For nearly two years the Madoff affair has made it very difficult for me to find time to write political blogs. That still remains true. But I shall write a short one here because of longstanding concerns, which can only become worse in view of the smashing victory for arch conservatism on November 2nd.
Two years ago I thought Obama was one of the smartest men, and conceivably the best speaker, ever to enter the White House. Today my main impression is that, for all his intellectual smarts, he is horribly lacking in judgment. Crassly put, he is a fool.
The conservative wing of the "national" Republican Party -- which today is a major share of that party if not all of it -- made clear early on that it had but one overarching goal: defeat Obama's plans. To that end the national wing of the Party was willing to say and do almost anything. Obama's response was to try to "make nice," to say he wanted to work with and cooperate with people who did not give a fig for cooperation, but wanted only to savage him and his policies in order to get back into national power and who therefore said that failure to do what they wanted done on the national scene was ipso facto a failure to allow them to participate in structuring policies. Apparently being a prisoner of his own background, in which his golden tongue enabled him to overcome opposition and to get ahead at least from the time he entered law school at Harvard, Obama failed to understand the obvious, failed to understand what anyone who has ever faced bitter, unyielding opposition would understand immediately: there are people with whom it is profitless to try to "make nice" because they wish to fight you bitterly no matter what, no matter how much you wish to "make nice" with them and to compromise with them.
Now that the national Republicans have handed him his head, Obama still wants to "make nice" with them. For all his intellectual smarts, Obama just didn't get it and doesn't get it. He lacks judgment.
Of course, he and his acolytes will say he is simply trying to be politically cooperative and to achieve his ends that way. Forget it. The Republicans who lead the national Republican Party want his derriere out. They will savage him and his policies, and blame him and his policies for everything wrong in the country, until, as they just did for the last two years, they have the country angry at him (as at present) and are able to "diselect" him in 2012. That is their goal and all else -- including the good of the country -- is secondary to them, even if Obama doesn't understand this.
Then there are his policies, which too often lack good sense, although the points on which they lack good sense are usually not the ones on which the national leaders of the Republican Party assail him. I used to think that a lot of the opposition to him was pure racism, no matter how much people denied this. I still think that, with regard to a lot of his opponents, racism is deeply involved. But it is pretty plain that racism is a long way from being the whole story, because some of his most important policies simply lack sense. He has listened to fools like Summers and Geithner, to Wall Street and big business, and to the generals, instead of taking the obviously sensible courses.
Take the bailouts, for example. Money has gone by the hundreds of billions and trillions to Wall Street and big business, where profits and bonuses are again astronomical while common folk have no jobs and are being foreclosed out of their homes because of unpayable mortgages that they were hornswoggled into. People understand all this and are, if you will excuse the expression, well and truly pissed. And how is it possible that -- as occurred -- Obama and his ship of fools did not understand that, if you want people to spend money, and need this to be done to revive a sinking economy, you must put money into the hands of the poor, the lower middle class, the middle class, who will spend the money because they have to spend it. They have no choice but to spend it because they need to do so in order to live. Obama, however, carried forward the Bushian program of giving the money to banks, who did not need to spend it (i.e., in their case, to loan it), and instead put it in their vaults, saying this would rebuild capital and that anyway there were not enough good loans to make in order to warrant lending out the money (as probably was true in view of our catastrophic economic situation). Are we to understand that giving money to those who don't need to, and won't, and didn't spend it, instead of giving it to those who would have to spend it, is a way of getting out of an economic catastrophe that requires spending in order for the economy to revive?
(Now, of course, the Fed has announced it will pursue a similar stupidity by buying up fantastic quantities of government securities in order to encourage spending by lowering interest rates that in important segments are already down pretty much to zero. Without getting into the asserted claims, including the differences between long and short term rates, the announced policy seems pretty stupid when you consider how cheap money already is, including long term rates on things like houses.)
Then there is the war. Obama didn't have the judgment -- or brains -- to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan pronto. Instead he listened to the generals and let himself get sucked into Bush/Cheney wars that cost scores (hundreds?) of billions per year which we cannot afford. He reprised Nixon who got sucked into Johnson's wars (with the difference that Nixon loved those wars and Obama at least claims not to feel the same about Iraq and Afghanistan).
And then there is the Supreme Court's evil opinion in the Citizens United case, which Obama criticized to the faces of the Justices but did nothing to eviscerate statutorily, so that fantastic piles of corporate money could be and were used to sink him.
So this is where we stand. The leaders of the national Republicans, who care only about smashing Obama and the Democrats in order to win and will say and do anything to accomplish this, have smashed him. Their general lack of concern for the small man and for the country will increasingly manifest itself. They will spend the next two years savaging Obama in order to defeat him in 2012, and are likely to succeed, because they care only about gaining power, will say and do anything to do this, and will thereby succeed in causing the country to be just as much against Obama two years from now as they succeeded in the last two years in turning the county against him to the point that he received a smashing in 2010. Meanwhile, Obama, and because of him other Democrats, will try to "make nice" with people who want only to politically kill them and who will not "make nice," will not be placated, and want only to destroy him and regain the Presidency. Anybody who has ever faced bitter enders who opposed them can see this coming, because bitter enders never quit and cannot be placated. *
* This posting represents the personal views of Lawrence R. Velvel. If you wish to comment on the post, on the general topic of the post, you can, if you wish, email me at Velvel@VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com.
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