Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Paul Rosenberg, discussing how both political parties are failing in America, cuts to the heart of Barack Obama's "pragmatism" by contrasting him with Franklin Roosevelt (FDR):

It is not that FDR was an ideologue - quite the opposite. FDR was a profound pragmatist, whereas Obama is a centrist, neoliberal ideologue, whose thinking is so rigid that he won't even consider empowering his own more leftish supporters, even to strategically counterbalance hard right Republicans, who still do not regard his presidency as legitimate.

Regardless of your own ideology - conscious or unconscious - you just have to wonder why Obama clings so doggedly to both substantive policies and political strategies that repeatedly fail so profoundly. No doubt there are multiple factors involved, but the most compelling answer, I have come to believe, comes down to a lack of vision: Obama quite simply cannot see any alternative. His politics are drastically confined by the crabbed nature of his neoliberal imagination, formed in the shadows of Reagan and Thatcher.


There was a time when virtually every Democratic officeholder, from dogcatcher on up, realised that their party's fate was inextricably linked to the welfare of its core constituencies. FDR Democrats knew that in the marrow of their bones. But Obama is a neoliberal Reagan Democrat, who knows nothing of the sort.

Double trouble: In US both political parties are failing - and in denial

I disagree with his assertion that the Democrats focused solely on diversity as a political goal; it's just something that the rich don't oppose enough to punish them for, so it's an easy goal. It's pretty clear that's all they have left at this point. Nonetheless, Rosenberg's conclusion that we're all going to end up equal in the poorhouse is all too true. Nor do I disagree with him at all about his conclusion about the state of the two parties:

The Republicans were once the Party of Lincoln, but they are that no longer. They are much, much closer to being the Party of Jefferson Davis, with their government hatred, animosity towards minorities and their knee-jerk fealty to the idea of states' rights.

Meanwhile, Democrats, under Barack Obama, are no longer the Party of FDR. They are much, much closer to being the Party of Herbert Hoover, following Obama's initial protection of the bankers and neglect of foreclosed and imperiled homeowners, and his persistent obsession placing budget-balancing over job-creation and caring for the most urgent needs of tens of millions, victimised by the bad behaviour, bad judgment and bad ideas of their so-called "betters".

Double trouble: In US both political parties are failing - and in denial

At least, other than to nit-pick that at least Hoover was willing to consider strong regulation of the banks after that collapse. Neither of our current political parties, nor our President, appear to care about that goal at all.

It's a sad place we've gotten ourselves to, that's for sure. It's worth reading Rosenberg's essay, if for no other reason than for a quick itemization of where our politics are these days.

UPDATE: Altered the second paragraph to say what I meant about Democrats and diversity.

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