Ten New Years Resolutions for the Obama Administration

In 2010:

1. I will inspire. I am one of the most charismatic orators of our generation, but as president, I’ve moved away from that critical element of my leadership. While my speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and onreproductive rights at Notre Dame were inspirational—if I do say so myself—I haven’t brought that eloquence to my key domestic agenda items, or to my broader vision and goals as president. In 2010: 1. I will inspire. I am one of the most charismatic orators of our generation, but as president, I’ve moved away from that critical element of my leadership. While my speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and onreproductive rights at Notre Dame were inspirational—if I do say so myself—I haven’t brought that eloquence to my key domestic agenda items, or to my broader vision and goals as president.

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An Open Letter to KOS

KOS, your progressive voice is a strong, eloquent, and persistent battle cry against the monstrously nihilistic conservative Republicans who are trying to tear our society apart. You were a prime force in getting President Obama and the Democratic Congress elected. Now you are pushing them to achieve progressive legislation, especially health care reform. However, your exertions against bipartisanship and your continued fight for the already-defeated public option only serve to pull Republicans into the next Congress.

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Dean is Right: Kill the Bill

My political hero was is and always will be Otto Von Bismarck. Widely thought to be conservative, and unequalled as a statesman - Bismarck's  is one of a lasting legacy of innovation in statesmanship. His favorite saying was -

A statesman listens for the footsteps of God, and then grabs the hem and swings himself up as he passes by

During the years leading up to World War II - the intelligentsia of  a very nice country  ended up endorsing the rule of Hitler.

What if. At the right time, they just said. Sorry. This is not going to fly. This is not kosher.

We need to find that strength. NOW. Dean is right.

Kill the bill. Kill it because we need to flex our strength as progressives. Kill it because we are powering the election cycle. Kill it because it is a half-measure, a throw-in to lobbyists.  Let the United States Government act as Otto Von Bismarck - let us be known for real change, real reform - and in the next election cycle, throw the bastards OUT and lock this entire thing down.


The GOP is on the run. Give them this half-measure and they'll walk all over you. The Dems are on the rise. And the progressive and independent (true independent, and not just guys on the take from Insurance companies) - are going to power 2010.

And then we'll have the votes.

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Have the Democrats lost populism?

The progressive netroots movement has always been about the populism of getting people involved with political activism. "The Rise of People-Powered Politics" was part of the subtitle of Crashing The Gate; the election wave of victories in '06 Moveon.org capped the slogan"People Powered Politics" atop the historic wave election for Democrats. However, over the past couple of months, I'm becoming convinced that the perception, to put it simply, is that the Democrats have become the party of the bankers.

The story goes that Obama, when he decided to let the Goldman Sachs/Wall St alumni run his Treasury, paid off a campaign debt to his biggest financial backers. But it wasn't just a tip of the hat, as it led to Obama & the Democrats becoming the establishment face of TARP (with that second round of bank bailout money), which is arguably the biggest miscalculation of his Presidency, and for Democrats this cycle. It might take failure to pass healthcare reform, or a reneging of his promise to pull out of Iraq in 18 months, to top that bank bailout mistake. To Big To Fail has become The Big Fail. There is even talk now that some of the TARP money will be used to paydown the deficit. That's smart because people are worried about the deficit over boosting the economy by a 2:1 margin according to recent Peter Hart polling. But you have to wonder if the damage has already been done:

In September, the Democratic pollster Peter Hart asked registered voters who they thought had benefited most from the Obama administration's economic policies. Sixty-two percent said the main beneficiary had been the "large banks." In contrast, 65 percent said the "average working person" and "small businesses" hadn't been helped. Seventy-three percent said "my family/myself" hadn't been helped.
The Republicans are jumping at the frame:
Under Obama's policies, he is reorganizing the Democratic Party into the elitist coalition, representing Big Government, big bankers, big Wall Street, big universities, big Hollywood -- all protected under the mantra of "too big to fail."

That's Craig Shirley, Elites overlook power of populists, but you have to go back to read what he wrote in April of 2006, How the GOP Lost Its Way, because he's seen this coming for a while now in the Republicans. The mix of populism with movement conservatism to create the populist conservative moment is underway. All for it is Matthew Continetti, A case for the new populism. All against it is Patrick N. Allitt, Instead of going rogue, Instead of going rogue, Republicans should cultivate leadership in ideas and solutions; and then there's Christopher Hitchens, best known for his neocon atheism, who believes that if the likes of Palin represents populism, the opposition should go all in with embracing elitism, Base Appeal (what I want to know is why it takes Democrats a couple of decades to remake the party while it only takes Republicans a couple of years).

That Democrats this year lost the opportunity for a "Barack Obama, FDR and the Hundred Days" moment is pretty clear in hindsight. To recover the momentum, we have to roll up a package of issues, vote them up or down, and if they don't pass, run on them in '10. Right now, Democrats are so afraid of failing that nothing is getting done. Yea, there's a whole progressive agenda that's been left by the wayside so far, but if Democrats don't halt this move toward becoming the party that holds the bid for JP Morgan right now, even worse will happen.

I just got my copy of "Censored 2010: The top 25 stories of 2008-09" and you know what the first one is? Its "US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street" and lays it at the feet of Democrats. Since the start of 2009, Wall Street has donated more than any other sector to DC politicians, and "58% of that has gone to Democrats, marking a change, perhaps, in political strategy. Not since the 1990 election cycle have finance, insurance, and real estate companies given more than 52% of its overall donations to Democrats, and from 1991 to 2006, finance gave the majority of its money to Republicans."

That's change, for the wrong people. Yes, this is reflective of a political strategy furthered by D politicians such as Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel. Basically, their thinking goes, since the Republicans have relied upon lobbyist, corporate, and financial funding to maintain an advantage over the past decades, undercut that, and D's will gain the financial advantage over R's.

It reminds me of the sort of thinking that went along with Bush and the Republicans willingly signing McCain-Fiengold CFR into law; and many establishment Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, thought the Democrats were committing funding suicide. I wrote just the opposite was happening-- that it would lead to the Democrats being funded by the grassroots. And that happened, no doubt surprising the Republicans that they were suddenly being outspent a few cycles later.

The upside of this topsy-turvy state of funding turmoil is that funding of Democratic institutions by populist progressives has come to a standstill, funding of conservative populists is going to rocket. Funding of Democrats by the big banks is at record levels, and funding of Republicans by those same banks is on the wane. Alongside the perception that Democrats can't pass meaningful legislation and that Obama is too passive in pushing for the promises on which he campaigned, it does add up to an electoral disaster-in-waiting in '10.

Rahm Emanual is reading the '09 tea-leaves, and now says that"reducing America’s long- term federal budget deficits is now is foremost on his mind and the mind of the economic team". This midnight conversion of Hoover/McCain thought can't be taken seriously.

Then there's the first line of Politico today: "BREAKING I: Obama administration to launch big financial fraud crackdown. A senior administration official tells POLITICO: "We will be announcing a sustained, multilevel attack on financial fraud." Sounds like another window dressing initiative.

There's does seem to be the possibility for movement/moment right now for take down of one of the architects of this disaster, Timothy Geithner.

Geithner has been Singled Out In TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky's Scathing Report On AIG Bailout. He's game for being the scapegoat.

Update [2009-11-17 14:40:52 by Jerome Armstrong]:A bit more on this last point from Joe Costello:

SIGTARP, the Special Inspector General for TARP, who is supposedly charged to make sure your tax dollars going to the banks aren't wasted, which is funny in itself, released their first report, which is a joke in itself. The report basically says the New York Fed under Mr. Geithner was basically played by the banks in the money paid through AIG. Of course, that's not really true, AIG was simply used to funnel money into the banks, that was without a doubt always the idea. Whether you think that was criminal or in the public interest, well it was criminal. Yves Smith has a longer take down.
To quote the Epicurean Dealmaker: Tim Geithner and the Federal Reserve got royally played. And you and I, my friends, paid dearly for the privilege.

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Thought about populism

The dollar hit a new low today against other currencies. If you google Obama's deficit plan, you'll pull up a Page Not Found*.

I've been mulling over and writing something about populism and the political turmoil that's underway as the GOP remakes itself, and Democrats struggle with having the power.

All this political reshuffling has led me to go back to the history books to re-read the mid 1890's to early 1900's, which, with its social conservative populism and economic turmoil, have similarities to glean over; President Grover Cleveland, then the battles between William McKinley vs William Jennings Bryan, and Teddy Roosevelt. That's a fascinating period, when the financial standards were moving from gold & silver to greenbacks. Amidst a financial collapse and recovery, a new economic environment emerged. Both parties became radically transformed as the nation moved from an agrarian to a industrial based economy. The Republicans transitioned from the party of Lincoln and the Civil War victors of justice to being the party of business. The progressives existed within the Republican party still, but the Democrats became less southern and more populist-based. I love reading about that era and its political upheavals. Its also distant enough that it gets away from the whole current era's Red-Blue divide, because you could find progressive arguments for both sides.  

Consider another angle of possible similarity, that as we move toward a globalist economic system, its possible that the current fiscal attempt to rescue the economy by inducing inflation through deficit-ballooning is setting the stage for a move away from the dollar to a new global currency. Obama is probably ideally positioned for leading such a move, and I have little doubt that the populist conservatives would lead the charge in support of the dollar. You could make the progressive arguement that its much better for us to be led down that path by the likes of the Democrats doing the bidding of the banks under Obama, than it would be under BushCo. Although, one could counter-argue that Bush I & II made the corporate New World Order possible; Clinton, Obama and the Democrats just get to follow-through.

Update [2009-11-16 19:51:12 by Jerome Armstrong]: Consider if these are related?

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