FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

TKO by the Technocrats

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

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.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
Charles R. Larson
A Review of Mary Roach’s “Grunt”
David Yearsley
Stuck in Houston on the Cusp of the Apocalypse
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail