Friday, October 29, 2010

Obama: on the ropes?

Obama supporters say that he would usher in an era of post-partisan harmony, enabling America to transcend its divisive, partisan political conflicts by commanding support for his policies across the political spectrum. I was always unclear what 'bipartisanship' actually meant, especially when The Republican Party has no interest in it.
Tariq Ali in Obama hope was all hype in The Guardian says that:
In times of crisis, the incumbent suffers. And the bigger the crisis the greater the punishment inflicted on those in power, unless they do something that makes a change. Obama has not done so. Instead, both at home and abroad, the continuities between Obama's administration and that of Bush-Cheney far outweigh any differences.Whenever vested interests resisted, Obama caved.

Ali says that Obama has done so on the economy, health care, education and Guantánamo. We can add that Obama's Terrorism and war actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, are a powerful continuity with Bush/Cheney.

Ali finishes by saying that:
As a candidate, Obama projected himself as a new Reagan, above narrow party politics. He wanted to please all, but has ended up annoying many. And if the Republicans can find a halfway decent candidate (perhaps a uniformed one) I doubt the incumbent will get a second term.

The Democrats aren't looking too good in the midterm elections. They look like losing their majority in the House, and the Senate might go along with numerous governorships and state legislative chambers.

The Tea Party movement of the Republican Party's conservative base is creating a lot of noise recycling old themes as they exploit the Democrats' intense unpopularity and failures. Kevin Drum says:
Ever since the 1930s, something very much like the tea party movement has fluoresced every time a Democrat wins the presidency, and the nature of the fluorescence always follows many of the same broad contours: a reverence for the Constitution, a supposedly spontaneous uprising of formerly nonpolitical middle-class activists, a preoccupation with socialism and the expanding tyranny of big government, a bitterness toward an underclass viewed as unwilling to work, and a weakness for outlandish conspiracy theories.

Divided government is the norm in the US; a norm based on the long-term rightward shift of the Republican Party.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson

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