ZNet on the continued befuddlement of some liberals and progressives that Obama didn’t turn out to be a liberal after all.
Key quote, from an interview with Chomsky.
Interviewer Fabian Scheidler: President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 while at the same time escalating the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some days after his Nobel Prize speech in Stockholm he went to Copenhagen and had nothing to offer to the climate talks [except] a reduction of four per cent of greenhouse gas emissions until 2020 – while scientists say 40 percent are needed. Many analysts say that this was the collapse of the climate talks. There were many hopes before Obama was elected, when he was elected. Hopes for change. Where is this “change” that was promised. And why is he falling short of the expectations?
Chomsky: It’s not a comment about him. It’s a comment about the expectations. The expectations were based on nothing. I’m one of the few people who isn’t disillusioned because I had no expectations. I wrote about his record and prospects before the campaign, just looking at his website. And it was pretty clear that he’s going to be a normal centrist Democrat roughly Clinton-style. He never pretended to be anything else. I mean there was rhetoric about hope and change. But it was like a blank slate. You can write on it whatever you wanted. And he is kind of personable. People were desperate for some hope so they grabbed onto it. But there was no basis for any expectations.
I figured Obama as a centrist too. But really, the only constituency he has unfailingly supported has been the banksters, giving them hundreds of billions, allowing accounting rules to be gutted so they could mark their garbage to fantasy then pay themselves huge bonuses, and so on. To be a bit conspiratorial about it, gosh, it’s almost like he was installed. But now he’s got the BP disaster and true to form, has been saying how angry it all makes him while he does little or nothing about it. However this is different from the banksters, which deals with complicated, arcane financial matters. With BP, it’s right out in the open, and the oil keeps coming up on the shorelines. So, he may be forced to do something, even if he is a unyielding corporatist. But he sure didn’t do anything last night and turned the great opportunity of an Oval Office speech into a non-event.
So, liberals, Obama just isn’t going to magically morph into the Liberal Avenger. Not now. Not ever. It’s time to give up thinking that he will.