Maureen Dowd ponders the sinking Obama presidency, wondering what happened, not really understanding that Obama became president with huge help from investment banks. My view, Obama just isn’t that concerned with the rest of us.
After two years of taking his base for granted, the former Pied Piper of America’s youth had to spar with Jon Stewart to try to get the attention of young people who once idolized him.
With his coalition and governing majority shattering around him, President Obama will have to summon political skills — starting Wednesday — that he has not yet shown he has.
Oh, he has the skills, and it’s not so much that he’s detached or elitist but rather that he is beholden to and a creature of the investment banks who aided his rise to the presidency.
In Bought and Paid For. The Unholy Alliance between Obama and Wall Street, Charles Gasparino documents how Obama was backed early and heavily by investment banks. They saw Hillary as too independent and OMG, she actually would criticize them, can’t have that happening. McCain thought the banksters were “spoiled brats and ruthless opportunists” who would keep the bailout money then pay themselves big bonuses. Look, he would have been a disaster as president but on this he was completely correct. But Obama had no such qualms and made a point of cozying up to bankers, commenting about how wonderful all their mortgages were and how they give a real service to the rest of us. He also asked them for advice on how they would fix the mess they made (gosh, what a fine idea that is) then hired the primary architects of our economic crisis to repair the damage they made. Wall Street showered him with many millions early on, way more than they had ever given to a candidate. Obama amply rewarded them with hundreds of billions in taxpayer money then made sure the accounting rules got changed so they could mark-to-whatever and not mark-to-market.
Yes, Gasparino is right-wing. But his primary point is the economic crisis is as much the fault of federal government policies as it is of the banks. The government continues to give them almost free money in the form of miniscule interest rates. Then banks use the money to buy treasuries or speculate. Very little of it ends up helping Main Street. This is hardly accidental.
To paraphrase Malcolm X in a different context, we’ve been hoodwinked, we’ve been bamboozled.
And if you think maybe Gasparino is suspect because he’s a conservative (I don’t), here’s liberal James Kunstler saying much the same thing, in his post on the mid-term elections.
The President and his Democrats may have inherited this clusterfuck from the feckless George Bush but they flubbed every chance to mitigate any part of it, ranging from their failure to restore the rule of law in banking (by prosecuting the executives of major banks who oversaw the systematic swindle), to mis-directing our dwindling resources toward ends (such as “shovel-ready” new super-highways) that won’t promote a credible future for this society, to misleading the public in the fantasy that alt-energy will offset the disruptions of peak oil (and allow us to keep running suburbia, the US Military, and WalMart by other means).
It’s really too late for both parties. They’re unreformable. They’ve squandered their legitimacy just as the US enters the fat heart of the long emergency. Neither of them have a plan, or even a single idea that isn’t a dodge or a grift. Both parties tout a “recovery” that is just a cover story for accounting chicanery and statistical lies aimed at concealing the criminally-engineered national bankruptcy that they presided over in split shifts. Both parties are overwhelmingly made up of bagmen for the companies that looted America.