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Works and Days

A Very Interesting Next Three Years

October 31st, 2009 - 10:04 pm

Up is Now Down, Down Up

If one were to collate the public statements and actions of many in the Obama administration, one would conclude that the most conciliatory past language masks the most divisive, polarizing administration in recent history — a fact born out by most polls. Surely this is one of the most radical turnabouts in memory: in a mere ten months the mellifluous voice has become a siren that charms and hypnotizes the voters as they are lured onto the partisan shoals.

Progressive powerhouses?

There is a strange fascination with strongmen of history, particularly mass murderers and mass enslavers like Mao and Julius Caesar. That may explain the effort to deify Obama in such Olympian terms — the “speech” at the Prussian triumphalist Victory Column in Berlin, the faux classical temple backdrops at the convention, the Latin motto vero possumus, this is our moment when the seas recede and the planet shall cool, or the appellation by journalists and rock stars (Sting is the latest) that Obama is some sort of “god.”

Good or bad and nothing in between

The Obama world appears divided in Manichean terms, between good and evil, the anointed and the reactionary Neanderthals. The evil doers include doctors who cut out tonsils only for profit, greedy insurance companies that jack up health care costs, the heartless Chamber of Commerce, the Mob/astro-turf/nazi-like town-hallers and tea-partiers, the “stupidly” stereotyping police, the “do what they’re told” and “asshole” Republicans, and the fake news outlets like Fox News and the demonic Rush Limbaugh. Let us put their pictures on the screen and scream out two-minutes of hate at these illiberal enemies of the people  for their harming millions without health care.

On the other side is the saintly White House advisor Valerie Jarrett who “speaks truth to power,” the now martyred real truther Van Jones, the framed ACORN, the legions of purple-T-shirted SEIU unionizers (as I said, they even wear these to work in California, as I can attest from a recent visit to the DMV where there was a sea of purple on the other side of the windows), and the sober and judicious like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who suffer so much for the oppressed

There is an Animal Farm taste to this administration: on the barn wall there are plenty of “thou shall not” rules — Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, wiretaps, intercepts, Predators, Patriot Act — that are crossed through and now rewritten as “thou shall sometimes.”… Taxes are good for us, but bad for the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee or the Secretary of the Treasury. Campaign financing laws, C-Span-aired health-care debates, and no-lobbyist rules are essential for the republic — sorta, kinda, maybe .

FDR did it!

The more the talk of togetherness, hope and change, and healing, the more the daggers come out: it has been ten months and still Bush is blamed daily by the President for all his assorted ills. Imagine had a Harry Truman every day lamented, “Damn that FDR—he left me with WWII, the bomb decision, a traitorous Stalin, a Europe to be rebuilt, a Korean powder keg, a worldwide communist ascendancy, Greece and Turkey about lost, and colossal debts — and I’ve got to hit the reset button on him every day.”

What is there about dissent that drives the Obamians crazy? He goes after Fox. He whines about Rush Limbaugh. The town hallers are the mob. He provides Sean Hannity with his pre-show sound bites. His team ponders handing out NEA grants on the basis of being a toady. School girls sing his praises. What is next? Green “yes, we can” scarves and tiny little Audacity of Hope books to wave at rallies?

We’ve only just begun

Remember, all these are just the preliminaries. The Bush tax cuts have not yet expired, but will soon. Inheritance taxes will soon skyrocket. The promised end to the FICA caps on the “wealthy” is coming — along with surcharges on energy and health care. For some, that could easily mean a combined 20% hike in FICA and income taxes, tacked onto state tax hikes, not to mention more property, sales, and local taxes. Given that Obama got 56% of the vote of those who make over $200,000 it should, well, be interesting. (e.g., “Surely, Buffy, Barack didn’t mean us, did he?) Then there is the 2,000 page health care bill that your family doctor will have to sort out.

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