Apologies for the brevity, and wish it was easier for me to research this*, but here goes….
Perhaps it’s because of my personal cognitive style, but I’m often guided in my political judgements by what is NOT happening, and what is NOTsaid. And I do wish that more people would compare current events, as well as the common parameters of debate, with the absence of speech, actions, and activity which one could reasonably expect if the system weren’t so corrupted. In fact, to encourage such a mental habit in others is one of the reasons for posting this diary. Feed a man fish, teach a man to fish, all of that.
Now, to the specific case of President Obama. But first, a definition, from dictionary.com:
Omerta: A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization.
#1 ALEC Omerta
AFAIK, Obama has never even mentioned ALEC. This should particularly outrage Democrats, as state-level, 99%-oriented Dems are fighting against ALEC. Not surprising, as most (~90%) of the state legislators who we know are affiliated with ALEC (“smart-ALECs”, you might call them!) are Republicans.
The shenanigans in Wisconsin were definitely related to ALEC. Obama couldn’t find his “walking shoes” to help out WI Dems, but think what might have happened if Obama had used his bully pulpit to the max, and gone on a 20 stop speaking tour throughout Wisconsin, educating WI voters, primarily, about ALEC. Of course, this would have made the news outside of WI, and thus helped spark voter engagement, nationwide. This increased voter engagement would have helped the Democrats far more than the Republicans. In WI, this could easily have translated to the Dems flipping 3 seats during the recall elections, instead of just 2. (3 was the critical number needed to regain control.)
Furthermore, Obama could have called on his enthusiastic 2008 supporters – those that he hasn’t lost, entirely – to do anti-ALEC teachins, pamphleting, etc. That would have provided a good warmup for his own re-election campaign.**
But rolling back the ALEC agenda is at cross-purposes with privatizing education, which Obama is all hunky dory with. AFAICT, Obama’s own re-election is also secondary to his main purposes, which involve the further economic marginalization of Americans, the further erosion of their civil rights, and of course maintaining America’s unacknowledged empire.
Oh, yeah. Wanna know who else practices ALEC omerta? Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, and Sean Hannity, that’s who.
#2 Citizens United vs. FEC Omerta
OK, I’m aware that Obama did adress this court decision, shortly after it was made.
Since then, beside not using the bully pulpit to even talk about it (AFAIK), Obama has not used this plutocracy-enhancing, democracy-destroying decision to stir the citizens into organizing against it. A constitutional amendment is probably necessary. Certainly, constitutional scholar Obama knows all about constitutional amendments, doesn’t he?
Obama, alone, could have guaranteed that Americans would know that they’re playing with fire to allow CU to stand, and that they need to organize to effect a constitutional remedy. Instead, his omerta is making all too easy for Americans not to think about CU.
* A reference librarian should be able to help folks search for any statement by Obama on Citizens United, and ALEC. If you are so inclined, please have at it.
** Well, the trick for both Dems and Repubs is to fire up their respective bases enough to keep voting for them, but not to fight for their demands in a serious way. From the diary Indispensable Enemies (after the book of the same name, by Walter Karp).
The parties and the pros work for themselves first, last and always, and a party’s ruling group would always rather maintain control of a losing party than win and lose control. Parties do not depend on elected officials for funding. Quite the opposite: elected officials who don’t have their own organizations and who can’t self-finance are pretty much dependent on the party. (This is especially true of low-seniority members of the House, who are little more than but peons.) The party gets its funding from donors, and donors give money as often to prevent action asthey do to get action: sometimes all they want is nothing.
By and large party leaders do not want reform, progress, or change, since anything new makes their job harder and threatens to bring in new and competing leaders. The two party oligarchies support one another against the dissident forces in either party, and often their disputes are choreographed dog-and-pony shows leading, like pro wrestling, to foreordained conclusions — as we have seen with free trade, tax reduction, and deregulation, often the two parties are in agreement on the issues.
E. Neglect or sabotage outreach. The party pros do not want enthusiastic new supporters if the new supporters seem likely to make new, inconvenient demands. What they want is predictable, tried-and-true party regulars making specific, limited demands. Voter enthusiasm is not a good thing, but rather a problem to be solved: often the party must figure out how to fail in a non-obvious way, without angering its voters.