Meet the New Boss

by: Ian Welsh

Tue Sep 15, 2009 at 18:00


Obama supports extending Patriot Act provisions

I assume, by this point, no one expected anything else?

If not, forgive me, but you're the living definition of denial.

The fundamental truth about the Obama administration is that it is the Bush administration run by slightly less incompetent, marginally less evil people:

  • The Iraq occupation will end when Bush wanted it to.
  • The Bush administration's campaign of eradication of fundamental civil liberties, including the gutting of the 4th amendment and holding people without trial, continues.
  • The Afghan war continues, and is even being escalated.
  • The signature issue of "health care reform" is a scheme which will force citizens to buy private insurance which, because of lack of effective controls, will increase in price faster than wages or inflation.
  • Obama and Geithner have followed the Bush/Paulson financial policies, virtually to the letter, spending trillions bailing out Wall Street and creating a financial sector which has fewer, larger actors with more political power than before.
  • Obama continues to exert pressure primarily on Progressives rather than on Blue Dogs in order to obtain relatively more conservative rather than liberal bills. (This is not an accident.)  The most liberal bill always comes from the House, the conference committee bill is inevitably closer to the more conservative Senate bill.  (This is not an accident.)
  • Unlike Bush Jr, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Reagan, Obama has not replaced the prior administration's district attorneys wholesale, instead leaving in place the majority of the Bush administration DA's who had survived Rove's purges intended to make sure they were loyal Republican apparatchiks.
  • Obama has not cleaned out the administration in general of Bush-era appointees and plants; indeed he has filled less spots than either Clinton or Bush II had by this point in their terms—and no, it's not because the Senate won't confirm them.
  • Obama appointees will be forced to resign if the right wing (aka Beck) goes after them hard, but if progressives don't like them, tough luck.
  • Obama's economic team is filled with people who created the framework which allowed the financial meltdown to occur, who didn't see it coming, and whose solution to it is to give money to their friends and colleagues and try and get another bubble started.
  • Etc.

In most meaningful ways, Obama is running a slightly kinder, gentler and very moderately less-stupid version of the Bush constitutional framework.

Plus ça change plus c'est la meme chose.

Ian Welsh :: Meet the New Boss

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Meet the New Boss | 23 comments
No reason (4.00 / 1)
This was a bad bill passed by fear.  There is simply no reason to extend the "Patriot" Act.  Thanks, Ian.

David (0.00 / 0)
did you ever work in Hiroshima?

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
Fwiw, Kowalski is an extremely common name meaning blacksmith.  

[ Parent ]
This is the same list (0.00 / 0)
I cited when I discontinued receiving email from the Obama campaign two days ago. But, still, I know it's not over yet.

Does this mean there won't be ponies? (4.00 / 2)
I mean, is it just me, or do these bullet points seem somewhat at variance with the claims made during the primaries?

Even if the claims be as vague as "hope" and "change"?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  


The ponies were unicorns. (0.00 / 0)
Unicorns named Hope and Change, that is... and they still live at Daily Kos.

[ Parent ]
You didn't get your pony, yet? (0.00 / 0)
Must be some trouble with the paper work.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
A little extreme (4.00 / 1)
I have never been a fan of Obama.  Never been on his email list, never gave him a dime, and voted against him in the primary.

But, ffs, the Obama administration isn't the Bush administration.  It's the Clinton administration at its weakest and most conservative - but at least Clinton had the excuse of never having a mandate and having a credible opposition party.

Clinton came in with some modest progressive dreams, and reality slapped him hard.  Obama was faking it from day one.

I really don't like Obama, but he hasn't started a war on false pretenses, he isn't going to support global warming denial, he has a basic grasp of economics, he isn't going to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans, he reads his presidential daily brief, he's not going to install more partisan operatives at DOJ, and he probably puts in a full day at the office.


Little of this is relevant to what Ian said (4.00 / 3)
I really don't like Obama, but he hasn't started a war on false pretenses, he isn't going to support global warming denial, he has a basic grasp of economics, he isn't going to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans, he reads his presidential daily brief, he's not going to install more partisan operatives at DOJ, and he probably puts in a full day at the office.

How does that relate to Ian's point?

In most meaningful ways, Obama is running a slightly kinder, gentler and very moderately less-stupid version of the Bush constitutional framework.



Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Very simple (0.00 / 0)
1.  I have never cared for Obama.  I haven't been "in denial" about Obama.

2.  Obama's isn't a "slightly" more competent, "marginally" less evil administration, and despite the sloppy writing, most of the post isn't about the "constitutional framework."  I'm not off topic for replying to the actual post.  Most of it is about bad policies.  Because it starts with a sentence about the Patriot Act, and ends with a reference to a "constitutional framework" doesn't negate the fact that most of the post doesn't have anything to do with any constitutional framework.

There is a difference between continuing the conflict in Afghanistan and screwing up the war in Afghanistan by lying the country into a war with Iraq.  There is a difference between hiring a Clinton era holdover like Summers and having your policy directed by James Dobson and Glover Norquist.  There is a difference between using the executive branch to torture and kill innocents and dismissing anyone who claims that civil rights or privacy have any place in fighting terrorism is a traitor and writing a letter to Pat Leahy saying that the administration supports the continuation of Patriot Act policies, with the inclusion of additional civil rights and privacy provisions.  There is a difference between, in the midst of a financial crisis and major political push on healthcare, in being slow to replace US attorneys or other operatives from the prior adminsitration and dismantling the government by appointing incompetent industry operatives and religious nuts in the first place.  There is a difference between screwing up the healthcare debate, and leaving people to drown in New Orleans.  

Many of the bullet points are pretty marginal - he's "slow" to replace people?  Seriously?  He's responsible for the Senate browbeating the House (that's been largely the case for as long as I can recall)? THIS gets Obama put in the same dustbin as the WORST ADMINISTATION in HISTORY?  A Bush comparison is invidious and deserves pretty close scrutiny.

The reality is that Bush was an historically corrupt, incompetent presidency.  The point of my comment was that the post was pretty absurd, and it responded to the substance of the post, not the off-topic sentences that tried present a framework that wasn't present in the examples.  That's how it relates to the point - it is a tantrum, not analysis.


[ Parent ]
Will Sherrod Brown or Ned Lamont please primary Barry, please? (0.00 / 0)
D's will lose the Va. governorship and 10=20 seats in the state's House this November; and will lose 20-40 seats in the U.S. House next year, if Rahm/Barry keep up his right of center administration.

As Truman is supposed to have said, if you give the voters a choice between a candidate who acts like a Republican and a real Republican, they'll vote for the real Republican every time.

The passing of Jody Powell today reminded me of the consequences of a D president who tried to govern against a liberal D majority in both houses of Congress. If another Reagan is what Rahm and Barry want in 2012, keep it up.


No surprise here. (0.00 / 0)
Obama voted for the renewal of the Patriot Act during his brief lackluster tenure in the Senate.

So - what did anybody expect?


Earlier I posted in another thread a suggestion of greater aqccuracy. (4.00 / 1)
This is an accurate list of grievances. Each point. I have no idea however when or whether Bush Cared when the war ended. It was determined on his watch, to end it at the time as, and after, Obama campaigned on it.

The Afghan War has to end. Jobs have to come back. Rights have to be re-established. Banks and Wall street have to not have such destructive control of the economy. America needs to produce its own energy, renewable energy. Obama was given some power to do things, that America wants done. Its time for that power to start doing this.

Its time for America to start demanding that it get done.

And done openly.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


When he won (4.00 / 1)
I expected him to display the typical Dem weakness and fear of being called too liberal, and try to overcompensate for it by showing how tough and serious and un-DFH he was. But I never expected it to be this bad. Not even close. This isn't ordinary overcompensation and triangulation. This is pathological. This is a man who is profoundly and deeply terrified of not being taken seriously, and in need of being liked and respected by older, more experienced and tougher father figures. And, perhaps, something else, some subconscious sadistic thing going on that I can't quite put my finger on, that's totally gratuitous, and appears to be about some buried need to hurt others as he was hurt himself. I know one isn't supposed to engage in armchair psychoanalysis, but it's so freaking obvious. No wonder Wright went crazy last year. Obama turned on him in a way that he never expected or thought possible, just as Obama has turned on his supporters, and the country, really. It's almost like he WANTS to.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
I think its far more complex, and its pointless to try and say what he thinks. (0.00 / 0)
It is not pointless to demand action, it is not pointless to demand change. We have a very real, very supported set of health reforms that are on their way to passage. This happened because we supported and developed good candidates for congress, we ran a fifty stae program, which produced a congress that we can be disappointed in, but we can also be sure will produce real results. The shape of the health reform, which is a compromise, is one of real reform. People wont be bankrupted by medical emergencies to the point that 2 out of every three bankruptcies are because of medical cost. This alone is real reform. Not enough, we con do better and are doing better, but real reform.

Americans will no longer be told, you are already sick we will not give you medical coverage, that will be illegal. No one in the middle of being treated will be sent home because the Insurance company 'discovers' you had intestinal problems in college. That will be illegal. Thats real reform. We organized for it. We got it. It will be passed. That is reform. Real reform. Not enough, but real. But there is more. Americans will have the same system that congress has for buying Health Insurance. It will end the sellers market, the kind of market that drives up house prices, the kind of market where you have no choice.  A buyers market is being set up.  Good, but not enough.

To make that market accountable, a public option will be offered. Without a need for profit, without a need for hundred million dollar CEO salaries it will cost less and cover more. Good reform. Not enough, but good.

This all happened because we worked together and made it happen. By delivering votes, and by threatening to take them away. All together the health insurance reforms will change the lives of millions of Americans, and take the fear of health coverage away from American lives. The loss of that fear alone is amazing. Something we should be very proud of.

Now, we have to start working to end the war in Afghanistan. And doing that, we will make more better democrats. And more better democrats will make our other reforms more possible.

Not satisfied? Fine, we aren't done yet. We are months from the worst, most dangerous government that ever existed in America. We have turned a lot of corners, and we are stronger than ever. The job is to keep doing, exactly as we have been doing, because we are winning, not losing, getting stronger, not weaker. The path ahead is like the path that got us here, its work, its organizing and taking responsibility. Slowing down, turning aside or choosing a different path - these are not options. We need to press harder in the same ways that brought us more better dems, and create even more better dems.  

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
sad sad sad (4.00 / 2)
barack gave us some hope, but we should have known better, unless the country wakes up and starts to demand accountablity we will have the same corporate run govt for the next fifty years as we have had for the past 50 years,

same wine different bottle-
at least bush told us what he wanted to do

whatever you think people owe you, that is what you owe people


Corporate Run Government (4.00 / 1)
We need a new mission, independent of party politics: to break the current corrupt system which is controlled by the highest bidder. Everyday people can't afford to keep throwing money at the next man or woman who wants to join the gravy train in the name of reform.

[ Parent ]
i completely agree, (0.00 / 0)
without accountability these guys will just continue to do whatever they want, from my view dc seems to be the wild west,  

whatever you think people owe you, that is what you owe people

[ Parent ]
"marginally less evil people" (0.00 / 0)
Ian, the way you phrased that nails it exactly.

But it starts at the top (0.00 / 0)
I don't buy the benign and clueless leader part that is implied by blaming his staff. I think that he picked people in his own image, and they're operating upon his own wishes. There are two Obamas, the likeable, charming and inspiring speechmaker and crowd-rouser, and the guy the camera never sees, behind closed doors, where the real work gets done and decisions made in staff meetings. The first is for public consumption, the second is the real Obama.

I truly am stunned at the degree of disconnect between the two Obamas. It's like he's two different people. It's like he has MPD. I think he really means it when he's in front of the crowds. And then, when he's back at work, I think he means that two. He might not even see the disconnect. And the scary thing is that we've had a series of such presidents, where reality was quite different from illusion. Reagan, Clinton, Bush, now Obama. What's going on here? Have we finally and permanently entered the decadent phase of our republic?

Many of the founders predicted it, most of all Hamilton. He said something along the lines of when he lost our innocence, we'd lose our republic. He might have gotten it exactly wrong, though. We lost our innocence long ago, and really never had any. But it feels like we've been trying to recapture that illusory lost innocence, and have elected a succession of false messiah presidents in that effort, with disasterous results. We have lost our grip on reality, and presidents like Obama, and these others, are the outcome.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
What? (0.00 / 0)
I don't buy the benign and clueless leader part that is implied by blaming his staff.

Kovie, neither me (nor Ian) has implied that Obama is not included in this. The "Obama administration" actually does include President Obama. And when Ian titled his post "Meet the New Boss", I don't see any reason to jump to the conclusion that he was not talking about Obama and instead implying that Obama is some kind of puppet being run by Puppet Masters.
(Sorry for the late reply, was away from my computer all day and most of the evening).


[ Parent ]
For the life of me I will never understand (0.00 / 0)
The sort of pathological narcissism, ambition and indifference to others that drives people like this to do things like this, and allows them to smile and go about as if nothing has happened and they're having the time of their lives. I don't know if it's actual sociopathology, but it's about as close as it gets. There is something deeply wrong with this man, and he has barely even begun to do his damage. It's like he actually enjoys screwing people over. Is this some sort of Oedipal thing, getting back at the dad who abandoned him, and acting out his anger at losing him mom? I struggle to understand it and just can't. It's beyond my comprehension.

Emotionally damaged people shouldn't be allowed anywhere near power. They invariably use it to harm others, even if they don't necessarily intend to.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


Sounds like qualities for a good US Presidential Candidate (0.00 / 0)
pathological narcissism, ambition and indifference to others

Our nation manages to find folks to fill those roles on a routine basis. The problem is not that Mr. Obama satisfies the standards that the American electorate has for our president, its that alternatives need not apply.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Meet the New Boss | 23 comments
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