Late Night: We Told You So — Hillary in 2012!Posted: July 26, 2011 | |
Hillary in 2012! Yes, it’s still a pipe dream, but who else is there? Bernie Sanders came out and said it recently–it’s time to primary Obama or run a third party candidate. Again, I know it’s probably a fantasy, but what other choice do we really have?
For myself, I know I can never vote for Obama. At this point it’s really a moral issue for me. I couldn’t vote for him in 2008, and that was before I realize how truly horrible his presidency would be.
I knew he’d be bad, and I knew he was going to go after Social Security and Medicare. I didn’t know that he would completely ignore unemployment and refuse to use the power of government to create jobs.
I suspected he would carry on Bush’s wars. But I never suspected that he would defend torture and rendition or that he would claim the right to imprison or assassinate American citizens without probable cause or trial.
I don’t know how I can bring myself to vote for Romney either. He’s pretty much indistinguishable from Obama anyway. They are both cynical sellouts; neither has a real ideology or moral core.
…while appearing on Thom Hartmann’s radio show, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — who, while being an independent, caucuses with the Democrats — said that one way progressives can make sure Obama does not enact huge cuts to major social programs is to run a primary challenger against him. Sanders told a listener who called in to protest a debt ceiling deal that cuts Social Security that such a challenge would be a “good idea”:
SANDERS: Brian, believe me, I wish I had the answer to your question. Let me just suggest this. I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president; who believe that, with regard to Social Security and a number of other issues, he said one thing as a candidate and is doing something very much else as a president; who cannot believe how weak he has been, for whatever reason, in negotiating with Republicans and there’s deep disappointment. So my suggestion is, I think one of the reasons the president has been able to move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting what is a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama is doing. […] So I would say to Ryan [sic] discouragement is not an option. I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.
Am I crazy? Look at what has been going on in Washington for the past few weeks. This debt ceiling fight is utter nonsense, and this President has shown no leadership whatsoever. For a long time, he completely cut Democrats out of the process and “negotiated” with John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell! He has put every treasured Democratic program on the table to be cut. Again and again, he has lied about the strength and solvency of Social Security and Medicare. Over at Naked Capitalism, liberal economist Michael Hudson documents Obama’s ugly lies:
You know that the debt kerfuffle is as staged as melodramatically as a World Wrestling Federation exhibition when Mr. Obama makes the blatantly empty threat that if Congress does not “tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform,” there won’t be money to pay Social Security checks next month. In his debt speech last night (July 25), he threatened that if “we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.”
This is not remotely true. But it has become the scare theme for over a week now, ever since the President used almost the same words in his interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley.
Of course the government will have enough money to pay the monthly Social Security checks. The Social Security administration has its own savings – in Treasury bills. I realize that lawyers (such as Mr. Obama and indeed most American presidents) rarely understand economics. But this is a legal issue. Mr. Obama certainly must know that Social Security is solvent, with liquid securities to pay for many decades to come. Yet Mr. Obama has put Social Security at the very top of his hit list!
The most reasonable explanation for his empty threat is that he is trying to panic the elderly into hoping that somehow the budget deal he seems to have up his sleeve can save them. The reality, of course, is that they are being led to economic slaughter. (And not a word of correction reminding the President of financial reality from Rubinomics Treasury Secretary Geithner, neoliberal Fed Chairman Bernanke or anyone else in the Wall Street Democrat administration, formerly known as the Democratic Leadership Council.)
It is a con. Mr. Obama has come to bury Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not to save them.
Obama has destroyed the Democratic Party and he is in the process of destroying the U.S. economy and sending us into a prolonged depression. He has to go. Frankly, if we can’t replace him with a liberal Democrat, a Mitt Romney might actually be preferable for the same reason many of us reluctantly preferred McCain in 2008: it’s possible Democrats in Congress would put up a fight against a Republican who did the things Obama has done.
Recent polls show that Obama’s blatantly conservative policies are finally having and effect–his liberal base is falling apart. The latest Washington Post-ABC poll found that the President’s approval numbers on the economy are dropping fast.
More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The dissatisfaction is fueled by the fact that many Americans continue to see little relief from the pain of a recession that technically ended two years ago. Ninety percent of those surveyed said the economy is not doing well, and four out of five report that jobs are difficult to find. In interviews, several people said that they feel abandoned by both parties, particularly as debates over the debt ceiling gridlock Washington.
To me the most striking finding in this poll is that African American voters are losing faith in Obama’s handling of the economy and jobs.
the number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama’s record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent. The number of African Americans who believe the president’s actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77 percent in October to just over half of those surveyed.
If African Americans are starting to see through Obama, he’s in trouble. How can he possibly win enough Independents to make up for the loss of African American votes? Sure, plenty of AA’s will still vote for him, but how many will end up staying home?
At the Top of the Ticket blog, Andrew Malcolm argues that Obama is trying to reach out to the “center,” and that his ridiculous speech last night was filled with code words to appeal to “independents.”
Using political forensics, notice any clues, perhaps telltale code words that reveal to whom he was really addressing his Monday message? Clearly, it wasn’t congressional Republicans — or Democrats, for that matter.
The nation’s top talker uttered 2,264* words in those remarks. He said “balanced approach” seven times, three times in a single paragraph.
That’s the giveaway. Obviously, David Plouffe and the incumbent’s strategists have been polling phrases for use in this ongoing debt duel, which is more about 2012 now than 2011. “Balanced approach” is no sweet talk for old Bernie or tea sippers on the other side.
Obama is running for the center already, aiming for the independents who played such a crucial role in his victorious coalition in 2008. They were the first to start abandoning the good ship Obama back in 2009 when all the ex-state senator could do was talk about healthcare, when jobs and the economy were the peoples’ priority.
Maybe, except Obama isn’t running to the center, he’s running to the right. In the debt limit “negotiations,” he is the one who put Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the table. He has consistently pushed for even bigger cuts than the Republicans have. And Obama has done exactly nothing about jobs. He seems to have no interest in the issue at all. So how is he going to win “centrist” votes? Surely these centrists still care about Social Security and Medicare and surely they care about jobs. I just don’t buy that running further to the right is going to help Obama be reelected.
I’m probably going on too long in this post, so I’ll wrap it up. I’ll end with a bit of Glenn Greenwald’s piece in reaction to the recent polls:
approval ratings is only one of many barometers of a President’s standing with his base — and, at least in Obama’s case, almost certainly not the most important one. It’s completely unsurprising that the vast majority of Democrats and even “liberals” — when presented with the dichotomous approve/disapprove choice by a pollster regarding their own party’s President — will choose “approve”; that, in essence, is little more than a proxy for declaring one’s tribal identity (which of the two sides are you on?). But what propelled the Obama campaign in 2008 was not merely the number of people willing to vote for him but, rather, the intensity of his support.
It’s one thing to be willing to go vote for a candidate on Election Day (or, more accurately, against the other candidate); it’s another entirely to be willing to donate scarce money, canvass and evangelize, and infuse the campaign with passion and energy. That many liberals will still be willing to do the former notwithstanding their dissatisfaction does not mean they will do the latter. That level of progressive commitment to Obama’s candidacy was vital to his victory in 2008, and its absence could be crippling in 2012 (a dependency on Wall Street cash even greater than 2008 can only take one so far). Wasn’t that one obvious lesson of 2010: the central role base enthusiasm plays in election outcomes?
So what is to be done? I don’t know, but I do know that there isn’t another potential candidate with the stature of Hillary Clinton. Is it just a pipe dream? What do you think? Is there any chance at all that Hillary might step in as Ted Kennedy did (admittedly unsuccessfully) against Carter in 1980? Are there any other possible candidates that could pull it off?