There is no reason for the Democratic Party to exist.
– Jimmy Dore
For myself and countless others, the writing was on the wall from virtually day one when he appointed Wall Street sycophants Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers to senior positions within his administration. Then came the policies, which were even more generous to Wall Street than any cynic could imagine. I posted countless pieces on Obama’s cronyism throughout his Presidency, constantly referring to him as an oligarch-coddling fraud, which his record unquestionably confirms.
It wasn’t just Wall Street either. Although his protection and empowerment of that industry was particularly shameless, he coddled and elevated corporatism and cronyism generally throughout his eight years. As I observed in the 2015 post, Cronyism Pays – Eric “Too Big to Jail” Holder Triumphantly Returns to His Prior Corporate Law Firm Job:
Trying to determine Barack Obama’s most corrupt, crony appointee presents a virtually impossible task. Every single person he’s appointed to a position of power over the course of his unfathomably shady, violent and unconstitutional presidency, has been little more than a gatekeeper for powerful vested interests. Obama’s job was to talk like a marxist, but act like a robber baron. In this regard, his reign has been an unprecedented success.
So why am I writing about Barack Obama? He’s no longer President, and we once again face many of the exact same issues under President Trump. I’m addressing it because I think the fact so many people are finally having this conversation is a very good thing. We can’t have an honest dialogue about such an existential issue without admitting to ourselves the sad truth about who Barack Obama is.
While I certainly understand it would’ve been far more beneficial had many of these people faced reality years ago, we don’t get to decide when people come around to admitting to themselves the truth about a person they worshipped (as my screaming into the wilderness for eight years can attest).
Denial is an extremely powerful thing, and tens of millions of Democrats were completely bamboozled by Obama due to their personal obsession with the man. This is precisely why cult of personality worship is so dangerous and counterproductive when it comes to politics. We need to grow up as a culture and start supporting policies over people, logic over emotion. If you become attached to a politician or a political party like a sports team, that individual or institution can very easily manipulate and betray you. We see this over and over again, and until we move to a higher level of understanding about the world around us, we will continue to be victimized by disingenuous, opportunistic shysters.
Today’s post will highlight two excellent exposes of the real Barack Obama by two individuals who were not fooled by Obama’s soaring rhetoric and false promises, Matt Stoller and Jimmy Dore.
Obama, like Bush, is a Hamiltonian. He believed that those at the top of large concentrated financial institutions are experts, with top-tier credentials, and, therefore, rightful rulers. As Mr. Obama put it, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, and Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, were just “smart businessmen.”
Behind this is a deep moral debate that goes back hundreds of years, to the days of Hamilton and Nicholas Biddle. Since the Boston Tea Party revolt against the British East Indies Company’s attempted monopolization of the tea trade in 1773, Americans understood local commercial institutions as enabling key decisions to be made closer to the people who bore the costs of those decisions. Advocates of centralization, like Hamilton, believed that this was an unstable and weak model for how to craft a nation-state, and that a quasi-aristocratic class should rule.
The policy path of the Obama administration, like the Bush and Clinton administrations before it, and in some ways like Hamilton’s Treasury Department, was largely construed around aiding the big, and hurting the small. Local banks lost out during the crisis, as did community-oriented banks. Black-owned banks, for example, were ten times less likely to receive bailout money than non-black-owned banks. This hit at the individual level as well. People in foreclosure were treated with one set of rules, while large Wall Street firms with significant debt were treated with another.
As all of you must know by now, my personal convictions and philosophical leanings call for the exact opposite approach.
This Hamiltonian process of concentrating power was most obvious in the banking sector, but it is also part of an overall trend towards the monopolization of our commercial society and increasing control over our lives, our liberties, and our democracy by private financiers. Some within the Obama administration noticed problems towards the end of the administration. His administration challenged the Comcast-Time Warner merger and issued an executive order on monopoly. Antitrust chief Renata Hesse made a speech explicitly rejecting the modern pro-concentration treatment of antitrust. But this was far too little, loo late.
The open markets in which entrepreneurs thrive, in which workers have bargaining power, in which business is conducted honestly and effectively for the benefit of society, was fundamentally weakened during the eight years of the Obama administration, just as they had been during the Bush administration before it. The result is a bipartisan corrosive cynicism towards democracy,
Americans have been saying no to this for ten years. In 2006 and 2008, Americans threw the governing Republican Party out of power. In 2010 and 2014, they did the same to the Democrats, installing Obama in power. Then, in 2016, Donald J. Trump beat both 16 Republican candidates, and then Hillary Clinton. It’s hard to see these electoral tremors as anything other than a rejection of the moral framework of both party establishments.
For virtually his whole Presidency, President Obama operated according to a Hamiltonian worldview in which social justice and concentrated capital went hand-in-hand, where technocracy was seen as superior to democracy. It is that same moral vision that animated Obama in accepting nearly half a million dollars in speaking fee money. Obama was the damn President?—?he’s a smart guy, and yeah, this is who he should be spending time with and naturally this transfer of wealth is a just reward for him to live the lifestyle to which the virtuous class is entitled.
Obama’s good society was one in which a few actors in this class organize our culture using their power over our lives and liberties, because their virtue has enabled them to have the capital or credentials to do so. It’s why his policy agenda on the challenges of today’s political economy was education, early childhood education, and a higher minimum wage, rather than any means to liberate us from the concentrated financiers that organize our markets and our communities. They are doing this for our own good, for one day, maybe not you or me, but perhaps our children might be able to scratch and claw into this rarefied class. If, of course, they have the virtue and intelligence to do so.
Many people believe in this system. Many don’t. But now we can actually have the argument in an honest way.
The entire post is excellent and you should read it in full and share. He makes the very critical point that we as a people cannot move forward until we admit to ourselves what this country has actually become. Perhaps a shattering of the Obama illusion for the millions of those who were until recently somehow still clinging on to the dishonest “hope and change” rhetoric can serve as a starting point for some real change.
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