I know that Obama has an army of monied interests ranged against him and against the implementation of the ideals of the people who've come to power in his wake and that limits all of their options. I know that everything can't magically change overnight. I know times of epochal change like the one we're living through right now are usually frought with violent and bloody back and forth before the new age becomes evident and the old guard fades into oblivion or dies off. I know all of that, but depending on which side of an historical conflict a society plants its flag and deploys its resources, the resolution of the conflict can and usually does mean the end of one civilization's hegemony for ascension of its opposition.
OK, time to stop being vague.
The history of human conflict has always been about the clash between the haves and the have-nots. This conflict is scalable and operates at every level from the micro to the macro from interpersonal to international from the beginning of time to right now, from two cave-men duking it out fireside over a leg of mammoth meat or a beautiful, curvy cave-girl all the way up to our invasion of Iraq to sieze control of their oil fields. In recent centuries, we've come to describe this conflict in terms of left and right, liberal and conservative, blue and red or what have you. But the conflict is always the same. It is always between those who want to restrict citizenship (i.e. - power and wealth, meaning agency over one's own fortunes) and those who want to expand citizenship to the masses (i.e. - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal...", itself imperfect, or "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need").
And right now, I think Obama and company's fetishization of bi-partisanship puts him on the wrong side of history.
The last eight years have been the culmination of a decades-long program of willful destruction of the mechanisms of equality by the wealthy ruling class of this country. From 1776 forward, they were never really on board with that whole "democracy" thing anyway and only tolerated it to the extent that it was good for their personal fortunes. In flush times, the more prosperous the non-rich became, the more the ruling-class saw their power erode because -- unlike wealth, which can expand for the benefit of all people in a society -- the question of who wields power in any society is truly a zero-sum proposition: winning means someone else has to lose, because we can't all have everything we want all the time.
But FDR's correcting of the societal tally sheet couldn't be allowed to stand by the wealthy families who had to surrender power, fancying themselves as they did as a kind of unaccountable American royalty (again, bad plan - just ask the Romanoffs). If FDR's New Deal hadn't been responsible for the widespread middle-class prosperity that followed our victory in World War 2, we might have seen a return to a kind of corporate feudalism much, much sooner. Afterall, the ruling class did try to oust Roosevelt-the-Traitor in a coup, including 43's grandpappy (he was never punished, obviously). So, instead of a swift and merciless overthrowing of the lefties, our country's ruling class had to take their time. Decades, in fact. Through Nixon's Southern Strategy and Saint Ronnie of the Ray-Gun's "Revolution" and the impeachment of a popular president for a blowjob and the theft of an election (or two) and, most of all, the selling-off of America's vast resources -- natural, industrial, human -- have been the preferred modes, means and methods of buoying the wealth at the top end while eroding the buying power of everyone else.
It almost completely worked. They were almost done. And then the bottom fell out of their plans this last September, before they could snatch another election.
They had to do something, and fast, before anyone could figure out what was happening.
From day one, the TARP was obviously a massive, last-ditch smash-and-grab for all the shit that hadn't already been gutted from Treasury (part of that "starving the public sphere for the sake of the private" thing I wrote about yesterday) and I said so at the time on my old blog:
The bailout, which is SOOOO last week I know, is (as Mr. Sideshow wrote a couple of weeks ago), long before Hank "The Donald Rumsfeld of Economics" Paulson's "Give-Me-All-The-Money-And-Don't-Fucking-Ask-Me-Any-Questions-Or-The-Economy-Gets-It" three-page plan was scuttled in The House - the People's Chamber - by the "Tru-Believers" in the Rethugli-bot coalition (before being rescued by The Senate - The Plutocrat's Chamber) because - weaned on the poison milk of the Reagan Revolution as they are - they never understood that all that free-market rhetoric was just so much malarky spread by the Ruling Class to get their signature pet policies package-dealt with all those the Culture War rostrums that get the shrieking wingnut brigades nice and agitated for the end result of election victories that translate via Abramoff and Delay and the like into more money in the pockets of the Monied Class.
From the New York Times online:
The new financial industry rescue plan, to be outlined in broad terms on Monday in a speech by the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, will not require banks to increase their lending. That is despite criticism that institutions that already received money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, either hoarded it or used the funds to acquire other banks.The incentives to investors could be in the form of commitments to absorb some of the losses from any assets they purchase, should their values continue to decline. The goal is to relieve the banks of their worst assets so that private investors might then provide more capital.
...in a nutshell, banks get more taxpayer cash, but taxpayers will not force the banks to lend more, nor will taxpayers have the leverage to throw out the economy-destroying management of the banks that we now own. Instead, our money will be used to ensure that huge private investors that put money into those banks don't lose any money on their risk.
Taxpayer money is being handed over to the Manhattan millionaires who created this crisis, and we get absolutely nothing in return - not even the illusion of anything, really.
They've turned this moment of political change and economic meltdown into an opportunity to distill kleptocracy into its most pure form.
Now prove me wrong.
Just like I'd like to be proved wrong about punishment for the lies about WMD in Iraq, Justice Department corruption and torture. I won't hold my breath.
I think you have seriously missed here. Obama cannot simultaneously be the good guy you imply in your first paragraph, and then do all the things you say in the rest of the article. It's time to face the music: the reason the administration is filled with the thugs who ruined things and continue to do so is because they are the people Obama supports and hires. Blaming bipartisanship is bullshit. He had choices, and he made them. He's not a good guy; he's one of them. It's bait and switch, yet again.