Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Review: A PRESIDENCY IN PERIL

A Presidency in Peril is a timely look at the disappointment that has been Obama's first term, by Robert Kuttner. The events of various debacles, mostly the economy and healthcare, are gone over in excruciating detail, but the book can boiled down to two main points: 1) Obama doesn't have it in him to be a decisive leader a la FDR; his talents are conciliation and consensus-building, which is both not possible with the Cheap Labor Party in Congress and not what the times require, and 2) he has provided a sickening continuity with the economic policies of Bush, even retaining most of the same failed economic team. Anyone who doubts one-party (with two wings) rule in America should read this book. The financial elite run this country to their exclusive benefit, and the rest of us can go scratch. It's not going to get better.
I am usually right in my assessments of people, and I thought from the beginning of 2008 that Obama was an empty suit. I really didn't want Hillary to win the Democratic nomination, because Clinton's economic policies were part of what landed us in crisis in 2008. So I was rather discouraged to find in this book that the behind-the-scenes eminence gris of the Obama Administation is Robert Rubin. And what is especially revolting is looking at the records of the people making policy: Rubin ran Citigroup into the group; Lawrence Summers ran Harvard into the ground; Geithner ran the Fed nearly aground, etc ad nauseum.
In other words, it's the same old story. Politician says what he needs to to get elected, then governs for the benefit of Big Money. I was merely disappointed that I was wrong in my initial assessment of him, but a lot of people out there voted for him really hoping he was different, and their crushing disappointment that he is not will probably keep them from voting in the future. And then it's time to look out, because the Cheap Labor crypto-fascists are smelling blood.
Ours.

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