Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"one of American history's epic missed moments"

I shall never forget how America's rightwing lunatics spent 8 years extolling the virtues of George W. Bush, Codpiece Man!, and accusing those of us who despised the man as being terrorist sympathizers, then turned around and mocked those who found Obama's campaign rhetoric of Hope and Change compelling by suggesting that we worshiped him as "Obamessiah". It goes without saying that they were wrong - they always are - but it is nevertheless true that even those of us who are longtime observers of national politics (and thus deeply cynical - hard not to be) found ourselves moved by the idea of our first black President and, yes, even against our will, hopeful.

I contend that we were right to be. 2008 did seem like a confluence of circumstances that set the stage for a new liberalism that would finally be a resounding rebuttal to the creeping and noxious authoritarian reactionary movement that American society has been embracing since the election of, gag me, Ronald fracking Reagan. Here's Digby (emphasis mine):
Kuttner's critique of Obama is on the money --- in my view, if there was ever a president who had the economic circumstances and political mandate to challenge the prevailing wisdom, it was him. But for reasons about which we can only speculate, he didn't do it. I agree with Alterman that the deck is stacked against progressives, but it always is. Money never welcomes the hippies into the country club. But it's a rare president who has a huge mandate for change, a once in a generation economic crisis, a reputation for rhetorical brilliance and a congressional majority. I just don't agree with the conventional wisdom that Ben Nelson had more power over policy than he did.

Alas, it was not to be. And many of us fear that the failure of this moment will seal the fate of liberal policies for generations to come, a fear that exacerbates our disappointment. So what happened? Digby points us to a review of a couple of books about the Obama presidency, one good and one bad, but it is the review itself that she recommends reading. I agree.


Freewheel said...

Is there any hope for Hope and Change in 2011? Or do you think Obama will triangulate to get re-elected?

AnnPW said...

Hi there, FW! Happy New Year!

That said, uh, no. I'm afraid we're screwed.

Well, okay, let me modify that: I suppose I'm one of those old codgers that always manages to hang on to little slivers of Hope, despite all evidence to the contrary. So, sure: Hope Abides!

AnnPW said...

I guess I should respond to the other part of your question!

I think Obama will do whatever he thinks he needs to do to get re-elected, and he appears to be one who will look first to see what liberal policies he can throw under the bus in order to appease rightwingers.

I guess the only mystery remaining is just how off the rails will the Republican candidate be. Tho America has already proven that we are capable of electing someone as bad as GWB (twice!) - so, one wonders, how bad does the GOB candidate have to be in order to lose? Okay McCain/Palin lost - and yes, they were pretty darn bad - but I don't think Obama's going to be able to pull off the same kind of victory. His supporters have been too disappointed and his opposition is fired up. As the title of this post, and quote from the article says: He missed his chance.

Freewheel said...

Happy new year to you too! Nice to see you posting again. Here's to slivers of hope.