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Ruin-Nation: The Obama Catastrophe

August 3, 2011

This article by Glen Ford is re-posted from Black Agenda Report.

 Barack Obama finally got the grand, bipartisan consensus he’s been working towards for two and a half years. His implacable, deep-seated hostility to the left half of the Democratic Party (“retarded,” said his boy, Rahm Emanuel) – which includes most of the Congressional Black Caucus – transformed a 2008 popular mandate for progressive change into its opposite: a de facto center-right governing coalition of Republicans, rightwing Democrats and Obama’s Executive Branch arrayed against roughly half the Democrats (on a very good day) in the House of Representatives, plus a handful of liberal Senators.

Obama’s unrelenting hostility to “entitlements,” which he vowed to put “on the table” for cutting two weeks before taking the oath of office in January, 2009, came to fruition this week, setting in motion a rolling implosion of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society. It is a monumental catastrophe, worthy of a Mt. Rushmore in reverse (say, deep in a guano-filled bat cave). History will, without doubt, lay this ruin of a nation at the doorstep of Obama, the corporate Democratic Trojan Horse whose complexional characteristics neutered, neutralized or outright made insane the bulk of Black America and most of those whites that pass as “progressives.”

Black Agenda Report and author Paul Street, among a very few others, warned long before the 2007 launch of Obama’s campaign that his own words, deeds, financial contributors and political associations showed him to be an eager operative of Wall Street and the Pentagon. As president, Obama has embraced or launched so many wars, he feels compelled to deny that his latest aggression, against Libya, is a war at all, lest he seem too full of bloodlust. Under the austerity regime jointly imposed by Obama and the GOP (his “Big Plan”) through a manufactured debt crisis (abetted by Obama over the years), the actual reins of the legislative process will pass to a Super Committee, a formalized version of the center-right senatorial “gangs” (health care and debt) and appointed commissions (debt reduction) favored by Obama as embodiments of his “grand consensus” politics. The formula guarantees a shutout of the Left – although, as long as Obama is around, the corporate media will continue to claim, nonsensically, that he represents the Left.

The most pitiful picture to emerge from the mega-debacle just witnessed in Congress, is that of Black Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, standing on the House floor in mid-July, asking “Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully” by Republicans, in the debt debate. As if insults to Obama’s dignity were the crisis ravaging her constituents and the rest of Black America. A report had just confirmed that 30 years of (meager) Black gains were wiped out between 2005 and 2009. One-third of Black America is without assets or has negative wealth, including half of Black single women, the people that raise the majority of Black kids, one-third of whom live in poverty. Black unemployment sits at Depression levels. But Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee was upset because of perceived disrespect to Obama, who offers nothing to Black people but the corporate crap-line, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

The entire structure of social support for poor and working people was at issue, yet the Black congresswoman could think only of Obama: “Why is he different?” Jackson-Lee assured her audience that, “in my community, that is the question that we raise.”

To the extent that that is true, to the degree that Black America remains more concerned about how Obama is doing as he seeks another term in office, rather than how the African American people are doing under Obama’s center-right, Wall Street- and war-loving regime – Blacks are doomed to a period of suffering unprecedented in the modern age.

Presumably to protect the dignity of First Black President – her highest priority – Jackson-Lee joined the 95 House Democrats that voted for the certainty of losing trillions of dollars for tens of millions of needy citizens, rather than risk the possibility of unknown financial dislocations. The same number of Democrats said “No” to the president and his GOP interlocutors. Among the 40 full-voting, Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the split was 15 “Yes,” 24 “No” and one Non-Voting (NV).

YES”: 15 “Obama Uber Alles”

Terri Sewell (FL), Karen Bass (CA), Frederica Wilson (FL), Sanford Bishop (GA), Hank Johnson GA), David Scott (GA), Danny Davis (IL), Bobby Rush (IL), Cedric Richmond (LA), “Lacy” Clay (MO), Gregory Meeks (NY), Chaka Fattah (PA), James Clyburn (SC), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX)

NO”: 24 “Save the Safety Net”

Barbara Lee (CA), Laura Richardson (CA), Maxine Waters (CA), Corrine Brown (FL), Alcee Hastings (FL), John Lewis (GA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Andre Carson (IN), Elijah Cummings (MD), Donna Edwards (MD), John Conyers (MI), Hansen Clark (MI), Keith Ellison (MN), Bennie Thompson (MS), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), Donald Payne (NJ), Yvette Clarke (NY), Charles Rangel (NY), Edolphus Towns (NY), G.K. Butterfield (NC), Mel Watt (NC), Marcia Fudge (OH), Al Green (TX), Bobby Scott (VA)

NV: 1

Gwen Moore, (WI)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is said to have released Members to “vote their conscience.” That means the 15 “Yes” Members looked the speeding GOP/Obama train directly in the headlights as it bore down on “hope” itself, and opted to side with their president instead of their constituents – the same president that had over the years methodically pushed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to the edge of the cliff, and then invited the Republicans to join him in shoving “entitlements” into the void.

He is the enemy. Unequivocally. Cast him out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Patricia permalink
    August 6, 2011 11:42 am

    Very interesting. Obama has been a disaster.


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