What if this is as good as an Obama Administration Gets?

Frank Rich, in today’s Gray Lady, asks:

Who Killed the Disneyland Dream?

From the link:

This month our own neo-Kennedy president — handed the torch by J.F.K.’s last brotherand soon to face the first Congress without a Kennedy since 1947 — identified a new “Sputnik moment” for America. This time the jolt was provided by the mediocre performance of American high school students, who underperformed not just the Chinese but dozens of other countries in standardized tests of science, math and reading. In his speech on the subject, President Obama called for more spending on research and infrastructure, more educational reform and more clean energy technology. (All while reducing the deficit, mind you.) Worthy goals, but if you watch “Disneyland Dream,” you realize something more fundamental is missing from America now: the bedrock faith in the American way that J.F.K. could tap into during his era’s Sputnik moment.

How many middle-class Americans now believe that the sky is the limit if they work hard enough? How many trust capitalism to give them a fair shake? Middle-class income started to flatten in the 1970s and has stagnated ever since. While 3M has continued to prosper, many other companies that actually make things (and at times innovative things) have been devalued, looted or destroyed by a financial industry whose biggest innovation in 20 years, in the verdict of the former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, has been the cash machine.

I believe there was a poll conducted not too long ago that gives a fairly good baseline from which to guestimate just how many middle class Americans still “believe” — I’m talking about that WaPo poll back at the end of October, which found that 53% of Americans are concerned about their ability to pay their rent or mortgage.

Getting back to Frank Rich’s piece, Rich concludes the following:

It’s a measure of how rapidly our economic order has shifted that nearly a quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in America on this year’s Forbes list make their fortunes from financial services, more than three times as many as in the first Forbes 400 in 1982. Many of America’s best young minds now invent derivatives, not Disneylands, because that’s where the action has been, and still is, two years after the crash. In 2010, our system incentivizes high-stakes gambling — “this business of securitizing things that didn’t even exist in the first place,” as Calvin Trillin memorably wrote last year — rather than the rebooting and rebuilding of America.

In last week’s exultant preholiday press conference, Obama called for a “thriving, booming middle class, where everybody’s got a shot at the American dream.” But it will take much more than rhetorical Scotch tape to bring that back. The Barstows of 1956 could not have fathomed the outrageous gap between this country’s upper class and the rest of us. America can’t move forward until we once again believe, as they did, that everyone can enter Frontierland if they try hard enough, and that no one will be denied a dream because a private party has rented out Tomorrowland.

…which brings me back to what I wrote yesterday in my Saturday roundup, about America being locked in reflexive doubt, and that being as corrosive as blind faith.

A huge part of the problem is that we have an empty suit in the White House from whom the best we can hope for is that he simply lets other people lead for him and make something good happen once in awhile, if we are even that lucky. It’s a victory if he lets other people throw us a bone and fight the fights of ordinary Americans for him. Woo hoo.

Three years ago or so the Obama campaign started churning out posters with the word “believe.” The Obama machine wanted us to believe in an image, a brand. Whenever it has come time for Obama to get us to believe in ourselves, he quietly folds up his teleprompter and goes golfing.

For months on end we had the MSM trying to explain away Obama’s inability to communicate that he even cares. Oil gushed out into the Gulf, and all Obama could muster up was “I can’t suck it up with a straw.”

Sure he cares. Now watch this drive.

Whether it was letting Bill Clinton bring Euna Lee and Laura Ling home or letting Joe Lieberman lead the way to repeal of DADT, it seems this is the zenith of the Obama presidency. Letting other people do the actual president-for-the-people stuff while he enjoys the perks of Being President.

With this president, the sky is not the limit, it is merely aspirational..

Ordinary Americans are just trying to survive in today’s economy, at a time when their own president does not think the sky is the limit in terms of the lengths to which he will go to fight for the American people but rather insists that the best he can do is talking point reforms with all the corporate benefits and backdoor privatization buried in the fine print, not to even speak of all the obligatory pork.

Asking or expecting people in such a hostile working/living environment to believe “the sky is the limit if they work hard enough” is essentially asking them to bury their heads in the sand. What is still left of Obama’s ostriches (think Dubya’s 23 percenters) can ignore reality all they want, but that will not change the fact that most Americans are invisible to this president and they know it.

We are stuck in reflexive doubt at this point, but how is having a president who reinforces all of those doubts supposed to help? At this point, I have no idea why anyone on the left still persists in the delusion that there’s any 2% less evil difference between Obama and the GOP.

From a recent Democracy Now interview with Chris Hedges (h/t Dakinikat), where he talks about his latest book, Death of the Liberal Class:

AMY GOODMAN: Your assessment of President Obama?

CHRIS HEDGES: A disaster. A poster child for the bankruptcy of the liberal class. Somebody who, like Clinton, is a self-identified liberal, who speaks in the traditional language of liberalism but has made war against the core values of liberalism, which is a concern for those people outside the narrow power elite. And the tragedy, if tragedy is the right word, is that Obama, who made this Faustian bargain with corporate interests in order to gain power, has now been crumpled up and thrown away by these interests. They don’t need him anymore. He functioned as a brand after the disastrous eight years of George Bush.

And what we are watching is an even more craven attempt on the part of the White House to cater to the forces that are literally destroying the United States, have reconfigured, are reconfiguring this country into a form of neofeudalism. And all of the traditional—the pillars of the liberal establishment, that once provided some kind of protection and, more importantly, a kind of safety valve, a mechanism by which legitimate grievances and injustices in this country could be addressed, have shut tight. They no longer work. And so, we are getting these terrifying, proto-fascist movements that are leaping up around the fringes of American society and have as their anger not only a rage against government, but a rage against liberals, as well. And I would say that rage is not misplaced.

And, there you have it. This is the difference between having Obama and having a GOP president.

So he lets Lieberman or Clinton or someone do something right once in awhile. So what?

I personally won’t waste time denying Obama the “credit.” While the soldiers and the activists who fought for repeal of DADT at the grassroots level are the ones who made this historic step in that direction possible and are the real heroes and sheroes of this story, the fact of the matter is that had Obama succeeded in blocking the DADT repeal, then the blame would have been piled on high at his doorstep.

So he can have the credit, but he also needs to take responsibility for the fact that simply standing back and allowing others to do the heavy lifting once in awhile is neither enough nor the vision of someone who thinks big or sets the sky as his limit for what he can do AS president for the people who elected him.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama set the limit to just being president.

No one would be happier than I would be if Obama would just prove this theory wrong. I have no Disneyland dreams or illusions that he will do so, though.


78 Comments on “What if this is as good as an Obama Administration Gets?”

  1. Pilgrim says:

    In a recent essay in the New York Review of Books, Paul Krugman/Robin Wells says that since Obama won’t or can’t lead, Democrats need to “de-link” from him and do their best without him.

    I do think Democrats have lost valuable time and energy, not to mention members of congress, by trying too much to help Mr. Obama look good. He didn’t deserve their efforts.

    • Sima says:

      I totally agree with de-linking. It’s the only thing that might save the party from tearing itself apart.

    • dakinikat says:

      I thought that might be what happened during the lame duck session. They realized sitting around and waiting for the White House to take the lead on doing the right thing wasn’t working.

    • Imho, it’s not enough to just delink from Obama at this point. Liberals need to delink from the DNC/Democrats.

      Delink is just a nicer way of saying Stop Enabling.

  2. grayslady says:

    Great post, Wonk. Chris Hedges is right, of course. Where’s Al Gore, for example? Where’s Jimmy Carter? Thinking about Minx’s piece this morning on water pollution, these were two politicians who, once upon a time, really seemed to care about the environment. Did they just take their Nobel Peace prizes and retire from speaking out about the issues we face?

    And speaking of polls, I saw two recently (can’t remember whose or I’d link to them) that seemed utterly contradictory: one said that 76% of self-identified Dems think Obama’s doing a good job and the other poll said that only 32% of Americans think their children will be better off than they are. Either there are only about 10 self-identified Dems left (and they’re all in D.C.) or somebody’s lying to the pollsters.

    • Pilgrim says:

      Reports are that Carter is, as usual, very industriously doing his thing, presently with some pestilential worm that he might do something great by figuring it out.

    • Jadzia says:

      Perhaps some proportion of those folks who think O is doing a great job don’t really CARE whether their kids are better off than they are. I certainly have family members who espouse that attitude. (Not overtly of course, but actions do speak louder than words.)

      • dakinikat says:

        Hi!!! Good to read you here!! I really find it appalling that people aren’t worried about the future we’re leaving our children. We just seem to embrace a culture of selfishness any more in so many ways that it makes me want to pitch a rotten fruit at some one.

        • Jadzia says:

          I am happy to be here. : ) While I hide from my kids’ very very loud post-Christmas euphoria. Anyway, am SO glad you are still around!

          • Seriously says:

            Hey, Jadzia! Hey, it’d be your daughter’s first Xmas, yes? That’s so cool. Unless I’m wrong, sorry my sense of time is really off. 🙂

          • Jadzia says:

            Yes, it was great! The Christmas season itself was disastrous — the tree fell over and the refrigerator broke down–but family is here and the kids had a blast. And Cecilia finally rolled over! I was beginning to think she was entirely without ambition.

          • Minkoff Minx says:

            Jadzia, I had a kid like that, he took forever to sit on his own and walk…never really crawled either. I have to say that at the time I thought it was because he was premature and just behind. Now that he is 13, I can say it was definitely a lack of ambition.

            Glad your family is having fun and is safe.

          • Jadzia says:

            I had a preemie like that too! He didn’t walk until 21 months. He was just a late bloomer, though — now he’s 3 and can read, do math, and all that kind of stuff better than his older brother. And they both race around like crazy ALL DAY LONG.

    • Thanks for adding those polls, grayslady.

      “Either there are only about 10 self-identified Dems left (and they’re all in D.C.) or somebody’s lying to the pollsters.”

      or… there’s still a chunk of Democrats who think it’s Bush’s fault rather than Obama’s (albeit a dwindling chunk). So even though they don’t think their children will be better off, they probably still rationalize it as Obama doing the best he can but not being able to fix the extent of the mess Bush made. Something like that may be at work, perhaps. Probably also some corporate media polling shenanigans.

      Good point about Gore and Carter as a case-in point of how the left has been essentially muted. It’s sad to see them pull their punches on the environment and other weighty causes they have championed, just because Obama is president.

  3. fiscalliberal says:

    I read the Krugman Wells article and thought it had some points, but the implementation is in the details. I would like to suggest that our part might be to make the congress responsible like that done with Blanch Lincoln. Some how the population needs to strike the fear of failure in those that do not do the right thing.

    This can be done by consistently pointing out and debating the facts (Dak calls it Peer Review). The points made about Obama today were all evident in the primaries. As a Michigan voter, my vote was discounted by Barack Obama. A poll tax on blacks discounts voters just like Obama ( a African American) and the Democratic party did to me. They need to be held accountable.

    My target is going to be my Senator Debbie Stabenow who sits in the Senate well wringing her hands saying everyone has fault. The point with that is nobody is held accontable. Stabenow is touting her taking over for Blanch Lincoln spot. I intend to watch her to see what she does with Derivatives. Writing to her does nothing. I expect to flood the local TV producers with questions for her to make her explain her actions. The Democrats must make the Republlicans be held accountable. We need to see Republicans standing in the Senate Well doing filibusters for days. The questions must be framed well to point out the absurdity of the Republican arguments.

    If Stabenow does not do that she is worthless. We need to help her go. I would suggest that is what is needed to implement the Krugman Wells article.

  4. HT says:

    Wonk, as usual, your posts are well researched and lead one to reflect. I cannot remember another time in my life that I ever doubted that a President was not truly concerned with the welfare of Americans. Regardless of how I felt about their policies, I always felt that they loved their country – and this from a Canadian, and we all know canadians are commies in disguise (we have that bugabear called Universal Health Care, so we must be commie and the IMF has stuck their nose into our business and stated that our health care is unsustainable. Now I wonder why they did that?)
    Back to my original intent. I have never felt that another president did not care until now. Obama to my mind is totally divorced from the many realities that is America, and that is so bleeping sad. He can’t even be compared to Chance Gardener in Being there, because Chance actually cared.

    • ” (we have that bugabear called Universal Health Care, so we must be commie and the IMF has stuck their nose into our business and stated that our health care is unsustainable. Now I wonder why they did that?)”

      This is bad news bears.

      That’s got the fingerprints of the No Profit Left Behind bastards all over it.

  5. Fannie says:

    Along those death lines, who killed grandma? As of Jan 1, 2011, medicare recipents will have end of life planning, and counseling from doctors. Let the grave diggiing begin.

    Please explain to me how this imporves our economy, I mean our lives?

    • HT says:

      Fannie, I expect that it means that you take care of grannie, and ensure she never has need of any medical care unless you can cough up the money out of pocket, or that you pay monstrous monthly payments to Insurance companies, which might decide that granny is too expensive, which leave you coughing up bucks to take care of granny. It’s the new, improved way of putting granny and any chronically ill person on an ice floe. Unfortunately with the climate change issues progressing more rapidly than most scientists predicted, there may not be enough ice floes let to utilize.

      • Fannie says:

        I certainly understand how the insurance companies play their part in Granny plans. And we know who it falls too when caring for granny, and making those decisions.

        Good point about ice floe…….considering that women don’t need mamograms until after 50 years of age.

    • NW Luna says:

      End of life planning is something we all should do ahead of time. This just means providers will now have a code to bill under. Meaning they’ll get a pittance to discuss what kind of care you want, and to get that into a form.

      The goal of end-of-life planning or advance directives is to ensure you won’t end up kept alive on tubes when you don’t want them, or to ensure that you do indeed get the interventions that you really want. As opposed to what your estranged brother Joe or the physician on call wants.

      • Fannie says:

        Yup, there is no denial everyday we are dying. I’m not sure what it all will mean, because I didn’t read it. As far as those codes, I don’t know how many times I have had to call about them and to get them changed.

        Oh, and I was one who had power of attorney over granny, and when I left her to eat dinner, and returned to the hospital, brother and 4 doctors started ports and everything else……..so I know what you are saying, that is why everything
        should be in writing, and everyone have a copy! I don’t need medicare approval.

        • NW Luna says:

          I am looking for the exact wording to see just what this means. Strictly speaking, if Medicare or other insurance only covers certain things and you and your provider spend time discussing something which isn’t covered, you either have to pay out of pocket, or the provider writes it off, i.e., works for free during that part of the visit.

          But the current Medicare physical exam does cover advance directives:

          You also can talk with you [sic] about end-of-life planning, including advance directives. Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to put in writing what kind of health care you would want if you were too ill to speak for yourself. Talking to your family, friends, and health care providers about your wishes is important, but these legal documents make sure your wishes are followed.

          http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/manage-your-health/preventive-services/medicare-physical-exam.aspx

          • Pilgrim says:

            People in other advanced societies do this and no one thinks anyone is being euthanized. I do not know about payment to medical people. I don’t know if there is any special payment, or why there would need to be.

          • Pilgrim says:

            but of course one does have to pay one’s lawyer for drawing up enduring powers of attorney for medical care in case of incompetence. But it shouldn’t be expensive to record wishes to not be resuscitated. I think it’s done all the time.

          • dakinikat says:

            The United States of Denial.

            and that goes for just about everything.

          • Seriously says:

            I have a lot of older relatives, and I’ve found that medical personnel often tend to bring them things like DNR orders that they haven’t requested, and when they’re incapacitated and don’t even know what they’re signing. I imagine that’s not even legal, but I’ve seen it. So giving the person actual imput would be a lot better, but I get why people are nervous, knowing it all comes down to $$$$$$, watching the insurance companies trying to kick people with broken hips out of rehab when they can’t sustain any weight on their leg, and with the underlying attitude of hey, haven’t you lived long enough, etc.

        • HT says:

          Whoa, that is startling. I’ve discussed my death multiple time with my gruesome twosome, but you are indicating that if I don’t put it into writing others could be involved? The gruesome twosome are my only direct progeny, and my sisters know my wishes, however, you’ve got me worried. I don’t want a funeral, I don’t want anything other than the husk that used to be me is sent to the nearest teaching hospital for whatever they do to cadavers.

  6. TheRock says:

    HONK!! HONK!! Kudos, Wonk! Obumbles has had a lasting affect on Republicans as well. I was talking to a Republican lady at work this morning who by her own admission, is just to the right of Atilla the Hun. She told me that she doesn’t see a GOP contender for the top spot in ’12 because, like Obumbles, they are all talk. She agreed with me that Palin is a spunky person, and someone that has a gift for rallyiing through populist rhetoric, but lack the gravitas and experience to hold that high of an office. Slowly but surely, the table is being set for a Clinton rescue by Hillary in ’12, and not even the corrupt DNC will be able to stop it.

    Hillary 2012

    BTW – Wonk, I had just got off work and logged out of my system when you replied! I’m in Houston, SW side! 😀 Hillary for Texas is right!!

    • HT says:

      Rock, don’t hold your breath. The Powers that be will do everything and anything to ensure that a politician who still believes in power by the people will never get anywhere. Hillary is their number one target. Brace yourself for a whole lot of crapola criticizing the SOS results in the next few months. It’s starting already with the rumour of Richardson becoming SOS. THE PTB recognize that she is a formidable opponent, and are already setting the stage for a takedown of epic proportions.

      • TheRock says:

        Granted. But I really believe that those of us peons that don’t have 2 million dollars in their bank account available to give as a campaign donation are fed up with this idiot class in charge. When die hard republicans say that they wish that Hillary was in charge, you have to see the wind is shifting towards Americans again. It all rest on how gullible the citizens are during the next campaign.

        Hillary 2012

  7. NW Luna says:

    Shouldn’t the title be:

    “What if This Is as Bad as an Obama Presidency Gets?”

    I’m worried about how much more Reagan he can channel.

    • NW Luna says:

      errr, maybe that should be more like:

      “Hope this is as bad as…..”

      • Sima says:

        Yea, I’m hoping it is a bad as it gets. I know different though. Obama will have even better enablers when the new house takes over.

      • NW Luna @ 1:37 and 1:39

        Well, the title is along the lines of what I said within the post:

        A huge part of the problem is that we have an empty suit in the White House from whom the best we can hope for is that he simply lets other people lead for him and make something good happen once in awhile, if we are even that lucky. It’s a victory if he lets other people throw us a bone and fight the fights of ordinary Americans for him. Woo hoo.

        And…

        Whether it was letting Bill Clinton bring Euna Lee and Laura Ling home or letting Joe Lieberman lead the way to repeal of DADT, it seems this is the zenith of the Obama presidency. Letting other people do the actual president-for-the-people stuff while he enjoys the perks of Being President.

        Point being that if this is the best he can do then we haven’t even seen the other shoe drop yet in terms of the worst he can do.

  8. TheRock says:

    OT – I know this is off topic, but whenever something positive happens back home, it needs to be recognized as progress. Plus I will personally be watching the news for the Western response to this situation.

    We can’t always look to the West for answers to our regional issues, and here is one of the first and best examples of taking responsibility for our region. The article says 3 West African leaders were sent. I’m going to lay odds that they are from Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia. We have a progressive leader fighting hard against the corruption that has existed, and this is in line with what he has been doing, Ghana has been one of the few forward countries in West Africa since they gained independence in the 60s, and Liberia, whose president is a woman that seems not to have any fear.

    Kudos to ECOWAS and my regions leaders!!

    Hillary 2012

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101226/ap_on_re_af/ivory_coast

    • HT says:

      Rock, Didn’t realize that you were from the Ivory Coast – for some strange reason I thought you were from another country – and I am ashamed that I cannot remember which country you identified. Please accept my apologies, but while you’re getting out your formidable wordage, remember I’m an old lady (hey I’m hoping that one works so I can use it on my kids).
      What is happening in the African nations should be of concern to everyone, however it gets very little attention in the press, mores the pity. And I’m not referring to the issues that western so called “civilisation” are raising, because most of those are driven by global oligarchys that want to control the wealth of every nation. I’m concerned about the infighting – brother against brother, sister against sister. It’s disturbing to say the least, and the ultimate victims, the children.

      • TheRock says:

        LMAO!!! Actually, I’m from Nigeria and you were right. Reading the posts and the comments here has definitely enhanced my vocabulary. I would hate to sound dumb in the face of so many intelligent people!

        It would seem that you keep up with Africa (or you have African blood in your veins) because that is the single problem that the continent faces. So many of the countries are beset by tribalism and corruption which is manifested as violence against brothers, women, children, the elderly, etc. A large part of that is due to money. When corporations can get away with murder (as Dak posted about the Wikileaks evidence of the Pharma using Africa as a testing ground), the only thing that stands in the way of persecution are the indigents. A few million dollars has been the prescription to solve that. It is a sad state of affairs, but slowly, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

        BTW – I can’t speak to the ‘old’ lady thing, but you very well are a ‘smart’ lady with a keen eye for current events. I should hope to be your equal someday (save the woman thing. that would require a sex change and I just don’t have the money for that! 😀 )

        Hillary 2012

        • HT says:

          Rock, my dear, I’m whiter than white bread, although I suspect that I have arabic blood. My ancestors are all from the northern tribes – Angles, saxons, picts, but my great time 5 grannie was from Spain, at a time when the moors were prevalent and I’m one of the lucky one, I have an early photo. I know what tribalism did to the white sects, and still does. Witness the IRA in Ireland and the deaths and destruction, for what? I do not understand the need for people to destroy other people, and I never have understood that. I keep up on what is happening in other areas of the world, because I want my children to never forget the plight of others and to sink into an oblivion of I’m alright Jack.
          Vis a vis your word smith ability, never fear, you are quite formidable. Sky Dancers don’t care about words, just about the true value of one’s person. You will never have anything to fear…..I was going to make a joke about the Nigerian scam, but decided that it was in bad taste, and we don’t realy know it was from Nigeria.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Rock, I would love to hear your take on all that is going on in the Ivory Coast. I had put a link to the Guardian article in my Sunday Reads…I have wanted to learn more about it. But time has not given me the opportunity to do so…

      • TheRock says:

        Gbagbo needs to go. Period. As much as I could watch seeing Obumbles sworn in, by our election standards, he won, and the transfer of power was peaceful. The desire for power must not include the death of the people in a democracy. Furthermore, on a very limited level, I would like to see Ivory Coast invaded by special forces to get him out. This might sound harsh, but you have to understand the mentality of the region. He will keep his boot on the necks of the masses as long as he can. And I bet you he is siphoning money from the country’s treasury to a personal account offshore.

        The most positive thing is that ECOWAS, our version of the OAS, is FINALLY showing leadership. Past modus operandi was to wait for the big players, the US, Russia, China, GB, Germany or France, to come in and fix the problem. If this is resolved peacefully with a peaceful handover of power, it will be West Africa’s first TRUE step into the 21st century.

        Hillary 2012

      • Pilgrim says:

        BBC World Service, which NPR carries all night long, talks a lot about the Ivorian situation.

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    Wonk, great post. (As usual) I want to comment on it but I just can’t get my thoughts together. I think it is because the situation is so damn bad, my brain is suffocating from all the worry that has been put on it.

  10. Sima says:

    Great post!

    After Christmas dinner the conversation turned to economy, then politics. I was surprised, and saddened, to see my father agreeing with me when I said we needed a true leader, someone to go against their class (because there’s no way a middle class person could get elected Pres) like FDR. If not, we’ll end up with facism, a true leader of another type.

    Dad never used to be that cynical. He pointed out that when he was young, the country was less far from WWI than it is now from Vietnam. Maybe old age is finally bringing him down.

    One thing I did note about the conversation. It’s tenor has changed. We’ve gone, at least in my friends and family, from a sort of depressed, ‘whatever’, type of acceptance to feisty, and fighting-mad. I hope we are reflecting the rest of the nation in that.

    • Sima, reading about your dad becoming jaded after all these years makes me so sad.

      The bonus class have taken advantage of the resilience of ordinary people. I can’t fathom that kind of karma.

  11. Uppity Woman says:

    I personally know several seniors who got letters from physicians telling them that as of Jan 1, they will no longer be taking medicare patients. This is going to become a major problem countrywide thanks to Barack Obama’s health care “reform” which removed, $500 billion from medicare by reducing payouts to doctors for services–so he could use the money for his other follies. If I know people on medicare this has happened to, it can’t be an isoated case. This is what Barack Obama calls “stabilizing” medicare. Many are going to die, if for no other reason, than they can’t get a doctor to see them unless they want to pay cash. Specialists are going to make him pay but making seniors and disabled people pay.

    I would like to say that this man’s program is a travesty, but I’ve changed my mind. It’s much worse than that. This MAN is a travesty. He has no conscience and he knows his actions will kill people, and he just doesn’t care so long as he can play golf, vacation, party and eat plenty of Wagyu beef. We know what his wife did for that impressive six figure salary: She helped a hospital turn away the poor, so we won’t be seeing anything good come from HER influence.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      That is so true about the medicare patients. I know that many physicians will not take medicaid programs as well. My kids are on Georgia Peach Care, and so many doctors have stopped accepting this form of insurance. It is frustrating, and I think it will only be getting worse.

      • HT says:

        I don’t understand what you folks are going through, however, the IMF has declared that our system of health care (supported through taxation) is unsusainable (I wonder why the IMF feels it’s okay to comment on individual country’s policies particularly since said policies have been in place for over 50 years and have worked to the benefit of the people). My son has a problem, I send him to the clinic. I have a problem, I walk to the clinic, My daughter has a problem, she walks to the clinic. Insurance – no requirements, because we pay for medical service through taxes. There are a minority of Canadians who complain about the medical care, because I don’t think they know what it means to be at the mercy of insurance companies, but most of us are quite happy with our system, and would not be adverse to higher taxes to keep it. A lot of folks refer to it as “free” Health care. It’s not free. We pay through taxes, and perhaps I don’t use the services enough to get the full benefit of my taxes, however, perhaps my neighbour needs extensive medical care and uses my tax dollars to get it. I’m all for that. I might be in my neighbours situation someday (BTW, my neighbour did need that care, and he died. I miss him. I wish they could have saved him however I’m happy that he was comfortable and surrounded by loved ones when he left the mortal coils) I do not regret the taxes I pay for medical services even though I rarely use them. Others use them and need them. I might need them someday. I can get yearly physicals including pap smears, mammography, and bone density tests. My daughter has access to a multiplicity of family planning medical advice, with abortion as part of the discussion. My only fear these days is that the incredible stupidity that has taken over your radical right wing element wrt to women, will push their way up here. They are trying and the latest IMF idiocy is just one more point of concern.

        • dakinikat says:

          When Steven Mather was down here he was amazed at the number of hospitals (3) I had to drive by to get to the emergency room of the one that my insurance company would pay for AND that when I got there, I had to do all the paying and paperwork before they’d give me the time of day.

          • HT says:

            Holy holy, I didn’t realize that it was that stupid with insurance. My local hospital is 5 minutes away (where both of the gruesome twosome were produced). The hospital that my doctor is aligned with is 15 minutes away, however, I can go the the closest hospital, and she is recognized, just not associated. I don’t need to worry about insurance, because my taxes pay for it, and trust me, it’s well worth the monthly stipend to ensure quality health care. I cannot understand the American refusal to even investigate on a non partisan basis he costs of government health care. The odd thing is that the government does not actually have much of an involvement, other than cost control.
            I honestly am appalled at the situation that my american cousings find themselves vis a vis health. It’s appalling.

          • dakinikat says:

            I have no IDEA how any one could defend this as good health care and having choice.

        • Pilgrim says:

          Canadians do not foam at the mouth over taxes like Americans seem to do. Canadians grumble about taxes (they grumble about everything) but they have the idea that with their taxes they buy the things they need and want: education, health care, infrastructure, to name a few. Also they can avoid collapse of the economy.

          I once heard it said that the American dream is success, while the Canadian dream is comfort. I’ve thought about that, and there does seem some truth there.

          And I have heard that most Americans oppose taxes, and vote against their own best interests because they think of themselves as millionaire types who are just temporarily embarrassed. They think of themselves as upper middle class, high achievers.

          Unfortunately, the American dream seems to be experiencing a painful reality check.

          • dakinikat says:

            I still think a lot of them are just in denial because they’ve been told for so long it’s the best in the world … all you have to do is look at the stats any more and most of everything we’ve got is not the best and it’s falling farther down the list year after year. I’m not quite sure why Americans need to cling to that entire exceptionalism ethos. It will be the death of us all.

          • Pilgrim says:

            I think you’re right about the denial. And also in what you say about Americans “clinging” to the notion of American exceptionalism. “American exceptionalism”: it’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure I quite understand it. It maybe means America is the city on the hill, the greatest thing ever, and rules that may apply to others are not to be also applied to them. It’s what makes them so popular in the rest of the world.

          • dakinikat says:

            It’s what they tell us when they bail out corporations with tons of money and spend tons of money on a war machine. That way we don’t complain when our levees fail, our interstate bridges fall into rivers, and our children can’t do math.

          • paper doll says:

            dakinikat says: at 9:42 pm
            It’s what they tell us when they bail out corporations with tons of money and spend tons of money on a war machine. That way we don’t complain when our levees fail, our interstate bridges fall into rivers, and our children can’t do math.

            lol! All too true

          • HT says:

            Dak, I don’t doubt that ther are messages about Canadian health care and how to destroy it. After all, it’s anathema to the Corporate vampires, and while we’ve been off the radar for a few years, the vampires are running out of areas to bleed. It will be interesting to watch the attempts – after all, Canadians are all commies, right – oops meant to write – “eh” cause that’s what Canadians always say – eh.

        • Sima says:

          IMF is just… that’s mind boggling, I’m speechless. It’s as if the whole world has been taken over by raving Reaganites with no clue of reality.

      • Branjor says:

        I have no insurance and am just praying that I don’t get sick because if I do I am toast. A few years ago I went to the ER with a burst blood vessel in my eye. They took my blood pressure, put 3 drops in my eye and charged me more than $1000 out of pocket for it.

        • Pilgrim says:

          Good God.

        • HT says:

          Good grief. I can’t believe what you folks are enduring. 28 years ago, an accidental prank resulted in a problem with my eye. I was rushed to an Emergency at a local hospital, and had a preliminary examination. I had to waite for 4 hours, because the emerg people wanted an specialist to examine me. When he arrived and conducted the exam, he taped both of my eyes shut and told me that I had to keep the bandages on for two weeks and set up a followup appointments. I was blind for two weeks, which wasn’t much fun because I had two dogs, however we managed. My cornea was ripped open, and the doctor was concerned that unless I kept the eye inactive, I would lose the sight in that eye. Total cost to me – my taxes. Nothing out of pocket. No wonder the IMF wants to open us up to Corporate corruption / banditry.

          • dakinikat says:

            I can almost guarantee there will probably be a wikileaks cable released about how United Health care, some big PHARMA company, and some US ambassador threatened IMF funding if they didn’t threatened the Canadian Health Care system.

    • paper doll says:

      Uppity, I totally agree…and that’s exactly why he was installed by the top .9999 %
      By their lights he’s perfect because he doesn’t give a rats ass …he gets upset when someone expects him to.

  12. paper doll says:

    ot…but signer Teena Marie passed…RIP girfriend

  13. B Kilpatrick says:

    1) The obvious solution to our educational woes is to increase the amount of homework given to third-graders each night from two hours to four hours (happened to my little cousin) and double the amount of time student spend “finding the main idea” in meaningless paragraphs! /snark

    2) In the 1970s, my dad worked for three months during the summer and, using that money, paid for his rent, tuition, car insurance, utilities, and all other bills. To do that today, I’d have to find a job that would pay me a mere 5,400 dollars a month. The times they are a’changin’!

  14. dakinikat says:

    I’m reading Krugman/Welles in NYBooks.

    unbelievably right on.

    And despite warnings from many economists (ourselves included) that the stimulus package that resulted was much too small, Obama engaged in premature triumphalism. In February 2009, he said of the plan:

    It is the right size, it is the right scope. Broadly speaking it has the right priorities to create jobs that will jump-start our economy and transform it for the twenty-first century.

    The only thing missing was a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

    Worse, the administration seemed unable to change its line once it became clear that the program was, in fact, inadequate. Progressives kept waiting for the moment when Obama would say something like “My predecessor left the economy in even worse shape than we realized—it’s time for further action.” That moment never came. Instead, officials kept insisting that the recovery was on track, long after it was obvious to everyone else that it wasn’t.

    After the midterms, leading Democratic strategists blasted the administration for being tone-deaf: “A metaphor about a car in the ditch when people are in trouble and angry about the abuse of Wall Street, it’s just out of touch with what’s going on,” declared the pollster Stan Greenberg, while James Carville asked, “What were they thinking?” A better political strategy, said Carville, could have limited Democratic losses in the House to thirty seats, but the administration remained weirdly passive right through to election day.

    The same passivity was visible on other fronts: the administration did nothing as its mortgage modification program degenerated into a subject of derision; it did nothing to address public anger over Wall Street bailouts; it dithered in the face of Chinese currency manipulation; it hesitated and prevaricated for weeks after the Gulf oil spill. The administration’s political strategy seemed to boil down to sitting around and waiting for the economy to improve.

    • dakinikat says:

      Even if Obama were suddenly to find an inner FDR, would anyone notice? His aloofness has become so indelibly registered in voters’ minds that if he tried to change style—even if he wanted to, a big “if”—this would immediately come across as opportunistic. Having trusted and been disappointed by Obama once before, they are very unlikely to give him another chance.

  15. Seriously says:

    Great post, Wonk. I think the sad part is not just that the one opportunity for transformative change that we’re likely to see for a long, long time was squandered, it’s also that Obama had many supporters who weren’t mindless bots, decent people, people who Hoped Against Hope, (;)) and he’s bred a lot of cynicism and hopelessness. They’re not going to trust in the same way again, and they’re looking at everything with a jaundiced eye as a PR stunt or an attempt to manipulate. Not that it’s wrong, it is the world we live in, but it just makes it that much harder.