Hmm? "Well that's not news, Zandar" you say? Oh, I'm not talking about Republicans. I'm talking about why we lost so badly in 2010 and why we could very well lose again in 2012: Democrats sworn to bring down Barack Obama, specifically raging useful idiots like Matt Stoller.
But there is another narrative, a real narrative about Barack Obama and his administration. Obama is the ultimate cynic, a dishonest, highly reactionary social and corporate ladder climbing con artist. Obama is the guy who calls a female reporter “sweety”, who plays poker with the guys, and who thinks that his senior advisor’s decision to cash out after making a “modest” salary of $172,000 at the White House is just natural. He’s the guy who used the rationale that he’s a father of two girls as to why he doesn’t want young women to have access to Plan B. He was in favor of gay marriage in 1996, flip flopped for political reasons, and then pretended to change his mind as a matter of conscience. He runs on populism with a worse record than George W. Bush on income inequality. His narcissism, and the post-modern ironic sense of self-awareness of how his narrative is put together and tended, is his defining character trait. It’s not just that he’s a liar. Lyndon Johnson was a liar, but LBJ lied us into a war in Vietnam as well as a war on poverty. FDR lied all the time, for good and ill. Obama’s entire edifice is based on lying almost entirely to help sustain his image, with almost no interest in sound policy-making. Obama understands the threat of climate change, but like the exceptional con artist he is, what happens to others he does not know, or what happens in the future, is irrelevant to him. He understands banking, and war, and women’s issues, and corruption and Citizens United. Like a great con artist, he has studied his mark, the American voter, and specifically the Democratic voter, and he understands which buttons to push.
And his rant goes on like this for paragraphs more, a man so utterly filled with hatred for Barack Obama (who apparently only got elected because he "tricked" stupid Americans like you and me), a man who in one text wall of a paragraph proves beyond any doubt he was never a Democrat, never a progressive, never a liberal, but a raging lunatic who has decided that only the purifying fires of total, unfettered Republican rule will scour the populace clean of sin and allow us to rise up against the One Percent.
This is going to be a long one, folks. I've got a lot to get off my chest here. Helpful jump break follows.
Anyway if you're still down here, what I mean by "scour clean" sure, that means a whole hell of a lot of Americans who don't make a million dollars a year are going to lose everything (what little they had to lose), and their families will suffer greatly through the GOP's tax schemes and schools, roads, police, firefighters, public safety, all of that will go away, but the resulting third world junta will be ripe for revolution! You should be embracing GOP nihlism as the only way forward, after all. There's your hopenchange, Obamabots!
Did I mention Stoller here was Alan Grayson's former senior policy adviser, and writes awesome stuff about Ron Paul and third parties as things Democrats should consider in the post-Obama burn it to the ground era?
He's also the brother of Nick Stoller, Hollywood director and a Roosevelt Institute Fellow, so you know when the cleansing burny scoury flames part comes, he'll be okay. Your mileage will of course vary.
Look, Stoller thinks he's doing the right thing, fanatics often do. But the method of change he advocates is going to be pretty damn awful for a lot of Americans during the interregnum, and he's basically okay with President Romney being so horrific for America that it drives us to revolution, regardless of the number of Americans who have to suffer for the greater good. Odds are really good that the group of people who do suffer won't include Matt Stoller, and he damn well knows it.
Yes, America has been ruled by war pigs and crooks, thieves and mountebanks, con men and would-be kings. Barack Obama is a pretty decent politician who is a net positive in a world that demands a combination Sherlock Holmes and Hercules, and no, he doesn't measure up to that standard.
Here's the thing: I recognize that functionally, he's what we have. The alternative, Mitt Romney, is not really worse for guys like Matt Stoller and in some ways may actually be better, and he's arguing his position on that from his viewpoint. He has the luxury of being in a position that he can do that. For the great majority of the rest of us however, Romney is going to be far, far worse on a number of issues that personally affect us and our families and our livelihoods.
But my real problem with Stoller is he goes so far past advocating for change that he echoes the most mendacious and misleading attacks on Barack Obama to push for his point. Barack Obama is an obstacle to Stoller's plan, to the point of heaping mountains of scorn and blame upon him like the President personally betrayed him. There's a lot of that going around, the folks that saw the Obama first term as a means to an end of the American system were surprised to learn that Barack Obama wanted to operate inside to system in order to try to make it work.
Sadly, that was never going to be acceptable to a certain segment of the electorate who refuse to recognize that there's a wide gulf between "we need to let the President know we're not happy with this series of policies" and "we will purposely work against President Obama in order to bring complete chaos and revolution to force the country to rise up and remake everything".
And that's where we are right now. We're way past the notions of Democratic party loyalty and whether or not it's deserved or even helpful, progressive versus liberal causes, working the system versus working outside it, advocacy for grassroots versus reform at the macro level. We're to the point of BURN BURN TO THE GROUND and IT'S ALL OBAMA'S FAULT ALL OF IT. Stoller's massive rant proves that he's lost the picture, it's no longer about reform of the country's admittedly busted political system, but revenge upon President Obama for perceived failure to magically conquer all of our ills, revenge upon him and the people who voted for him.
We've lost a lot of people to that particular abyss, my blogroll is littered with them: Taylor Marsh, Justin Raimondo, Radley Balko, Matt Taibbi, Stoller and of course the king, Glenn Greenwald, and they all have one thing in common: should Mitt Romney end up President, they'll land on their feet. Taibbi will still have a job at Rolling Stone, Greenwald will still be in Rio, Raimondo will still be running AntiWar.com, Marsh will still have her book and writing gigs, Balko will still have his HuffPo gig and Stoller will still be at a think tank with a Hollywood director for a brother. These folks will be fine under total GOP rule.
I won't be. Odds are real good you won't be, either. Luxury of a position of indifference to who's in charge of our politics has become indifference to everyone outside their little circles and kaffeeklatches and numbness to being a working class asshole of an American trying to scratch out a living in a system that's been rigged against them for decades, or in the case of a hell of a lot of minorities in the country, centuries. These guys? Yeah, they made it. Guys like me? We write about politics as a hobby, not as a living.
As I've said before, the provisions of the Affordable Care Act dealing with electronic medical records are the reason I have a job right now. If the ACA is completely thrown out, that's going to be pretty bad for the company I work for. It may be a matter of import that the ACA has to go to most of these guys, but this position directly affects my job. Is the ACA perfect? Hell no. Would I like single payer? Of course. Do I want to see SCOTUS toss the ACA? Not really. Such radical change may indeed produce a single payer system, a Medicare for all approach that would be outstanding if implemented. Do I want to bet my job on it as a single, one-income bachelor? Not particularly. I don't have that luxury.
It's great to say the system is bad, let's wreck the system when you have somewhere to go and something to do while the system is being reset. For the rest of us, living day to day, hand to mouth, one or two missed paychecks away from serious problems, on the balance of the whole we'll take President Obama over President Romney. I'm proud to say I want to see President Obama re-elected. That makes me a sheeple, an unindicted war criminal, a fool, a traitor, and I'll get what I deserve, I'm sure.
Does that make me an evil soulless automaton Obamabot? Fine then, your low opinion of me and $10 will get me a roll of quarters so I can do some laundry. But recognize there that guys like Stoller and his ilk have their own best interests in mind and not yours. You're collateral damage to these guys, one more crime to be laid at the feet of Obama, and means to an end of indictment of a decent President. They're okay if you burn. You'll learn better next time.
You know, if there is a next time. I'm not willing to take that chance.