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Enough Equivocation: Obama and His Democratic Comrades are Right-Wing Republicans

By       Message Kristine Mattis     Permalink
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A few months ago as I walked around the buzzing and ignited capital in Madison, I came upon a vender selling T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers commemorating the ongoing sociopolitical struggle in Wisconsin. One read, "Recall Walker, Re-Elect Obama." I loudly verbalized, "Well, HALF of that is right" and proceeded to go on a short tirade to my indulgent partner about how misled and idiotic it is to support Barack Obama for President in 2012. Some people around me seemed to glare as if I were crazy.

I have not seen anywhere, in neither the corporate nor the so-called alternative media, an analysis of the debt ceiling "crisis" that resembles the obvious truth. Numerous comments on alternative blogs suggest that there are citizens who have it figured out, but that which will not be spoken remains unspoken: not only is the crisis of the debt ceiling a fabrication, but Obama is also getting exactly what he wants.

Back when Barack Obama was inaugurated as President I recall watching the Daily Show, on which a former law school professor who taught both Barack and Michelle spoke about the couple. He told Jon Stewart that back when they were in law school, it seemed to him the Obamas were Republicans. I remember Jon Stewart laughing and thinking that the good professor was making a joke. I thought he was serious, and now more than ever, I still do.

What more evidence do we need that Obama supports a right-wing neoliberal agenda?

Here is but a short list of policies he's enacted (or not enacted) off the top of my head:

  • Bailing out Wall Street while millions of Americans went homeless and hungry
  • Extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy
  • Enacting an ineffective new health care overhaul which puts even MORE wealth into the coffers of insurance companies but does little to nothing for the sick American (yet force them to pay for this atrocity)
  • Failing to prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes, including torture
  • Increasing free trade agreements throughout the world
  • Continuing detention at Guantanamo Bay
  • Continuing "extraordinary rendition"
  • Continuing the unwarranted and ill-advised war in Afghanistan
  • Cutting and/or threatening to cut Medicare, Medicaid. and Social Security (the latter which has NO connection to the federal budget debt -- it is wholly funded by our own separate cash from the FICA tax)
  • Promoting nuclear power as "clean" energy
  • Promoting highly risky offshore drilling as safe
  • Continuing warrantless wire-tapping of innocent citizens
  • Prosecuting more whistleblowers than any other president in recent history

 

These are neoliberal policies that support the corporate state, not the people. Obama is not, was not, and has never been a socialist. He is not a liberal. He is a corporate conservative serving the ruling class -- a class not comprised of you or me or anyone who makes less than a six-figure income, let alone finds themselves in a lingering state of unemployment.

Barack Obama knows exactly what he is doing. He did not cave to the GOP. He did not make concessions to the "other side." He enacted policies for his side: the ruling class, the rich.

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Sure, you may have donated ten, twenty, even a hundred dollars to his 2008 campaign, but that is just a drop in the proverbial bucket. The bulk of his contributions came from his real constituents; the rich and the corporations that they run have donated hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to their boy Barry. These are his people, much as George W. Bush came out and simply stated explicitly: this is his "base."

Obama could have asked to raise the debt ceiling temporarily months ago. He could have utilized the fourteenth amendment to prevent the issue of raising the debt ceiling from being willfully conflated with the budget deficit. He could have tried to raise the debt ceiling indefinitely, thus ending the whole debacle. He could have taken Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security off the table. Could have, should have, would have ... But didn't.

Obama is not concerned with the American people who are increasingly jobless, homeless, and in deteriorating health. He is concerned with his re-election and in pleasing those who will enable his victory. By forcing this spurious "emergency" with the debt ceiling, and by agreeing to a "compromise" that takes more of America's wealth away from those in need in order to enable the ever-increasing prosperity of the 10% ruling class (who currently have 80% of the wealth and soon to be more), he sends a clear signal that he is on their side. He is their man - if even that was really in question to begin with. He indicates that it is safe to contribute to his re-election. It is safe to allow him another four years of pilfering the poor and working class to fatten the wealthy, of enabling ecological destruction to all for the economic benefit of the few.

It is time to open our eyes and understand that in politics, men like the eminently moral and resolute Bernie Sanders are a dying breed, and that Obama was never such a man.

It is time to recognize what some realized when they searched into the depths of Obama's superficial rhetoric in 2008 -- and found nothing. Our current president is not a progressive, not a socialist, not even what used to be a Democrat when I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. He is a corporatist of the ruling class and his actions have been completely consistent with that reality. Furthermore, this debt ceiling sham and its subsequent bill are an immoral travesty that was orchestrated to end precisely as it has.

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Kristine Mattis holds a PhD in Environment and Resources. She is dedicated to social and environmental justice, public health protection, and ecological sustainability.


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