Monday, December 13, 2010

Bush Lite

I can't recall the last time I saw such over-all anger directed at a Democratic president by liberals. Yes, Clinton infuriated us with his welfare-reform and his fiscal conservatism, but he didn't turn the left off as hard and as wilfully as Barack Obama has, probably because Clinton didn't allow his White House to openly dismiss the left as "fucking retards" or "whiners." But I suspect more is afoot than a bit of disrespectful name-calling and I think Joan Vennochi described what that is quite nicely in her latest column.

From the Oval Office to the basketball court, Obama can’t catch a break. When Bill Clinton bit his lip, he felt our pain. Obama’s stitched lip makes us feel his. If Bush is all hat, no cattle, Obama is a man with neither hat, cattle, nor liberal friends, thanks to his embrace of the same Bush-era policies that he denounced.

The Bush wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are now Obama’s. So are Bush’s wiretapping and detention policies. Obama took airport security beyond the Bush-imposed intrusions that require passengers to take off shoes and belts; in the Obama era, passengers submit to graphic body-imaging machines or full body pat-downs.

The health care reform legislation that conservatives demonize as socialism disappointed liberals because it is so far from it. There’s no public option or single-payer system. Indeed, its roots lie in the blueprint drawn up by a Republican governor of Massachusetts. ObamaCare is pretty close to RomneyCare, and a conceptual outgrowth of Bush’s Medicare reform.

Taxpayer-funded bailouts after Wall Street’s meltdown started under Bush and continued under Obama. Both administrations adhere to the theory that some businesses are “too big to fail’’ and many little guys are too small to save.

I think that pretty much nails it. Everything we despised in George Bush's administration, everything Barack Obama found objectionable while campaigning, has not only been continued but in some cases expanded. The only differences at this point seem to be that Obama doesn't revel in fart jokes or mangle the English language. He's too cool for that.

Ms. Vennochi suggests that we liberals were duped by our hatred of Bush, that we voted for Obama because of a kind of Anybody-But-Bush blindness, and to a certain extent that is probably true. I think that we were duped, and share some blame for the current mess, but not just because of some visceral hatred of Bush. We did, after all, overlook Obama's DLC ties, which should have warned us that we weren't exactly electing a lefty.

What we didn't and probably couldn't know is that the great community organizer was not only not a lefty, he wasn't a fighter. We didn't realize that he would rather sell out the little guy and his base rather than expose the banksters for what they were and slam them into the closest jail. He would rather capitulate to the moneyed interests and their congressional lackeys than fight them to improve the lot of the 98% of us who make our living by working.

Whether he is, as some of my conspiracy minded friends have suggested, a Republican plant, or simply too frightened to make enemies, the effect is the same. We voted for someone who would right the ship of state after eight disastrous years. We got Bush Lite.



Anonymous Christopher said...

Obama hasn't changed, he isn't weak, he never was a fighter. He's as much a fake populist as Bush was--and always has been. I seriously do not see how anybody was ever fooled by him, it was clear from what (little) he had done, and how he operated, what he was. And is. People voted for what they wanted to be, not what he was. And they, and the rest of us, are paying for that self-delusion.

I am not grateful to those who were fooled.

5:41 PM  

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