Monday, April 15, 2013

Quo Vadis?

O, Obama, wither goest thou?
And thou, O Liberal, who followeth thy shepherd?

There is a tale from the Acts of Peter which has Saint Peter fleeing from Rome and his own likely crucifixion. When he encounters a resurrected Jesus on the road, Peter asks, “Whither goest thou?” ("Quo vadis" in Latin.) 

Jesus replies, “I am going back to Rome to be crucified again.” Thus, Peter gains the courage to return to Rome himself and continue his ministry--at least until he is indeed finally crucified, upside-down.

And as the media try to make sense of Obama’s proposed budget, which sells out seniors, not to mention 70 years of Democrats fighting to protect Social Security, liberals find themselves encountering Obama on the road to Rome.

Are we going to follow him back to the Eternal City to be crucified ourselves, ass pointed toward the sky, head full of blood--and very likely, regret? Will he be your resurrection? Or could it be possible that Obama is--gasp--selling out his base? As unimaginable as this may seem?

Well, an adorable little article that appears today in politicsusa suggests that there is no such crucifixion in the offing. That in fact, what is actually happening is that that clever Obama is at it again, playing 11-dimensional chess and whooping everyone’s ass in the process, only no one else knows it yet.

Well, the article would be adorable if it weren’t so hopelessly naïve and so typical of the contortions that liberals will put themselves through in order to find a way to keep supporting this president, even after he has proven  himself over and over to be nothing but a less-abrasive, English-speaking version of George W. Bush.

In the piece, the author, one Jason Easley pushes the notion that Obama’s embrace of chained-CPI social security “reform” is in fact a setup:

The truth is that outside of the right wing ideologues, many Republicans see real political danger in messing with Social Security. In plain English, Republicans will get nothing on Social Security unless they agree to raise taxes.

He suggests that Republicans have three choices: allow tax increases in order to get chained-CPI passed (and get savaged by their tax-hatin’ base), argue for chained-CPI without tax increases (and get nothing, because Obama and the Senate have proven so very formidable when it comes to negotiations) or reject chained-CPI altogether (resulting in a party divided and nothing getting passed at all.)

Well, first of all the premise that Obama might stand tall in negotiations with Republicans in order to secure a deal that he “really wants” is...well, it’s sweet. That's so cute. I wish I could meet Mr. Easley so I could pat him on his widdle head.

As is apparent to anyone with a pulse, this flies in the face of all available evidence. Given any opportunity to cave to Republican wishes or to the received wisdom of the Beltway in order to fulfill his weird fetish for so-called “bi-partisanship,” this president has done so.

One might be prompted to imagine--if one were of a cynical bent--that with this nearly unbroken string of concessions, Obama has in fact been getting what he wants all along. That perhaps his stated goals aren’t in sync with his actual goals. One might imagine that if there is a game being played, it isn’t being run on the Republicans, but rather on Obama’s liberal base. (See: closure, Guantanamo; reform, Wall Street; health care, single-payer; withdrawal, Iraq; Patriot Act, renewal; torture, non-prosecution of; etc., etc., ad infinitum.)

But enough heresy.

Mr. Easley goes on to say:

Democrats have constructed an elaborate political trap for Republicans. If they go on record as supporting Social Security cuts, President Obama his party will snap it closed. (sic)

Yes, because that’s what Democrats are good at, snapping traps.

Note that within hours of Obama’s budget proposal going public, Republicans were already accusing him of selling out seniors

That’s some fine trap-snappin’ there, Lou.

Obama:   Good luck in 2014 and 2016, fellow Dems! Did I mention I won’t have to run again? Ever?

Dem politicians:   0_o

Perhaps the most infuriating piece of this liberal head-in-the-sand routine as demonstrated by Mr. Easley’s article is the notion that anyone who argues against Obama’s policies from the left is somehow actually the one who is ignorant or naïve:

While the activists on the left continue to completely ignore the political realities unfolding before them, it is looking more and more like Obama’s Chained CPI offer was designed to call the Republican bluff on Social Security.

Here’s the thing: the “political realities” are a result of what the president wants them to be. They are not entirely his doing, obviously, but the president has the largest, loudest, biggest, baddest bully pulpit on the planet. If he wanted to change the conversation--or even make an ATTEMPT to change the conversation, he could do so. He could have done so, over and over again. He has had countless opportunities to try and shift the conversation--ANY conversation--more toward something resembling the progressive platforms on which he ran.

He has not done so.

And here’s where the intransigent Obama cheerleaders are completely self-defeating: the conversation desperately needs to be changed. I AGREE with them, for fuck's sake, that this country is fast steamrolling toward an unshakeable oligarchy run by and for the plutocrats, and there will come a point--if we haven’t passed it already--at which no amount of howling from us plebeians will have any effect.

And if Obama won’t change the conversation, we need to call him out on it. If we continue to support him no matter what shitty, anti-democratic, anti-human policies he supports, we are complicit. Why isn’t he (and Mr. Easley, for that matter) saying things like:

-the cut-off for social security contributions is $113,000. Any money a person makes over that amount is exempt from the SS tax. You want to “save” social security? Raise that limit a few thousand dollars and it can last as long as this country does.
-Social Security is not insolvent, nor is it about to be.
-Social Security does not add to the deficit.
-the deficit is actually dropping.
-the deficit is actually a good thing right now, according to some economists.
-tax rates are at their lowest in ___ years (depends who you ask).

My point is that left and right, blue and red are no longer relevant arguments to be having, not when all of the people we’re arguing about, left or right, are supporting the position of big money, either tacitly or overtly. If anyone or anything is threatening the destruction of this country, it is wealth disparity, political corruption, and revenue shortfalls.

So who’s being naïve again? The people who think Obama is pulling some elaborate con while only appearing to sell out his base? Or those who think that he really is selling out his base, as he has so many times before?

O, liberal, wither goest thou,
Now that thy shepherd has proven a wolf?


(by the way, if you haven't clicked on the last two "via" links I posted, go immediately to this guy's tumblr. It is awesome and hilarious. :-)

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