Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Audacity Of Dopes, Revisited

Closed Amweld plant in Niles, Ohio, Oct., 2008 Caption: President Obama, and another shuttered factory. This time, the factory was the Amweld plant in Niles, Ohio, according to the photographer. There's another photo in that series asserting that 102 jobs were lost when it closed. Given the building's size, I suspect this is true.

Image credit: Official Presidential portrait (left), Bernard Pollack (aficio) (right)

If you want to understand why I think that the Democrats in DC are completely useless these days, you just have to look at these two stories.

The first, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:
The full details are not in yet. But it appears that Nancy Pelosi has come to an agreement with current Majority Whip James Clyburn that will have him taking a yet-to-be-named number three position in the Democratic House leadership in the 112th Congress.
In other words, the musical chairs crisis created by the fact that there are four leadership slots in the majority and three in the minority has been solved by creating a fourth slot in minority too. Ingenious. It sounds like Charlie Rangel gets his wish.

The Deal Is Cut
Rather than choose to remove at least one of their ineffectual leaders, the Democrats have instead decided to add another one. Anyone who doesn't recognize that this will end up diminishing all three of the original positions, and create more confusion among the ranks, hasn't been in an organization afflicted with too many "leaders".

My position on the whole "should Pelosi be Minority Leader, or Hoyer" question was, essentially, why choose? Get rid of both of them. The sad fact is that those two screwed the pooch every chance they had. Pelosi's taking impeachment off the table back in 2006 probably did more to diminish the constitutional role of Congress than any other single decision by a congressional leader in the last hundred years. If you're the leader of the legislature, you never take impeachment off the table. Impeachment is the only way Congress has of assuring that the President does what Congress tells him to via the laws they pass. That's the system, and Nancy Pelosi took a dump on it.

Hoyer, while on record supporting impeachment, sort of, hasn't done Democrats any favors, either. His conservative political philosophy is one of the things that have held Democrats back these last few years.

It was time for new blood in the leadership, in other words, and the Democrats didn't take the opportunity. Just take this as one more opportunity that the Democrats have squandered.

The second story is, if possible, even sadder, because it involves what's happened to the Executive Branch. Paul Krugman explains:
I’m not the first person to make this point, but those who are defending the deficit commission on the grounds that there are some potentially good ideas in there are missing what the purpose of the commission was supposed to be.
what on earth are people who say things like, “This proposal can be a starting point for discussion” thinking? We’ve been discussing and discussing, ad nauseam; the commission was supposed to provide a finishing point for discussion. Instead, it produced a PowerPoint that is one part stuff that has long been on the table, one part conservative wish-list, and one part just weirdly ill-considered.

The kindest thing we can do now is pretend the whole thing never happened.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Deficit Commission Expectations
For my part, how anyone could have expected anything but uselessness out of this commission, after President Obama stacked it with a bunch of "free market" morons who, together, represent about zero ability to come up with either compromises or good solutions, is beyond me. And that's what happened. Obama deliberately chose these people. It wasn't a choice forced on him by anyone. I was thinking of writing an article about how Obama was a "free market" ideologue from way back in his days at the University of Chicago, only to be reminded that I wrote such an article a year and a half ago:
President Obama has clearly embraced these notions about free markets, as his continued support of [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner demonstrates. He seems to think that there's nothing wrong that can't be fixed by a new coat of paint. As long as this continues to be his opinion, he will continue to rely on the same dopes who broke the economy in the first place to fix it. As a consequence, we will make little or no progress in fixing the economy.

And I'll be finding more closed factories to put next to Obama's picture.

The Audacity Of Dopes
Nothing has changed since then, except that Larry Summers has left for greener pastures, which I'd say was a good financial decision for someone with money tied up in the shadow banking industry these days. There certainly has been no purge of the free market dopes at the White House.

Yet, to this day it's not hard to read opinions by supposedly in-the-know people saying that President Obama should just buck up and resist the Republicans and their scary free market ideology. The sad fact is, this is who Obama is. He's not capitulating to the Republicans. He agrees with them on this, and that's not likely to change until someone makes him. That's why I wrote this a year and a half ago.

I'm not all that smart - at least, I'm not all that smart about politics or economics. Yet this is as plain as day to me, and I'm still waiting for these people to catch up. That people who ought to know better don't seem to is utterly astonishing. It makes you think that they don't want to see.

And until they catch up, I don't see why the DC Democrats will.

UPDATE: Speaking of leadership failures, Robert Reich pointed out another one yesterday, the G-20 Summit that concluded:
The three-page communique that also emerged from the session brims with bromides about the importance of “rebalancing” the global economy, “coordinating” policies, and refraining from “competitive devaluations.”

All nice, but not a single word of agreement from China about revaluating the yuan, or from the United States about refraining from further moves by the Fed to flood the U.S. economy with money (thereby reducing interest rates, causing global investors to look elsewhere for higher returns, and lowering the value of the dollar).

China and the U.S. are the only big players in the currency game. And with neither of them stepping up to bat, the game is in dangerous territory.

The Failure of the G-20 Summit
This one can't be blamed on Obama exclusively, nor even the federal government as a whole, but our own foolish economic policy hasn't inspired the rest of the world, either. As long as our country is run by self-centered elites who don't even care what happens to our economy in the long run, it's hard to expect the rest of the world to do otherwise.


Alan said...

you are a complete asshole. my father worked at Amweld for 35 years. the company was bought and sold 5 times in the 80's in the 90's most of the work was moved to mexico, and the original building was abandoned for the cheaper building in Warren and was just used as a warehouse. The union was broken by Reagan and the company was firing its workers in lieu of cheap non union labor. Long before President Obama started a political career the company was spiraling into the toilet. From reading some of the rest of your ridiculous blog you are an ass and watch too much Fox News. You would believe the earth was flat if the republicans said so.

Cujo359 said...

You're either a clown or a liar. If you actually read this article beyond the first paragraph or two, you'd realize that I wasn't quoting Fox News or any other right wing news site. Assuming, of course, you have even a rudimentary understanding of the issues.

Let's be honest here, you didn't even read half this article, let alone anything else on this blog. Your opinion on the subject of this blog, or anything else, is meaningless.

So, please, back away from the keyboard before you put out your eye with it.