Elihu Vedder Corrupt Legislation 1896 oil on canvas [installation view]
despite the "hot hand" he was dealt, [Obama] represents one of the greatest failures in the history of postwar political leadership - Robert E. Prasch
To the critics of my own recent verbal and written rants, which were nothing when compared to the extended broadsides of a number of much more public and articulate voices which included Glenn Greenwald, Matt Stoller, the Black Agenda Report, and Robert E. Prasch (all of whom have also been badly bruised by angry Obama sectaries):
I won't say that I won't say I told you so.
In fact I started four years ago, repeatedly speaking and writing about the failures of the Obama administration as they unfolded, and what appeared to be the reinstallation of the disastrous regime which had preceded it. Apparently we were considered inconsequential, certainly ineffectual. Many members of what passes today for a Left didn't scream in high dudgeon at me or Obama's many other critics until it was time to decide whether to award our current president four more years in order to finish a nasty job.
If the presidential compaign wasn't just a ruse arranged by a corporate class, the most amazing aspect of the fearmongering we witnessed, and certainly the most telling, is the fact that only four years after Bush Junior there could possibly be any danger from another totally absurd Republican candidate, and from the party which had itself dealt the "hot hand" Obama had inherited. But we've all watched as the ground was prepared over those four years, some of us to great dismay.
Some of my own blog history on the subject of this president:
- February 4, 2008 (primary time) Should I be embarrassed, reading it now, that this post shows I had clearly been suckered in a bit?: "a vote for Obama is not really a rational choice; it's a vote for a dream"
- October 28, 2008 (just days before the election) I wrote of my doubts that Obama would do the right thing: "we have nothing but our fragile hopes"
- November 7, 2008 (3 days after the election) My blog was showing that I was concerned, and the fundamental questions had already begun: "Freedom ain't a tower."
- November 25, 2008 (3 weeks after the election) I asked whether Obama's talk about hope and change was all fake: "a seemingly inexorable reintroduction of the polices and personnel which created the colossal messes both inside and outside our borders"
- September 7, 2009 (seven and a half months into Obama's term) I listed 29 (and still counting) separate indictments against the Obama administration: "Obama is a disaster."
- October 7, 2009 (eight and a half months into Obama's term) I had come to realize our wars were intended as endless wars to prolong war endlessly, and they had now become Obama's wars: "[they] have been programmed from the very beginning to go on forever."
The conclusion is self-evident, so the only question remaining is whether we're talking about incompetence or evil. I can't imagine it isn't both.
Of course critics of our corrupted system, which has tamed and suppressed a genuine Left in the U.S. for at least a century, are nothing new and their voices have not always been uncelebrated. The legendary W.E.B. Dubois became increasingly radical as he aged; late in his life (he was born, remarkably, just after the Civil War, during the Reconstruction Era) he wrote in The Nation about his choice not to vote in a presidential election:
No 'two evils' exist. There is but one evil party with two names.
Introducing its September 4, 2012 post on his "Why I Won't Vote" essay, Black Agenda Report explains: "Dubois condemns both Democrats and Republicans for their indifferent positions on the influence of corporate wealth, racial inequality, arms proliferation and unaffordable health care.explained persuasively why he was not voting in the upcoming 1956 presidential election."
We can hardly do less today.
Dubois himself concluded:
Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord . . . this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest.
. . . .
I will be no party to it and that will make little difference. You will take large part and bravely march to the polls, and that also will make no difference. Stop running Russia and giving Chinese advice when we cannot rule ourselves decently. Stop yelling about a democracy we do not have. Democracy is dead in the United States. Yet there is still nothing to replace real democracy. Drop the chains, then, that bind our brains. Drive the money-changers from the seats of the Cabinet and the halls of Congress. Call back some faint spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln, and when again we can hold a fair election on real issues, let's vote, and not till then. Is this impossible? Then democracy in America is impossible.
[image from Wikipedia entry, "political corruption"]