THE ROVING EYE Sic transit gloria Obama
By Pepe Escobar
So United States President Barack Obama has publicly admitted he and his party
took “a shellacking” - and there are “easier ways” to learn political lessons.
Yet an astonished globalized world may be forgiven the temptation to reduce US
politics to a digital cartoon - with the Tea Party to the right, fire-baggers
to the left, and the incoherent masses stuck in the middle with anger. (For the
Tea Party, government, any government, is the ultimate "evil" while for
fire-baggers, Obama is at best a Republican lite.) And all this in a
toxic context where the US Supreme Court has graphically shelved democracy by
allowing free-flowing corporate funding of candidates.
The American right's "road map" for these past two years has been to declare
Obama an abysmal failure since January 20, 2008, and to do absolutely zilch to
help the country out of its political/economic/cultural quagmire. Now - at
least in theory - their bluff has been called by the American electorate.
Or has it? To talk about incoherence is a huge understatement. Americans have
told exit polls they almost equally blame Wall Street (35%), Bush (30%) and
Obama (23%) for the current economic disaster. Obama royally screwed up by
bailing out Wall Street the way he did. But now the electorate has decided to
reward a whole bunch of clowns and crooks who caused the debacle in the first
place - among other things by endorsing George W Bush's tax cuts and two
trillionnaire, unwinnable wars. The tearful John Boehner - probably the next
speaker of the House - is very tight with (what else is new?) financial
lobbyists. Angry Americans voted - once again - for Wall Street.
Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
The heart of the (sorry) matter is that Obama and the Democrats did not even
strive to meet the great expectations awakened by the 2008 "Change we can
believe in" collective rapture. They sowed the seeds of their own doom instead.
No wonder they were deserted en masse by young people, ethnic minorities,
pacifists and environmentalists while at the same time masses of enraged
centrists, moderates and independents sought refuge in the right. Add to it the
electorate's gullibility in its manipulation by corporate media.
The verdict is out on whether Obama 2.0 will be your typical, dialogue-averse,
hardcore Washington gridlock or, as Obama insisted in his White House press
conference this Wednesday, a move further to the right towards a compromise
with the uncompromising Republicans. On both options, in an US increasingly
configured by corporate power as a neo-feudal plutocracy, what passes for
"democracy" will be the loser.
Moreover, it's absurd to hope that Obama will connect with his inner Martin
Luther King and suddenly start to walk on water and lead the masses to the
Promised Land when the absolute majority of working class/middle class
Americans - manipulated by special interests and indoctrinated with
conservative dogmas such as taxes are evil - don't even know what they are
The kiss of death
Amid this wasteland, for progressives California at least will function as a
consolation prize - via "quirky" Jerry Brown back at the governor's mansion,
pulverizing billionaire Republican and former eBay chief executive officer (for
10 years) Meg Whitman, who thought she could literally buy an election,
spending a staggering $142 million, most of it her own money (talk about
"fiscal responsibility" ...) on an ultra-negative campaign.
Even tough some of her proteges in the House did well, the fact is most of
Sarah "I can see Russia from my house" Palin's endorsements proved largely to
be the kiss of death - as in Delaware, Colorado, California, Nevada, West
Virginia and Alaska.
The wackiest of the Tea Party running for the senate were total failures - such
as Christine "the witch" O'Donnell in Delaware. In Nevada, Sharron Angle
collapsed facing Democratic senate majority leader Harry Reid essentially
because she ran an ultra-racist, anti-Latino campaign in a state where the
Latino vote is crucial (75% of it ultimately went to Reid). Angle and O'Donnell
were too much of a freak show anyway.
As for Rand Paul, now the Republican senator from Kentucky, sound minds suspect
he is little else than plain scary. Paul's victory speech was quintessential
rightwing populism - government derided in apocalyptic tones as less than
worthless. Were Paul to try to filibuster the next senate vote inevitably
increasing the US national debt, he could conceivably plunge the country into
default, provoke a further depression, and wreak economic hell all around the
How's that for a rookie record?
The reality test for the Tea Party will be whether it can break away from
incoherent blabber about no new taxes, the Fed, "evil" progressives, assorted
conspiracy theories and "legislative action" outlawing Obama's birth
certificate or will they actually try to propose sound policies to improve the
system. Don't bet on it.
Flash forward to 2012; to the sound of Aretha Franklin singing Don Covay's See
Saw - "going up, down, all around/ like a see saw" - scores of US
voters will have finally noticed they threw the bums out just to bring in
another basket of equally lame bums.
Beware the white Obama
United States corporate media is not emitting a peep about it but Obama should
really start worrying about his white mirror - Marco Rubio, who has just won a
senate seat for Florida. Rubio, 39, intelligent, good-looking, good orator,
promises the world to people and has "American Dream" written all over his bio.
Born in Miami, raised in Vegas (where his Cuban exile parents worked hard in a
hotel), good football player, hard-working college student, law degree,
Catholic, blonde wife from a Colombian family, four kids - as a bonus to the
establishment Rubio is not a wacko (although Palin loves him unconditionally).
Mike Huckabee - former presidential candidate and now Fox News pundit - says
he's "our Obama, with more substance". And crucially, his political godfather
is none other than Jeb Bush. Establishment Republicans won't allow Palin to
grab a presidential nomination even over their dead bodies. Thus Rubio may be
their savior for 2012.
An inept/indecisive Obama allowed Republicans to get away with murder - as in
not being held accountable for the monster financial/economic mess and on top
of it being allowed to exploit and profit from the all-American rage provoked
by their "policies". Now, after the "shellacking", it's about time for the
president to show some balls and start playing offense. He could start by
firing everyone at the White House. It won't happen. Get ready; white Obama
will eat him for breakfast in 2012.