Saturday, September 3, 2011

Olbermann Castigates President Obama: What the Hell Is Going On?

Keith Olbermann's question is my own: What the hell is going on with the White House?  Olbermann thinks that Obama's decision to keep exceptionally lax smog-regulation standards in place up to 2013 represents a decision on the part of the president to deliver a "whack across the knees" to his base.  He also thinks this and other center-right decisions of the president are premised on the belief that his base will continue to vote against any possible Republican candidate, no matter how badly he betrays his supporters.

And as Robert Kuttner points out, the end result of the exceedingly strange political calculus now governing this administration's decisions may well be to deliver the country to the Republicans in 2012, when only a small minority of Americans support the hard-line right-wing behavior of the Republican party as it is presently configured:

So in a deepening crisis, feeble center-right policy ideas from the White House rendezvous with a president temperamentally unwilling to fight for principles—that are themselves increasingly murky.

The result: a Republican Party whose actual views on key issues represent maybe 25 percent of Americans keeps blocking the president, and may well sweep the next election in spite of its extremism.

I've come to think, God help me, that the constant concessions on the part of President Obama are orchestrated precisely to place that tiny minority in the driver's seat, and to keep it there.  I feel certain that the president imagines he's being well-advised by the morally obtuse, calculating but politically tone-deaf center-right advisers who tell him to keep conceding ground to the Republicans to attract independent voters in 2012.

But I have also come reluctantly to the conclusion that the president adheres to this advice because he himself is temperamentally center-right, and is determined to drive the country in that political direction.  What he's actually accomplishing, though, is to create the possibility of a sharp turn to the far right.  A minority of far-right Republicans are now controlling the political and economic future of the nation.

And will continue to control our future for the foreseeable future, if the 2012 elections result in their control of both houses of Congress and the White House . . . .

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