Thursday, December 16, 2010

Robert Scheer on Mr. Obama's Decision to Rely on Mr. Clinton to Sell the Tax Deal: Desperate

A campaign is already underway to give President Obama cover for his tax-cut deal and his decision to bring in the master triangulator, Bill Clinton, to soft-sell that deal to the American public.  I'm not persuaded by the apologists, though.  

For my money, Robert Scheer is right when he says the following: 

The sight of Bill Clinton back on the White House podium defending tax cuts for the super-rich was more a sick joke than a serious amplification of economic policy. How desperate is the current president that he would turn to the great triangulator, who opened the floodgates to banking greed, for validation of the sorry opportunistic hodgepodge that passes for this administration's economic policy? A policy designed and implemented by the same Clinton-era holdovers whose radical deregulation of the financial industry created this mess in the first place.

Many of us feel sorely betrayed precisely because Mr. Obama ran as an alternative to the Clinton style of Democratic leadership, with its constant concessions to neo-conservative ideology, its deal-cutting and principle-waffling.  Many of us were persuaded that things had become so bad for our nation during the Bush period, we needed (and would surely get, with the new president) a clean break with both the neo-conservative paradigm and the new Democrat paradigm that tries to reframe the traditional values of the Democratic party as neo-con values.

And so we feel conspicuously betrayed by this president, and determined to continue dissenting, because the socioeconomic problems facing our nation remain acute, and we know full well that more of the same, whether that neo-con same comes to us outright through the Republicans or in Democratic disguise, is not going to get us out of the mess we're in.

We need a whole new paradigm if we're to succeed as a nation.  That paradigm has to return to the classic values of participatory democracy.  It has to make every voice count.  It has do to so first and foremost by listening as attentively to the experience of everyday citizens as it does to the voices of CEOs.  

Nothing short of this--nothing short of a new paradigm rooted in the now-imperiled values of our participatory democracy--will retrieve democracy in the U.S.  This president's decision to keep playing by the rules of the new Democrat playbook written by Mr. Clinton has proven to be a coda to--and a dangerous one, at that--the narrative of erosion of democracy that is the legacy of the Bush era.  Not a viable and praiseworthy alternative to that legacy.  Anything but that.  To the woe of many citizens.

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