Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yet more reality

Der SPIEGEL: So what can Obama do?

Niall Ferguson: He can give a great inauguration speech.

SPIEGEL: And what else?

Ferguson: Give more great speeches.

SPIEGEL: He can't do more?

Ferguson: No, because he will have the least latitude of all presidents we can remember. Obama wants to assemble a nonpartisan government, and we will experience a more cautious first 100 days than we did under Bill Clinton. He will be cautious to the point of being boring. This will be precisely his great strength.

SPIEGEL: Where does the problem lie?

Ferguson: With Hank Paulson.

SPIEGEL: What does the current treasury secretary have to do with Obama?

Ferguson: Because of his big bailout plan, Paulson has already spent the money for Obama's healthcare reform and for his tax cuts. The money is gone.
A big struggle over control of Barack Obama’s foreign policy has already begun with his first White House staff nominees. Many of the people currently advising him, and all of those behind past Bush policies, are going to tell him his administration must choose between “weakness,” on the one hand, and “strength” plus “global leadership.” The latter means a quest for American hegemony that won’t be any more successful under Obama than it has been under Bush, and along the way will destroy his presidency just as it destroyed George Bush’s. William Pfaff
David Seaton's News Links
A window is opening briefly, people all over the world are impressed that the Americans have elected someone with African blood as their leader and most impressed of all are the Americans themselves. But racism will have actually died out when the novelty has worn off and the skin color of the US president finally becomes invisible and nothing else is seen but his job performance.

This "death of racism" is going to come sooner than many of Obama's well-wishers may feel comfortable with.

According to Eric Kleefeld at TPM quoting a Hotline/Diageo poll:
Obama has a favorable rating of 65%, and 66% of voters are somewhat confident or very confident that he can bring change to Washington. On the other hand, large majorities want him to compromise with Republicans (58%) and appoint an even mix of Dems and GOPers to his cabinet (61%).(...) As for the individual issues themselves, voters as a whole want movement on energy independence (24%), financial regulation (22%), a middle-class tax cut (21%), and national health care (15%). Obama's base of Democratic voters rank their priorities a bit differently: Middle-class tax cut 29%, financial regulation 22%, national health care 19%, and energy independence 13%.
I think that the results in California give a key to the complexity of the political climate today. Obama won by 61% to 37%, yet "Proposition Eight", to prohibit gay marriages, passed with the vote of African-Americans and Hispanics. It would appear that there is a very solid, socially conservative vote among those who voted for Obama and made a Democratic victory possible.

The Democratic coalition is made up of racial minorities, labor unions, and university educated "intellectuals": the gay issue is one that is basically for up market members of the last group.

Like the abortion issue, the gay issue is a dividing line between all these groups. What the California vote means is that there is still ample ground to grow "Reagan Democrats".

What is the synthesis here? What exactly does "change" mean in this context? A different face, a different way of talking, or the sort of sea change that Roosevelt brought about? Certainly the California vote
is like a Zen koan.

Why am I so skeptical that anything truly important is set to happen?

Simply because nobody is seriously talking about cutting defense spending in order to pay for all the "stimuli" or health or infrastructure reforms.
Speaking from memory, I think Americans spend almost eighty percent of the world's total defense expenditure... something absurd like that and I don't hear Obama or anyone close to Obama talking about "Guns or butter".

It is bailout time, are the Chinese supposed to bankroll the Pentagon?

What I sense is that the ever cautious Obama has brought us to the shores of the Rubicon and is about to hand out fishing polls. DS


Richard said...

I share your views on Obama's Pyrrhic victory. He will prove a great disappointment to those who voted him in, thinking the Village will change.

His appointment of Rahm Emmanuel, a rabid Zionist, with a terrorist father, will ensure that he hears nothing of any other views than the Zionists'

His apparent approval (or not disapproval) of Joe Lieberman to keep his position on two powerful Senate committee chairs will ensure that domestic surveillance, torture, and Zionist fealty will not go away.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I think Emanuel has been put there to watch Obama more than to indoctrinate him.

bailey alexander said...

Like my husband and many we know that grew up on two or three continents and were exposed to several cultures, mutt like, Obama will have a more nuanced world view. His mind is agile and not so prone to being hijacked by good/evil Zionist type Washington think tanks. He's intellectually curious and can frame his own analysis, unlike many.

But I think much of this is about nothing in that the President's role is so minimal. Sure, he can terrorize and control some group think and inspire jingoistic crap, if the masses are fearful and willfully ignorant, but more people are going to be thinking about their own bank accounts, and less about outside terrorists. And more and more just may discount 'perceived authority' and start their own small businesses and take more ownership of their own lives...or maybe not.

a perception