Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Steve Hildebrand on the Huge Mistake of Obama's Tax-Cut Deal

Steve Hildebrand on Obama's "huge mistake" in cutting a deal with the Republicans re: taxes:

"I think the president made a huge mistake in supporting any extension of tax cuts," said Steve Hildebrand, the deputy national director of Obama's presidential campaign and a strategist who has long grown sour on Washington. "We can't afford it as a country, and we should recognize that. We need his leadership and bipartisan congressional leadership on it. And the whole idea of negotiating with Republicans who won't negotiate in good faith, it is not the direction the president should be taking." 

Unless, of course, this president was elected with the support of Wall Street and bankers precisely to do what he has done consistently since he was elected: concede gladly to their demands and to the demands of the political party that shamelessly serves their interests.  Which would mean that citizens like me were total fools to imagine that Mr. Obama ever intended change we could believe in.  Or that we have any real power to change anything in a political process now owned outright by the very rich.

And because I am inclined to think that what I suggest in the preceding paragraph may well be on track (that is, I'm inclined to believe that politics is far more a theater staged by dominant economic interest groups than many political analysts in Western societies appear willing to admit), I find little to praise in all the centrist analysis right now, which is applauding the president's continued commitment to the cold-hearted pragmatist principles that one has to accept, we're informed, in order to get political business done in the real world.  

Centrism is all about assuring that, when things do change--as they inevitably must, at some point, in any social arrangement--the system being changed remains relatively intact while it's tinkered with in cosmetic ways for as long as possible.  With the centrists, who intend to stay at the center, allocating power and determining who will be in the important conversations of any given social structure, still in their accustomed place, of course.  Still in the center.  Still opening doors for some and closing them for many others.  Still allocating power and praising the cold-hearted pragmatism that oils the machinery.

And in the world in which we now find ourselves, the price of that pragmatism grows ever higher.  Except for those who are already obscenely wealthy, of course.  

And for those apologists of the center willing to do their bidding.

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