Friday, 2 April 2010

US Politics- Bits and Pieces

'Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life-rafts.'- Eugene McCarthy.  

Wonder where Obama got his healthcare ideas from? Perhaps he dusted down some old ideas from the Republicans.

Obama 'socialist' healthcare plans? Tell that to the Socialist Party of the USA.

After praising him a blogpost or two back, I'm not very happy with Dennis Kucinich going along with Obama's healthcare plans, after saying he would not support the Bill if there was no public option. There is some cynicism out there about his actions, especially as prior to that he suffered a fair bit of criticism from the 'My Obama, Right or Wrong' Brigade. However, there definitely seems to be a strategic gameplan by Obama and those around him to rally support on this and other issues by arguing that, however bad things get, it would be worse if the Republicans win. Anyone over here who has experienced the argument that 'support Labour or the Tories win' will be familiar with this tactic/emotional blackmail. David Sirota discusses it at length, with the comment that most resonates with me being:

Democrats tell their base that any bill is better than no bill, even one making things worse, and that if this particular legislation doesn’t pass, Republicans will win the upcoming election -- as if signing a blank check to insurance and drug companies couldn’t seal that fate.

Replace 'Democrats' with 'Labour' and 'Republicans' with 'Conservatives' and you have got the gist of most 'debate' on 'the Left' in Britain for more years than I care to remember.

'Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Surely, comrades', cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, 'surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back.' (George Orwell, Animal Farm)

It appears that Obama's Chief of Staff  Rahm Emmanuel has written off the  Democrats' chances in this Autumn's Congressional Elections, in a clear echo of his attitude to the 1994 ones. Then it will be a return by Obama towards 'triangulation' and 'the centre', which would surely be euphemisms to oversee letting off the banks from more regulation and giving over the social security system to corporate interests. There might also be a revival of Sarah Palin's 2008 policy/slogan 'Drill, Baby, Drill' when it comes to offshore gas and oil drilling. The Republicans say they may oppose such plans. So It Goes...

One wonders what all this will do to all those people, particularly young/first-time voters, who gave an Obama a chance in November 2008. I guess a lot will stay at home in 2012 and in even greater numbers this November, with extra added cynicism towards politics to boot. As a goddam Limey it is not my business to tell people in the US what to do, but if I was a US Citizen (ie if I lived in a political Brodingnag as opposed to a Lilliput) and basically had the same political outlook as I have now here on Airstrip One, I think I would try and seek out decent people on the US Right. Not the idiots obsessed with Obama's skin colour, his supposed foreign origins, Muslimness and Marxist tendencies (Marxist AND Muslim? So which side would he have been on during the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s? Asking that may confuse the average Tea Party type), but those opposed to the wars (whether ongoing ie Afghanistan, the ones that might flare up again ie Iraq? and those yet to come ie Iran? North Korea? Etc, etc...?), the curtailing of civil liberties, the bail-outs helping big business and the banks etc etc.

 Wear this T-shirt and I'll buy you a drink! Which Lefty cannot agree with this Ron Paul-endorsed slogan? Why didn't 'our' side think of it first?

It seems pretty clear Obama and his cronies sees no place in the Democrat Party for those who consider themselves 'progressive', but they still want your support in Congress and at election time. Why not call their bluff? Do something else politically. It will be better and more rewarding for you in terms of your time, intellectual education, personal integrity and bank balance! Do you want to spend the next two years and seven months, more or less, repeating whatever updates to 'Yes We Can' and 'Change We Can We Believe in' the White House comes out with to your friends, neighbours and peers?

 'Goldman Sachs Bankers, Join The Queue...'

If you've had enough of a slogan ripped off from 'Bob the Builder' and all that entails politically you may want to peruse these:

Glenn Greenwald, whose 'we are not worthy' blog is at Salon, talks to Radio;

If you wonder how on earth the likes of  Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh stay so popular, this is for you; and...

Naomi Wolf talks US politics here.

Who would be for a Greenwald/Wolf versus Ventura/Paul contest for the 2012 US Presidential Election?


James Bloodworth said...

Do you not think that centrist, consensus politics is the natural outcome in a mature democratic system? Not that I think that it's good or anything!

Look at how the "majority" behave in all areas of 21st century life - what they buy, music they listen to, films they watch, even holiday destinations: people tend to look to others to help them with their own choices; "what's popular?", "what's in fashion?", "what will people think of me?". Politics is no different - the average person cannot think outside of the box. "That's just how it is", as they might say. And then you have the mainstream media who will just give people what they want i.e. what sells, therefore reinforcing the consensus. Half the time it doesn't really matter how idiotic a policy is, all you need is the echo chamber of "common sense" calling for it - the political parties are trying to sell themselves to the majority as a business tries to sell a product. They are not in the business of creating new buying trends; they are in the game of selling people what they already (think they) need.

Anonymous said...

What other realistic option was there for Obama re the health plan?

He's the best hope that the progressive world has for the moment.

American politics is way to the right of the UK. The Democrats are like slightly left wing Tories and the Republicans are like hard right Tories. Most Democrats support the death penalty, most apart from Obama supported the Iraq war, and many of them support gun ownership and many Democrats blindly support Israel. Not a great choice but more Democrats are progressive in a real sense. The Democratic Party seems to be as though the left-wing Tories merged with Labour - an unusual mix of views.

The US needs constitutional reform for real change to happen. For a start state and city elections could do with using some kind of PR so that smaller parties get a voice. There needs to be radical campaign finance reform.

Any country that allows a major city like to Detroit to go to ruin is in trouble. But for the moment Obama is the best we have. We shouldn't forget that the fall of Detroit and the US economy as a whole happened before Obama came to power.