A Far Left Critique of Obama: The President Who Wasn’t There

“Obama is a master of gesture politics, but he tends to flinch in nearly every pitched battle, even when the odds and the public are behind him. His political instincts drive him to seek cover in the middle ground. He is a reflexive compromiser, more Rodney “Can’t We All Just Get Along” King than Reverend King. Even when confronted by bumbling hacks like John Boehner and Eric Cantor, Obama tends to wilt.

Perhaps Obama had never before been confronted with quite this level of toxic hostility. After all, he’d lived something of a charmed life, the life of a star-child, coddled and pampered, encouraged and adulated, from Indonesia to Harvard. Obama was the physical and psychic embodiment of the new multiculturalism: lean, affable, assured, non-threatening. His vaguely liberal political ideology remained opaque at the core. Instead of an over-arching agenda, Obama delivered facile jingoisms proclaiming a post-racial and post-partisan America. Instead of radical change, Obama offered simply managerial competence. This, naturally, the Berserkers of the Right interpreted as hubris and arrogance and such hollow homilies served only to exacerbate their rage. The virulent right had profiled Obama and found him to be the perfect target for their accreted animus. And, even better, they had zeroed-in on an enemy so innately conflict-averse that even when pummeled with racist slurs he wouldn’t punch back.

Of course, Obama’s most grievous political wounds were self-inflicted, starting even before his election when he rushed back to Washington to help rescue Bush’s Wall Street bailout. This was perhaps the first real indication that the luminous campaign speeches about generational and systemic change masked the servile psyche of a man who was desperately yearning to be embraced by the nation’s political and financial elites. Instead of meeting with the victims of Wall Street predators or their advocates, like Elizabeth Warren and Ralph Nader, Obama fist-bumped with the brain trust of Goldman Sachs and schmoozed with the creme de la creme of K Street corporate lobbyists. In the end, Obama helped salvage some of the most venal and corrupt enterprises on Wall Street, agreed to shield their executives from prosecution for their financial crimes and, predictably, later got repaid with their scorn.”

Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch

 

Read the article The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence.

Comments

  1. Stephen Ericson says:

    “And, even better, they had zeroed-in on an enemy so innately conflict-averse that even when pummeled with racist slurs he wouldn’t punch back.”

    Who, in government, pummeled him with racial slurs? Conflict adverse? He had little outside of a penchant for making things seem more racially motivated than they needed to be. How did Trayvon Martin look like his son save for his skin color? Why was BLM invited to the White House so many times? He made new conflict where there was none. He kept a kill list. He said to supporters in o8 “”At a campaign event in Philadelphia in June 2008, Mr. Obama told supporters, ‘If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
    He’s a community organizer. That means he thrives on conflict. He looks for conflict as a means of making himself relevant.

  2. Stephen Ericson says:

    ” Instead of radical change, Obama offered simply managerial competence. ”

    And yet he still completely sucked.

  3. Marcy J. Gordon says:

    Jeffrey St. Clair nailed it. Obama was never willing to do the hard work of passing legislation, which is why the ACA is what is referred to in the information industry as “FUBAR” — f*ck*d up beyond all recognition. Some people are paying more for their health insurance premiums than they are for their mortgages. That’s what happens with a weak president who will roll over and compromise on anything instead of doing the job.

    • Stephen Ericson says:

      He didn’t legislate because he doesn’t care. The only thing he gave a rats ass about was being ‘historic’. Watch any of the speeches he gave about the ACA; he always prattled on about how it would be historic.

      He’s a bloated ego grasping for a way to express itself. That’s about it.

  4. Gary Ogden says:

    Excellent analysis. A fine man who was clearly not up to the task, and, in some ways, entirely clueless.

  5. David Crowe says:

    They say that the President of the United States is the most powerful man (and maybe one day, woman) in the world. But it is only an illusion. Obama fostered the illusion by going along with what the war hawks, pharma hawks, etc., wanted. I doubt that the deep state cares really about the progressive victories he did achieve, such as detente with Iran and Cuba, and extended rights for GLBTQ people. He didn’t end Afghanistan. Or Iraq. He helped destroy Libya, bears some responsibility for Syria, and a lot of responsibility for the disaster of Yemen. He helped the banks recover from their own self-inflicted wounds, but not the people who fell for the corrupt sub-prime mortgages.

    Trump is about to find out that if the President doesn’t participate in this charade he is not anywhere near the most powerful man in the world. And I’m not talking assassination, I’m talking about his own party obstructing anything he tries to do that goes agains the interests of the military-industrial-pharma-border-drug-prison complex.

    • Stephen Ericson says:

      ” such as detente with Iran ”

      No. He didn’t achieve anything of the sort. Iran held us in contempt before he gave them billions, and they hold us in contempt after. If by detente you mean that he aided and abetted a criminal govt. in their pursuit of nuclear weapons, then I guess you have a point.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Putin to trump “just let me put the tip in”

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad you are an advocate against anything politically correct because i know youll understand when i say you are fucking retarded. Trump is a shitshow. Dont believe me , watch.

  8. Caroline La Meme says:

    an independent accounting firm is being called in to forensically analyze trump’s finances.. extreme debts hence not revealing tax statements.. debtor is russia. The issue is not too much wealth but too much debt to act judiciously.

    Max Boot wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors for his business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.”

    Is this real? What is real?

    I do not know what to believe except that time is the greatest of arbiters.

    Thank you for your fair and grounding reporting Farber.

  9. Caroline La Meme says:

    another left critique..from 2012..

    http://www.politico.com/story/2012/09/nader-obamas-a-war-criminal-081649

    updated and consistent thinking even as rebooted thinking was published in a salon feature summer 2015.

    g-d help us all to help us helping ourselves #selfgovern

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