The great Mohammad Ali introduced boxing fans to his controversial rope a dope strategy against the heavily favored George Foreman during their 1974 championship fight The Rumble in the Jungle - in Kinshasa, Zaire. Ali leaned back against the ring ropes and let George Forman hit him repeatedly for six long rounds and then as Forman tired in the heat and humidity of that African morning, Ali took charge in the eighth round and nailed the desperately swinging, exhausted Forman with four punishing blows that sent Forman to the canvass for a 10 count. Ali showed the world that he could handle the strongest fighters by taking their best shots, tiring the opponent and then landing the winning blows.
Why do I mention Ali's "rope a dope" in an article titled "Hope a dope"? For the past few months I have seen similarities between Ali's rope a dope boxing strategy and what I call Obama's hope a dope plan. President Obama, once the agent of hope and change, seems to be taking shots from his once fervent supporters over issues such as healthcare reform, the banking and auto bailout, the stimulus binge, a comprehensive jobs bill, his war strategy, and deficit spending to name but a few. Is he taking those punches from his supporters to tire them and remove their fight?
Obama ran his campaign on the premise of bringing hope back to the masses and changing the political tenor in Washing D.C. His message of hope and change seem to be fading from his supporters, who continue to see the same games played with the same people benefiting.
Obama's hope a dope goes like this:
Let's start with healthcare; a majority of Americans and a large majority of Obama supporters want single payer healthcare. According to 16 separate polls taken from October 2003 to July 2009 between 49 - 75% of those polled would want to have a single payer healthcare system. One poll from Time magazine in July 2009 was the only poll where less than 50% favored single payer, but the 49% who approved of single payer was higher than the 46% who opposed it. What has Obama done with all these poll numbers that indicate Americans want single payer? He has tried to get Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to go along with a watered-down plan that insures some, taxes all, and is a winner for the healthcare insurers. Hope a dope wins this round as Obama's taken the best punches from the American people who want single payer and has worked closely with the healthcare CEOs to make sure it never happens.
How about the banking bailout?
While the Obama Administration is pledging up to $2.5 trillion in support of the troubled U.S. financial system, 56% of Americans oppose giving bankers any additional government money or any guarantees backed by the government.
U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Obama and the Fed bailed out the banks to the tune of almost $24 trillion, yes, trillion.
On the other hand, unemployment is now 9.7% (17.5% if you include underemployed and discouraged workers).
The banking hope a dope goes to Obama again. The people are getting frustrated, but they are hanging in there to try and get some justice. Maybe the people can win the next round.
Let's take a look at the auto bailout.
Americans Continue to Oppose GM, Chrysler Loans. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of the loans the government has made.
Again, the American people are fighting back against corruption, mismanagement and greed, but what did they gain? Not much. Chrysler and GM have laid-off tens of thousands, shuttered plants and moved manufacturing operations to China and Mexico. Another round goes to hope a dope.
A September 25 poll by the New York Times showed a plurality, 32%, favored withdrawing troops from Afghanistan as compared to those who favored an increase in troops 29%. Need I say more? Hope a dope grabs another round.
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