by Bernard Jenkins
The writer Gertrude Stein once described Oakland, California thus: "there's no there there". She might have been describing Barack Obama.
For over two years now we have been hearing Obama's mellifluous baritone speechifying on one thing or another. But it has become rather like listening to Italian opera. The baritone is deep and rounded and melodious, but what the heck is he actually saying?
We do not hear commanding words of leadership to rally his base that was once so thrilled and excited by the "promise" of his election. We do not hear sharp retorts aimed at an opposition that is stark-raving nuts, that will say anything, the more outrageous and dishonest the better and never backs up.
We hear only feeble defenses of his own positions and legislation and passivity in the face of his barking mad sworn political enemies' relentless attacks and vile racial smears.
In 2008, Obama won the largest election victory since the already half-alzheimered Ronald Reagan trounced Walter Mondale over two decades ago. In this last presidential election, a majority of the voters (and probably a vast majority of the people who didn't even vote) desperately wanted to see the end of the Bush/Cheney reign of terror and error, war profiteering and constitution shredding. They would even have cheered as that gang was frog marched off to the calaboose. Instead, mushily crooning that he wanted to "look forward not backward", Obama, the new President of change, gave them all a free get out of jail card. And quietly continues many of their dubious, dishonest and dangerous policies. Can you say: Afghanistan Bananastand?
When Al-Qaeda of Wall Street practically bankrupted the entire world with their toxic cole slaw of worthless derivatives, Obama and his economic team (who had helped create the original causes of the global financial collapse in the first place during the Bush and Clinton years) rewarded the shameless and selfish Wall Street fraudsters with $17 trillion worth of free taxpayers' money. Obama, Geithner, Bernanke and Lloyd Blankfein harmonizing "Happy days are here again" is the barbershop quartet from hell...
As the feeble healthcare "reform" bill inched its troubled way through the legislative salami-slicing process for more than a year, Obama rarely spoke up and could barely defend his own plan against the full-throated screeching of the Tea Bag Party's know-nothings.
Since losing the Democrat's majority in the House of Representatives to the GOP drunks, liars, perverts and cement heads, Obama has become too quickly comfortable singing from their songbook. He sings their lyrics about cutting government spending, slashing pensions, giving zillionaires even more tax breaks and "balancing the budget" on the already bent backs of the bucks-strapped working and out of work classes as if he wrote the words himself. Will he now break into a chorus of: "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"?? Or: "Give my regards to Medicare. Remember me to Social Security."
As the Caravan of Freedom makes its way across the Middle East, awakening and energizing a vast Arab population that has been bowed down and beggared for decades by the oppressive boot of dictators, Obama warbles an out-of-tune and out-of-touch song of stability and status quo as if hardly noticing what is actually happening or at least trying to pretend it isn't.
And in recent days, more than 50,000 of our own citizens, teachers, students, firefighters, cops and government employees have gotten off their couches and marched on the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin to vigorously protest the dirty tricks of the new GOP/Tea Bag Party governor to implement the rightwing crazies' poisonous plot to destroy labor unions the quicker to bring on their long-planned corporate fascist nightmare for America. But getting the president to utter the words "union busting" to describe what the GOP zombies are actually doing, has been like pulling teeth.
Alas, Obama's dominant Rodney ("can't we all get along?") King gene too often leads him to offer up human sacrifices to appease the opposition's devils. He has thrown over his base to the yowling, lying, mob of GOP and Tea Bag Party ignoramuses. He has offered the halt, the lame and the sick to the cruel heartless greedy clutches of the health insurance and pharmaceutical mafias. His Wall Street "reform" bill has loopholes so large the banksters can drive an armored money truck through them, while the housing market they cannibalized for fraudulent mortgages and liar loans continues to tumble ass-over-tit. Home owners across the country are "underwater" as if they were living in New Orleans during Katrina, but Obama will only throw them a short rope that doesn't reach them. Will the next building boom be debtors' prisons? As for the thousands and thousands of students-many of them low income blacks, latinos and immigrants- hungry for an education in America's public schools, the Obama administration's education solution is: let them eat hedge funds.
Who said: If you stand up for nothing, you will fall for anything.??
Obama's ideal and goal may be to lead a UNITED States of America. It is at best a forlorn hope. More likely, a delusional fantasy. Once he has offered up all of his allies to appease his enemies, there will just be him standing there, whistling "Dixie". And his enemies will still hate him.