Much of conservative America, led by the business community and Wall Street as its parakletos, has from day one after Obama’s election to the presidency granted him a series of political pejoratives that only America’s puritan-capitalism can assign with a straight face, and total ignorance: calling him a socialist, or a communist, or many of the other anti-capitalist denominations in between.
Karl Marx must be turning over in his grave at Highgate Cemetery when taking stock of the list of politicians worldwide who are currently being treated as his disciples in the economic philosophy he espoused in Das Kapital . . . the American president heading that list.
Sorry, folks; Mr. Obama may be accused of many things, but progressivism, much less socialism, is not likely something which is evidenced in his presidential lexicon . . . not as represented by actions taken during his tenure in the White House, including a pyrrhic effort at universal healthcare with his Obamacare.
In mid-July 2008, as the presidential campaign (Obama-McCain) was reaching the cusp of political crescendo, my column, “American Politics: Is Obama Progressive-fools’ Gold?” expressed the fear that many of us had then. A fear which has now come to pass, fully realized . . . and irreversible!
Most of us with a committed progressive leaning in America’s sociopolitical life did have a very strong suspicion back in 2008 that the junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, was a poor choice as standard-bearer for the progressive cause. In fact, many of us only saw in Mr. Obama the rallying-force needed by the Democratic brass running political precincts in much of the country to regain the political power in Washington which had been lost during the Bush years; that it wasn’t quite yet Hillary’s time. And so, the faux Center-Left politicos left over from bon vivant Bill Clinton’s days, who commanded the opposition’s Tweedledee party during the eight-year reign of terror (international and domestic) of Goofy Junior Bush and his mentor, Evil Cheney, presented a veritable fool’s gold candidate in the articulate, but cogently ill-prepared for the task, Barak Obama.
And it was fool’s gold that Barack Obama proved out to be. Unquestionably, Mr. Obama presented many of the glittery properties expected of a visionary statesman-politician who would re-route America on the right course; but he, and/or his handlers, had much of America and the world totally fooled.
As far as politics is concerned, outside of a hard-core radicalized group which represents no more than 1 percent of the vote, and 100 percent of the progressive causes, a true full spectrum of American politics is to be found distributed, for the remaining 99 percent, in many different shades of conservatism, from the ultra-right of imperialistic neo-cons which dominates much of the State Department and the Pentagon, to the chameleonic shades shown by Clinton Democrats, conservative in nature but often dressed-in-deceit with progressive duds.
These days, one is likely to think of America as a nation split in most every aspect of life; whether in wealth, rich vs. poor; in race, white vs. color; in religion, Judeo-Christians vs. all others; or in social leanings, conservatives vs. liberals. Even US maps are shown portraying America as politically divided between the color Red (Republicans) and the color Blue (Democrats). But it is the latter, the political divide between Republicans and Democrats, the one least divisive of all. After all, politicians from both parties suck from the same economic udder, concerned about their careers, and not the citizens they should be serving.
By art, design, or simply political incapacity, Obama, has defined himself as pure pyrite, at a time when the nation needed a gold-solid leader. Foolishly, he wanted to be liked by most everyone, and in the process he has lost the respect or esteem of almost everyone. He has squandered opportunities to truly help with the peace process in the Middle East, while bringing instability to Eurasia, and the totally phony drum-beating of “Russia’s threat.” His Pollyannaish approach to the presidency is not only absurd, but his vision in both domestic and international affairs has been totally lacking.
Perhaps Obama’s last hurrah could come in the area of race relations, helping bring about in the next two years a system of fairness and trust between African-Americans and the police; also rendering economic assistance (jobs) to a large black population now forced to run the gauntlet towards crime. But he may have blown that chance as well when he made an uncalled for statement Sunday by saying, “We can’t equate what’s happening now to what was happening 50 years ago.” Duh, Mr. President!
© 2014 Ben Tanosborn
Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.