SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — President Obama, sending another strong signal that he intends to make his White House more business-friendly, traveled to this industrial city on Friday to appoint a prominent corporate executive as his chief outside economic adviser, and to spotlight his efforts on job creation, in advance of next week’s State of the Union address.Read the rest here.
I'm fine with saying that this is a lurch to the Right, but let's be clear about one thing. The Obama Administration has not really done anything, ever, that seriously brushed against the grain of the "business friendly" agenda. His entire cabinet was packed full of Goldman Sachs from the very beginning. It seems, rather, that he is just packing it full of people from different factions of the ruling class. They've been ruling class all along.
Still, the post-November shakedown in Obama's cabinet has represented a further right-ward shift. Whereas before Obama might have at least paid limited lip-service to the idea of challenging Business, now he refuses to even do that. The Administration now appears to want even its public identity to be staked on a high-profile love-affair with Big Business. Whereas before Obama talked big about change (while doing his best to prevent it from happening), now he doesn't even do the big talking.
This makes the Tea-Baggers' tendency to moan and whine about "socialism" even more absurd. Obama's Administration has so much continuity with Bush's, it's obvious to anyone with their head on straight that the heaving and hawing about "excessive change" is complete bullshit.
But we know that the Tea-Baggers' refrain about "socialism" has nothing much to do with socialism as such. It is merely an empty signifier for them, used for the purposes of saying what some of them don't want to say in public. What precisely is this content that they want to pack into the empty pejorative shell that "socialism"? I suspect that the content they have in mind is, basically, every racist slur you can imagine. Like I say, some of them use the charge of "socialist" against Obama as a round-about way of saying "(n-word)", but others are comfortable coming out and make their racist fantasies explicit. I also suspect that when they accuse him of being Muslim, precisely the same motives are in place. They take labels that they think everyone should find pejorative (e.g. being a "foreigner" or an immigrant, being a Muslim, being a socialist, being against colonialism, etc.), and then use them to underhandedly assert racist filth.
The frustrating truth is that what we desperately need is a robust socialist politics in the US, but the most high-profile figures accused of being socialists are, in fact, capitalism's most devout defenders who, any rational person can see, pursue virtually identical policies to those pursued under previous Republican Administrations.