Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Hope juice and radical mediocrity

Uh, Paul, I might further suggest that hope is all you've got when you think you've run out of options. 

Me? I think the Obama crew are like our federal Liberals in the sense that they're simply afraid of doing anything too decisive. Mediocre action actually feels less risky than radical action, even though the opposite is often the case.

Mediocrity in time of crisis means that your actions will be insufficient to combat the crisis. There is also I think a tendency to downplay the severity of a problem, leading one to justify lukewarm solutions that do not go far enough. It's like an abusive relationship where one the abused sort recognises the problem, but not to the degree that will cause them to take the necessary steps to end the abuse.

Since his election Obama hasn't quite manage to fully extract from Iraq, remains in Afghanistan to the point where the US is slowly shifting into an adversarial relationship with Pakistan proper. He couldn't bring banks the heel and fully investigate their executives during the 2008 crisis, and he hasn't quite managed to get the jump on the consequent dep/recession. He certainly hasn't managed to pwn  the Republican/Tea Party fanatics, and instead seems to prefer to mush himself into their paws, not to mention divide his own party over the debt ceiling settlement.

His mediocrity has made everything worse, and 'hope' is what he's audaciously substituted for action.  The less kind will soon call him a coward.

It really is a shame the rest of us on the planet will have to deal with what this means for 2012.


CathiefromCanada said...

I disagree -- he's done a large number of good things in Washington. His biggest mistake was thinking that Republicans could be persuaded to work with him. Not gonna happen. But that's not Obama's fault. They wouldn't have worked with Hillary, either.

CathiefromCanada said...

Me again. I just read this article by Booman --
Its a good analysis, I think.

Moon Rattled said...

"His biggest mistake was thinking that Republicans could be persuaded to work with him."

So uh, how long does this "mistake" go on before Obama wakes up and smells the coffee. Truth is, that mistake has carried America further to the right. Obama has been wimping out since he took office. The debt was perpetrated by careless Republicans (remember when George Bush couldn't account for $12 billion in Iraq and nobody cared? Back then, bags of cash and losing them, were "the cost of doing business" according to the GOP who didn't give a damn about spending and borrowing.) The financial crisis continues and Wall Street is not being regulated. Obama is so weak he fired Elizabeth Warren, the only person with the balls to fight Goldman Sachs and their lobbyists. Why? Because all he can do is cave. He's utterly defeated. He missed his chance to raise taxes and now they will never be raised. There is no revenue generating mechanism in this so called debt deal, and now the teabaggers have control of the budget. Obama didn't have balls when he had all the power and when he failed to live up to his promise, fewer liberals voted bringing the conservatards back in. Obama's position is the weakest its been. I no longer have any confidence in the man.

West End Bob said...

Referencing obama the word "hope" doesn't enter the vocabulary any longer. "Hopeless," yes, but not "hope."

The man has finished the job of destroying the last vestiges of real Progressive action in the democratic party that bill clinton missed in his assault.

A pox on both the repugs and dems - As a former governor of Alabama used to say on a regular basis: "Ain't a dime's worth of difference between 'em."

Unfortunately, he's right in today's sorry excuse for what constitutes the two-party system in the Excited States . . . .

Steve said...

In the US its like choosing between the Conservative party and the Reform party, or the Alberta Cons and the Wildrose. The fix is in!

Thats why at age 52 I have had it with the Liberal party, I loved Chretien, was mute on Martin, loved Dion, mute on Iggy, hate Bob.

Jim said...

I think everyone would agree that Obama is at most a moderate; he is not a "progressive," or a leftist.

(This is not, of course related to the Republican rhetoric about him. If he reinstituted slavery, removed the Bill of Rights from the constitution and made it legal to shoot workers for insubordination, the Republicans would still call him a communist. Mud, meet wall.)

However, there is some blame to be attached to the netroots and the progressive movement. I think it was FDR who said that he was elected to do certain things, but that now the public had to make him do them. The public has not applied the pressure that Obama needs to shift the debate (any debate) to the left. Or, to quote a bumpersticker, if the people lead, the leaders will follow.

It is well known that the right is better organized than the left in the US. Remember the old Doonesbury cartoon about the NRA and gun control? "Congressman, shall I put you down for a million postcards?"

The left has not been doing that. Sometimes it seems that having elected Obama, the left put its collective (you should pardon the expression) feet up and relaxed.

Obama had five million volunteers and nearly seventy million votes three years ago. What he needed was seventy million people yelling in the town hall meetings, accosting Republican officials as they try to eat their lunch and flooding their mailboxes and phone lines *every* *day*.

There was a time that the American people did get that riled up. In 1932 Hoover referred approvingly to the violent dispersal of the "Bonus Army" during a speech. A Secret Service agent stated later that the reaction of the crowd was the most frightening thing he had ever heard in his life.

People are not that desperate (yet). Nor are they that involved in the issues. When they are, things will change.

West End Bob said...

Excellent comment, Jim . . . .

thwap said...

Obama is a public relations creation.

After two stolen elections and blatant corporate rule, and the buggering of constitutional principles, the US ruling class realized that it was time to give the Democrats a turn. Especially since the Democrats were losing credibility after winning both houses of Congress and still funding bush II's wars.

Along comes this telegenic figure, straight out of Hollywood almost, who can make even cynical people "Hope" and "Believe."

But the reason they created this monster was because it was supposed to be business as usual: wring the peasants dry and keep assaulting the Constitution to do so.

Nobody was going buy that without a good sales job.