Thursday, July 5, 2012

Obama's Perfect Storm

The Democratic leadership should have realized and prepared for it, but didn’t. The writing was on the wall for anyone with a sense of historical or political perspective to see it coming. It was the inevitable perfect storm for Obama. It started primarily with the Bush administration. Eight years of Republican leadership, with its contempt for financial regulation, its collaboration with Wall Street, its tax cuts primarily for the wealthy and corporate America, and its unfunded spending on two wars and a prescription drug benefit, all led or contributed to the worst recession since the Great Depression of 1929.

So enter President Obama, inheriting an economy spiraling into collapse, 23 million unemployed Americans the day he entered office, the financial markets in a tail spin, and an electorate outraged over what had happened to their well-being and their future. Faced with the need to enact emergency legislation to stop the spiral, Obama pushed through his stimulus bill, a middle-class tax cut, and a continuation of Bush’s bailout of the financial industry to stop the downward spiral. From the start, his initiatives encountered unwavering opposition by the Republican Party and, later, the Tea Party that now controls it. It was near total opposition to any financial regulation to prevent another collapse, opposition to any effort to save the automobile industry and its 1 million jobs, and even refusal to extend unemployment benefits to the millions of unemployed who could no longer find work. The latter was eventually approved.

In a brilliant and well-funded effort to blame the sorry state of the economy on Obama, the Republican right wing began a strategy of blaming all this on Obama from the day he took office. It never stopped thereafter. It was so effective that even many of those who initially favored Obama began to swallow it. Even now Romney and the Republican leadership continue to proclaim the entire debacle as Obama’s failure, not theirs. In reality the failure they attribute to Obama is nothing more than a continuous strategy of blocking every meaningful initiative proposed by Obama to increase employment and improve the economy. In fact the only strategy the Republicans are intent on pursuing is the defeat of Obama in the next election.

So what is Obama’s perfect storm? A deep recession created by the Republicans who can turn around and blame it all on him, then stonewall every meaningful initiative of Obama to end the recession so that they can then blame him for not doing enough to end it. It’s a strategy to do whatever is necessary to continue the recession in order to insure his defeat in the next election. It is a brilliant strategy because even if the economy does improve, they will have positioned themselves to proclaim it was their opposition to Obama’s agenda that was responsible for the improvement -- even though it was their policies that created the recession in the first place.

Enter the final part of Obama’s perfect storm. It’s the democrats. From the day Obama took office the Democratic leadership has shown little passion or outrage over the Republican attack on Obama and his initiatives. Every day on every major network, we have seen right wing republicans spewing their right wing propaganda as if it were legitimate and justifiable discourse. Every day one Republican leader after another has preached an agenda that is little more than hate, fear, and hypocrisy as if these were the only truths. Rarely has there been an effective response from the Democrats. Often, there have been only weak and pitiful attempts to defend President Obama’s agenda. An agenda that millions of middle and lower class Americans depend on, but Republicans are now in the process of destroying. If this pattern of disinterest, weak response, and lack of outrage by the Democratic leadership continues, Obama’s perfect storm will have ended with the emergence of a new plutocracy controlled by the super wealthy and corporate America.

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