Obama the pretender

Obama the pretender

As a socialist, I have a confession to make: Back in 2008, I was a campaign volunteer for Barack Obama. I supported him over Hillary Clinton in that year's Democratic primary for the obvious reason — she had supported the Iraq War, and he had not — but I worked for him because I read his 1995 book Dreams from My Father. It seemed to me he was an excellent writer and an unusually thoughtful person, especially for a politician. Maybe he wouldn't be able to fix all the problems, but he would surely try, and at least be a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone to vote for rather than picking the lesser evil through gritted teeth — and with the massive Democratic majorities in Congress that followed his election, little stood in his way.

Twelve years on from that minor episode of door-knocking and phone-banking in rural Colorado, it's looking increasingly possible that the ensuing two-year period from 2009-2010 will be the last time the Democratic Party ever controls both the presidency and both houses of Congress. Democrats will have to sweep two January runoffs in Georgia to be able to control a tied Senate next year, and if they don't, a future of ever-more extreme gerrymandering and judicial vote suppression might make it impossible for Democrats to ever win again.

What went wrong? Obama attempts to grapple with the massive failures of his presidency in A Promised Land, his new memoir describing his rise to power and early presidency, but ultimately the book is slippery and unconvincing. America is circling the political toilet in part because Obama had the chance to fix many longstanding problems and did not rise to the occasion, a fact the former president is still stubbornly unwilling or unable to see.

A Promised Land is a maddening book. On the one hand, Obama's graceful eloquence is there (if somewhat more forced than it was in Dreams), and his discussions of his family life and his relationships with his closest staffers is genuinely warm. Unlike virtually every book written by a politician, it is obviously his own work. Time after time Obama nails some bit of history or politics with a firm, confident touch — on the buffoonish yet alarming rise of Sarah Palin, the accidental origins and racist history of the Senate filibuster, or even on the basics of Keynesian economics.

But on the other hand, Obama elsewhere evinces a political naivete and passivity that borders on the incomprehensible. For the sake of brevity, let me address just the three most important policy decisions of his presidency: the 2008 bank bailout, the 2009 Recovery Act stimulus, and his foreclosure policy.

.....

Yet the all-important discussion of the size of the stimulus passes in a couple sentences. When economic adviser Christina Romer mentioned in an early meeting that it should probably be over a trillion dollars, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — who Obama personally coaxed into taking the job — instantly snapped that it was impossible. "There's no f---ing way," Emanuel said, claiming that the public and conservative Democrats would not countenance such a large number. The most they would be able to get was: "seven, maybe eight hundred billion, tops … and that's a stretch." Joe Biden nodded, and apparently that was the end of the conversation.

On any grounds one might care to choose, this was a brain-meltingly bad political decision. Here we have the single most important determinant of the future success of Obama and his party — the strength of the economy — and they didn't even try to make the stimulus as big as the hole it was supposed to fill, much less include a margin of error in case the data was underestimating the size of the collapse (it was, by a lot). Instead, two guys made gut check guesses about what could be got through Congress, and that was that. Adviser David Axelrod even gloomily predicted afterwards they would get rinsed in the upcoming midterms. What?

Here is an excerpt from Obama’s book where he talks about drones and targeted assassinations:

In places like Yemen and Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, the lives of millions of young men like those three dead Somalis (some of them boys, really, since the oldest pirate was believed to be nineteen) had been warped and stunted by desperation, ignorance, dreams of religious glory, the violence of their surroundings, or the schemes of older men. I wanted somehow to save them—send them to school, give them a trade, drain them of the hate that had been filling their heads. And yet the world they were a part of, and the machinery I commanded, more often had me killing them instead.

How is those boys upbringing any different from how our boys are brought up? The hubris/hypocrisy of this statement....I can’t even..

Just for fun I’ll post this essay on Kamala’s campaign.

How Kamala Harris’s Campaign Unraveled

Ms. Harris is the only 2020 Democrat who has fallen hard out of the top tier of candidates. She has proved to be an uneven campaigner who changes her message and tactics to little effect and has a staff torn into factions.

Some Harris aides sitting at the table could barely suppress their fury about what they saw as the undoing of a once-promising campaign. Their feelings were reflected days later by Kelly Mehlenbacher, the state operations director, in a blistering resignation letter obtained by The Times.

“This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” Ms. Mehlenbacher wrote, assailing Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Harris’s sister, Maya, the campaign chairwoman, for laying off aides with no notice. “With less than 90 days until Iowa we still do not have a real plan to win.”

Wanna bet? I say less than 2 years before Biden drops out and Kamala is the president. Which of course is the plan.

“You can’t run the country if you can’t run your campaign,” said Gil Duran, a former aide to Ms. Harris and other California Democrats who’s now the editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

This gives me...hope?

It's the same reason I'm inclined to prefer Trump over any "orthodox" neocon regime: When your only options are all fascists, choose the mercy of an incompetent one.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Shahryar's picture

The Democrats, who had no interest in pursuing any of their stated objectives in the 2008 platform, were horrified that their margins in the Senate and House were so large. In order to keep the money coming in they needed to stall until "the enemy" was stronger. How many of use knew that a majority in the Senate wasn't enough? That 60 votes were needed? Not now, with the Repubs in charge, but then, in 2009 and 2010. And then when the Dems *did* have 60 it became "impossible" to have Democrats vote as Democrats. Not only that, but when Franken got seated it just wouldn't be proper to take advantage of having 60.

They overdid it, of course, losing complete control of the Senate and those 1,000 seats nationwide. But this wasn't actually "wrong". It made it seem legitimate that they could ask for "$27" or "$15" or even "$3".

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snoopydawg's picture

@Shahryar

Yeah I remember when the rules of the senate changed and so conveniently so that Obama/dems would have a nice excuse for not getting a damned thing done.

How many of use knew that a majority in the Senate wasn't enough? That 60 votes were needed?

It was ridiculous then and even more ridiculous was that dems wouldn't go after Lieberman's committee assignments to pressure him to vote with dems on the ACA. This was after he campaigned against Obama and after many dems came out to support his independent run after he got wiped out as a democrat. It was maddening seeing all the excuses they came up with.
Apparently Obama whines even more about that in his book which I am happy to see is not getting great reviews. I think many people can look at how Obama failed to be president and how that led to HER loss and Trump's stunning win. Libs like to say Trump only won because every one of his supporters are racist. Bull. Studies showed people voted for Trump over Her because the Obama admin had left them behind economically.

Barack Obama's Memoir 'A Promised Land' Is Good, But Not Good Enough

The former president’s hotly anticipated book is packed with detail, thoughtfully written, and an unsatisfying defense of his early presidency. When all is said and done, he’s satisfied that he did the best he could.

People have been picking out part where Obama whines about how hard it was to be president and where he blames the left for his failures, but this guy was the laziest president in my opinion. He wanted all the pomp of office and for people to think he walked on water, but he didn't want to get down and dirty and fight for what was needed. But that was his pattern pretty much since he got in government. Just coast and pretend to be all that.

Gawd..... I will stop. There is a lot of anger still on Obama's failed presidency and it is because he betrayed people who laid it all on the line for him. That is what he will be know for. Betrayal and the president that could have, but did not. History will not be kind as the message in the above tweet shows. Had Obama showed up I doubt Trump would have gotten half of the votes he did. And after his disasterous 4 years, Biden barely beat him.

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“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

Jen's picture

Wanna bet? I say less than 2 years before Biden drops out and Kamala is the president. Which of course is the plan.

If I knew how, I would open a betting pool on how long biden will last. I'm thinking less than 1 year.

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Is it great yet?

snoopydawg's picture

@Jen

Lets start a betting pool here for how long Biden stays president before Kamala pushes him aside. As I was reading about some words Biden said yesterday on what he would do in office I thought "I bet Biden can't wait till 1/22/2020 so he can quit pretending that he will actually be in charge of the country and can retire to his basement and play with his teleprompter. But the official transfer of power can't be too soon.

My bet is 13 months. Whatever meds he is on now that makes him coherent will have lost their effect and it'd be hard for them to cover up that he lost his mind.

So place your bets. Guess if people are interested in this there should be an essay on it. Let me know by thumbs up how many would be interested in me doing one.

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“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

@snoopydawg

guess we will have to wait and see.
All bets are off by the end of January.
Once the facade is done with it's usefulness
he is toast. Don't tell his wife. She may also be
clueless.

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edg's picture

And yet the world they were a part of, and the machinery I commanded, more often had me killing them instead. -- Barack Obama

That is the sickest thing I've heard recently, and I've heard some sick things. If false, Obama was a bloodthirsty monster. If true, we are doomed and have no chance of changing things for the better.

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snoopydawg's picture

@edg

That is what he is saying. There is no remorse that he killed people just for what they thought even though that is how people here are taught about their country. Never mind either that those 'boys' had every right to protect their country from the invaders. They were labeled terrorists and insurgents, but if we were invaded any person defending our country would be called a patriot. But then we are the only country that counts for some. Disgusting.

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“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

Lily O Lady's picture

@edg

Ned Beatty gives all the initial Presidential briefings a la Network where the reality of how things really work is revealed.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Shahryar's picture

@Lily O Lady

one of the best scenes of the picture.

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