Attack of the Zombie Right

The image of Zombie is pretty pervasive in modern American Culture.  From movies to music videos, the zombie serves as that partial human driven by eating other people’s brains while incapable of any thought.  A few recent articles have applied the zombie concept to the American Right Wing. I thought I’d share that with you.

First up is an item from Henry A. Giroux at  Truthout who wrote a book using the rightwing Zombie prototype.  It was published in 2010 and is titled “Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism” . Giroux argues that Zombie reactionaries threaten the very stability of our Democracy.

But the new zombies are not only wandering around in the banks, investment houses, and death chambers of high finance, they have an ever-increasing presence in the highest reaches of government and in the forefront of mainstream media. The growing numbers of zombies in the mainstream media have huge financial backing from the corporate elite and represent the new face of the culture of cruelty and hatred in the second Gilded Age. Any mention of the social state, putting limits on casino capitalism, and regulating corporate zombies puts Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck,?Rush Limbaugh, and other talking heads into a state of high rage. They disparage any discourse that embraces social justice, social responsibility, and human rights. Appealing to “real” American values such as family, God, and Guns, they are in the forefront of a zombie politics that opposes any legislation or policy designed to lessen human suffering and promote economic and social progress. As Arun Gupta points out, they are insistent in their opposition to “civil rights, school desegregation, women’s rights, labor organizing, the minimum wage, Social Security, LGBT rights, welfare, immigrant rights, public education, reproductive rights, Medicare, [and] Medicaid.” [5] The walking hyper-dead even oppose providing the extension of unemployment benefits to millions of Americans who are out of work, food, and hope. They spectacularize hatred and trade in lies and misinformation. They make populist appeals to the people while legitimating the power of the rich. They appeal to common sense as a way of devaluing a culture of questioning and critical exchange. Unrelenting in their role as archetypes of the hyper-dead, they are misanthropes trading in fear, hatred, and hyper-nationalism.

The human suffering produced by the walking hyper-dead can also be seen in the nativist apoplexy resulting in the racist anti-immigration laws passed in Arizona, the attempts to ban ethnic studies in public schools, the rise of the punishing state, the social dumping of millions of people of color into prisons, and the attempts of Tea Party fanatics and politicians who want to “take back America” from President Barack Obama—described in the new lexicon of right-wing political illiteracy as both an alleged socialist and the new Hitler. Newt Gingrich joins Glenn Beck and other members of the elite squad of the hyper-dead in arguing that Obama is just another version of Joseph Stalin. For Gingrich and the rest of the zombie ideologues, any discourse that advocates for social protections, easing human suffering, or imagining a better future is dismissed by being compared to the horrors of the Nazi holocaust. Dystopian discourse and End Times morbidity rule the collective consciousness of this group.

Joshua Holland at Alternet  sees this new ‘conservatism’ as being deeply rooted in the chemistry of the brain.  Are ‘conservatives’ just natural born zombies?

Research suggests that conservatives are, on average, more susceptible to fear than those who identify themselves as liberals. Looking at MRIs of a large sample of young adults last year, researchers at University College London discovered that “greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala” ($$). The amygdala is an ancient brain structure that’s activated during states of fear and anxiety. (The researchers also found that “greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex” – a region in the brain that is believed to help people manage complexity.)

That has implications for our political world. In a recent interview, Chris Mooney, author of The Republican Brain, explained, “The amygdala plays the same role in every species that has an amygdala. It basically takes over to save your life. It does other things too, but in a situation of threat, you cease to process information rationally and you’re moving automatically to protect yourself.”

The finding also fits with other data. Mooney discusses studies conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in which self-identified liberals and conservatives were shown images – apolitical images – that were intended to elicit different emotions. Writing at Huffington Post, Mooney explains that “there were images that caused fear and disgust — a spider crawling on a person’s face, maggots in an open wound — but also images that made you feel happy: a smiling child, a bunny rabbit.” The researchers noted two differences between the groups. The researchers studied their subjects’ reactions by tracking their eye movements and monitoring their “skin conductivity” – a measure of one’s autonomic nervous system’s reaction to stimuli.

Conservatives showed much stronger skin responses to negative images, compared with the positive ones. Liberals showed the opposite. And when the scientists turned to studying eye gaze or “attentional” patterns, they found that conservatives looked much more quickly at negative or threatening images, and [then] spent more time fixating on them.

Mooney concludes that this “new research suggests [that] conservatism is largely a defensive ideology — and therefore, much more appealing to people who go through life sensitive and highly attuned to aversive or threatening aspects of their environments.”

Another Alternet author, Sara Robinson, reviews the state of Fascist America.  We seem to have a hard core right that is hard-wired to be commie-fearing, gun and bible toting zombie/fascists.  It’s nothing new.  Will these zombies always walk amongst us?

America has never been without fascist wannabes. Research by Political Research Associates estimates that, at any given time in our history, roughly 10-12 percent of the country’s population has been bred-in-the-bone right-wing authoritarians — the people who are hard-wired to think in terms of fascist control and order. Our latter-day Christian Dominionists, sexual fundamentalists and white nationalists are the descendants — sometimes, the literal blood descendants — of the same people who joined the KKK in the 1920s, followed Father Coughlin in the 1930s, backed Joe McCarthy in the early ’50s, joined the John Birch society in the ’60s, and signed up for the Moral Majority in the 1970s and the Christian Coalition in the 1990s.

Given its rather stunning durability, it’s probably time to acknowledge that this proto-fascist strain is a permanent feature of the American body politic. Like ugly feet or ears that stick out, it’s an unchanging piece of who we are. We are going to have to learn to live with it.

But it’s also true that this faction’s influence on the larger American culture ebbs and flows broadly over time. Our parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with them much at all, because the far-right fringe was pushed back hard during the peak years of the New Deal. It broke out for just a few short years in the McCarthy era — long enough to see the rise of the Birchers — and then was firmly pushed back down into irrelevance again.

But the country’s overall conservative drift since the Reagan years and the rise of the Internet (which enabled the right’s network of regional and single-issue groups to crystallize into a single, unified, national right-wing culture over the course of the ’90s and ’00s) reenergized the extreme right as a political force. As a result, history may look back on George W. Bush’s eight years as the “Peak Wingnut” era — a high-water mark in radical right-wing influence and power in America.

I think social media has played a huge role in bringing on that “Peak Wingut” era, frankly.  I am amazed at the number of emails, Facebook posts, and blogs that cause me to think about erecting a huge stockade around my house.  I have to admit that watching Fox News these days makes me think I am living in Zombie Land. The access to the media and the internet has certainly brought the zombie memes to the front pages and airways.  We also have one of our two major political parties that’s had a zombie infestation.   It certainly was on full display during the Republican primaries.  What really amazes me is the number of cult beliefs that seem to have found their way into mainstream American Political Life.  Who would ever think we’d be having to have serious conversations about Ayn Rand or Ludwig Von Mises just as two examples?

The most distressing thing about all of this is that dialogue and compromise–both necessary features of a functional democracy–are next to impossible when facing a zombie army.  No amount of reason, data or science stops those zombies from trying to eat our brains.  Just turn on the 700 club on any given day, watch Pat Robertson, and just try to to convince me that there aren’t zombies among us.  And don’t even get me started on Ron Paul, Paul Ryan, or Allen West or the zombimbo twins of Bachmann and Palin.  So, what’s a democracy to do?


Obama’s Political Leanings (pssssttttt … he’s no liberal)

Time to trot out the Unity Pony

I’m having an interesting day reading all the links out there and discussions on several Ezra Klein blog posts. Some one should’ve noticed Obama’s hero-worship of Reagan during the primaries about three years ago. Some one should’ve read his books that were gleeful about past Republican policy initiatives. But no, we were too busy discussing other things to notice how far to the right Barrack Obama really is.

Here’s one of Klein’s posts that’s getting netplay now: The shocking truth about the birthplace of Obama’s policies. Some people just have not been paying attention at all.

President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican from the early 1990s. And the Republican Party he’s facing has abandoned many of its best ideas in its effort to oppose him.

If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis, three major policy ideas have dominated American politics in recent years: a health-care plan that uses an individual mandate and tax subsidies to achieve near-universal coverage; a cap-and-trade plan that attempts to raise the prices of environmental pollutants to better account for their costs; and bringing tax rates up from their Bush-era lows as part of a bid to reduce the deficit. In each case, the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans staked out in the early ’90s — and often, well into the 2000s.

I’ve been saying for years–literally–that the Obama Health Care Plan was more conservative than Nixon’s and basically was grabbed from Lincoln Chaffe’s Heritage Plan in the 1990s which was later called Dolecare and then later morphed into Romneycare. That’s just Klein’s first example.  He also provides evidence on cap and trade which was supported by George H.W. Bush and Newt Gingrich when it was applied to ‘acid rain’ instead of  ‘global warming’.  He then moves to tax policies. Obama’s obvious proclivities to voodoo economics even showed up in the first stimulus which was top heavy with tax cuts and not big enough on job creation measures.  Klein doesn’t even touch the increasing military budgets and interventions, the GLBT and women’s rights issues that get bargained away, FISA, Gitmo, etc., etc., etc. …

Here’s Mark Thoma’s take on the Klein piece and a follow-up by Andrew Samick.  Samick considers Obama to be a Rockefeller Republican of all things.  I’d say Obama’s even more to the right than that because that’s pretty much the side of the Republican party that raised me. Rockefeller Republicans love Planned Parenthood among other things. Warren Buffet is a great example.  Hell, Charlton Heston loved Planned Parenthood.  I even heard him speak on population control issues in Omaha, Nebraska in the mid 1970s sponsored by–gasp!–Planned Parenthood.  The most interesting part is Thoma’s ending question.  Why are we moving so far to the right now?

What’s left unexplained is why movements to the right by both parties — and these aren’t marginal moves — haven’t alienated the middle of the road, swing voters that seem to make a difference in elections. I don’t think I have a good answer for why. In the present case, there is some voter remorse — Obama is far more conservative than many thought — but I don’t think that explains the larger trend.

The original Ezra Klein piece is here: ‘Obama revealed: A moderate Republican’.  Believe me, the conversation has gone viral with folks like The National Review (Be forewarned if you go there, it’s a  putrid thread.) on line taking the bait.  Booman  even twists himself into a world class logic pretzel trying to say this is good news because it means Obama’s policies are “mainstream”.  Joseph Romm at The Grist   discusses the climate policy even further.

In the climate bill debate of the past two years, Obama and the Democrats embraced Republican ideas in an effort to minimize or avoid the partisanship inherent in other approaches that had been explicitly rejected by Republicans, including a tax and a massive ramp up in clean energy funding, as I’ve argued.

But Klein makes an effective case that it simply didn’t matter how reasonable or centrist or business-friendly a strategy environmentalists and progressive politicians pursued (or might have pursued). The Republicans simply were committed to stopping Obama from appearing bipartisan.

The Dems keeps getting suckered by Republicans the way Charlie Brown keeps getting suckered by Lucy. But the difference is that the GOP’s strategy wasn’t even a secret.

Ah, here’s the deal. Romm ties back to Thoma’s question. Why all this goose stepping to the right?  Easy.  It was the Republican strategy of say not to everything.  They had to go further right to say no.  Now, we’re in policy measures that are from John Birch Society land. Finally, the Democratic Congress said no more compromises when Planned Parenthood went on the chopping block. They also decided to get what they could get done before Boehner took over the house.  We saw a few last minute Democratic Policies get passed but it was only due to the folks in Congress. Obama just went along because, hell, a win is a win, right?

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell told The New York Times in March 2010, “It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.” Why? As McConnell blurted out right before the 2010 midterm elections, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

Obama kept proposing “conservative” policy at the onset. The Republicans announced they would sabotage it from the get go.  This is something we complained about and pointed out here and elseblog for years.  Obama’s opening policy moves were always a compromise position for real Democrats.  He never was worried about putting policy out there with a real Democratic stamp on it because issues aren’t important to him. This President  desperately wanted to pass anything with his name on it that would be called success.  I frequently argued he wanted to makes sure there was a Health Plan that went through just to show he could do it when the Clintons couldn’t do it. He threw the Democratic plans over board almost immediately including the wildly popular single payer option.  Dumping women’s access to private insurance with access to abortion was his final compromise maneuver to pass the silly thing.  He’s thrown policies to the wind that have been basic Democratic Platform staples every chance he’s been in office. The Republicans were never going to act satisfied and were going to keep goosestepping further right. It was their announced strategy.  He was more than willing to go right along with them because his proclivities are rightish anyway and he just wants the win.

So, my big question is why didn’t these folks see this coming all along like we did?  Then a follow-up, what good does all this discovery now do three years too late?

Of course, if you read the Republican blogs, they’re still screaming Obama’s a socialist and Klein’s a fool.  If you hit the partisan Democrats, the pretzel logic maneuvers are as obvious as Booman’s trying to find the sunny side up.

I’ll I can say is we told them so.  Follow that up by a we are so f’d.


About 99 percent of us have that sinking feeling

You know me and my wonky graphs.  You also know I blog a lot about rising income inequality and that I think it’s a huge problem.  So, this MOJO Power graph and the article it came with piqued my curiosity.  It’s from an article by Kevin Drum writing on a Timothy B Lee blogpost on the preemption of ‘genuine left wing voices’ by libertarians.   I’m not sure how libertarians could be confused for moderates, liberals or lefties but given that establishment conservatives have an orthodoxy so tight that few fit, I suppose everything else gets to wear the liberal label. But, maybe there’s more to it than that.

We talked about this a little on a thread yesterday.  Both Ariana Huffington and Kos used to be Republicans.  They left the party when the religious right took over and because, frankly, I don’t think they like the fact that so many blue collar Reagan Democrats had just up and joined their old country club.  There’s also the odd phenomenon of tea party populists that don’t seem to know where they are or where they belong either.  We’ve seen how a  lot of these folks have made their way into policy circles through their support or their horror of the current administration so I think it’s worth viewing three blog writers on that topic.  Why are so many people confused about their political identity any more?

Libertarian ‘insight’ used to the butt of jokes at academic cocktail parties where you discussed Utopian moonbattery and even worse fiction.  Now there seems to be an industry around producing what they call journals, institutions, and philosophy that is some how running loose in mainstream conversations demanding to be taken seriously.    It’s hard to do that because they don’t associate with data and they seem to thrive on passing memes that have no basis in reality.  (The ones on the FED just kill me.) They’re in the tea party, they’re all for Rand and Ron Paul, and yet, some of them have made their way to the liberal blogosphere.  What’s going on? Plus, what’s the deal with all these solid working class–in some cases UNION folks–heading to tea party rallies?  Haven’t they ever heard of Dick Armey?

Drum shows how the worst of the libertarian assumptions they hold up as facts just don’t hold up to the light of day.  He starts with a shared assumption from the right wing and libertarians as described by Will Wilkinson. This meme is the mild form libertarianism from the Hayek-Friedman sect.

It’s best to just maximize growth rates, pre-tax distribution be damned, and then fund wicked-good social insurance with huge revenues from an optimal tax scheme.

We’ve got scads of data that show this meme to be a completely false assumption.  We’d have a better economy right now if that were true.  In fact, the only time we had a decent economy in recent history was when that particular assumption was rolled back during the Clinton years.   But, don’t take it from me, read what Kevin Drum has to say.  Those assumptions are very wrong.

First, it contains an implicit conviction that libertarian notions of tax and regulatory structures will maximize growth rates. This is practically an article of faith on the right, but there’s virtually no empirical evidence to support it. As it happens, I’d argue that my preferred brand of the modern mixed economy is, on the whole, probably more efficient than a stripped down libertarian state, even one that includes lots of centrally-directed income redistribution. But not by much. Personally, I’d be pretty happy if both sides accepted the notion that within a fairly wide range of modern capitalist systems — from Sweden to the U.S., say — overall growth rates change very little. For the most part, we’re really arguing about other things.

Second, I suspect there’s no feasible path to Will’s state of the world. The problem is that a system that generates enormous income inequality also generates enormous power inequality — and if corporations and the rich are allowed to amass huge amounts of economic power, they’ll always use that power to keep their own tax rates low. It’s nearly impossible to create a high-tax/high-service state if your starting point is a near oligarchy where the rich control the levers of political power.

Third, look at the graph. We’ve had this trickle up to the one percent form of economic nonsense since the Reagan years and all it’s done is made things radically worse.   It’s led to this situation where the supply side of the curve completely craps all over the demand side of the curve in product markets.  The outright hostility to unions and the abuse and disempowerment of human beings–not human “capital”–have completely shifted  income levels and underlying market power to some place where you truly think you’d see some kind of general revolt, strike, or overthrow.

It should be patently obvious now that Wall Street has recovered, bonuses have recovered, and corporate profits have recovered while  any one not up at the top of that racket can hardly survive these days.  The unemployment rate, the numbers of foreclosures, and the numbers of bankruptcies are tips of the icebergs.  We’re not going to see growth rates of GDP that will clear that up too.  More frightening is that the powers that be don’t seem to even fake caring.

When you point all these things out to libertarians, they’ll shift the ground on you and say point me where it says in the constitution and mutter something about Wilson and the imperial presidency.  This is the place where they firmly intersect the right wing. Look, Wilson is dead.  The Bush legacy lives and the Obama legacy is still being written.  Still, some of them have crept over and become neoliberals and identified with the left.  Why?

Read the rest of this entry »


Quelle Tristesse!

Obama vs GOP
In what will go down as one of the most egregious acts of calumny, many smart people accused Barack Obama of being incredibly brilliant and politically savvy, in addition to having the highest IQ of any political figure ever to set foot in Washington, DC. Some of these people hung on to that defamation in the course of the first two years of the Obama administration. Every display of ineptitude and every questionable political act were justified with “he knows exactly what he’s doing”, or “he got the enemies where he wants them”, or “he’s playing eleven dimensional chess”. Now the whole experiment is taking worrisome a turn.

At this point, the verdict on the Obama presidency seems to be a variation of the same idea: He is not who his supporters thought he was and he is by miles not “the one we’ve been waiting for”.

1st School of thought: Barack Obama is an incompetent bumbler who lacks the training and probably the personality to be POTUS. Moreover, for some incomprehensible reason, he seems to be dead set on being liked be the GOP, who in turn would like nothing better than crush him. (Sub-group: Obama was never the candidate of change he pretended to be, he is the incarnation of the status quo.)

Frank Rich has a very interesting op-ed column today, detailing many of the sorry aspects of the Obama presidency so far, especially the length to which he would go to please the GOP, without success, of course: All the President’s Captors

THOSE desperate to decipher the baffling Obama presidency could do worse than consult an article titled “Understanding Stockholm Syndrome” in the online archive of The F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin. It explains that hostage takers are most successful at winning a victim’s loyalty if they temper their brutality with a bogus show of kindness. Soon enough, the hostage will start concentrating on his captors’ “good side” and develop psychological characteristics to please them — “dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide or think.”
This dynamic was acted out — yet again — in President Obama’s latest and perhaps most humiliating attempt to placate his Republican captors in Washington.

This column is a good companion to Paul Krugman’s latest in which he pretty much throws in the towel:

Mr. Obama, who has faced two years of complete scorched-earth opposition, declared that he had failed to reach out sufficiently to his implacable enemies. He did not, as far as anyone knows, wear a sign on his back saying “Kick me,” although he might as well have.

[…]

What’s even more puzzling is the apparent indifference of the Obama team to the effect of such gestures on their supporters. One would have expected a candidate who rode the enthusiasm of activists to an upset victory in the Democratic primary to realize that this enthusiasm was an important asset. Instead, however, Mr. Obama almost seems as if he’s trying, systematically, to disappoint his once-fervent supporters, to convince the people who put him where he is that they made an embarrassing mistake.

I would like to step back and address another issue: Obama’s preparedness and his personality to be POTUS.
Throughout the 2008 Primaries, Hillary Clinton kept making the point that she had garnered enough experience to get things moving in the right direction in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, that argument was ridiculed by Obama’s supporters. Now, it has become clear how detrimental Obama’s lack experience and knowledge of “Washington” is. Some of this is not necessarily Obama’s fault: Through his meteoric rise, Obama did not have the time to cultivate relationships necessary to get some things from law makers. Sadly, his cold and aloof personality just compounds the problem. Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, political hacks from Politico, wrote a surprisingly insightful article laying some of these problems bare.

In his effort to change Washington, Obama has failed to engage Washington and its institutions and customs, leaving him estranged from the capital’s permanent power structure — right at the moment when Democrats say he must rethink his strategy for cultivating and nurturing relations with key constituencies ahead of 2012.

Then there are faux pas like these:

On their own, some gripes about Obama look like little more than trivial violations of Politics 101. But they have had the cumulative effect of leaving the president and his team isolated from many of the constituencies required for success in Washington:

— When Obama was giving the commencement address in the University of Michigan’s “Big House” stadium last May, he mingled in the home-team locker room with university deans and regents. Across the tunnel, in the visitors’ locker room, several members of Michigan’s Democratic congressional delegation — including Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. — waited patiently.

Some had brought grandchildren so they could get their picture taken with the president. But they never got to see him. Obama didn’t cross the tunnel to see the lawmakers.

This is not how the President behaves towards elderly members of his own caucus. Worst of all, he is not not loyal at all.
Let’s take the case of Nancy Pelosi, who spent all her capital shepherding Obama’s agenda through the House. For that, she was vilified six ways from Sunday. Not too long ago, a poll showed that she was by far the political figure with the highest negatives. Not once did Obama come to her her defense. From the Politico article:

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) expressed a much deeper frustration to POLITICO: that the president never had House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s back — and it cost both of them. “They not only failed to defend her and her accomplishments on their behalf,” said Miller of the White House, “they failed to defend themselves.”

David Bromwich, in his article The Fastidious President, published in the London Review of books noticed that:

Obama does not like to be associated with defeat. He scuttled his support for several Democratic candidates – Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas – before election day when he came to believe that they would probably lose. He allowed his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, to say as early as last summer that the Democrats might well lose the House of Representatives. This degree of self-protectiveness is unpleasant in a politician, and is bound to make his party ask itself sooner or later: should we be more loyal to him than he is to us?

In Obama’s speeches the word ‘I’ (which appears frequently) and the word ‘Democrat’ (which appears rarely) are seldom found in proximity.

A combination of lack of experience and search for acceptance among the establishment is probably what explains some of his appointments. From David Bromwich:
We are learning now, from such sources as Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars, about the oddness of some of the president’s other appointments and his treatment of them. General James Jones, whom Obama had never met, was asked to become national security adviser. Once chosen, he hardly ever saw the president alone. To head the CIA Obama picked Leon Panetta, a former congressman who had served as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. Panetta was a complete outsider to the world of spies: it could have been predicted that he would be overawed by the company he now kept and come to defend their actions present and past with the anxiety of someone who has to prove himself.

And there’s this:

Of all Obama’s appointments, the most damaging to his credibility with liberal supporters were Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, the chief economic adviser and the secretary of the treasury. Geithner has the air of a perpetual young man looking out for the interests of older men: an errand boy. The older men in question are the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, AIG, and the big banks and money firms. Geithner at the New York Fed had enforced – or, rather, let flow – the permissive policy on mortgages that Summers pushed through in the last years of the Clinton presidency. Summers himself, renowned for his aggression and brilliance, came too highly recommended for Obama not to appoint him. (…) The Obama economic team, with its ‘deep bench’ of Goldman Sachs executives, might have done better if mixed with economists of other views like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. Obama knew little economics, however, and he took the word of the orthodox.

2nd school of thought: Obama is and has always been a Conservative. He is friendlier and more receptive to Right-wing ideas (err, if by ideas you mean with ideas, toxic and destructive thoughts) because he agrees with them. He despises the Left and he is about to destroy the soul of the Democratic Party. Oh, and his worship of Ronald Reagan should have seriously raised the red flag long time ago.

Adherents of this school of thoughts have become much more blunt and much more vocal lately.
Here’s Yellow Dog, in a post entitled We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For … Because Obama Isn’t:

It’s up to us, kids. This White House cannot lead, does not follow and will not get out of the way.

Face it: we elected a conservative.

Brilliant at Breakfast Jill doesn’t mince words either:

56% of American voters were hoodwinked by a guy who’s more like the Republicans than anyone even now wants to believe; a guy who BELIEVES in torture and assassination; a guy who BELIEVES in tax cuts for the wealthy and screw everyone else; a guy who WANTS endless war; a guy who is all about doing the bidding of corporations BECAUSE HE WANTS TO; a guy who feels every bit as “icky” about Teh Gays as John Edwards did, only who lacks even the courage that a weasel like John Edwards had to admit it; a guy who WANTS to gut Social Security and Medicare; a guy who decided to become president as a kind of ruling class internship; in which he spends four years doing Wall Street’s bidding in exchange for a nice eight-figure gig upon leaving office.

This group has very good reasons to adopt that opinion or to feel reinforced in it. Since the November 2 “shellacking”, Obama and his team has been sending out worrisome signals. Democrats have noticed and have began to seriously wonder. This explains why we have been seen a slew of stories like these recently:

  • On tax cuts, liberals wonder if Obama’s really got their back

    Democrats in Congress are largely united on the major issues before them this month: extending tax cuts for the middle class and the poor, but not the rich, before they expire Dec. 31, and giving more help to the long-term unemployed.

    Yet they’re unable to enact either provision because of united Republican opposition in the Senate. The Senate plans two test votes Saturday on the Democrats’ tax-cut extension plans, and GOP resistance is expected to block both efforts until the Bush-era tax reductions are extended for every income group.

    While most Democrats blame Republicans for the impasse, a lot of liberals are grumbling that President Barack Obama is hurting their cause by not fighting strongly and instead actively seeking compromise.

  • Democrats Spoiling To Fight GOP Blast Obama, Prep To Go Own Way

    Top Democratic activists and lawmakers who allege that President Obama blew it by being too passive during the midterm campaign, are responding in at least two ways.

    They continue to criticize the president heavily. And they’re not waiting around for the White House to ramp up anti-Republican aggression.

  • Democrats unhappy with Obama’s tactics plot change

    Many disaffected Democrats complain that the Obama administration needs to be more aggressive in advocating positions to rally the party’s base and differentiate it from the Republicans. White House officials who attended the Democracy Alliance meeting, including Austan Goolsbee, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, were pressed about the administration’s stances on taxes, job creation and the environment.

  • This attitude has certainly be prompted by Obama’s eagerness to give away the Democrats’ bargaining chips before Roight-wingers even show up. You just need to open any newspaper to come across articles like these:

  • Obama, GOP in quiet talks to extend tax cuts

    The White House and congressional Republicans have begun working behind the scenes toward a broad deal that would prevent taxes from going up for virtually every U.S. family and authorize billions of dollars in fresh spending to bolster the economy.

  • Barack Obama’s deals may leave liberals behind

    Back from Afghanistan on Saturday, President Barack Obama will find on his desk a two-week stopgap spending bill, designed to keep the government running through Dec. 18 but also marking a deadline of sorts for the quick deals he needs on taxes, the START nuclear arms treaty and next year’s spending.

    Each issue has its own set of variables, but all are interwoven in what’s become a major test of Obama’s ability to cope with the resurgent Republican power after November’s elections.

    Democratic divisions make this task harder since the necessary compromises by Obama will almost certainly come at the expense of the left.

  • Many on the Left seem to have drawn the line on the tax cuts for gazillionaires. Michael Hudson wrote a terrific post at Credit Writedowns explaining what a horrible idea it is and called for a revolt. He is not alone:
    Mr. Obama’s Most Recent “2%” Sellout is his Worst Yet

    Now that President Obama is almost celebrating his willingness to renew the tax cuts enacted under George Bush for the super-rich ten years ago, it is time for Democrats to ask themselves how strongly they are willing to oppose an administration that looks increasingly like Bush-Cheney III. Is this what they expected by his promise of an end to partisan politics?

    To better represent this group, I’ll leave the floor to my peeps at BAR. They have been the proponents of this school of thought since Obama started running for POTUS. So, take it away Glen Ford:
    Obama Moves Effortlessly to the Right

    Only fools should feel sorry for Obama as he prepares for a Republican-led House and weakened Democratic control of the Senate. This is Obama’s “comfort zone,” where he can continue to woo Republicans to join his grand center-right coalition. The only people Obama has no tolerance for are liberalish Democrats, who will emerge relatively stronger in the new Congress thanks to the decimation of Obama’s Republican-Lite friends in conservative Democratic ranks. By freezing federal wages, Obama signals that he has no philosophical problems with the GOP’s general aims.
    True to his center-right DNA, President Obama surrendered critical political ground to the GOP even as the lame duck Democratic Congress remains in session.

    What was that with the “Catfood Commission”?

    On Tuesday, Obama’s Frankenstein, the budget deficit reduction commission – a monstrosity he invented on his own volition, under no pressure whatsoever from his own party and relatively little from the GOP minority – emerged from solemn conclave to announce all 18 members will vote on a “final product” on Friday, December 3. Democratic co-chair Erskine Bowles, a rich former investment banker from North Carolina, and his Republican counterpart Alan Simpson, the troglodyte former Wyoming senator, had earlier released their own, shared vision of a low corporate tax rate, barely existing safety net future. The irascible Simpson predicted that progressives will react badly when they see the end result: “We will listen now in the next few days to the same old crap I’ve been dealing with all my public life: emotion, fear, guilt and racism.” He means that people will be calling him, accurately, a hardhearted, racist bastard.

    For full disclosure, I’m adherent of the 1st school of thought. However, I have noticed that 1st group is getting thinner by the day and that it’s members have either been tuning out, getting cynical, or joining the 2nd school of thought. For example here are some of the post on Brad Delong’s blog, just in the last 2 days:

  • Department of “Huh?!” (Is Barack Obama Stupid? Edition)
  • Can Obama Really Lose a Fight When He Has Two-Thirds of Voters on His Side?
  • Barack Obama Once Again Goes Off Message
  • Mark Thoma Watches the Obama Administration Work So Very Hard to Go Off Message