TKO by the Technocrats


Barack Obama is a technocrat and he just won a technocratic victory. His reelection campaign, lacking any kind of arching philosophy or defense of his own disturbing tenure as president, became a bland exercise in political calculus, targeting individual precincts, swing counties and fractionated demographic sectors.

Obama’s victory, at the cost of $2 billion, is about as thrilling as completing a game of Sudoku. Obama was propelled to his slender popular vote win by those that the Republicans almost ritually abused: women, blacks, gays and Hispanics. Ironically, these are people that the Obama administration has also ruthlessly strafed for four years. But Obama smiled as he cut the lower-classes adrift in the midsts of a cratering economy, while Romney expressed only contempt for them.

Mitt Romney ran an inept campaign. As a candidate, he was even more aloof, arrogant and emotionally distant than Obama. If Obama’s campaign lacked any unifying message, Romney’s resembled a kind of political Brownian Motion of constantly drifting themes in a tank of rancid and racially-charged sludge. He doomed his chances with his peculiar choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate, who personified the budgetary cruelties of the Republican right and alienated aging white voters who otherwise might have wandered into his camp.

Where does Obama go now? The House remains firmly in the hands of militant right-wingers. The Senate will continue to be paralyzed by the filibuster-happy minority and a spineless Democratic majority. Stalemate? Probably not. Second terms are almost always about polishing a presidential legacy, already being harped upon by the withered likes of Tom Brokaw.  Obama will be desperate for some signature legislative victories.

So what to expect from Obama? An aggressive new plan to combat climate change? A real federal jobs program aimed at full-employment? Liberalization of immigration policies? Decriminalization of marijuana? Deep cuts in the defense budget? Rollback of the Patriot Act? A ban on assassinations by drones? Movement toward single-payer health care? Sure.

No. Clinton will be his template:  the Clinton who pushed for the elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act, the gutting of welfare and the war on Serbia.  Obama will pursue bi-partisanship with a vengeance. Obama has always been a committed neoliberal, a closeted agent of austerity. Now he no longer needs to even play-act for his political base. He can openly betray their interests.

In a few months, the president will reach out to his old pal Paul Ryan to take a stroll across that tragic terrain known as the common ground in pursuit of those twin obsessions of the elites: deficit reduction and entitlement reform. In the name of political conciliation, Obama will piously move to slash away at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the last frail fabrics of the federal social welfare programs.  These savage cuts will be enthusiastically cheered by the mainstream press, Wall Street and the Washington establishment.

Who will stand up to challenge him?

That is the real question posed by this enervating election.

Jeffrey St. Clair’s latest books are Born Under a Bad Sky and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is now available in Kindle format.  He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai Park: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability