Thursday, December 2, 2010


In "Why Exactly Is President Obama Acting Like George McFly?" Bob Cesca does a good job of outlining what's wrong with President Obama's agenda for working with the Republicans: Cheap talk, followed by capitulation. As I put it in my previous post, not only has America become the land of Charles Ponzi Economics and Easy Street Politics, but we now have a president who may not be up to the task of confronting either.

But wait, there's more (or is that less?).

According to Cesca the primary problem we face now is that we now have a president who is capitulating in the name of bi-partisanship when the political rules have changed and Republicans have no intention of working with him, ever. Like some character in a hazing ritual it appears that President Obama is more interested in being one of the guys instead of leading.

Think about it. The Republicans have shown their hand over and over, yet President Obama insists that extending his hand, again, will generate new results. It won't. Why? Because Republicans have learned that there are financial benefits to being corporate America's Oompa Loompas, and that there are no penalties for operating in a fact-free world. This is the case because Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, et. al. have ...

constructed a political and media machine that allows [conservatives] to function with impunity. All of cable news is packed wall-to-wall with Republicans who robotically repeat the same false, fact-free ideas over and over -- and they're given complete latitude because of the press's self-flagellation over the "liberal media" myth.

Pop politics, rather than serious policy analysis, is the result. Headlines are now dominated by "analysis" that fails to rise above the level of the bumper sticker. The shallow, but many, rants of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck thrive in this environment. Think about it. The political right has ...

... managed to guilt the press into supporting and repeating unvarnished bullshit like "tax cuts stimulate the economy and unemployment benefits don't" and "allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire will hurt jobs" and "the stimulus didn't work" and "the Democrats are spending us into oblivion."

As Cesca points out, none of this is true. And we know it's not.

We know this because thirty years of Reaganomics - or deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy - have not rejuvenated the economy and have not reduced deficits as promised. Instead, we've gotten record deficits and market players more interested in wealth extraction rather than wealth creation.

But, even after the 2008 market collapse, failed Republican policy prescriptions are not dead. Not by a long shot. Like crippled zombies in a horror flick they keep coming back. Think about this ignored fact. The Bush tax cuts are still in place. Unemployment is hovering around 10%. The economy is still a wreck. Oh, did I already say the Bush tax cuts are in place? If the Bush tax cuts didn't create any jobs in ten years - and then helped to double our national debt - why the hell do we want to extend them now?

Then we have these little nuggets, which are also ignored. After ten years of Bush tax cuts - and thirty years of Reaganomics - middle class wages have stagnated while wealth gaps in America are at record levels. Yet, our political dialogue today is dominated by "Let's keep the tax cuts, and do more of the same!".

Don't feel bad. I want to bang my head into a wall too.

The really sad part, however, is that those who recognize that the Republican emperors in Congress have no clothes, and that trickle down economic policies are ruining the country, are regularly shouted down. As Cesca points out:

... whenever a Democrat -- say, Bernie Sanders or Anthony Weiner or the outgoing Alan Grayson, for example -- steps up and forcefully tells the truth, they're assaulted by political hipsters who harrumph and bitch about "both sides" acting insane and shrill and why can't we all just be nice! You know, nice like the glorious olden days when there weren't witch hunts or duels or beatings or civil wars.

While this is going on "the Republicans line up in lockstep on television and repeat the same lines over and over and over ... The Democrats concede. And the Republicans win the debate -- usually by grinding it into the ground with nonstop crazy and by filibustering everything." And this has all happened with the Republicans making no secret of their scorched earth policy, admitting that their only goal is to make President Obama (and America) fails. Nice.

All of this is "unbelievable" to Cesca because:

Eight years ago, these were the same people who insisted that merely criticizing the commander-in-chief during wartime would endanger the troops. Now these same bastards are not just criticizing the president, but they're questioning his religion, his citizenship, his loyalty to America -- and they're endeavoring, as their primary goal, to make him fail by dragging the economy down.

Yet, President Obama thinks he can work with the Republicans and their failed policies, and that he needs to try harder to meet the Republicans in middle ... if they'll only give him another chance. How pathetic.

Meeting the likes of Charles Ponzi on his terms in the middle of Easy Street is not leadership. It's capitulation, and a recipe for disaster. If President Obama caves on tax cuts for the rich, and continues to allow the Republicans to filibuster and bully their way on policy matters he'll lose what's left of his credibility, and his base.

Worse, he'll be just as guilty as anyone else in perpetuating, and then exacerbating, our emerging system of Ponzi Scheme Economics and Easy Street Politics.

- Mark

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