I confidently expect that Obama will move much, much, further right as well. There is no possibility of an un-crossable line in the sand for him.

To put it another way: If necessary for himself, Obama will side with the hard right, throwing the centrists under the bus, exactly as he did with the progressive netroots supporters that got him elected, and exactly as he did with Reverend Wright.

Forget thoughts of National interest, with Obama it's personal. There is no grand strategic vision, just the daily grind of having to satisfy his constant need for emotional succour. I don't see much hope. The FBI are already ramping up repression, using the "material support of terrorism" clause in the Patriot Act to suppress any political activity against wars and Israeli oppression. Attacks on welfare, social security and the poor in general are soon to follow. I think you have already lost your Republic.

http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/murphy-the-fbi-raids-and-subpoenas-are-best-understood-as-backlash-aimed-at-silencing-our-successful-movement.html

Fred

Walrus,

You are right on this one. Just read Coburn's comments on Fox about 'controlling' federal spending, something he never bothered to do while Bush was in office. Obama put him on the 'deficit' commission? God help us since its becoming apparent Obama won't.

Stephen Jones

Walrus, I agree with almost everything you say in the last post. It may be what I refer to as Centrism is different from what you ascribe to that term.

For me, centrism these days is pretty much synonomous with opportunistic equivocation and compromise, with never really taking a firm stand except out of simple-minded stubborness or when spouting rhetoric designed to serve one's own ambition.

People claiming the 'centrist' mantle for themselves allow the extremes they are bracketed by to define them. If they are seekers of elective office they tailor their rhetoric and professed ideology in support of their ambition. If they are members of the voting electorate, more often than not they are low-information voters who often tend to simply choose to believe what they want to believe rather than working to learn more about the facts before making a decision.

Given the actual definition of the word 'center' or 'centrist' as having at one time connoted 'moderation' and 'balance', I think the idea that there are centrist politicians and centrist voters in that spirit is largely a myth these days.

I suspect Obama's presidency will wind up doing at least as much damage to the Democratic party as Clinton's did, but as for damage to the country, Cheney/Bush will still hold that dark record by many orders of magnitude.

Nancy K

I voted for Obama and most likely will again, but I am dissapointed. I agree with those who say he is too inexperienced, well he is getting on the job training now. He did fulfill some of his promises ie repeal of don't ask don't tell and a health care bill, although very watered down.
I will vote for him not because I am happy with him; I think the continuing wars are a huge mistake, but because I believe any republican would only do worse.

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