Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Hope and Change" or "What Brung Them, Part IV."

I was drinking with Darryl of Hominid Views two nights ago when Darryl asked why there was so much complaining about the Obama administration. He pointed out that the administration had made good on all that Obama had promised.

I think it's buyer's remorse. The public had seen their own hopes for change in Obama's "hope and change" campaign rhetoric. Obama does not seem to realize that the public would see Obama as embodying their own hopes for change. This, Obama has not delivered. Hasn't even tried to find out how the public interpreted the message, as far as I can tell. Once Obama was in power, it was same-old same-old, even as the economy tanked, the USA lost in Afghanistan, oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, and torture became a norm of policing practice.

I am reminded of Clark Clifford's account of the Truman administration (Clifford was Truman's solicitor general), when authoritarian policies became the rule for the next decade. The liberals were right, but they were silenced for 10 years, as the USA went through one of its authoritarian periods and--unprecedented in US history--the military did not stand down. 70 years later, the military has not stood down, though a huge standing army tempts our militarists into expensive, pointless wars, and the concentration on military production hollows out our civilian economy, just as it did in the Soviet Union.

The Democrats may or may not do well in the next election. Midterm elections are usually bad for the party in power and right now the Democrats are polling abysmally. Darryl (a demographer) and I suspect that the Dems will pick up quite a few votes before the elections: despite huge infusions of cash from the far right, the Tea Party Republicans aren't very popular. But whether or not they do, remember: whatever hope and change comes from the Democrats will come from their despised and marginalized left.

1 comment:

Ted K said...

Great to see you posting again. Did you read all of the Clark Clifford book?? It's a super large book, but he makes it a fun and very educational ride. Very few have been in as many Presidential administrations as he has or there to listen to the high level conversations.