by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Having shown his hand over the last three years as an eager – although often spurned – partner in Republican austerity politics, and a war-maker who could make George Bush blush, President Obama will seek reelection with bankers’ money while pretending to remain “infuriated” with Wall Street. The banksters are in on the scam, since “nothing can match Obama’s crowning glory: the permanent bailout of finance capital.” The Republican candidate, whoever it is, will certainly spout an unambiguously pro-business line. But, “a GOP gaggle that savages itself for the privilege of singing the praises of the rich can only bring down the wrath of the people on the bankers’ heads.” Wall Street knows Obama is their true “shining knight.”
Obama and the GOP House of Horrors Show
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“Wall Street will once again be putting its money on Obama – and he is counting on them.”
Barack Obama’s December 6 Osawatomie, Kansas, speech, in which he pretended to be the reincarnation of President Teddy “The Trust Buster” Roosevelt, marks the rhetorical start of his reelection campaign. Obama kicked off his 2008 campaign channeling Abe Lincoln, in Springfield, Illinois, which means he has used up the two historical Republican leaders held in highest esteem among Democrats and Americans in general – the great “cross-over” presidents. Obama has always schemed to position himself as the politician in the center of the Big Tent, who synthesizes the best of conflicting political currents in a valiant quest for national unity and renewed purpose. As intended, the net result of Obama’s exquisite cross-over charade has been to neutralize the voices of what had passed for a Left, co-opting or obliterating the only popular forces that might resist the hegemony of money.
The Mensa Society should certify as geniuses the Wall Street high rollers who put the early money on Obama, last time around. He was the perfect façade for consolidation of the rule of capital in the 21st century. Obama almost instantaneously fulfilled the promise of his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention: “…there is no Black America…there is only the United States of America.” Well before Election Day, 2008, Black America would cease to exist as an oppositional force, effectively sweeping the nation’s most consistently progressive ethnic group from the field. African Americans remain largely irrelevant to the political discourse, as reflexive boosters of the Black man in the White House. With Blacks neutralized, white progressives, unsteadily stumbling out of their Obama delirium, were without their historical political compass. What are the Blacks saying, they asked? Nothing. This is the vacuum that spawned the Occupy movement, which became a magnet by default in a progressive political wasteland. OWS’s elemental appeal: end the rule – or, at least, the excesses – of the rich.
“The net result of Obama’s exquisite cross-over charade has been to neutralize the voices of what had passed for a Left, co-opting or obliterating the only popular forces that might resist the hegemony of money.”
In 2012, Wall Street will once again be putting its money on Obama – and he is counting on them. How else can he possibly raise a billion campaign dollars? Multinational capital turned to Obama to resurrect America’s plummeting reputation in the world in the wake of George Bush’s blustering debacle in Iraq. His mandate from Wall Street was not to make peace, but to refurbish the face of imperialism for future, better managed adventures to secure the planet’s wealth for corporate plunder. Obama had promised as much, back in 2002, when he stipulated that he did not oppose war, but only “dumb” wars. His “smart” drones now menace the globe from the skies. An American-led offensive is in full swing, with the same objective as Bush: to militarily contain the growth of China, Russia and any other combination of counter-weights to U.S. hegemony. U.S. “humanitarian” intervention, a theme initiated under Bush, has been polished to a full-fledged doctrine of NATO that will bear Obama’s name in the history books. The “peace candidate” has rebranded war.
Obama will campaign as the man who saved capitalism – “the greatest force for economic progress in human history,” as he said in Kansas, last week – doubtless with references to the other Roosevelt, Franklin, whose New Deal Obama has methodically wrestled onto “the table” for dismemberment. Obama certainly saved the insurance industry from the real threat of Medicare-for-All, in 2009, later maneuvering Medicare to the edge of the privatized dustbin. Public education is now ripe to become a “public-private” consortium, in which the public pays the overhead while private corporations reap the profits and shape the curriculum, as teachers are de-unionized and de-professionalized.
“U.S. ‘humanitarian’ intervention, a theme initiated under Bush, has been polished to a full-fledged doctrine of NATO that will bear Obama’s name in the history books.”
But, nothing can match Obama’s crowning glory: the permanent bailout of finance capital. The U.S. Treasury and, especially, the Federal Reserve have been transformed into open spigots for the capital needs (and speculative whims) of Wall Street. Whatever line previously existed between Wall Street and the American State, has been systematically erased by Obama and his corporate cabinet. Public, Federal Reserve, and corporate accounts commingle in an ever-flowing river of transactions that defy accounting and accountability, pumping tens of trillions into corporate financial institutions, worldwide. The Occupy Wall Street Movement is, at root, fueled by the public’s intuitive sense that finance capital has absorbed and totally subordinated the State – and they are right.
Wall Street knows who facilitated the coup, and will reward Obama with their votes in the campaign contributions contest, the real election. He has proven in practice to be what they bargained for when corporate America vetted Obama, in 2003 and 04: the best man to defend their interests by neutralizing, rather than antagonizing, what is loosely called the Democratic base. He says now that he was “infuriated” with the banks in 2008, but he saved the Bush bailout after its initial defeat, while Republican candidate John McCain went catatonic. Once president, Obama dedicated the full faith and credit of the American people to Wall Street’s resurgence, enabling them to further consolidate their political and economic oligarchy. It is to the bankers’ benefit that Obama posture as a critic of high finance; how else could the public be fooled into a replay of the last three years of bankers’ heaven?
When Obama told an April, 2009 meeting with bankers, "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks," it was the truth – and they have all come to appreciate it. Obama’s administration, while ostentatiously pushing financial reform in 2010, beat back every attempt to reign in derivatives, the Wall Street-invented doomsday instruments that were at the heart of the meltdown. Six hundred-plus trillion dollars in derivatives still loom over the global economy, thanks to Obama’s unbreakable compact with Wall Street. He is their shining knight, whose value lies precisely in the people’s belief that he is not.
“It is to the bankers’ benefit that Obama posture as a critic of high finance.”
No one in the Republican field can protect Wall Street from the “pitchforks” as Obama can. Mitt Romney looks and talks like a banker. Newt Gingrich is the personification of Wall Street’s inner misanthrope, racist and crook, who should be hidden from public view at all costs. A GOP gaggle that savages itself for the privilege of singing the praises of the rich can only bring down the wrath of the people on the bankers’ heads. They need The Great Deflector, Obama, to step to the precise center of the circus tent, looking Lincolnesque, or Rooseveltian (Teddy), or even Reaganish, while the GOP clowns soak up the public’s anger at the “1%’s” multitudinous sins.
The bankers will stick with Obama, and outfit him in a billion-dollar suit, the price tag and label detached. The unions and the Black Misleadership Class will sit in the cheap seats, hurling scorn at the evil GOP clowns, made up like Chucky. How many of the “99%” will actually come to the show, or find they have better things to do than be spectators at the Plutocrats & Oligarchs Two Ring Presidential Circus? We shall see. Three months ago, there was no Occupy Wall Street movement, putting out bounties on bankers.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].