Bull Moose or Bull Shoot: Is Obama Changing His Stance Towards Wall Street?
By Danny Schechter. Author of The Crime of Our Time
Is Obama changing?
Many in the Occupy Wall Street Movement are patting their efforts on the back, and even claiming credit for what looks like a shift by President Obama towards a more engaged campaign discussing economic fairness.
The President's speech in Kansas was modeled on remarks made by the Republican Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt in 1910. There's nothing like quoting a Republican for credible centrist positioning. (Note: he quotes TR, not FDR.)
Will he embrace GOP Pres Eisenhower's warning about the Military Industrial Complex next? Unlikely.
Richard Eskow was quick to salute the new Obama:
"Barack Obama channeled one of American history's truly transformative figures by visiting the tiny Kansas town where Teddy Roosevelt gave his "New Nationalism" speech over a century ago. It was refreshing to see the President invoke his predecessor, who was a powerful and fearless agent of change both inside and outside the White House.
For the first time the President directly confronted the injustice of our growing economic divide, which were caused by the ongoing rapacity of the already-wealthy. He promised to take real action against the bankers who accepted our help after ruining the economy, then went on hoarding thenation's wealth for themselves at everyone else's expense.
Teddy would have been proud." (He was also proud of his role in the bloody Spanish-American War that turned into the Vietnam before Vietnam.)
Clearly it's more heartening to hear the president's new-found embrace of the needs of the millions being hurt by Wall Street's crime spree--rather than watch his more devious collusion with it.
His speech seemed more radical because of the way the right attacked it. A columnist for the Wall Street Journal compared him to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, but also saw the speech for what it was--- a campaign posture, a technique for rallying a disenchanted base, not a promise of tough action by the White House.
Writes Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, "Some will say hearing crude Chavista populism in the Obama speech is an overreaction. That once it's understood the Kansas speech was the work of the party leader, not the president of the United States, it becomes easier to think about it without overreacting to its intense and vivid rhetoric""
President Roosevelt was sincerely battling the monopolists of his time, not opportunistically playing politics.
"One of the fundamental necessities in a representative government such as ours," Roosevelt said, "is to make certain that the men to whom the people delegate their power shall serve the people by whom they are elected, andnot the special interests."
"No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar's worth of service rendered-not gambling in stocks, but service rendered."