Barack Obama is salivating at the prospect of concluding his Big Deal with the Republicans, the one that will move the center robustly – even transformatively – to the Right, where this president really lives. The debt-limit deadline is Obama’s big chance to panic a significant part of the Democratic Party into joining in the rape of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “When the debt-limit showdown arrives, pray for gridlock, which would at least mean there is still resistance to Republican extortion."
President Obama says he’s determined to make the “big deal” with the Republicans – not like the little, piddling deals he has been cutting all along to benefit the corporate classes, but the BIG deal, the grand consensus he believes he was born to forge with the GOP. Although it’s true that it will take a whopper of a deal to outclass the bipartisan joint venture that transferred $14 trillion to Wall Street, the vast bulk of it on Obama’s watch, the First Black President is nothing if not ambitious. Obama’s Big Deal is actually the coup de grace for Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society – relics, like Black activism, standing in the way of a post-everything world.
Obama has been savoring the big moment since last November, when the Republicans seized control of the House and sidelined the president’s main opposition: the left wing of his own party. Delusional Obamites, especially Blacks, are fond of saying their guy really wants Democrats and activists to force him to take a more progressive path – to “make him do it.” It’s actually the other way around. Obama depends strategically on Republicans to “make him do it” – to push him inexorably rightward with their brinksmanship and constant threats of gridlock. It is an intricate and intimate dance, with Obama and the GOP moving and grooving to the same music. Obama often gets so caught up, he mouths the Republicans’ lyrics.
“The reason to do Social Security” – by “do,” Obama means “cut” – “is to strengthen Social Security to make sure that those benefits are there for seniors in the out-years,” says Obama, an exact echo of the apocalypse-soon Social Security scare propaganda perfected over the years by the GOP. Obama has been promising to “do” Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid since just before he was sworn into office in January, 2009, when he announced that these entitlements would be “on the table” in his administration. His deficit reduction commission last year did indeed put the programs on the operating table, with Obama’s corporate surgeons tracing dotted lines around the organs to be excised under the irresistible imperatives of austerity – the Republicans’ copyrighted anthem.
“Obama depends strategically on Republicans to push him inexorably rightward with their brinksmanship and constant threats of gridlock.”
Last November 3, I wrote: “The best outcome that could result from Tuesday’s Democratic debacle is that the Republicans overreach and, in their white nationalist triumphalism, make it impossible for President Obama and congressional Democrats to reach an accommodation with rampaging reaction and racism.” In other words, when the debt-limit showdown arrives, pray for gridlock, which would at least mean there is still resistance to Republican extortion.
The showdown is nigh, although Obama is squeezing every Democratic arm and groin in reach to ensure that he and the Republicans are able to walk down the dusty street arm-in-arm at high noon, so that the outcome can be billed as a grand consensus, a Big Deal for Obama. This requires that he gather Democratic accomplices in the gang rape of entitlements. “So we might as well do it now,” says Obama, while people are panicked by the prospect of a technical U.S. “default.” “Pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas,” he commands, as if the death blow to the last vestiges of the New Deal and the Great Society is just a short, sharp pain, after which the boo-boo will heal just fine.
The real Obama is a cold, cynical bastard. He is not a wimp, but rather, has plenty of spine to face down and brow-beat the remaining defenders of the social safety net in his own Democratic Party, who have always been the most immediate dangers to his grand center-right coalition. But it must be done quickly, quickly, quickly, to capture the debt-limit panic opportunity.
Half or more of the Congressional Black Caucus will do whatever the White House asks of it, will sacrifice anything and everything dear to African American interests in order to preserve this particular Black family in the executive mansion for as long as possible. But many of Obama’s white groupies are facing the fact that they backed a corporate Trojan Horse. Paul Krugman, the columnist for the New York Times, should not have needed a Nobel Prize in economics to realize that Obama “basically shares the GOP’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it,” or that the president’s eagerness to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid “is something Mr. Obama and those he listens to apparently want for its own sake.”
In other words, this guy works for the other side because that’s where his soul is – if he has one. He advocates policies that serve corporate pigs because he’s one of them. He harms poor people because he is contemptuous of them, just like his Wall Street friends and patrons. His administration is negligent or hostile to Black aspirations for the same reasons as his white business buddies, with whom he shares a worldview. He is every bit as much a war criminal as Bush, and as morally debased.
The last thing we need is to allow this guy to conclude his long-sought Big Deal with the GOP under cover of a debt-limit crisis.