Comments on populism
by Jerome Armstrong, Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 11:08:47 AM EST
Well, today is the day, and what an mess of spin that Politico frames the administration for saying, in the event of a loss. First, the finger-pointing is not worth blogging about; the move of hearing Obama say "fight" and "turn combative" is interesting.
Let's put it in the context of the bank bailout.
First, I think we have to accept that Obama is going to have a credibility gap with the Fire Dogs vis-a-vis his new-found populist framing. The notion that Obama & Biden can lead a campaign of telling the banks to "give it back" when Summers and Geithner were the ones who "gave it away" is a hard sell. I'm sympathetic to the self-respecting progressive ears that find it an insult to pretend that Republicans are all alone in sheparding for the Banks, Insurance, and Pharma agenda, given the past year.
Second, there will not be any election-year traction for the rhetoric of bashing the banks now, without some action. Pass the bill that takes it back from the banks, and then, and only then, will it actually matter; otherwise, its just lame posture-taking populism.
Here's some comments between Universalist and LordMike from the recent post that I want to highlight:
Universalist: I don't think it's a matter of left vs moderate on this. They kind of come together in a health care deal where backroom deals with the drug companies and the favors given to insurance companies led to a reform which enshrines the current system. I'm not saying that single payer would have won moderates. But I think the disgust at our current state of politics was heightened by how Obama/Rahm went about this process. So that the right can be populists again, in the midsts of a great amount of economic pain and unemployment, whether it's on health care or the bail outs, etc. I guess folks need to crack open there What's the Matter with Kansas? book, blow the dust off it, and take a gander it. Or we could bash the "left of the left" and "purists", who have all so much power in *coughs*. The Obama administration seems to have made a past time of this, so why stop the precedent?
LordMike: It's frustrating, 'cos no one cared about all the backroom deals and corruption when Republicans were in power. I mean, did anyone lose their seat over Medicare Part D even though it was a worse corporate giveaway than HCR? No! Some people complained aobut it, but that was it. And now people are mad 'cos Nelson got a deal for Nebraska. Well, that's how legislation works. Yeah, it sucks, but every spending bill is filled with that kind of crap...
Universalist: It's not a good sign when we have to reach to Medicare part D as a comparable example to our current health care bill. But I do think the "culture of corruption" did work against the GOP in 06 and 08. A lot of other things were part of that but Democrats cleaning house and not doing business as usual was one of the strengths the Dems and Obama had and they do not have this this time around. And also with a recession and high unemployment the sort of populism one can use this time around has more punch then it would have any time before 08.
The Democrats are not going to be judged by the Republican standard because we ran on saying "had enough" and "change" and "we can govern better" than the Republicans. We didn't clean house and there was too much business-as-usual. To date, a lot of Fail in that regards has happened. Performing campaign rhetoric isn't going to change that 2010 dynamic-- only actions will. Putting the populist reform to a vote will change the equation.