Of “fat cat bankers” and “isolated extremists”…

I can’t help but be struck by what seems to be the naive posture adopted by the President of late. First, he complains on 60 Minutes about being saddled by “fat cat bankers” who have the audacity to earn too much money. Then, he complains about “isolated extremists” who have the audacity to interrupt his golfing vacation on Hawaii. I am reminded of Bill Clinton’s lament when he railed against the “f…ing bond markets” when he first took office.

It must be something about Democrats who somehow think the job of President of the United States isn’t managing fat cats on Wall Street and terrorists from Yemen. Funny, everyone else seems to know that that is precisely what Presidents do. What did Senator Obama think he was committing to when he took all those millions raised by hedge fund managers? Didn’t he promise, in fact, to wage war in Afghanistan?

Of course, if Obama were indeed a man of the left, as the right drones on and on about, then he would deal with the bankers and the bombers instead of hanging his head and saying “woe is me.”

First, he would have nationalized the banks and begun a major infrastructure investment scheme to rebuild our roads, bridges, schools, build our fiber optic and wireless networks and finally build out a high speed rail network so that our workforce can increase productivity and put a definitive end to the deepening recession.

Second, he would have begun a global demobilization to put a final end to what political scientist Chalmers Johnson calls “the militarism and imperialism that have led to the near-collapse of our Constitutional system of checks and balances…” In its place we need a revival of global governance through the UN system that preserves our sovereignty yet makes democracy compelling to the millions who must be encouraged to take on their own domestic authoritarian regimes.  He would, in other words, welcome the Dalai Lama not the dictators of Beijing to the White House.

Of late the American Obama Left led by people like the American Prospect’s Harold Meyerson and Progressives for Obama organizer Carl Davidson are very much on the defensive, clearly aware that the candidate they put so much hope into appears to be disappointing them. Yet, they now blame the victims – that is, the same people whom they helped convince to vote Obama into office – arguing that they have failed to push Obama from below to the left.

But that is exactly what those millions of voters thought they were doing last year from Iowa to Inauguration Day.  They were there and they thought they were voting against the war and against the mess caused by Wall Street.

So what has Obama been waiting for? Is he or is he not the change they were seeking?

To ask the question is to answer it.

2 thoughts on “Of “fat cat bankers” and “isolated extremists”…”

  1. Carl,

    I really could care less about the so-called “hard left,” by which I take you to mean a few hundred sectarians living out dreams of r-r-r-revolution left over from 1968 and the misguided youth who now follow in their wake.

    But I am intrigued by your more important argument that “you rarely get anything from the top….” etc. I sense that you still feel there is a shared identity or sense of purpose between the “base” and the “top” at least when it comes to Obama. That is, that you are of the view that in his heart of hearts Obama would like to do more of what you want and if only the base would organize and push then he would do more. Hence, the base and the top are part of the same structure.

    Is that a reasonable if overly concise summary of your perspective? If so, I wonder if you could articulate just what it is that you think Obama and the “base” have in common – what is the world view they share?

    Right now, it seems a very large share of the voters who put Obama into office are at odds with his views or have lost any faith in what he either wants to accomplish or can accomplish.

  2. “Millions of voters” may have thought casting a ballot was sufficient for change, but that’s not the message we put out, and are still putting out. And that is that you rarely get anything from the top that you haven’t won and consolidated organizationally at the base, and even then you still have to push. This is a dollarocracy, after all, not a popular democracy. And even the hard left remains pitifully unorganized, both in revolutionary organization and mass democratic organization. So yes, I get on their case. You can’t be a socialist by yourself. Time to liquidate the ‘Lone Ranger’ period where the American left has 100 atomized individuals for every one in a group. Even PDA is only 150,000 when it could easily be a million if progressives did less whining and more organizing.

Comments are closed.