Bush Latte: Obama keeps moving right, cites Reagan's "optimism" and "clarity"
Wouldn't it be simpler for Obama just to run on the Republican ticket? They really need a decent candidate over there, and I think Obama is just as adept and far more eloquent than Romney, has better hair, a better baritone--and he doesn't have the funny underwear thing the Mittster has, either. I'd call it a win-win situation.
I think, at this point, we can forget about the biography, and the position papers, and the oratory, stop listening to the music, and start listening to the lyrics. First came Obama's infamous dogwhistle to the Village that put Social Security in play, a right wing talking point. Then there was calling unions "special interests", a right wing talking point. Then there was tax cuts as a panacea, a right wing talking point. Meanwhile, the Oborg consistently leverage right wing talking points like "trial lawyers" to trash Edwards, not to mention Hillary hatred, all the while explaining what Obama "really means," and airily denying it all. Then there was the trashing of Gore. And finally we've got the infamous Florida brochure, where Obama encourages Republicans to become "Obamacrats" just for one day to vote for him, and then re-up as Republicans again. (Way to party build, there, guy.) Obama is a highly skilled politician and a Harvard-schooled lawyer. None of this can be accidental.*
And now this:
The Politico's Ben Smith:
Obama, in his interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal's editorial board, made the case that his movement is as much about a national moment as about him as a "singular" individual, and he drew a rather odd analogy for a Democrat: Ronald Reagan.
"Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not," he said, describing Reagan as appealing to a sentiment that, "We want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."
Now, maybe Obama was elsewhere at the time or otherwise occupied, but many of us, and especially those of us who were not Republicans, do not look back on the Reagan years with any sense of "clarity" and "optimism." We were not children at that time, listening to ads on the teebee for "morning again in America." We were working adults, who sensed, correctly, even then, that the big wienie was on the way, and that we were being asked to bend over and take it; see chart at left (detailed analysis here). For the last generation, the only real winners are the top 1%. Everybody else either broke even or lost. That change started with Reagan, and continued with Bush I and Bush II because that's the direction they, as conservatives, wanted the country to go. Clinton could not have reversed the trend had he wanted to, especially in the face of ferocious attack by the Republican party, culminating in a ginned up impeachment. If you think America should be of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy, then by all means vote for more of Reagan's "clarity" and "optimism."
And now Obama wants to cram Reagan's bullshit down our throats again? What's wrong with this guy?
Tell that to the 11,000 air traffic controllers that Reagan fired and whose union Reagan busted. Of course, if you do think that unions are "special interests," perhaps "clarity" is the word you would pick.
Yeah, like selling arms secretly to the Iranians to get the money to fund a secret war in Nicaragua. That was Iran-Contra, the Reagan administration's illegal scheme to evade Congressional funding restrictions for which many (see below) were tried, convicted, and (bien sur) pardoned.
Iran-Contra: Now that's optimism!
And does the lack of respect that Reagan showed for the rule of law and other branches of government during Iran-Contra sound familiar to you? Do the pardons? Well, they should, because Reagan and Bush are two peas in a pod on that score. And they should certainly be familiar to a professor of Constitutional law! Many, many of the operatives who fought the battles of the '80s and '90s for Reagan are fighting the battles of the 2000's for Bush today: Pentagon head Bob Gates, and lesser luminaries like Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, and DHS security head Charles Allen, not to mention Bush's esteemed father, who was famously "out of the loop," as if anybody would believe that meant anything other than that he'd achieved plausible deniability.
The continuity of personnel should tell you something: Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II are all part of the same Conservative Movement that's been running the country for the last 30 years. Reagan, Bush I, Bush II are a seamless garment. They cannot be separated. They have the same funders, the same broad policy goals, the same operatives, the same whores in the press, the same talking points, the same consultants, and--I know this will come as a surprise to you--they all belong to the same party: The Republicans, with, of course, exceptions like Obama's mentor, Joe Lieberman.
Has Obama no knowledge of history? Has he not been paying attention? Is he ignorant?
Or is he pandering, grotesquely, to low information voters and Republicans? You'd think a man of Obama's undoubted skill and talent could do much better.
Time will tell. But I think this latest rightward slide doesn't bode well for Obama's credentials as a progressive, let alone a Democrat, and portends a rocky ride for him as President, should he gain the office.
If this be Unity, Fuck it. I don't ride that Pony.
NOTE * Do I really have to explain why using right wing talking points matters? A year from now, nobody except policy wonks is going to remember the white papers on any candidate's site.
Rhetoric and talking points count, because they are what people will remember in a year. The talking points and the rhetoric are what the candidates are campaigning on, what people are hearing, and the kind of mandate the candidates are going to get.
So, if Obama campaigns on right wing talking points -- that is, on poison pill after poison pill for progressive policies -- he's going to get a mandate for right wing talking points.
And I don't believe the Phonebooth Theory, where Obama runs from the right, and then, once elected, jumps into a phone booth, loses the Clark Kent glasses and the suit, and emerges, garbed as Progressive Superman. That may have worked for Bush, but that's because the Village was happy to have him go right. It won't work for Obama, because the Village would not be happy to have him go left. And in any case, he was no mandate to go left, because he campaigned on right wing talking points. If indeed he does want to go left, which at this point I regard as at best unproven, vehement statements by the Oborg notwithstanding. The great thing about vacuous rhetoric is that you can project whatever you want into it.