Copyright © by Len Holman, 4/14/13
President Obama has made it much harder for the (at this early stage, at
least) presumptive 2016 Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton.
He has worn out his welcome on the left, and the right smells blood—especially
after the President’s millionth effort at being nice to Republicans, as
represented in his latest budget. His “hope and change” mantra now
sounds like a cruel hoax on the expectant American voter and his legacy will
come down to “being the first black President,” a noteworthy fact, but
that’s about it. The “hope” part is still resonant, but the
“change” part has become a grisly joke—candy snatched away from the
baby’s outstretched hand.
In his budget—two months late, and to Clinton’s horror—the
President promises to touch the “third rail” of policy: so-called
entitlements (how did this become a dirty word?). He proposes “smart”
cuts to Medicare and Social Security, which Republicans (and especially the Tea
Party people) have slavered to slash for a very long time. This is a
stunning move, since Democrats invented Social Security and it doesn’t add a
dime to the deficit, and Medicare’s costs are driven by soaring, amazing (in a
sickening way) health care costs which are roughly 50 percent higher in this
country than in any other.
This is all of a part of Obama’s narrow-visioned idea of what makes
America tick—at least his pronouncements of what makes it tick. If the
Versailles-classes of the military-industrial, medical, and banking sectors of
the country can stay out of harm’s way (and they are doing a pretty good job
of it so far), then the only group which can be safely blamed for a rotting
economy and a crumbling infrastructure, and the indifference of the political
class, is the rest of us: kids who won’t get an early start in
education, families who won’t get a home to live in after cramming their
families into a motel room for months and months, people who need mental health
services, the elderly, the lame, the halt, and everyone who doesn’t have a big
stake in the booming stock market.
There is nothing like a growing economy for shrinking the nation’s
debt, but the President seems bent on doing what a man does who sees a stream
overflowing its banks, and tells anyone who’ll listen that if those big rocks
up on the hill could be rolled down to block the stream’s force, the flooding
would stop. He offers a vision that is sweet and reasonable, but is met
with an angry, ignorant mob which doesn’t want to go up on that hill and roll
those rocks down, and then blames the President for the flooding. The
President’s Attorney General, Eric Holder is somewhere, combing his mustache
while unregulated America goes over a cliff. Whistle-blowers are not
welcome, but mining companies and corporate robbers are ok.
If Bush II is considered one of the worst Presidents in U.S. history, and
Obama is carrying on in his methods and ideas, what does that say about this
administration? I’m sure I’m not alone in admiring the President’s
oratorical skills, his “coolness” and his sense of humor, but when every
impartial economist suggests doing what the President has repeatedly suggested
we do: rebuild infrastructure, educate our kids, invest in alternate sources of
energy, and when Obama gets nowhere, he goes to Plan B, which is inviting
Republican leaders over for steaks and chat, thinking his charm will win the
day. Do John Boehner and Mitch McConnell look amenable to charm? And
there is the growing class division of wealth in this country. According
to a Pew Research Center report, black wealth fell 53 percent during our
financial crisis, Hispanic wealth fell 68 percent, and Asian-American wealth
fell by 54 percent, compared to a decline of only 16 percent for white
households. Now the howling in the land is mostly about the low esteem
minority groups get from everyone else, but it SHOULD be about poverty, about
that core constituency that make Democrats, Democrats—the middle class.
Obama can’t seem to get it in his head that talking about the middle
class is not quite the same as doing for the middle class, so when the
voracious zombies keep feeding on us, and we eventually disappear, who will they
feed on next?
And now comes the media-anointed Hillary, who will have a host of problems to deal with (read: accusations to fend off), not the least of which is her performance as Secretary of State, including the botched Benghazi episode. But when she tells us, the voters, that she wants to continue Obama’s policies, and the Right points out that Obama did what they’d been screeching for all this time—cutting Medicare and tinkering with Social Security—what will she say? What can she say? Obama may respect the poor, but he doesn’t seem to be able to push policies which get rid of poverty. Hillary’s advisers will have to move her ever-so-gently-away from “hope and change” and get her to take up the banner of “see and do.” She’s no orator, but she IS a Democrat, and for the working poor, the homeless, the downtrodden, that used to mean something.
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