January 17, 2017

The real Obama

While there's no doubt Obama was strikingly better as a president than Trump is going to be, there is a mythologically positive interpretation of his administration that doesn't help us deal with the realities of our situation. For example, a few months into Obama's administration we ran this:

Sam Smith, Progressive Review - During the campaign the Review pointed out a number of uncomfortable facts about Barack Obama, including that he:

Aggressively opposed impeachment action against Bush

Had argued that conservatives and Bill Clinton were right to destroy social welfare,

Supported making it harder to file class action suits in state courts

Voted for a business-friendly "tort reform" bill

Voted against a 30% interest rate cap on credit cards

Had the most number of foreign lobbyist contributors in the primaries

Was even more popular with Pentagon contractors than McCain

Was the most popular of the candidates with K Street lobbyists

Was named in 2003 by the right-wing Democratic Leadership Council as one of its "100 to Watch." After he was criticized in the black media, Obama disassociated himself with the DLC. But his major economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, was still the chief economist of the conservative organization. Wrote Doug Henwood, "Goolsbee has written gushingly about Milton Friedman and denounced the idea of a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures."

Supported the war on drugs

Supported the crack-cocaine sentence disparity

Supported Real ID

Supported the PATRIOT Act

Supported the death penalty

Opposed lowering the drinking age to 18

Went to Connecticut to support Joe Lieberman in the primary against Ned Lamont

Lent his support, as Paul Street of Z Mag noted, " to the aptly named Hamilton Project, formed by corporate-neoliberal Citigroup chair Robert Rubin and other Wall Street Democrats to counter populist rebellion against corporatist tendencies within the Democratic Party. . . Obama was recently hailed as a Hamiltonian believer in limited government and free trade by Republican New York Times columnist David Brooks."

Endorsed US involvement in the failed drug war in Colombia.

Voted for a nuclear energy bill that included money for bunker buster bombs and full funding for Yucca Mountain.

Came in at 48th in the ranking of senators by the League of Conservation Voters

Supported federally funded ethanol and was unusually close to the ethanol industry.

Promised to double funding for private charter schools, part of a national effort to undermine public education.

Supported the No Child Left Behind Act

Favored expanding the war in Afghanistan

Supported Israeli aggression and apartheid.

Favored turning over Jerusalem to Israel

Wouldn't rule out first strike nuclear attack on Iran

Called Pakistan "the right battlefield ... in the war on terrorism." Threatened to invade Pakistan

Opposed gay marriage

Opposed single payer healthcare

Supported restricting damage awards in medical malpractice suits

Favored healthcare individual mandates that would help insurance companies and banks but not citizens

Wanted to expand the size of the military.

Wouldn't have photo taken with San Francisco mayor because he was afraid it would seem that he supported gay marriage

Dissed Ralph Nader for daring to run for president again

Called the late Paul Wellstone "something of a gadfly"

Was ranked 24th in the Senate by Progressive Punch

Said "everything is on the table" with Social Security.

That's 38 reasons for starters why liberals might have been uncomfortable with Obama. Instead they have treated him as if he had descended from heaven and heavily chastised those who failed to join their crusade.


1 comment:

Michael Hager said...

Given the plutocracy reinstated by Buckley v. Valeo such positions are the predictable checklist for any potential chief executive in this era. The purpose of gvt under the new reading of free speech, since 1976, is to generate donor profits. The subtle history of the last administration will take time to debrief. It was the end of the road for government to pretend to be democratic. The pretense now is that by having a government run of, by, and for business, democracy is somehow restored. Here the gears grind to a halt as against the Constitutional law of emoluments which should require the impeachment of the new President upon his swearing in. Franklin was right about our inevitable corruption. This week we are again reminded that the pre-1976 Constitution is no longer the national charter, having been swallowed up by a free speech clause redefined as a free market. This is consistent with the redesignation of Washington's Birthday as an occasion for one-day mattress close out sales. The source of national Independence after Buckley is in selling out retail inventory.