Obama's progressive vision, such as it was, now resembles those futuristic exhibits they used to have at the World's Fair, all moving sidewalks, hovercraft and dinner in a pill. Foolish, dated and impossible. And it never got off the ground.
Whose fault is that? His, mostly. Partly ours. We progressives were so busy holding his feet to the fire we didn't notice the tea party cutting his head off.
It's not like the progressive movement ever really connected with the grassroots. Mostly we scream at the people and if they don't agree with us they're fascists. Our sales techniques leave a little to be desired.
But we might have pulled it off anyway if our anointed leaders were up to the job.
Ultimately the true laurels of failure belong to Obama and his team. If Rahm Emanuel runs Chicago like he did the president's agenda, half the population will move to Detroit (after he privatizes Lake Michigan).
Here's the template David Axelrod and Rahm "boy genius" Emanuel used during the '08 campaign: We'll run on hope and change. We'll talk endlessly about hope and change. Once we take power, we'll keep saying it. Hope and change, hope and change. That should keep the base happy.
But here's the beautiful part. We won't actually make any change because that would energize our enemies. We'll make it impossible for them no t to play fair! What could possibly go wrong?
Well, a few things, and maybe everything, Machiavelli.
But let's be fair, let's hear it from the source. How did the administration propose to return fairness and justice to the American People? What were they saying about how they'd enact their progressive program?
First we'll tackle health care. We can't make any real change like single payer or the public option because that would be socialism and the GOP would be sad. Instead we'll do it this way:
We'll make every American buy health insurance from the very same companies that have been cornholing them for decades! You know, the one that denied Grandma's chemo because ... well, because they could. That'll get the Republicans on board and make our administration hugely popular with the populace! They'll be salivating themselves waiting for the next time they have the delicious opportunity to vote for us!
Obama, stunned by the brilliance of this strategy, ran with it. Oh, I get it now, he said. This is the answer to everything! I'll talk about ending "don't ask, don't tell" for two years, but I won't do a damned thing about it. That way the conservatives can hate me for proposing it and the gays and progressives can hate me for not doing it! It's perfect, it's Obamatastic!
I'll do the same thing with Guantanamo. I'll say I want to close it, appoint a commission, scare the hell out of some Midwest town where I'll propose to send the inmates, but I won't actually do it. That way we get to keep the running sore that has the Muslim world hating us even more than they do already, which is quite a trick, I assure you, and the civil liberties crowd can hate us for being no better than Bush! Do we have a knack for this stuff or what?
Well, we got our answer this month. Compared to these guys, Custer was Rommel. I haven't seen such brilliant strategy since Tiger Woods decided to text with his "putter."
Obama proved he sucks at the hope and change thing. I don't think he even tried. I think he was so stoked he won that he figured that was hope and change enough. I kind of thought the same thing, truth to tell. I liked what it said about America.
But I don't like what America is saying now. Right now, the American mood is uglier than Dick Cheney's EKG.