Four and Out for Democrats: 3 Reasons Obama Will Fail
by C. L. Cook
hough still shy of the traditional 100 day marker, on the three issues the new administration has prioritized it is clear, Barak Obama possesses neither the wherewithal to break the beltway stranglehold on both parties, nor the personal confidence to assert the full power of the presidency to bring his vision of Hope to fruition.
Instead, Obama is apparently convinced he must tread the middle road, taking the bipartisan path Bill Clinton called "triangulation."
This means the White House will be no friend to those wanting to see, at long last: an end to the wars and occupations begun through the Bush Doctrine; universal, single-payer health care; and an end to fixed financial markets that serve the top fiftieth percentile at the expense of the rest of taxpaying America.
o-one can honestly fault Obama for the disaster he inherited; as a freshman senator he can lay claim to the proverbial high ground of being a "Washington outsider." True, he received millions in campaign lucre from the very miscreants now receiving unprecedented, near catch-free, billions of federal dollars, but it's a stretch to imply donations doled to candidate Obama play any role in the administration's fiscal approach to the economic meltdown. No, Obama has simply carried forward the policy initiated by George W. Bush as a parting gesture to the American people; bailouts by the billions as the final slap in the face to the country he relentlessly drove into the ground.
But, Obama's failure to bring to book the pirates who bought and paid for a "bipartisan" congress throughout both the Bush and Clinton administrations, those that willingly undid the regulatory framework specifically designed to forestall just such an unraveling of the economy we now see beginning, and then savaged the tax system to better shelter the boffo executive bonanzas that followed is the albatross he'll be wearing in 2012.
It may seem prudent, even Statesmanlike, for Obama to preach about resisting the blame game; it may appear virtuous for him to doggedly maintain a fixed, "forward-looking" posture on the bow of the ship of state; but, the mistake the president makes is staying the course charted by Captains Thatcher and Reagan even as the icebergs of reality hove near
When the great crunch comes, tearing the hull of the world economy asunder, it will do little good for Obama then to invoke the names of those preceding him as the authors of this unfolding debacle. He will be remembered only as the man who fiddled with another man's policies while the New Rome burned.
The Greatest Wealth is Health (if you can afford it)
During the presidential campaign, America's 45 or so million uninsured citizens were often remarked upon. That number is ballooning now, despite Obama's reversal of the George W. Bush veto against providing medical coverage to more of the nation's poor children. As jobs in their thousands fall by the wayside, (651,000 evaporating since Obama's inauguration alone) Americans are losing their primary source of health insurance, the workplace.
President Obama convened a health care summit at the White House
yesterday. He told the gathered stakeholders;
"At the fiscal summit that we held here last week, the one thing on which everyone agreed was that the greatest threat to America's fiscal health is not Social Security, though that's a significant challenge. It's not the investments that we've made to rescue our economy during this crisis. By a wide margin, the biggest threat to our nation's balance sheet is the skyrocketing cost of health care. It's not even close."
Even so, the administration steadfastly refuses to consider a single-payer system similar to those operating in every other G7 country. Big Health is winning again, as it seems highly unlikely an Obama administration will challenge entrenched interests, or take the profit motive out of health care delivery.
Obama told the gathered in Washington, health care costs create an American family bankruptcy every 30 seconds, and could, by year's end, mean a million and a half America families losing their homes. The president is right; it's a crisis begging disaster. All the more puzzling then the reluctance to forge the change Roosevelt called for so long ago. All voters will remember in 2012 is the timidity of his approach, and the ultimate failure to save those million and a half Americans from going bankrupt and losing their homes.
Surges, Purges, and Funeral Dirges
The most astonishing moment of Barak Obama's marathon campaign for the presidency was his final speech, addressed to an Illinois crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands, all braving rain and freezing temperatures to hear the local lad made good. During that speech, a rhetorical triumph by any measure, Obama turned to the question of the nearly six-year occupation of Iraq saying it had to end. He said America could not continue to spend 10 billion dollars a month to maintain the status quo there. It sounded encouraging. It sounded as though the war would end.
But now, president Obama's rhetoric on Iraq is less inspiring. Yes, the soldiers will draw down in number, but there will be no American withdrawal. The bases will remain, along with the gargantuan U.S. embassy, larger than Vatican City, in Baghdad. Contractors, it's expected, will pick up the slack created by the departure of more than a hundred thousand troops. How this non-withdrawal withdrawal will diminish the astounding financial burden borne by taxpayers is not clear.
Afghanistan is now experiencing a "surge" of American and coalition military activity. As happened in Iraq during its surge, the death toll among Afghani civilians is rising. Despite the intelligence of American ordnance, air strikes over urban areas, the primary "surge" tactic, tends to multiply "collateral" victims, swelling the ranks of occupation opponents. By 2012, America will be in the unfortunate position of cajoling coalition partners scheduled to leave into extending again their commitment to George W. Bush's failed foreign policies in Central Asia.
Bringing It Home
Barack Obama's ultimate failure as president is assured, as long as he follows the well-worn path to empire. And follow, with some exceptions, he has so far done. By failing to bring accountability to Wall Street, justice to K Street, and failing to foster a serious alternative to the decadent excesses of America's ruling class, Obama cannot possibly succeed in creating an environment where hope can lead to the change so desperately needed both within America and beyond.
is managing editor of www.pacificfreepress.com
, and host of the public affairs program, Gorilla Radio.