Sunday, December 12, 2010

Not your friends

Clinton n BHO ap

Clintonism is dead, killed by Bill Clinton of all people. In the world of strong and simple narratives that the popular press favors, the strongest argument against the disgusting tax deal cobbled together by Obama and the GOP was Clintonism, that under Bill Clinton and the democrats in 1993 marginal tax rates on wealthier Americans were raised from a maximum of 31% under Bush senior to as much as 39.6%, and eventually this led to the boom and balanced budgets of the late 1990s.

But as you are likely to have heard, Clinton himself decided to go to bat for this horrific tax deal, prostituting his liberal cred, such as it is, for tax cuts and a future economic bust. I imagine now that the Fed will do everything they can to float Obama to reelection, because if the economy appears to revive, the ghost of Clintonism can be killed, once and for all, gutted by supply-side Obama-ism-- at least according to the DC "villager" types and the popular news media, who will look everywhere for silver linings that demonstrate the supposed wisdom and fairness of tax cuts for everybody.

Disabusing people of the common-sense notion that you increase tax revenue by increasing taxes may be even more valuable to the oligarchy than for the GOP to retake the White House in 2012. I wonder what will actually happen, although I have to believe much of that upper-income tax cut money will go towards investment in Asian economies, and the US economy will continue its downward slide for at least another two years.

Meanwhile, will there be anybody left debating whether Obama and the democratic leadership is inept or deliberately selling out? I'm glad more people are noticing the malignant effect of the payroll tax cut, supposedly just for one year. The GWB tax cuts were supposedly just for this decade, through 12/31/2010, and if the democrats really wanted to win in the mid-terms they could have voted on the tax cuts this summer, forcing a real fillibuster just before the election-- but Harry Reid didn't want that, any more than BHO did.

Reid and Pelosi and Hoyer got re-elected, but people like Alan Grayson and Russ Feingold were not so lucky, and neither were most of the so-called Blue Dog dems. I tend to assume this was partly by design, funding-wise, that one of the unusual traits of Obama-ism is he wants to be able to run against democratic policies, and do so without any strong voices of opposition to ruffle his feathers. The presence of both the Blue Dogs, stealing his thunder and making BHO's pronouncements seem more generic and less 'bold', and potential critics within the party from the left, interfere with Obama selling himself as a leader. Why would the GOP want to get rid of him? Might as well run Sarah Palin, to help build a database of far-right supporters for 2016. And if she actually wins, all the better. The only possible value I can see in voting for Obama at this point is if it prevents a war with Iran, although I am by no means convinced that BHO wouldn't attack Iran. He may even do so to distract people from the sour jobs outlook.

The other day Digby wrote:

I am usually fairly skeptical of the idea that the Democrats are always screwing up and losing debates because they are consciously conspiring with the Republicans to reach certain goals.

After such a promising beginning she dismisses the conspiracy angle and insists, in a pained way("I'm not defending them, but...") that the democrats know what they're doing, and their motives are just. Thank goodness for that! Were you holding your breath?

As you may know, the guys at Stop Me Before I Vote Again have subtitled their blog, "If you're a Lefty like us, the Democrats are not your friends". You don't even have to be a lefty, just have some common sense, to recognize the duplicity of the GOP, who initially insisted that they were holding out on renewing unemployment benefits because of deficit worries. And the duplicity of Obama, and Bill Clinton, and the rest of the democratic leadership.

Nancy Altman, via Jonathan Schwarz, "The end of social security"
Rob Payne, "Obama destroys social security all on his own"

The increasingly rightward drifting Christian Science Monitor:

"How tax cut revolt helps Obama: It's a page from Clinton playbook,"and

"Obama tax deal could start an era like Reagan's"

Tony Wikrent(via Avedon): "Why the Obama Tax Deal is Insane"

"This 2 percent payroll tax cut is the beginning of the end of Social Security as we know it," said the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, which is led by former Rep. Barbara B. Kennelly, D-Conn.

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At December 13, 2010 5:21 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

Regarding this most recent--of a long line--of betrayals, I'm feeling the same thing I did when Bush pandered and kowtowed to the wealthy--helpless rage. Not only rage, mind you, but helplessness. Really, what's to be done? We're screwed and not in a good way...

At December 13, 2010 9:09 AM, Blogger AlanSmithee said...

Access bloggers like Digby will never admit to the blindingly obvious mendacity of their party because that would mean giving up their access. That why she trots out her "I don't understand..." line whenever her masters and betters do something too egregious to ignore.

At December 13, 2010 9:28 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Alan, tell us how this came to be. Why doesn't the Democratic Party represent its constituency? Why are their Presidents in bed with the corporatists? How does the system work?

Thanking you in advance for your cool analytical response.

At December 13, 2010 5:40 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

The Democrat’s base was once the working class who were empowered by the worker unions. Once they shifted manufacturing to other nations it caused the decline of unions since there were no longer any jobs, which won’t be coming back. So now the Democrats get their money from the same people the Republicans do, in fact both parties could be called business parties since that is who they both represent and why there is no longer any difference between the two parties on major issues especially war. It’s why bam-bam is a republican because he is a republican.

Good post Jonathan though I have read that most of the dems who lost their seats were Obama supporters and pro-war while the ones who mostly retained their seats were against bam-bam policy. Shows some Americans have some sense after all.

Digby cannot think straight because she is hopelessly partisan in a non-partisan world. I mean there’s nothing to be partisan about is there? Both parties support business which is the same as saying war but Digby is convinced that there is still a difference, she’s living in the past, FDR isn’t around any longer. He was a dick anyway.

At December 13, 2010 10:41 PM, Anonymous ms_xeno said...

Union leadership still manages to shovel a fair amount of money at the DP, though. In return, they get "access," much like Digby. And pretty much nothing else.

I used to be Union, and even then I thought the whole spectacle was disgusting.

At December 13, 2010 11:16 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi all. Ms X, I think Rob's point is about the power of unions in the pre-Reagan days. I'm sorry to hear your experience with unions wasn't so great.

Of course media consolidation, under Reagan and Clinton and since also makes for a bleaker landscape for liberal voices, and the latter day Democrats became what was expected of them. We need to carve up the media conglomerates, but that's just one step, and probably insufficient and as it is pretty unlikely to happen.

At December 14, 2010 2:35 AM, Blogger rob payne said...

Obama’s largest contributor was Wall Street which helps explain the fact that Obama and the democratic held congress oversaw the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world in Obama’s first two years in office and I think they knew exactly what they were doing contrary to what some say. I’m not saying that unions are pure as the driven snow but they were responsible for progressive things like a five day work week and an eight hour day as compared to 14/7 prior to unions among other things. Sure, maybe you had a bad experience Ms Xeno, I wouldn’t doubt it a bit, but that doesn’t make what I said untrue.

At December 14, 2010 6:42 AM, Anonymous ms_xeno said...

Guys, I wasn't saying that everything about unions is awful, only that they torpedo the rank-and-file's own best interests routinely by staying in bed with the Democratic Party.

They score no points for their hostility towards single-payer, either.

At December 15, 2010 11:45 AM, Blogger AlanSmithee said...

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