George W. Bush vowed not to criticize Barack Obama. “He deserves my silence.” He added for good measure, “I love my country more than I love politics. I think it is essential that he be helped in office.” If anyone needed additional proof that Obama was a servant of the ruling classes Bush certainly provided it.
But Donald Trump is getting less love from his fellow Republican. Bush could have exercised the same self-imposed silence in regards to Trump but instead he made a thinly veiled critique of his remark that the press are enemies of the people. “I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. That we need the media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”
Fine words but they don’t mean much to a man who used a compliant corporate media to wage war and attack our civil liberties. Media were certainly indispensable to Bush. They wouldn’t even use the word torture when describing American brutality. “Harsh interrogation techniques” and other such weasel words appeared in order to keep the press in his good graces. Bush and Obama certainly knew the media were essential in helping to normalize their agenda of American aggression and the enactment of neo-liberal schemes at home.
Liberals immediately joined in praising Bush’s simple statements even though they always said they hated him. Just a few sentences directed against Trump were enough for them to say they respected him, or that maybe he wasn’t so bad, or that Trump made him look better than they recall.
In this country, presentation is everything. Of course the corporate media play their role in making sure that no one gets into office who isn’t committed to the status quo. Trump upended that arrangement and has exposed the shallowness and perfidy of the liberal classes.
Donald Trump’s policy on the deportation of undocumented people will surely result in great suffering. Ramping up the U.S. police state is always dangerous. But it should not be discussed without pointing out that more than 2.5 million people were deported during the Obama administration, more than under any other president. He may have talked a good game and said “Sí se puede,” but it didn’t keep anyone from being kicked out. Obama proved that if the presentation were slick enough anything would be acceptable to the media and to the masses they deliberately misinform.
The same can be said for other Trump pronouncements that have caused so much angst. He may post a tweet about increasing America’s nuclear arsenal, or calling the most recent agreement with Russia a “bad deal.” But Obama spent $1 trillion on a nuclear weapons upgrade, all with little protest from people who think themselves leftists. Trump says he will request a 10% increase in defense spending, a shocking figure given that the military budget is already insanely large. But he also said that he won’t consider Social Security or Medicare for any budget reductions.
Obama declared more than once that entitlement programs would be “on the table” for budget cut consideration. He opened his first 2012 debate with Mitt Romney by declaring that they agreed on cutting these programs that Americans need to survive. Only Republican intransigence prevented him from making good on these plans. They were once called the “third rail of politics,” dooming anyone who suggested cutting back on the safety net to political defeat. But it is Trump the right-winger who announces protection for programs that were once identified solely with the Democratic Party.
Talk of resisting Trump is useless without exposure of past and present Democratic Party treachery against their voters. Smooth talking Democrats have given cover to one monstrous plot after another. Bill Clinton ended the right to public assistance. Barack Obama bailed out the financial sector with trillions of dollars.
Now liberals have nothing to say for themselves except attacking Trump’s low hanging fruit and never asking themselves about what Democrats have done. They continue a ceaseless attack on Russia, a country which has done no harm to the United States, and act in concert with Democrats and Republicans in the war party. They go so far as to quote dubious sources in intelligence agencies and now vouch for the credibility of George W. Bush.
Opposition to Trump, the “resistance” as it is called, will be useless without a wholesale rejection of the Democratic Party. There can be no resistance, no resurgent progressive movement if the Democrats and their wretched history aren’t cast away for good.
Liberals have exposed themselves as being weak at the very least, and phony lovers of empire and the elites at worst. They were never really very different. Having a right-winger in the White House has just exposed them all.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.