Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is Obama too far Left?

Yes, according to self-serving wanker Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana). I quote: "Whenever you have just the furthest-left elements of the Democratic Party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country, that's not going to work too well."

I don't have a TV, but I'd be curious to know whether he was able to tell that bold-faced lie with a straight face. Since it's his job to say shit like this with a straight face, I suppose I'm naive to think that he'd have any problem pulling it off.

"Furthest left elements"? Like who? Firebrands like Ben Nelson, Max Baucus and Joe Lieberman?

Or maybe Bayh is referring to all of the "radical Left" Goldman Sachs alums that staff the Obama cabinet?

First of all, it's news to me that there even is a Left in the Democratic Party. But to the extent that there's anyone remotely progressive in the party at all, they are a marginalized minority who rarely make any trouble for a party who's willing to concede to the Right on everything that matters. The House Progressive Caucus, for example, briefly toyed with the idea of refusing to vote for a bill that didn't have a public option... but of course they all caved on that "threat." And don't even get me started on how all of these "life long single-payer advocates" suddenly sat down and shut up when the "reform" discussions began (i.e. the ones in which "all options were supposed to be on the table").

The fact of the matter is that Democrat leadership has been talking about "moderation", "bipartisanship" and "caution" ever since 2008. Democrat apologists have been clamoring for "centrist" policy all along. Moreover, right-wing hacks like Bayh himself have been the ones with the most influence on policy.

Of course, in a way I'm wasting my time in taking Bayh at his word, when he knows full well that he's bullshitting. Bayh is simply trying to increase his leverage and individual power by weighing in against his own party. He's regurgitating Fox News talking points in order to try to piggy-back on whatever steam the GOP has picked up since Scott Brown. And what's more, like the majority of the complacent members of his party, he probably feels that there is very little at stake in taking this tack (i.e. I doubt very seriously that he's losing sleep over whether or not there are cuts to education, large numbers of uninsured and unemployed, and so on). has an excellent editorial on this phenomenon, here. The analysis here is, in my view, right on.

If millions of people are furious with Obama, it can't be because his Administration and the Democratic supermajority are "too far Left" and are "imposing their agenda against their will".

People voted for Obama in droves because he said he was going to tax the rich and spend it on health care. Polls routinely show that people want the government to provide a national health insurance plan. Oregon recently passed a referendum designed specifically to tax the rich.

If people are furious with Obama, it's because he's not Left enough. That is, because he and his Congress are sitting back passively while education and transportation are cut, public employees are laid off, 50 million are uninsured, unions are busted and black unemployment reaches double digits.

What have the Democrats done since 2008 that Bush didn't already do? Aside from the stimulus bill, which was tepid (i.e. much smaller than the situation required) and conservative (i.e. loaded with tax breaks), what the fuck have they done? Escalate the war in Afghanistan, consider privatizing Social Security, propose spending freezes (exempting Pentagon spending of course), and spend months on a "health reform" bill that at the end of the day looked more attractive to health insurance corporations than to ordinary Americans.

Did we even need to elect Democrats in 2008 to get all of that? There's reason to think that even Bush would have been convinced to pass a modest stimulus bill like the one Obama put forward, if his last months in office are any indication.


fwoan said...

I made this same point on my blog and actually attacked Bayh for the same quote:

That we can actually have a conversation regarding the "left" taking over the healthcare reform bill speaks to the absurdity we have have for political discourse.

We have a system that the status quo would like very much to keep in place. They also have to realize there will always be dissent and a system must always have something it is fighting "against". To make your enemy that much more impotent, one only has to misidentify it to the public. By calling the people in the current congress "the left" we cut off what is acceptable that much closer to the status quo, making something even further to the left seem unimaginable.

fwoan said...

yeah, that link should have been: