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It has been laughable over the last couple of years to watch the wingnut landscape morph into total lunacy over the alleged socialistic leadership of our new Dark Knight President. Talk about your basic overkill.
A timid government stimulus plan in 2009.....amounting to approximately $800 billion in market demand being added to the recessed market.....was described by dishonest partisans as the end of America as we've known it.
Fox-guided "reality makers" set about to propagandize as many Americans as possible that Obama's stimulus plan was evidence of his far-far-far leftist, socialist, pinko, commie intentions to turn America into a Cuban hellhole during his first term......that is, if pulling the plug on all U.S. grandmas didn't take up all of his time.
The truth of Obama's stimulus....as well as any liberal leanings Obama has been contentiously accused of.....is another matter entirely. I have set forward the proposition, as many other progressives have also done, that Barack Obama is a non-ideological president. He doesn't really stand for anything in particular....he looks for what he calls "pragmatic" solutions to problems, not partisan ones.
We now have information from former chief economist to Joe Biden, Jared Bernstein, which supports my suggestion that Obama is no liberal.
There will be no WPA-type programs in our near future. There was no appetite for them in the Obama admin in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression and there’s a lot less now. The reasons for that are interesting and I’ll speak to them another day. But it ain’t happening.
Now think about what Bernstein said. Obama comes into office, the economy is hemorrhaging 750,000 jobs per month and the banksters have just been re-capitalized with trillions of federally guarantee tax dollars and loans. It didn't look good at the beginning of 2009. Something big....some might say, transformational....would be required in order for the U.S. economy to come back from such a greed-fueled economic catastrophe.
Barack Obama said he wanted to be a "transformational" president....not like Bush 2 or even Clinton....but like Reagan, or....liberals hoped.....FDR. But something happened to all that transformational talk as Obama pragmatically began his pre-emptive bipartisanship style of leadership in 2009. Transformational quickly came to mean...the same old sh*t.
In his bipartisanship wisdom, Barack Obama pre-caved to Village and Republican objections to government spending by offering a smallish $700+ billion stimulus package, one third for non-stimulative tax cuts, more than one third to states facing massive layoffs, and less than a third to infrastructure projects. Projected GDP shortfalls caused by the bankster recession were in the $1.5 trillion range.....Obama proposed half a loaf, divided up into three convenient sops to his bipartisan
What we learn from Jared Bernstein is that when all this was going down...the bipartisan pre-caving by Obama......our new president had "no appetite" for "WPA-type programs" which would have put unemployed Americans directly to work.
Here's what true progressive leadership looked like in 1935....
Works Progress Administration....later called Work Projects Administration....
U.S. work program for the unemployed. Created in 1935 under the New Deal, it aimed to stimulate the economy during the Great Depression and preserve the skills and self-respect of unemployed persons by providing them useful work. During its existence, it employed 8.5 million people in the construction of 650,000 mi (1,046,000 km) of roads, 125,000 public buildings, 75,000 bridges, 8,000 parks, and 800 airports.
FDR was a bold, transformative liberal president. He recognized what the nation needed.....and didn't just talk boldly....he acted boldly. Longings for bipartisanship didn't dictate that boldness.
President Obama has no "appetite" for bold, progressive leadership like that. Oh, no. No WPA-type jobs programs for this pragmatic president. He has no stomach for it. Instead, he would show all Americans how he could bring all sides together to accomplish mighty pragmatic things....he offered a new kind of politics.
And so it came to pass that Obama presented his watered-down, timid stimulus plan without much, if any, direct job creation embedded within......in the hopes, perhaps, that some bipartisan Kumbaya afterglow would melt all partisan divides and miraculously produce millions of new bipartisan-offspring jobs.
And what did Pragmatic President Obama get in return for his bipartisan, pre-caving pragmatism and timid audacity? Two GOP senate votes plus Specter's vote.....little to no direct job creation, an 8.8% national unemployment number two years later.....and an even more crazy bunch of Republican haters looking to destroy his presidency by blaming him for the nation's indebtedness.
I would still vote for Barack Obama today, and will again next November.....quite frankly, because voting for any GOP candidate at this juncture would be akin to an act of treason. But at least now I know what to really expect.....timid, smallball, bipartisan, pragmatic, incrementalism.
For now, it's the best we can hope for.