So the deed is done. The "debt ceiling" crisis has been "resolved" by a further maniacal destruction of the commonweal, in a bipartisan pact that completely ignores the murderous imperial wars as the primary drain on the nation's treasury. As we noted here yesterday, the deal also sets up an unaccountable politburo (the special "Super Congress" committee) that will remove further coddling of the rich from the democratic process altogether.
However, I do feel I must defend our president from the charges of "weakness" and "cowardice" and "capitulation" that are pouring in on his noble head from all sides. Many learned Thebans are advancing the idea that Barack Obama has somehow "capitulated" to "extremists" who "forced" him into this "terrible deal."
The truth of course is that the Republican "extremists" served the same function for Obama as the "fatal vision" of the daggers did for Macbeth: "Thou marshal'st me the way that I was going." Obama came into office declaring his intent to strike a "grand bargain" on the deficit, eagerly putting Medicare, Social Security and other programs on the table for "reforms." He made clear from the start that his first and foremost allegiance was to the elite institutions of the financial markets (and the militarist oligarchy they feed); hence the $13 trillion offered up to Wall Street as compared to the transparently inadequate $700 billion offered as "stimulus" to the rest of the country -- money that was like tossing a few grains of sand into an ocean of economic need ... and which is now gone anyway.
Obama had many options for avoiding this "crisis," long before it came to a head. He didn't take those options because, like all good disaster capitalists, he wanted and needed a crisis of this sort to enact the brutal economic agenda he has openly advocated from the beginning. The result, of course, will be further impoverishment and diminishment in the lives of millions of ordinary people, for years to come -- and, ironically, the eventual collapse of the monstrous system that supports the ravenous elite that Obama serves with such panache.
History affords few examples of the political elite of a country committing such an act of national suicide in order to protect the already super-rich from the slightest impingement of their already colossal fortunes.
I suppose Easter Island might serves a pertinent precursor.
UPDATE: As you might expect, Arthur Silber has more to say on the theme of Obama's intentions, and the gruesome comedy of progressive denunciations of his "weakness." Go there immediately to get the full force of Silber's masterful (and insightful) spleen. But here is a taste:
"And lots of people are celebrating or moaning about Obama's 'stupidity,' 'weakness,' 'incompetence,' and so on. I must confess to having a weakness for the popularity of this self-deluding ploy. In the midst of horror, it's a wonderful momentary relief to enjoy a hearty laugh. I especially like the ongoing theme at Digby's House of Mirth and Lies: 'If only Obama understood all these issues the way I do, if only he were smart like me, none of this would be happening!' No, I'm not providing links to all this crap. If you've been following the latest 'crisis' in even a cursory fashion, you've seen scads of pieces repeatedly announcing all these themes. ....
"I'll say it again. I suggest you slowly sound out the words this time. Maybe you'll begin to understand what they mean.
"When one considers the destructive powers of the weapons at his command, as well as the bloodily murderous enthusiasm with which he uses them, and when one contemplates the enormous powers he enjoys entirely apart from and in addition to those weapons, Obama is the single most powerful individual in the entire history of humankind.
"I'll say it once more. I'll bold it. Again, sound out the words:- Advertisement -
"Obama is the single most powerful individual in the entire history of humankind.
"This is the goal toward which Obama diligently worked for years. This is what he wanted: the power of life and death over countless millions of people, and potentially over all of humanity. During that time, he was bracingly clear about what he would do once he achieved that cherished goal. Some of us told you all about this in the summer of 2008, and even a year earlier. Obama told you exactly what he would do. Most people convinced themselves -- contrary to all the available evidence, even when that evidence directly contradicted their illusions -- that Obama would do precisely the opposite of what he himself said he would do."
There is much more. Get thee hence and give it a read.