There's a set of Kossaks who, for whatever various motives, claim the title of "realists" and pretty uniformly tell us that "Obama is doing the best he can," that "the votes just aren't there in Congress."
Anyone remember Grima Wormtongue, slimy minion of Saruman the Wise (a Big Time Evil Greedhead, as bad as Blankfein and Dimon and Geithner,) that same Grima who went forth from Isengard to poison, with effectual words of weakness and caution, the soul and spirit of Theoden, king of the Horse Lords, and thus defeat his nation? The "trusted counselor" who insinuated himself so deeply into the King's "confidence" that the King aged and weakened prematurely, and was convinced that "resistance is futile?"
Is that the message of the "realists?"
Not to tee off on anyone in particular, but the comment quoted here, typical of so many, catalyzed my little complaint. The comment was in response to someone stating that Obama could have done a whole lot more to get some restitution from and retribution against the "Wall Streeters" who along with other Kleptocrats are killing the rest of us so they can wear $300,000 "wrist chronographs" and drive $500,000 hand-made cars and own 17 homes and all the rest. And that Obama could, if he wanted to, have actually acted vigorously, like a polio-crippled wheelchair-bound predecessor, even against a hostile House and stacked court system. And that of course he should have been able to ACT, even and especially back when there was a nominal slam-dunk majority where it counted. Says the commenter, the "realist:"
Then produce the votes (0+ / 0-)
Go through rolls of the House and Senate and produce the votes that would have supported more. If you can show how it would have passed the House and the Senate. Not just hot air and wishfull thinking but Reps and Senators that would have voted to push a bill that did more to "punish" Wall Street.
That's the kind of thinking, or at least subtle argument, that completely ignores that Obama, and of course the Power People he has chosen to carry out his rule, have been doing, and pointedly NOT doing, a whole lot of "shoving shit through." And doing, or NOT doing that shoving, via the extraordinary power of the Unitary Presidency, issuing executive orders and directing policies, and directing enforcement of, or ignoring of, existing laws, and by controlling the arcs of regulatory initiatives, stuff that does not even have to pass through the rank bowels of The World's Greatest Deliberative Body.
And that whispering ignores or obscures that Obama has pointedly chosen NOT to either arm-twist or use the Bully Pulpit, as many of his predecessors have done, including Reagan, who crapped all over "opposition majorities" in their time.
Missing in this kind of "realistic" comment is the reality that other presidents, and their Men and Women too, have dealt with hostile Congresses and even Supreme Courts, and swum upstream against a flood of Robber Baron money, to shove through, by political acumen and bully-pulpit-ing and informing and enlightening and energizing and mobilizing, what used to be called "citizens" (before we were all reduced to being nothing but "consumers") to push back, hard, with a backstop of the savvy employment of the power of the executive office.
Obama ain't done shit in that vein, and Wormtongue blandishments about "hot air" and "vote counting" completely DISCOUNTS the reality that there still is a "vote," both by the electorate and then by the people's representatives (sic.) A voting process that, thanks to the poll-axing of America, where the sneaky "scientifically selected" scamming of "what the public really thinks on issues and personalities goes on 24-7 too, in a perverse kind of plebiscitic daily "election" that the "realists" would have us accept is already lost, except in a shrinking number of "safe" jurisdictions. Lost, if it is, in large part and over decades, because "the executive," in the form of regulatory agencies acting under broad or pinched interpretations of statutes, has actively pursued or discouraged behaviors that led to FOXing of the media that used to sort of educate us, and "rules" for corporate and "financial industry" behavior that led to the ongoing meltdown, and the militarization of our national wealth, and shipping of capital and labor resources overseas. And all the rest -- pick your issue, there you are.
LBJ and FDR and TR and Truman and even Eisenhower, and way back guys like Madison and Jackson, with varying degrees of loquacity but with some actual tenacity and apparent recognition that revolution triggered by obscene wealth concentrations and "Let them eat cake" Bourbonism is Not A Good Thing, and a more equitable schema is actually In The Public Interest and Good For The General Welfare, shoved stuff past the "vote counting" kind of resistance that the "realists" suggest is "insuperable." The Beltway Bubble only exists until enough people poke holes in it, stop yielding to the notion of its invulnerability and intractability, and the single person with the most raw power and the biggest hole-poker is The only President We've Got.
Congrats to the "realists," whether intentional trolls working on the long, slow, relentless sapping of the intelligence and perceptiveness and will of the rest of us, or of folks just wanting to be thought politically astute and part of the cognoscenti. Congrats on affirming and reinforcing the notions that have the rest of us, the 95%, licking up and fighting over the tiny crumbs that fall to the floor from the Kleptocratic Nobility's gluttonous feasting from a table loaded to groaning with the fruits of our productivity and the wealth of present and future generations. Makes you "realists" seem all wise and "realistic" and stuff, but hey, that ain't the way real "agents of change" go about it, last I checked.
And gee whiz, until the Kochs and the Roves and the rest dispense the approved Talking Points and inject some filtered, compressed FOXair into the flaccid backbones of those Members of Congress people like you just "count" and accept as wedded to the Fuck the Public Party, these "solid antis" sure do a pretty good backpeddle, when angry and especially newly awakened folks in their states and districts encounter them in "town halls" and stuff, where an increasing few are starting to recognize, despite the flood of corporate-media messaging, that they are being fucked over by the people who already own most of everything. And like, y'know, speaking up, and shouting down, and sending the Quisling pols scuttling for cover.
You know, most everybody in America has seen "It's A Wonderful Life." Which means most everybody recognizes Henry Potter, the man who would own EVERYTHING, and "re-brand" Bedford Falls as a dissipated Skid Row called "Potterville," as readily as George Bailey, the "I really wanted to do something else, but by concentrating on supporting the working stiffs, saved the town" guy. What is with the shitheads who are "messaging" for the Dems? Can't take advantage of iconic images like that, or construct a theme to take down the Greedheads? Or move The Only President We've Got to act, to use the power he has so readily available (ask the average Iraqi and Afghani and Bradley Manning and evicted homeowner how that works) to nudge or push the whole nation in a direction of sustainable socioeconomic metastability?
Oh wait, that's not what the "realists" are really all about, now, is it? Is it?
8:44 AM PT: So how one says parts of a diary it is more important than what one says? I guess they both count, in this space. Looks like anyone posting here needs to really grow a new set of antennae, tuned for all the potential "high dudgeon" triggers. I'll work on that. In the meantime, how about setting aside the outrage and looking at the other parts?
My obviously too obscure point is that had the President and his people actually wanted Change, in the direction of a less predatory and destructive nation, they could have worked harder to master the messaging, done some LBJ/FDR etc. arm-twisting and buttonholing, and of course done a lot more to activate the citizenry, explain what's being done to them, and given them some leadership in how to face down the "antis" and kleptocrats.
And of course there's the pretty obvious failure of our President to use the powers of the office, which he so freely uses for other purposes, to take action against the Wall Streeters and other predators, among other powers he has, and it's just my personal view from decades of watching (and as a federal employee during the Carter-Reagan transition, experiencing) the effective use of executive power to achieve certain ends, without regard to legislative changes or even to existing, pretty well settled law, that tells me this guy and his people are not really interested in doing that "progressive" stuff.
To all you offended "realists," whatever your involvement and participation, if you are busy doing God's work making things more fair and better for the 95% of us Americans, bless you and your works. But please ask your President to do a little less of that higher-order chess that does stuff like making Social Security not an insurance structure with premiums long since paid, but a way to dodge making the few who are eating our lunch, and breakfast and dinner too, pay their fair share, and pay restitution for the TRILLIONS they have stolen from the rest of us and now sit back waiting for us to create real wealth again, so they can securitize it and bubble it and tranche it and casino it so we can transfer more TRILLIONS to them.
That list some of you you say I am obligated to produce -- you have a list of your own, and a nice appreciation of what "business as usual" is, and who, barring some external force, goes along with the Money. What I am saying is that the "antis" can be overpowered, HAVE been overpowered, by more General-Welfare-motivated presidents in the past. Setting there and saying that these guys and gals are Reds or DINOs and those are Others, and that that is Just The Way It Is, and that no amount of bully-pulpit and actual General Welfare leadership will change the painful and descending-toward-feudalism reality, and you have the lists of Votes to prove it, does not get to a more just society.
In the meantime, do your I-am-so-offended all you want. What do they say, "It's a free country," isn't it? That will take us a long way together, right?