[Cross-posted at The Left Coaster.]
Fate and the swirls of very timely political calendar evolutions gave one of the most extraordinary political acts any of us will ever see—the shadowy, bazillion-bloated bailout of our Wall Street crooks in the Fall of 2008—an amazing evasion of official DC responsibility. George Bush’s Paulson came up with the scheme, Obama approved in absurd election confines, then Paulson panicked and went to the Fed, the precise audited details of what went allegedly forth in possibly trillion dollar bailout strength--in precise timeline--we still don’t know yet.
The election was over, as new President Obama could quite rightly say "Look, he did it," and the viciously furious electoral backlash would and was so conveniently directed to the past. Obama had approved of the bailout in the election, even keeping the perniciously sneaky and enabling Bernanke, but Obama didn’t have to own it and pay for it politically, the Republicans did it and Obama and the Democrats delivered a historic record stimulus to politically and economically make up for it. All that voter fury at bailing out crooks was transformed from the political calendar into a magic political dragon of impotent Puff, just gone. Right?
I don’t think so. What tugs the political consequences of the Wall Street bailout so furiously into the present arise from two factors: the crooks in the finance "industry" who got us into this unholy nightmare got and kept everything, even their sick hoards of wealth and pay, while hardly changing any of the stupid, self-destructive nefarious behavior that started it all!
Everyone else looks at their deal in how all of this is shaking out in our Great Recession and naturally comes up short, often extremely short of the life our felonious oligarchs jet around with. I very much appreciate all what the Democratic stimulus of 2009 accomplished, yes, and I keep telling Obama supporters it didn’t work politically, for precisely this reason: the finance industry got theirs and is so fat and happy and unchanging, what about the rest of us?
"The bailout...pulled the plug on the New Deal," writes Chris Hedges in his latest book Empire of an Illusion, part of a difficult review I’ve been putting off. Just the presence of the question and that flamingly abominable Catfood Commission creates a profound sense of background uneasiness that no chattering GDP report can assuage for any Democratic voter.
Well, what the hell does all this mean for the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party then? Unpredictable, such is the irrevocable verdict, but that word is taken far too casually by all us of us as the 2010 elections begin to roll in on us, the Bailout Window of political consequences for that act has not closed, not by a long fucking shot, and all us junkies and pundits may not realize our measurement devices and history mean not what we think in the window, our perceptions are wobbly and we don’t know it yet.
For what it’s worth, I had to very, very carefully review my upcoming votes for Barbara Boxer and Mike Honda this morning, after the bailout, war vote and what’s happened to the decimated education community (my family is filled with teachers) is this really, truly the right thing to do? Aren’t I enabling the insanity when all is said and done, no matter how cornered I am?
If a voter like me had to go through that at this stage of life and politics, well, how truly sorry I am for all of us, seriously, anything could fucking happen this Fall.
The Republicans feel it, oh yes. They’re amazingly confident from a sickeningly enabling media and midterm opponent history (that’s all those fools have, truly) and they have absolutely zero political tools to grasp this platinum political opportunity (thank Darwin for that), but like all political animals they still know and feel something very fundamental has shifted, enormously powerful political forces are at work, and they wait very patiently for any possible new chance to regain power.
Perhaps a good test of the possible Bailout Window of consequences will be the House results for 2010. The Republicans were given up for dead on the cover of Time just 18 months ago, but if we lose the House we’ll have to know Obama and the Democrats just didn’t do nearly enough to assuage that furious bailout anger, and our politics will profoundly adjust to the new political landscape paradigm of delivering for everyone, not just the finance industry. Or get used to losing more.