FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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:
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail