Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Clintonites

From The Nation magazine:

The must-read in this week's news magazines is Jonathan Chait's lacerating piece on Congressional Democrats in The New Republic, in particular the centrists and moderates who are doing their best to distance themselves from Barack Obama because he is too progressive.

Chait takes a close look at what this actually means, quoting Kent Conrad, who appeared on CNBC to complain that Obama's budget would (1) not reduce the budget deficit enough, (2) limit tax deductions on high-income earners, and (3) cap subsidies for farmers who make more than $500,000 a year. Did everyone get the pragmatism in that? A ‘deficit hawk' who just happens to be from a farm state opposes two sensible deficit-reducing measures that just happen to displease two of his deep-pocketed donors (wealthy farmers and high-income earners). As Chait notes, the performance should have turned Conrad into the punch line of a joke, but instead "launched him as a symbol of fiscal rectitude and encouraged fellow Democrats to follow in his hypocritical wake."

Excuse me now, but I'm going to vent. Fair warning to you.

It is sad but true that the Clintonites were and are a part of this clique of 'centrist Democrats'. What did the Clintons ever accomplish in the 90's that wasn't a repudiation of New Deal and Great Society reforms? Didn't they basically help wipe out the safety net for the poor? Didn't they help eliminiate all the regulations that kept Wall Street from raping our economy? Didn't they pursue a foreign policy that tried to expand Nato into the Russian sphere of influence and put military bases in places they had never been? Did they ever do much to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons? Did they stop the settlements in the West Bank? Did they really recognize and do something about the global warming crisis? Yes, they had a budget surplus, but that was based simply on a bubble that burst just before the Bush administration took office. Nice office-warming gift, don't you think?

With Obama's almost wholesale sell-out to the Clintonites thoughout his administration, both foreign and domestic, the progressives have nowhere to go but simple and mostly ineffectual protest and criticism. Obama often speaks a progressive line (like Bill Clinton often did), but he seems to be walking a centrist, special interests line (with the possible exception of the environment). Why that is, now that is the $1,000,000 question.

This is why, as the days pass since the election, I'm becoming more and more pessimistic that anything is really going to change in this country. The special interests have a lock on power in both parties and will never let real change happen. All the reforms that are crucial to changing our declining, imperial, plutocratic trajectory are going to be harder and harder to implement.

End result if this continues, in my opinion: an increasingly law and order corporate-military state, to staunch the increasing social chaos that will result from the worsening economic situation. The end of real liberal democracy, just a hollow, illusory shell left to deceive the populace.

This will not be a pleasant place to be for the average person if this ever comes to pass.

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