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Dean Fudges On White House 'Contempt' -- Conjures Obama 'at heart a Reformer'

By       Message Robert S. Becker     Permalink
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Curve of Contempt by Bloomberg news

Sorry, estimable Gov. Howard Dean, you can't have it both ways, without contradicting yourself and insulting our intelligence.  You can't incisively condemn exiting top White House staffers for "contempt," while letting the president off the hook, fantasizing "at heart he's a reformer."   Either Obama picked his own staff, making him the most establishment-friendly "reformer" in our history -- or he would deserve moral impeachment for negligence in delegating his prime duty. 

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If Obama is any true reformer, why then did he empower that spate of re-cycled Clintonistas plus Blue Dogs plus carryover Republicans like R. Gates and B. Bernanke?  Why lavish praise on demonstrable failures, like Larry Summers, rushing to other pastures to spoil?  Across job creation, rebalancing national wealth, or saving the middle class, this bunch sucks.  Lucky Chicago, regaining Rahm Emanuel's foul moods.

That rarest of party leader, Dean fearlessly skewered when and why the Obama Non-Miracle Workers flopped, naming names.  Face it, Governor, Obama the pushover compromiser got exactly the team he wanted, with similar flaws, like readiness to take flight instead of fight -- which really worked against GOP sharks who eat weaklings for snacks.  Look, presidents get the advisers they want, even I say morally deserve. Take W. the Delusional Decider, the most glaring example of the ill-prepared boob perplexed, then dissected and led by the nose.   

Perhaps antagonistic, base-slashing staffers co-opted the Obama who ran a brilliant campaign, promising fire and light.  Does it matter?  Where for Dean does the Obama buck stop -- or start, for why else have we suffered two years of serial crisis management and message defensiveness?  Despite Lame-duck gains, this president still doesn't induce leftwing confidence, and the new House majority confirms the GOP still rules -- and not now only the airways.  Remember innocent end of life Medicare sessions perverted into "death panels"?  All gone, poof, by executive fiat, defeated by Palin and her GOP ReLoaders.

Certainly, no sentient being concludes the Beltway revolving door delivered Obama's fistful of weathered Washington types to run the "reform" West Wing.  Decidedly not Ex-Florida Congressman Grayson, assailing this White House as so "packed with Bluedogs" the president gets no progressive advice on economic, military, or social matters, all the "professional left" said. 

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Dean Lost in Dreamland?

Nor can Dean get away with facile cheerleading, "The president is at heart a reformer," when there's so little push, nor genuine, legislated changes, instead mainly promised second-tier shifts.  One biggie, Consumer Protection, could be clipped badly by the new chief of staff; DADT still depends on execution and monitoring, no done deal. "At heart" Obama's heart is full of trade-offs.  Apparently, Dean still yearns for the "audacity of hope" days, overly kind to Obama's sustained right-centrist picks driving the Bush III whitewash on tax rates, crony capitalism, endless wars, warrantless wiretapping and rights violations. 

Interestingly, Dean also fudges on the new WH Chief of Staff, William Daley, a winner simply for lacking Rahm infantile temper and divisive insularity.  Daley may end a better chief of staff (could he do worse for the left?), but he's another master deal-maker, no reformer, the top JP Morgan bankster who opposed Consumer Protection and Financial Regs, in the past a NAFTA-loving ex-Clinton Commerce Secretary.   Some rush of new blood, circa 1995.

"I don't agree with [Daley} on a lot of stuff politically," Dean understated, "but I do think -- A), he is a grownup and B), he gets that you don't treat people like you know everything and they don't.  If Bill Daley becomes the chief of staff, that is going to be a huge plus because he is outside of Washington, he sees things the way people outside Washington do. It is not a left or right issue."  New Obama recipe: less rancor, more adult, less reform.

Dean conveniently overlooks Obama as still the ultimate "devout non-ideologue." Or that any reformer worth his salt must hold fast to the occasional principle.  Putting the final lie to Dean's third-down punt (he WANTS his WH calls returned) are Obama's own nasty, surprising brew of put-downs, displaying like-minded impatience, ridicule, and scorn to his staff insults.   

The Commander of Contempt

1) Last September this president showed his colors, whining about Democratic critics, oddly months before the election:

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If we get an historic health-care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn't there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particular derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about world peace and -- (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.)


"Gosh," indeed.  What a flat, off-key joke, like W. hunting up non-existent WMDs while cackling.  We certainly know "who you are" -- a fervent war-enthusiast pushing surges and drones while ridiculing honorable peace activists -- who only want to stop the U.S. empire from further ignominy.  Right, scorn of "world peace" from the very agent finishing the multiple Bush-Cheney crusades for oil, marketplaces, and geo-political leverage.  Funny if not tragic.

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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