Monday, August 10, 2009
This wave of so-called populist tumult against Obama's "socialism" merely strengthens the status quo. Right-wing money and media help fuel this charade from below, but there are plenty of willing actors eager to play their roles. What alternative do they have, given their utter lack of political power? Meanwhile, liberals continue to moan about Obama's performance, with Frank Rich asking "Is Obama Punking Us?" Actually, liberals are punking themselves, and have been since last summer. Obama is performing his systemic function, as advertised. Everything else is projection and belated ass-covering.
When the evening newscast the other night was showing footage of the chaos at another one of these town meetings, I told my wife that it reflected the basic difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. The Democrats do everything they can to demobilize their base, who are seen as inconvenient and extraneous to their main way of getting things done, namely through closed door meetings with corporate executives and nonprofit honchos over how to screw the American people while giving the opposite impression. Meanwhile, the Republicans are much more reliant on an activist base because their social support is much narrower. As a party that rules directly and openly in the interests of the moneyed elite, it requires all sorts of grass roots organization to push its filthy agenda forward.
It is impossible to predict what the next four years have in store but you cannot rule out such confrontations being repeated with some regularity given the sharpening of class tensions in the U.S. over what looks like a protracted L shaped recession. Even though the Dow-Jones index is heading toward the 10,000 level, the job and housing situation remain bleak.
Obama will do everything in his power to convince those who voted for him to remain patient while he carries out what amounts to a third Bush term, but there will be more and more defensive measures by the poor and the working class in defense of its own class interests. One can be reasonably assured that the level of discontent in the US will rise despite the African-American President’s clear gift for demagogy and deception.