Jones, Geithner & Rahm
by Jerome Armstrong, Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:26:46 AM EDT
It's not that I'm a Van Jones fan, but the way that the Obama administration buckles to the rightwing nuts over a few statements the environmentalist made. I can't help but see it in light of how, in the face of actual substantial issue (not paying taxes) that Timothy Geithner was "too important" to fail. It's a systematic failure of this administration.
Van Jones is probably just as important a figure to the environmental movement as Geithner is to Wall Street, and this dosn't bode well for progressive environmental policies.
Who knew that Obama was so wedded to Rahm Emanual? Rham isn't single-handedly making Obama a failure at this point, but it does seem like Obama has become a delegator to a staff that only views things through re-election & money.
In essence, this is the mindset of Rahm Emanuel, and its precepts are as toxic as they are familiar: The only calculation that matters is maximizing political power. The only "change" that's meaningful is converting more Republican seats into Democratic ones. A legislative "win" is determined by whether Democrats can claim victory, not by whether anything constructive was achieved. The smart approach is to serve and thus curry favor with the most powerful corporate factions, not change the rules to make them less powerful. The primary tactic of Democrats should be to be more indispensable to corporate interests so as to deny the GOP that money and instead direct it to Democrats. The overriding strategy is to scorn progressives while keeping them in their place and then expand the party by making it more conservative and more reliant on Blue Dogs. Democrats should replicate Republican policies on Terrorism and national security -- not abandon them -- in order to remove that issue as a political weapon.
If those Emanuelian premises are the ones that you accept, if you believe that Obama should be guided by base concerns of political power, then you're likely to be satisfied with the White House's approach thus far -- both in general and on health care specifically. That would also likely mean that you're basically satisfied with the behavior of Democrats during the Bush era, and especially since 2006 when they won a majority in Congress, since that is what has driven them for the last decade: all that matters is that we beat the Republicans and we should do anything to achieve that, including serving corporate donors to ensure they fund Us and not Them and turning ourselves into war-making, civil-liberties-abridging, secrecy-loving GOP clones in the national security realm.
But that isn't what Obama pledged he would do when he campaigned...
...Even for those of you who are willing to justify anything and everything in the name of "political pragmatism," betraying clear campaign commitments and constantly exhibiting contempt for core progressive values doesn't seem to be working very well as a political strategy, to put that mildly.