Here's a fascinating but not readily answerable question:
Is Barack Obama one of the most cleverly, cynically corrupt politicians/government figures in history, or is he, despite his obvious talents as a scholar, one of the most stupid?
It is one or the other. I go with stupid, but not with any degree of certainty.
If you can't buy stupid, try monumentally inept.
The inarguable, heavily documented facts: Obama continues to “reach out” to the Republicans in Congress, to seek their cooperation in governing on behalf of the people of the United States. He says “Please” time after time, and with even greater frequency, they say, “We're going to destroy you.” They act on that promise. And Obama offers his hand again. And he makes irrationally big concessions on all issues.
Before there was any negotiation whatever, the president secretly gave the far right the promise that he would not seek a public option in improving (one can hardly say reforming) health care. He kept his word. The Republicans in Congress almost literally spat on him, and some of their adherents did, in fact, spit on Democrats who sought real reform.
Obama has done that time and again. He gives away everything important on all major issues before a fight begins. With perfect precision, the Republicans kick him in the groin each time by way of thanks.
Right now, after the election that crushed Democrats, Obama is giving away any regulation of the increasingly dangerous natural gas producers. He is crawling on his belly before the big bankers, completely surrendering to them everything they want on mortgage foreclosures and claiming with bare face that, in essence, foreclosures are good for the economy. He said in a post-election speech that he's going to “Work harder at building consensus.”
He has to know what is going to happen. A dribbling idiot would know what's going to happen.
Every half-informed person in this country I've ever mentioned the issues to, or who has ever mentioned the big ones to me, knows the Republicans have no interest in governing right now, certainly none in doing anything for the people of the country. Everyone but a few lost-in-spacers knows that their only interests are to grind their heels on Obama and regain the White House -– and to help the super rich form and solidify the oligarchy they are so swiftly constructing.
So why does he go on doing the same idiotic thing every time -– and in the process giving the extreme right what it wants, making sure that the people will be screwed at every turn by the rich?
If could be a charade, planned from the very beginning, before anyone wrote Obama's “hope” speeches. Is he a dummy, set up with his own knowledge to draw attention from what's really being done to American democracy and to take the blame for the evils being perpetrated on the people and on what once was a democratic form of government?
That is pretty much beyond belief. It would make what we're witnessing one of the most successful, cynical and rotten political shell games of all time, on a par with the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933 and the earlier creation of Soviet “communism,” which gave a tiny, ruthless elite dictatorial powers over the vast reaches of what became the U.S.S.R.
Or perhaps the man is so frozen by the fact that, pretty much for the first time in his life, reality refuses to conform to his expectations that he cannot act. Maybe he is so unable to accept that Republicans never had and never will have the slightest interest in serving the country or the will of the people that he can't get to the point where he recognizes that he must fight -- fight them with every fair and unfair method he can come up with in order to perform just a small fraction of the things he assumed he would accomplish by the force of his charm and wit.
After I wrote the above, I had a head-slap moment. There is a third possibility, which could work in conjunction with the stupidity theory.
Obama's unwillingness to fight for what he ostensibly believes is right and for what is good for the vast majority of this country's citizens may be rooted in a petrifying fear of conflict and confrontation.
It may be that he is simply a congenital coward, utterly lacking in even a standard ration of guts when faced with someone who vehemently stands against him. I have known such people, people who would go to appalling lengths to avoid facing or standing in open conflict with anyone who opposed them on any level; some of those half-people rose quite far in professions and/or society.
Or it may be that Barack Obama was raised from childhood through youth to avoid conflict, carefully taught to be always amiable, to give way to others who had strong opinions, never to put himself into a position to draw the ire of others and, if he did, to back down and devote his energies to smoothing over the unpleasant bumps, even if it meant demeaning himself. Given his background, that seems a possibility.
(Yes, I know. We're not supposed to involve ourselves in what often is disdainfully described is “Psych 101,” but the fact is we all do it, and have to. The person who can't, consciously or unconsciously, get a handle on the motivations of those around him is going to get blindsided regularly.)
Oh, well. It is an academic question, fascinating for future generations, if there are any in a position to examine the history of his failures. (Or if there is a future that will allow largely truthful accounts by which to judge.) For now, it is irrelevant. We haven't time for such academic discussions, except for a few minutes in passing.
What is abundantly clear is that this Obama guy isn't going to fight anybody for or against anything.
Our fight is for the survival of our country, our republic, our freedoms and our economic well-being and one of the obvious facts with which we must deal is that Barack Obama is not going to be of any use in that.
We've already wasted far too much time, money and effort on that hope.
Three nights after the November 2010 elections, my wife and I were sitting, half watching one of the evening political shows. A very knowledgeable and earnest woman was talking about one of the myriad almost overwhelming problems with which this country is faced.
She said, “President Obama must stand up to those who are doing this and take a firm stand and....”
And both my wife and I broke out laughing.
It was not the kind of laughter inspired by a great witticism or a great joke or some child's antics.
Bitter is the word.
For two years, Barack Obama has ducked every challenge to a fight, has refused to stand up against those who directly attack what he claims to believe is right, has been firm with no one except the liberals and progressives who put him in office; they are the only ones to whom he has been rude. Yet night after night -– after two years of his ducking and dodging and spinelessness -– the pundits and politicians and advocates for countless programs and populations tell us that “The president has to stand up to these people and tell them firmly that....”
People. It ain't gonna happen. We, you, the pundits and advocates and observers have to get a grip on that fact and henceforth act accordingly.