Not many links and no radiation in this post. Instead, I want to test a frame with my friends at FDL.
In 2008, President Obama ran on the Hope and Change platform, not as a liberal. It was clear enough then that he was a centrist, establishment candidate. He allowed people to see liberal “shadows” of his positions, but I do not recall ever thinking that he was advocating liberal ideas. That was an honest campaign. Voting for an African-American with the last name of “Obama” was liberating; voting for a intelligent, articulate and well-educated professional was a relief; and voting against the ditto-heads on the right was a necessity, but I do not recall ever thinking that I was voting for a liberal candidate. I voted against John McCain and You-Know-Who.
Three years later, Obama has governed more or less as Joe Lieberman would have done, even though it was already crystal clear that the Democratic Party would reject that kind of behavior. If voters want Republicans, they will vote for Republicans. The base of the party rejected Lieberman and Democrats voted against him in his independent Senate run; Short-Ride will never again hold elected office. This is the playbook that Barack Obama has been working from. He won the election, so that was his choice to make.
What I object to, and what I want to name and frame, is his current effort to pretend to be a liberal. This half-assed “jobs” bill is a joke, but just enough of a non-joke to make it hard for us on the Left to call him out. As far as I am concerned, it is too little, too late. We know who he is, what he has done, and what he is doing. He is polisquatting.
He has repeatedly, clearly and forcefully demonstrated his disdain for the “Professional Left”, yet now that the debt ceiling disaster that he engineered and encouraged in the ridiculous hope of obtaining his Grand Bargain of austerity, cuts for Medicare and Social Security, massive giveaways to the rich, and free money for financial elites (aka “miserable examples of humanity”) as far into the future as the eye can see (in the form of high real interest rates that go with nominal deflation); now that that total failure of a gameplan has made it clear to the country that his preferred bargaining technique of prepitulation is not even an attempt to protect the weakest Americans; now that his poll numbers are finally and probably irreversibly declining because it is finally clear to even the politically disengaged that he stands for nothing besides dropping freedom bombs on brown people and seeking harmony and Kumbaya singalongs with the very people who will do anything to America and Americans to emasculate him, to destroy the Left, and to impoverish their own parents as they try to crush all that is recognizably civilized in this country; NOW, when there is no chance of reducing unemployment before the next election, and after the tax cuts for the richest Americans are in the bank for another two years, NOW we are supposed to believe that he is actually anything other than Joe Lieberman’s long-lost brother.
Give us some credit, Mr. President. Run for reelection on who you are, and on the policies you really believe in. Win or lose next fall (and I suspect you will win) you are destroying what the Left stands for by squatting where Ted Kennedy proudly stood. Don’t pretend to care about the weak and the unfortunate while Tim Geithner is the Secretary of the Treasury. It is clear that you stand for corporate strength and bankster justice. Run on your record. I dare you.