FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Helping of Bitter Beltway Baloney

Only a few days into his presidency, Barack Obama has given the hopeful who supported him a dose of bitter Beltway baloney as he tests his theory of politicians working together for the common good. Is he really naive about how the game is played — by both Republicans and Democrats? Elsewhere there may be strength in sweetness. But in the halls of Congress?  Is this a crisis of congeniality?

Plucked from the campaign trail and placed in the White House, President Obama and his checkerboard team may be suffering from (to use a Great Depression term) The Jitters — in this case a fear of early failure for going too far. Hailed by himself and others as a “pragmatist,” Mr. Obama faces domestic and global disasters that call for real risk-taking courage. He could learn from the Super Bowl teams he watched on Sunday. Give it your all and let the chips fall where they may. Unfortunately, the president faces smiling villains in both parties who need to be smacked upside the head by fearless but intelligent leadership. Barack Obama may already be on the verge of letting his people (the nation) down.

Give George W. Bush and Dick Cheney some credit. They came into office determined to wreck the economy so progressive programs would be off the table; they wanted to invade Iraq; they wanted an Imperial Presidency, and they succeeded, beyond their most Strangelovian dreams. Their triumph of chutzpah and willpower has left a spill that only greater (and more thoughtful)  chutzpah and willpower can clean up. Rather than fudging on transparency, ethical appointments, criminal investigations, prosecutions, ending outrageous military expeditions, the slaughter of innocents, the nation and the world require “take charge” visionary leadership of the sort Barack Obama seemed to show during the long march from Springfield. But now?

Obama’s administrative leadership can be accomplished without tossing overboard that warmth, that relaxed West Wing, the decency and concern for which President Obama is famous. Voters (but apparently not members of Congress) have had it up-to-here with hubris, arrogance and hypocrisy. Both Republicans and Democrats are testing his resolve. Will the new First Lady and millions of hope-filled citizens remind President Obama that he was not elected by members of the House and Senate but by a people yearning to breathe the air of constitutional fairness and freedom after years of monstrous political suffocation?

Instead of stroking political insiders, a presidential Obama could dare to make his case to the nation, that is unless his case is more perfumed smoke than substance. The Beltway Game is not changed by instant replays. Those who now look to Barack Obama for leadership and change must not settle for Bush or Clinton Lite. Sailing our ship of state  between the rock and the hard place requires the will, courage and independence of Odysseus. So he is ours at last. Americans and others around the world have someone to press their hopes to —  until they find he’s just one more pathetic chorus of the same old song and dance.

DOUG GIEBEL writes from Montana. He welcomes comment at dougcatz@ttc-cmc.net

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
March 30, 2020
Marshall Auerback
Washington Uses the Pandemic to Create a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Its Cronies
Ron Jacobs
Going After Maduro
Justin Podur
When Economists Try to Solve Health Crises, the Results Can Often be Disastrous
Thomas Knapp
Decarceration: COVID-19 is Opportunity Knocking
Arshad Khan - Meena Miriam Yust
Dying Planet and a Virus Unleashed
William Astore
How My Dad Predicted the Decline of America
Seth Sandronsky
Reclaiming Vacant Homes in the COVID-19 Pandemic
John G. Russell
Racial Profiling Disorder: the All-American Pandemic
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
As the World Tackles the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. Raises the Pressure on Venezuela
Laura Flanders
Covid-19: Our Health Crisis is Born of Bigotry
Cesar Chelala
The New World of Coronavirus
Lawrence Wittner
The World’s Major Military and Economic Powers Find Happiness Elusive
Ted Rall
My Dead French Grandfather Helped Me with COVID-19
Rob Okun
A Citizens’ Call to Invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment
Ashar Foley
COVID-19 Proves It: We Need Medicare-for-All
Robert Koehler
The Virus is Our Teacher
Wim Laven
Are You Prepared to Needlessly Die for Your Country?
Jill Richardson
Stay Home, Stay Angry
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What’s Wrong with Ranked Choice Voting
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Sues Trump’s Bureau of Reclamation for Bull Trout Fatalities in Saint Mary-Milk River Irrigation Project on the east Side of Glacier National Park
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail