Is the Obama administration still worth defending?
David Sirota, Bill Boyarsky and Andrew Levine lay out the sad, bad truth that I too have written about: Barack Obama is simply Bill Clinton with a better marriage.
But the question I have is this: Is Obama worth defending at all?
The answer to that question is, frustratingly, still "yes." And that is because of the snarling, batshit crazy right wingers, who attack Obama for having the temerity to speak to schoolchildren about staying in school and working hard; call him a Nazi or compare him to Hitler; and peddle or fall for any number of truly insane opinions and a paranoiac, violent worldview closer to the Muslim fundamentalists who they hate almost as much as something they call "liberals." And let's remember that these batshitters carry guns to public forum events. They only fear government when the Republicans are out of power, but when Republicans are in power, these same people support any number of oppressive policies (domestic and foreign). And some of these batshitters may actually be thinking that killing the Muslim-Kenyan-Commie president will save America. And don't think I am ignoring the silent batshitter Libertarians who love their guns and would see the assassination of a Democratic Party president as "sticking it to the Statist Man." Who is John Galt indeed?
If one wanted to make analogies from German history, which seems to be the vogue these days, we already know that Obama is not even remotely like Hitler. The frustrating truth is that Obama, in his supine passivity in the face of rapacious and gluttonous capital, is more like Heinrich Bruning, one of several failed Weimar Republic leaders of the late 1920s and early 1930s. People like Bruning and sadly, Obama's leading economic advisers, think we have to coddle banks in difficult times. No, guys. We have to put people to work rebuilding the infrastructure of our nation, help make it easier for people to organize into labor unions to balance the distribution of profits in corporate enterprises, and enact national health insurance policies so people are not held hostage to a job or live with the fear that a catastrophic illness will bankrupt their families.
Like a child wanting to believe there is a Santa Claus, I keep hoping Obama will wake up and realize that his safest road to success is to act boldly, not timidly. Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress must now enforce the rule of 51 in the US Senate, and pass a real public option in medical insurance, reform labor laws to make it easier for workers to organize at their workplaces, and put people to work rebuilding America's infrastructure.
If we don't do these things now, I can promise this: In 2010, and with say a General Patreus as their presidential nominee in 2012, the Rethuglicans will promise people they will help create jobs for them. They will promise to protect Medicare for seniors. They will promise to erase deficits with growth from tax cuts as they destroy any part of government that is not truly oppressive. They will reinstitute their war against science and learning, and reinstate torture policies and promote bigger wars than the one we have starting to boil in Afghanistan. And they will make partisan speeches to our schoolchildren all along the way...
Not the most inspiring way to support Obama, is it? And yes, there is something breathless and hyperbolic in what I am saying. It seems any analogy to 20th Century German history is fraught with that. I myself think it is a big stretch to compare Obama's administration and Washington DC culture to the Weimar Republic. But if we are going to indulge in analogizing 20th century German history, let's at least find a closer analogy. The Hitler descendants in today's America are the right wingers who support corporations uber alles, who snarl against minorities and immigrants, hate labor unions as they exault but fear capital, and mouth the most dogmatic of religious philosophies while they brazenly indulge in their own psycho-sexual impulses (see William Shirer's magesterial book on the Third Reich, which details the hidden homosexuality among Nazi leaders while they publicly attacked homosexuals) and reduce women to baby-makers tending the hearth. And it is right wingers like Pat Buchanan who actually defend Hitler.
It may still yet happen here.