by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Obama supporters who profess an intent to “hold his feet to the fire” may successfully deceive themselves and each other, but this president is no fool. Barack Obama knows that voters have no power whatsoever over him after next Tuesday, that he'll be free to follow his own inclinations, whatever those are.
Freedom Rider: Obama the Untouchable
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Ronald Reagan was dubbed “the teflon president” because nothing bad ever stuck to him. No matter how many lies he told, or peoples or nations he hurt, the media were at his beck and call as he mastered the art of propaganda and manipulation. We had not seen his like since he left office in 1988, that is until now. Barack Obama has more teflon than Ronald Reagan ever dreamed of having.
Obama is a very lucky man. In the week before election day he leads in the states most important to assuring an electoral college victory. As if that were not enough, a republican senate candidate declares that pregnancy resulting from rape is God’s will. The liberal punditocracy seized on the words and beat the “war on women” drum, one of the few issues which really matters to them. His adversaries shooting themselves in the feet was still not all of the good fortune which went the president’s way.
When hurricane Sandy struck the east coast, the president didn’t just get an opportunity to wield the powers of incumbency. He also has an opponent who at one time advocated getting rid of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Accordi ng to Mitt Romney, FEMA should be the responsibility of states or the private sector or whomever Romney thought he was pleasing in that moment. While Romney suddenly refused to answer questions on his prior FEMA positions Obama was praised by republican governors for the attention he gave to their states in the hurricane aftermath.
The stars are aligned in Obama’s favor, but that is bad news for the rest of us. Romney’s incompetence and dependence on right wing talking points has given Obama the opportunity to hide his own evil intent. It is a good thing to talk about climate change and whether or not it is responsible for the current weather disaster. It is also good to remember that during the debates Obama argued that he had in fact expanded natural gas drilling on federal lands. He is no enemy of fossil fuels and that means there is no environmentalist running for the presidency.
While the liberals make the case for Obama by painting frightening pictures of the republicans, consider that his victory creates all sorts of dangers. If he wins, his hand will be strengthened during the lame duck congressional session and he will finally get the chance to achieve his “grand bargain” of austerity measures with the republicans. This statement is not conjecture, but is based on comments coming straight from the horse’s mouth.
"I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.
And we can easily meet -- ‘easily’ is the wrong word -- we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years, and we can stabilize our deficit-to-GDP ratio in a way that is really going to be a good foundation for long-term growth. Now, once we get that done, that takes a huge piece of business off the table."
So the great savior who is supposed to be the only thing standing between us and the dreaded republican barbarians is himself a barbarian. Obama is chomping at the bit to make real the promise of his Bowles-Simpson “cat food commission” which will bring austerity hell to an already weak economy and a devastated population.
By his own admission, Obama’s first order of business will be to betray (*link betray) his supporters who foolishly think that he will save them and the safety net they depend upon to survive. The bargain may be a grand one to Obama, but it isn’t to anyone else. His plan is a stab in the back to millions of people who don’t realize that the democrats have not been their friends for a very long time.
Obama thought he was making his grand bargain comments off the record with the Des Moines Register, an Iowa newspaper. If he thought his listeners would be pleased he was very wrong. The Des Moines Register editorial board ended up endorsing Mitt Romney, who openly advocates austerity. Why endorse a phony when you can get the real deal?
The president is betting that he can win re-election with sleight of hand and secret comments meant to curry favor with the right people at the right moment. He has gotten away with it because the people who should be calling him on the carpet prefer to be hysterical every time a hick republican they never heard of makes an anti-abortion statement.
If Obama succeeds in eking out a victory, the “I’m disappointed but voting for him anyway” crowd should be put on notice. They have been claiming an intent to hold his feet to the fire ever since 2008. They didn’t in his first term, and they probably won’t in a second term either. They will find a way to rationalize his utter disregard for them. Unfortunately, every one will suffer, including those of us who see Obama for what he has been all along.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.