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Small Change: Obama's Betrayal

By Dave Lindorff

Just two weeks after his historic inauguration ceremony, Obama’s presidency is lurching towards failure, and not because three of his administration picks have been found to be tax cheats, but because nearly all of his administration picks are corporate whores and shills.

The problem with the new Obama administration is that it is turning out to be not about change at all, as he claimed during the campaign, but rather about more of the same—and these are not times that call for more of the same. Nor is more of the same the reason Obama won the election.

The economic team President Obama has put in place is composed of the same Wall Street hacks and conservative economic theologians who helped produce the current crisis, many of them as part of the Clinton administration, and some, like Timothy Geithner, actually as appointees of the thoroughly discredited Bush administration.

Obama’s military team is essentially composed of holdovers from the Bush administration, starting at the top with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and retreads from the Clinton administration.

Little wonder that the president’s economic team is still talking about throwing more money at banks, with the only real tweak making this boondoggle different from the Bush administration’s fall bailout that there will be some limits established on executive pay. Banks will still be able to use their taxpayer bailout cash to buy other banks. And there will still be no way to force them to lend money. Little wonder too that there is no real effort aimed at propping up the struggling public—no job sweeping job creation programs (except for expanding the military), no major income supplements for the poor, no expansion of welfare benefits, no mandatory mortgage renegotiations or mortgage payment holidays. And so far, no real effort to pass labor law reform to protect workers who try to form labor unions.

Little wonder too that Obama seems to be backing away from his key campaign promise to end the war in Iraq, and that the one area where he is moving rapidly is in expanding the war in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of western Pakistan.

If there is any new thinking going on in the new Obama White House, it seems focused on ways to neuter the progressive forces that put him in that building in the first place. In this, Obama is running true to form for a Democratic president. Traditionally, at least since the days of the New Deal, Democrats have run for office promising progressive government, and have then run away from their promises as quickly as possible. The difference with Obama is that he is betraying his base faster than any of his predecessors. His latest appointment of New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary is a case in point—a man deeply conservative, opposed to the very existence of the Commerce Department he will head, and to top it off, Obama worked out a deal to have the Democratic governor of New Hampshire fill Gregg’s vacated Senate seat with a Republican appointee, forfeiting the right to add a Democrat to the Senate and eliminate any chance of Republican filibusters.

In this instance, Obama’s strategy is growing increasingly clear. He and the Democrats in Congress don’t seem to really want to pass progressive legislation, such as the Employee Free Choice Act, and they probably don’t really want to appoint true liberal judges to the appellate and the Supreme Court, either. That being the case, they are happy to leave Republicans with 41 Senate seats and at least the theoretical power to block Democratic legislation. That way, they can simply not offer up such legislation or such nominees, claiming these efforts would be doomed by a Republican filibuster. It’s a fraudulent claim, of course. When the Democrats were in the minority in the Senate during the penultimate four years of the Bush administration, they didn’t use the filibuster weapon to prevent Republican legislation. And the Republicans today are in a much weaker position, with a Democratic president who, at least theoretically, could bring considerable pressure on Republican legislators to do his bidding, or see their home states suffer.

One can puzzle over why a Democratic president would so quickly abandon his base, when Republicans, in contrast, have always strived so mightily to cater to theirs. My guess is that people like Obama cling to the long-discredited theory that the way to win elections is to appeal to some mythical “middle-of-the-road” electorate, and that thusly, he and his advisers, their eyes already on the 2012 election, are trying to position him as the candidate of the center.

Sadly, for both him and for all of us, this is a doomed strategy. The economy and the wars in the Middle East both call for dramatic action of the kind that Obama’s voters and especially his activist base wanted and expected from him when they backed him last fall: In the case of the economy, a return to a kind of modern New Deal that would vastly expand funding for education right through college, that would dramatically expand unemployment compensation, job training benefits and welfare and child-care programs, that would expand Medicare to everyone, and that would end the subsidies for outsourcing of jobs and the relocation of businesses overseas; In the case of foreign policy, a prompt end to the Iraq War, a winding down of the Afghanistan War, and a termination of the so-called “war” on terror, with a refocus on international police cooperation and action against terrorist organizations.

Some of these things may eventually come to pass, but only when it becomes painfully obvious that the half measures and worn out strategies being applied to the economy have failed, and after the US faces being driven out of Iraq and Afghanistan—and even then only after the people who elected this president have taken to the streets to demonstrate against his betrayals. That awareness, of course, will come after the wasted spending of trillions of misdirected “stimulus” dollars and the wasted loss of hundreds or thousands of American lives, not to mention perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqi, Afghani and Pakistani lives.

It is, of course, still early in the game. Perhaps, with Obama’s shabby appointments of people like Geithner, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer causing an uproar, with his top generals openly trying to undermine him, and with Republicans starting to regain their confidence and refusing to play his “non-partisan” game, opting instead for a strategy of political obstruction, he may realize that he needs his the enthusiastic backing of his liberal base. If this happens, that base needs to make him realize that, in the wake of his early betrayals, he is going to have to earn their support.

The “Kumbaya” and “This Land is Our Land” singing is over, and unless Obama starts singing a different tune soon, he will spend the next four years presiding over a shattered economy and a nation mired in a distant, pointless and unwinnable war.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at

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During the campaign, I often wondered why Obama didn't slam Clinton or McCain. After he won the election, I watched his process in selecting people. If he had started with all new people, nothing would have worked, it would be more like Jimmy Carter's dismal administration.
However, he is the purest pragmatist I have ever seen. I think he will get some things done. He already has support from many Republican governors, including Arnold. I think he is giving the republican congress enough rope to hang themselves.
We are in the worst financial crisis since 1873. We need to stop the bleeding ASAP. Jobs are disappearing by the millions.
I suggest we wait and see. He has done more in the first 2 weeks than the do-nothing Bush administration did in 8 years. I think he is smarter than the other clowns in government, and he will make his case and get his stimulus bill.

Marilyn Gjerdrum

I'm going to hold my breath because I saw how effective he can be if he wants to be, in the primaries. I'm still seething over his capitulation on FISA, but I'm sure he did it so the press wouldn't eat Nancy Pelosi alive for her complicity in the illegal warrantless wiretapping and torture memo's. But he's in office now and instead of hitting hard with the tremendous political currency he sits on, he waivers. The whole reason, the only reason I come here is to see Bush and Cheney in prison. If Barack would take command, regardless of this pitiful attempt to pet rabid dogs, and see them being prosecuted, he'd get a WHOLE lot more co-operation from the repukes. They only respect raw aggression, so I say LET EM HAVE IT WITH BOTH BARRELS. I'm biding my time, but by no means am I going to make a habit of eating shit. Especially from someone I activated, campaigned and voted for. I sincerely hope you're right and he awakens from this spell he's under.

I agree with much of what you say, including the prosecution of the war criminals who held a stranglehold on the world for 8 years. We need to keep beating on that for many reasons. Aside from the obvious corruption and lawlessness, there is much more at stake.

If we do not act to prosecute bush/cheney, other nations will. They have met all the criteria for war crimes, including admissions of torture. There are many nations who signed with us on the Genevia agreements. If we don't act, we are violating this world agreement, and we will become the target instead of Bush/cheney. We cannot afford to not act.

The world is watching us very carefully. Bush has destroyed our credibility and standing in the world. If Obama doesn't go after the criminals, the world will assume nothing has changed. If that happens, we will remain as hated and distrusted as any outlaw nation. Our future will be much in question.

Marilyn Gjerdrum

Marilyn Gjerdrum: I watched his process in selecting people. If he had started with all new people, nothing would have worked, it would be more like Jimmy Carter's dismal administration.

Well spoken Marilyn, I believe Obama is a step ahead of us critics.

Robin They only respect raw aggression, so I say LET EM HAVE IT WITH BOTH BARRELS

10-4 on that.

Let's give Obama at least a month month. The repukes are pukeing and the Democrats are trying to find courage. We bloggers are effective in what we are doing.


It's a good thing we didn't just sit back and watch with the whole Daschle fiasco, ain't it? I wonder how long it would have taken Tommy-boy to have sold us down the river to Big-Pharma... A month? Two?

Fact is, we should have learned to NEVER give anyone the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their service to this nation. Now Obama has already proven he is for the bailouts, for FISA, for the WTO (check out the ABC interview where he talks about the "buy American Steel" clause in the stimulus package). He is apparently for the continuation of the Global War on Terror (as long as we call it something else) and for keeping our soldiers in harm's way (as long as it's in "the right war"). Fact is, this guy has been hard at work establishing a Bushesque cabinet filled with more globalists than even Clinton had. And that is quite an accomplishment. So much so, he had to go to the republican pool of talent to recruit.

(Carter's dismal administration? Ever heard of the October surprise? Do you even know what that comes from? Sounds to me like Marilyn has a little DLC in her (pro-free-trade/business party republicans disguised as "progressives")

I am going to give him free rein. To compare Barack being even remotely like Bush is just fantasy land. And you're damned skippy we're effective with our blogging! I have personally seeded five articles (to my knowledge) by my comments and I KNOW they were, as my specific vernacular was reiterated :) As a rule, I don't mind and I'm actually honored that an author would run with one of my suggestions or back stories, but one contributor over at the HuffPo has done it more than once and he's just a self aggrandizing muffin muncher of Arianna's and he'd steal his grandma's teeth if plastic futures skyrocketed. But I digress.
We will make a difference, but it's work. Been on the phone and E-mail all day pushing Holder to upholder the law. (pun:) Good luck.

Call it the JOBS BILL. Harry Reid, make 'em filibuster! Roll back the Reagan tax cut

seafan (1000+ posts) Wed Feb-04-09 04:14 PM
Original message
Hartmann: "Call it the JOBS BILL. Harry Reid, make 'em filibuster! Roll
back the Reagan tax cuts."

He says we should stop calling this an "economic stimulus", because the
Republicans are trying to conflate this package with the highly unpopular
TARP 'stimulus' bill. The effect will be that everyone will end up hating

Thom says we need to call it what it really is, and that is a JOBS BILL.
The "America Back To Work Bill", and refer to it as "The Jobs Bill." He
says the current name "economic stimulus bill" was a mistake by Obama's
team. He hopes it is not too late to start referring to it differently
from now on.


Force the Republicans to stand on the Senate floor in filibuster and say
WHY they are against it.

Make them state WHY THEY ARE OPPOSED TO: expansion of broad band internet access to rural areas

..why they are opposed to programs to improve infrastructure and develop
rural communities

..why they are opposed to improvements in our criminal justice system

..why they are opposed to funding for science and technology research

..why they are opposed to community-oriented funding for policing services

..why they are opposed to repairing, maintaining and renovating Department
of Defense facilities

..why they are opposed to energy efficiency projects and modernization of
heating and cooling systems

..why they are opposed to energy-related research and development

..why they are opposed to funding the Army Corps of Engineers... remember
the levees in New Orleans?

..why they are opposed to modernizing the nation's electrical grid

..why they are opposed to construction and repair of federal facilities

..why they are opposed to funding for clean water programs and water
infrastructure projects

..why they are opposed to capital improvements and maintenance for Forest
Service, National Park Service and the Superfund Program

..why they are opposed to funding the Department of Health and Human

..why they are opposed to funding for labor and employment training

..why they are opposed to renovating our elementary and secondary schools

..why they are opposed to Pell grants and other programs to help kids go
to college

..why they are opposed to Defense construction projects including
hospitals, barracks and day care centers, to simply upgrade our existing
military structure

..why they are opposed to funding the Department of Veterans Affairs

..why they are opposed to IT projects for the State Department to bring
them into the 21st century

..why they are opposed to funding highway construction

..why they are opposed to housing assistance

..why they are opposed to grants to states and cities for community

..why they are opposed to giving more money to the CAP program (Community
Action Programs)

..why they are opposed to extending a tax credit for renewable energy

Make these IDIOTS stand up there in the Senate and TALK! Let the American
people see and hear from these greed-driven bastards who want to
perpetuate class war against us.

Let 'em talk, Harry! Thom says send some smelling salts to Harry, and
quick, so he won't faint every time the Republicans threaten to


Thom is on a rampage over this.


I make DU a daily round (at least once) and that sounds like a simply capital idea! Yes, let them filibuster until their Depends® are quite full. Smirky McChimpy would interrupt morning broadcasts just to push a bill through (FISA & TARP, amongst others), so I say Barack should do the same thing. In this case, he'd be actually performing a public service, as opposed to instigating widespread panic of terrorist's raping your cat if the Telco's didn't get retroactive immunity for illegally spying on you. He could also address how the press misconstrues his rhetoric and spins for the corporations that fund them, but I would definitely not tip the MSM off of that intention until they had the cameras rolling, though.
A suggested scenario: (Barack in the Oval Office with news services cameras broadcasting live) “Good morning. The American people need a chance and the prospects of you getting that are presently slim, as the Corporate Controlled Media gave me as much chance of being your President as a snow ball's chance in hell. These lickspittle’s, in the Press, mouth what their big business masters dictate and that’s doing our Country a grave disservice. Consequently, due to the deep corruption that has pervaded all aspects of our National News, the Stock Market and Congress, we will now execute “Operation Valkyrie 2.0”. Units of the 3rd and 7th SFG’s are rounding up certain heads of the broadcasting and publication industries to be dealt with at a time of my choosing. We won, after all. Due to traffic congestion, the proud 101st Division is landing on Wall St., via helicopter, and collecting the alleged perpetrators of corruption and the 82nd Airborne is jumping into the remote redoubts for apprehension of the ones on vacation or packing their bags attempting to flee the Country to parts unknown. All pertinent bank accounts and passports have been frozen (sub operation "Eat the Rich"). Factions of the 10th Mountain Division will be dedicated to Wyoming as a one Dick Cheney has a track record of retreating to difficult terrain. They will deploy Tunnel Rats if he chooses an underground route. Back in designated locations of the District of Columbia and Virginia, Navy Seabee’s are razing the confiscated mansions and townhouses of known and identified permanent beltway obstructionists and gardens, parks and basketball courts will replace them per Executive Order.

I chose the the middle of the day for this Operation, as I would like to capture as many of these criminals alive and nighttime maneuvers are problematic, at best. Therefore, Congress is being locked down and Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul have been appointed translators to decipher “Washington Speak” and judge who gets packed on to the deuce and a quarters and who gets to stay. Newly appointed Senate Leader Russ Feingold will be in charge of marking the corrupt with one sharp wack on the back of the neck using a stainless steel truck antenna, not to be less than 3 feet long. In keeping with fairness, the women, such as one Hillary Clinton, Jane Harman, Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi will be renditioned to a Monastery in France for permanent Contrition & Absolution (sub operation "Whores in Cold Castles"). The remaining condemned will then be classified into separate groups of “Neoconservatives”, “Blue Dogs”, and “Just Plain Stupid (JPS™)”. The D.I.N.O.’s are considered spies in War Time and will be summarily shot on the grounds of the Washington Mall, as we’re resodding the grass anyway. Newly appointed Senators Paul and Kucinich have a daunting task and I wish them Godspeed.
In the spirit of streamlining the way D.C. works, the traitors to the United States will be gathered and placed into Amtrak boxcars for the journey to permanent housing. It’s fitting that the train transporting them will be the “City of New Orleans” as that is their final destination. Once these Enemies of the State are in the Big Easy, they are to be housed at the Super Dome where all plumbing has been taken out of service and the electricity turned off. They each will be issued a cheap chinese revolver, compliments of Harbor Freight, with one round in the cylinder and told that the building will be sealed and the key to only one door is in a box in the center of the stadium. The door will be timed to only stay open for five seconds, after which it will hydraulically close and the gas released inside.
Thank you for your time.
We will now allow the skeleton crew, over at ABC, to return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast of “The View”. I have been informed that Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar are incorporating a long withheld “beat down” on a one Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and daring Barbara “Wa Wa” Walter’s to do something about it (as they have economy sized cans of whupass they’d happily open, if she so chooses). Sherri Shephard, bless her fat heart, is rolling around on the floor, hysterically crying and eating simultaneously.
Another update, George Bush Jr. was reportedly shot trying to enter Paraguay illegally. He survives and is happily being held in custody by a one President Hugo Chavez. We wish him well. Hugo, that is.
Be strong America, help is on the way.”

there's nothing left.

Dave Lindorff is absolutely right! Watch obama actions not his fancy talk.

If I read Dave Lindorff right, every morning you wake up check the news because a surprise from obama is just around the corner.

The people obama chose tell the story. These people have a mission. Obama is a puppet and must listen to them because obama is inexperienced and as his recent actions show he can make dumb mistakes and piss off the public rapidly.

Dave Lindorff I hope like hell you are wrong but if I were to bet my money I would put every dime on what you say is right.

To those of you who do not heed Dave Lindorff warnings and say give obama more time, yeah right, wake up and smell the coffee. This economy, the bailout/sellout money laundering demand action NOW!!


How much time do you want to give the families starving in the streets now. The people and the kids starving in the streets need help now not two or three months from now.


"The Obama™ position on “Buy American” clause in stimulus package is the same as the DLC, the CFR, the Wall Street Journal, and John McCain"

globalism rears it's ugly head again and the robber baron class wins out.

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