Published online 15 August 2011.
Why all the subterfuge? You won. Do progressives really need “roping in”? Obama 2012, your campaign, has already put out its strategy. Obama is better than the Republicans, and you should prefer a list of minor achievements to Republican tea party garbage. And, hey, even if the Republicans win next year, you can run against them while enjoying the fruits of their neoliberal policies. And if you are a Democrat, you can blame the progressives for your defeat, which was the whole point of the game in the first place. So where’s the victory celebration?
Instead, the neoliberal strategy here at Orange has two basic principles:
1) Pretend that Obama is some kind of progressive by parading a list of minor accomplishments in front of readers
2) Paper over Obama’s neoliberalism with discussions of how “I criticize Obama but I support him,” and of how his critics are “purists.”
Since you neoliberals occupy dominant positions in both major political parties, and control all three branches of the Federal government, it behooves me to wonder what you are worried about. If you were worried about Obama’s re-election, well, that still wouldn’t explain your vitriol toward Obama critics. Your pretenses of confusion as regards the definition of “neoliberalism” are perhaps to be expected — after all, the Wikipedia page suggests that “The term is typically used by opponents of the policy and rarely by supporters.” I just don’t see what you have to be afraid of, anymore.
Obviously this is part of a syndrome. Some time ago your friend Robert Gibbs blamed the “professional left” for Obama’s troubles, without consideration of the fact that said “professional left” doesn’t really represent anybody. I’m just wondering why it continues.
After all, please do consider with glee the various and sundry neoliberal victories you’ve scored! They include:
1) keeping the warfare state sucking down nearly half of every dollar we give the IRS long past the point of its meaningfulness
2) covering the bets of the most prominent bettors in a casino economy with $12.8 trillion in financial promises
3) making sure that “increased coverage” for the American public is contingent upon permanent subsidy for the health insurance industry
4) imposing austerity in America through cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare
5) education policy that’s largely a sop to for-profit entities getting in on the “charter school” action (as well as maintenance of an NCLB regime that largely exists to benefit textbook publishers)
and so on. In fact, there seems to be an unnecessary corporate middleman in practically every program Obama announces, true to his neoliberal mission of protecting private profits in an era of declining global growth.
But of course this isn’t just about Obama. It’s also about Congress, and its near-complete support of austerity planning. I can only believe at this point that something mysterious, something psychological, is holding you back from your victory celebrations. At some point in 2008, I recognize, vague promises from then-leading-candidate Barack Obama fueled speculation that the US government might actually do something major in a progressive direction. But then Obama turned out to be who he always was, and the Democratic Party turned out to be the “graveyard of social movements” which it always has been.
Though his approval rating is down among all ideological groups in recent weeks, the broad pattern of the president’s approval ratings across these groups remains similar to what it has been, with low support among conservatives, somewhat higher support among moderates, and high approval from liberals.
They voted for Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama, all of whom were neoliberals. So why again won’t they vote for Obama’s re-election?
C’mon! Do a victory lap! Hold a party! Celebrate the triumph of 793 billionaires and 10 million millionaires over a bottom half of humanity who earn less than $2.50/day! You can at least do that here — on a site dedicated to electing “more and better Democrats,” and in a nation where the political system is rigged to prevent the election of anyone without ties to the wealthy. Why do you spend all this time and effort claiming that Obama is some sort of progressive? Do you really feel that much of a compulsion to prove his credentials to his most loyal constituency?