Welcome to PanderFest: Barack Does Fox II
by tarheel74, Sun Apr 27, 2008 at 08:42:21 AM EDT
Barack does Fox Part Deux
I have to say when I saw the Fox interview all I could think of is Sly Stone singing "Love City". Why? Because I witnessed the greatest Republican/Conservative panderfest that any Democrat has done in recent memory. Are you sure that this is the progressive-Democratic demi-god that he is built to be?
Jerome wrote an extensive piece on the front-page detailing his departure from the promise of a public-financed campaign and his departure from his base: the creative class of the Democratic party, who are so bloody "creative" and gullible that they are being taken for a ride by a craven politician.
I will detail two points here:
Not long ago I wrote an angry comment on a classic race-baiting faux concern-for-the-poor diary by a Obama fan in which I said that if Obama lost the big democratic states it is not because of race but because of his policies and if he would lose NC and Indiana if he ran on his policies as well instead appealing to his base i.e. the liberal "creative" (gullible) class and African Americans and for that I listed the following points:
1. Voting for the massive giveaway to oil companies which today is biting these rural counties because of sky-high gas prices
2. Voting with the credit card lobby against setting a cap so now the credit card companies can charge an arm and a leg and continue their predatory practices
3. Not taking a stand on the immigration bill by caving under union pressure; believe it or not these counties right now have a huge and ever growing Hispanic population
4. And now that he is running for president what has he proposed for these people under the burden of high gas prices, credit card debt, losing their homes to subprime lenders and lacking healthcare: NOTHING!! Here is what the Nation wrote:
"Barack Obama's proposal is tepid by comparison, short on aggressive government involvement and infused with conservative rhetoric about fiscal responsibility. As he has done on domestic issues like healthcare, job creation and energy policy, Obama is staking out a position to the right of not only populist Edwards but Clinton as well."
I received this response:
sky-high gas prices?
Thank Bill Clinton's deregulation of the markets. Just one of the Republican wet dreams like NAFTA and welfare 'reform' that Bill made possible which enabled everything from Enron to $120 a barrel oil.
The first order of business to get energy markets out of the grasp of speculators and manipulators and clean up the financial fiasco will be to re-introduce some reasonable oversight and regulation into markets and undo the damage Clinton's deregulation has done. I suppose that now that Hillary is posing as a Crown Royal swigging populist she will say she didn't agree with that policy either.
On immigration Hillary's flip flops on licensing in NY state demonstrates that on immigration just like on the war, the bankruptcy bill and trade Hillary's position is dependent on which way the political wind is blowing that day.
Now keep in mind that the deregulation was passed in 1999 in the wee hours of a lame-duck presidency wracked by impeachment proceedings initiated by a Republican led Congress:
Differing versions of financial services deregulation passed the House and Senate earlier this year, and the conference committee was called to work out a consensus bill and avert a White House veto. The principal bone of contention in the last few days before the agreement had nothing to do with the central thrust of the bill, on which there was near-unanimous bipartisan support
Barack Obama off late had said that one of his priorities will be re-introduce industry regulation, but in true Obama style he does not mention how:
Speaking at Cooper Union in New York City on Thursday, Barack Obama went where few Democrats have dared to go in the past quarter-century: He made a case for more regulation. As part of a speech on his economic platform, Obama depicted the current economic crisis as a consequences of deregulation in the financial sector. "Our free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it," he said. "Unfortunately, instead of establishing a 21st century regulatory framework, we simply dismantled the old one-aided by a legal but corrupt bargain in which campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight."
This is quite a statement from a candidate who's received $6 million in campaign contributions from securities and investment firms, just slightly less than rival Hillary Clinton, who cashes in at $6.3 million. Obama's criticism was sharp, but his six-point plan for rebuilding a regulatory structure was short on both details and teeth, and relies on the Federal Reserve, which is like having the fox guard, well, the other foxes. Still, his use of the r-word signals what is at least a rhetorical departure for a party that has been running from regulation for decades.
But is he really for regulation? From today's interview apparently not:
(Fox News Sunday)
OBAMA: Well, I think there are a whole host of areas where Republicans in some cases may have a better idea.
WALLACE: Such as.
OBAMA: Well, on issues of regulation, I think that back in the `60s and `70s, a lot of the way we regulated industry was top down command and control. We're going to tell businesses exactly how to do things.
And I think that the Republican party and people who thought about the margins (ph) came with the notion that you know what, if you simply set some guidelines, some rules and incentives for businesses, let them figure out how they're going to for example reduce pollution. And a cap and trade system, for example, is a smarter way of doing it, controlling pollution, than dictating every single rule that a company has to abide by, which creates a lot of bureaucracy and red tape and oftentimes is less efficient.
But does he stop there? No he wants to bring in play the pay scale of teachers as well. Now why is this unfair? Because even a pea-brained would know that suburban public schools in better school districts have better teaching facilities and are better equipped. In North Carolina home-owners in Orange County Chapel Hill school district pay more to be in this area for their children and same in PA in the Dairylan school district. In other words what Obama is saying is what Republicans have been saying for years: the government is not responsible to better the inner-city schools or the schools of the poorer counties and districts it is the onus of the teachers and if the students do not perform satisfactorily there we will scale their pay accordingly:
I think that on issues of education, I have been very clear about the fact, and sometimes I have gotten in trouble with the teachers union on this, that we should be experimenting with charter schools. We should be experimenting with different ways of compensating teachers. That -
WALLACE: You mean merit pay?
OBAMA: Well, merit pay, the way it has been designed I think that is based on just single standardized I think is a big mistake, because the way we measure performance may be skewed by whether or not the kids are coming in the school already three years or four years behind.
But I think that having assessment tools and then saying, you know what, teachers who are on career paths to become better teachers, developing themselves professionally, that we should pay excellence more. I think that's a good idea.
There you have it folks the Democratic/progressive messiah not very progressive after all.
timeo danaos et dona ferentesUpdate 2 Some have commented here how his position on teacher's pay makes sense. I would argue against that. I have seen multitude of teachers working on a higher degree but because of low pay in public school the better qualified teachers either work in the public schools of the well-financed school districts or go into private schools. As I have commented below, this however does not address the fact that most teachers who enter teaching which in itself is a low-paying thankless job is trying to improve themselves. So his basic talking point is Repub redux. Pray what "assessment tools" indices and metrics will he use to assess a teacher in a well funded school district like Chapel Hill versus a poorly funded school district like Durham or Fayetteville: again just words, no specifics. Frankly these are apples and oranges. I would have been happier if instead of pandering to his conservative audience by saying he will take on the Teacher Unions he actually laid out a plan for setting some uniform standards in the public schooling system. But that is too much to ask.
UPDATE 3: A commenter picked this one out: seems like Obama wants the industry to set its own standards regarding pollution and enforce it. So I guess "green" Obama will do away with the EPA and all environmental regulatory watchdogs in favor "margins" like the Republicans!! Wonderful!!