Friday, September 10, 2010

How's that Hopey Changey stuff workin' fer ya?

Back during the Democratic primaries I was pretty much an "Anybody but Barack" guy because looking at his actual policy proposals, rather than at the color of his skin or the excesses of his rhetoric, it was pretty much clear that he was just another conservative politician and we needed some real change, some real hope, not just more of the same conservative policies that have driven this country into the ground over the past 30 years. The sole thing he had going for him over the nominal Republicans in the 2008 race is that he wasn't batshit crazy or delusional. The results so far haven't contradicted my opinion then... the "stimulus" was the minimum needed to keep the entire world economy from collapsing, but not enough to bring the economy back from the edge -- i.e., a conservative stimulus. The health care reform was basically the right-wing Heritage Foundation's healthcare reform proposals from 1994, brought up to date with world events since then. The catfood commission is still out there threatening to gut Social Security and Medicare. And so on and so forth. Not a single one of these are liberal policies, which would have created a new WPA, poured stimulus money into temporary bumps in SSI and unemployment compensation amounts and food stamps, single-payer health care, and so forth.

But one of the few things Obama did appear to promise, as a constitutional law professor, was to bring back rule of law rather than rule by imperial fiat as the modus operandi of the administration. Alas, it is not to be. The Obama Administration, in their successful squashing of a lawsuit over the extraordinary rendition program that makes a mockery of the Constitution's prohibition against torture in the 8th Amendment, successfully argued that only the Emperor of the United States of America is qualified to judge whether a lawsuit by a private citizen (Binyam Mohammed) against a private corporation (Boeing) should be allowed to continue.

The most hilarious thing is that the United Kingdom is nominally an imperial state under Queen Elizabeth II, and has no Constitution or bill of rights... yet even their courts disagreed with the notion that these lawsuits should not be heard in the courts. As is proper -- rule of law requires that courts, not the Emperor, make these kinds of judgements. And rule of law is the only alternative to rule of gun. Without rule of law, nations inevitably become either ungovernable as people withdraw their support from a government that they feel does not represent them, or become tyrannies as governments compel their support. Your guess as to which route I believe the United States is slowly sliding down right now...

-- Badtux the Law Penguin


  1. I guess the clearest thing to look for is the institution of a national police force, or at least states losing budgetary control of their own police forces.

  2. "Anybody but Obama" was my candidate, as well. I didn't view him as a conservative, though. I thought of him as a con artist. Conservatives have some bedrock principles. If Obama has any, I've yet to discover them. The rule of law question is a case in point - if there was an area of government policy where he'd have acted differently had either his background or his principles meant something, it would be there. Yet here we are.

  3. Yeah, so he wants the Dems to lose this fall so he can run against them in 2012, all the while both have cover for implementing the same, neo liberal, policies. That's, in a nutshell, why I don't bother to vote. There is no diff. Neither is interested in what we want, and as there's no "None of the Above" choice on the ballot...

    Case in point is the bailout. A huge majority didn't want it. So what? They did it anyway. But, as we still have the world's largest economy, we therefore have a long, long way to fall. And since we're so divided (divide & conquer) & stupid (dumb down the population) there isn't likely to be any organized, powerful oppo any time soon. And so it goes...

  4. How's it working for me? Actually, just fine.

  5. Obama is an idiot, but no bigger idiot than all other politicians.

  6. I'm someone who voted for Obama, all the way from Australia via absentee ballot. I was under no impression that he was a Kucinich-style liberal, especially after he voted to exempt domestic spying companies from prosecution under the FISA law. I didn't like Hillary because I reckoned she would be as right-wing as her husband, and John Edwards had already flamed out. Not that I had a choice anyway, because expats can't vote in state-level elections like primaries, only in general elections for national offices.

    So I didn't have high expectations for Hopey, but no way did I dream he would be THIS bad! Actively working to affirm realPresident Cheeeeney's torture doctrines?!? Not to mention all the other Bush Crime Family stuff he's continued. But come 2012, fuck him. I'll vote Green. And I'm so blase about this year's election that I might not bother to vote. Although the idea of being able to vote against Careless Fiorina will probably motivate me.

  7. I'd call him middle-of-the-road and not very good at it myself. He wasn't conservative enought to kill bunches of Bush II's blatantly unconstitutional policies, and not liberal enough to do the right thing ing many instances. Mostly, he's been a disappointment, and as some critics have averred, a Bush Third Term. He can't give himself enough cover to get away from that one!

  8. Nangleator: No need for Federalization of local police forces. Local police forces operate as extensions of Federal policy in most cases, bribed to do the bidding of the Federal government. See: War on Drugs.

    Cujo: All politicians are con artists to a certain extent, and I did not hold that against Obama. The fact that his actual policy proposals were conservative ones that were inadequate to the challenges facing the nation, on the other hand...

    Dope: The only bailout that Obama did was the GM/Chrysler bailout, the Wall Street bailouts were passed under Bush. The GM/Chrysler bailout was unpopular with the Washington talking classes, but it kept millions of Americans employed and kept the last remaining American manufacturing industry afloat. Even Ford and Toyota supported the bailout, because if GM and Chrysler went under their suppliers would have gone under too, depriving Ford and Toyota of the manufacturing base needed to continue manufacturing cars in the United States. In short, it's one of the few things Obama did right.

    Regarding the bank bailouts, that had to be done because of the fact that banks, unlike any other entity in the economy, create money via the action of fractional reserve lending and the collapse of the banking industry would have basically ended capitalism in the United States. Capitalism requires money and banks, otherwise you devolve back to a barter economy, which is very inefficient. I think the details were done wrong -- the banks bailed out should have been nationalized and recapitalized with freshly printed money from the Federal Reserve rather than turned into zombie banks -- but without a bailout, we wouldn't be having this discussion -- we'd be too busy trying to barter some of our old clothes for a few scraps of food raised by a local farmer.

    Bukko: The problem with that can be summed up in three words: President Sarah Palin. Obama is no liberal, but at least he isn't an idiot or deranged lunatic, which is what the Republican Party is going to run in 2012.

    VIlstef: I wouldn't say that Hopey is a Bush third term. While his policies have generally been conservative policies, they've been conservative policies from before the Republicans lost their minds and became deranged nutjobs entirely detached from reality, and it was the deranged nutjobs who dominated the Bush administration. By this time in the Bush presidency we were already deep in the Afghan morass and calling up the National Guard for the upcoming invasion of Iraq, and Hopey has done *nothing* that is on that scale of disastrous -- and never will, because unlike Bush he's not an idiot.

    - Badtux the Reality-based Penguin


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.