Once again, we're hearing noises about Hillary for veep
. This time, the noises are coming from the respected Democrat Brent Budowsky. One can't fairly call Budowsky a friend to this blog -- I don't know if he even reads it -- but he is a friend to a friend, and has been helpful on a couple of occasions. Here is the gist of his pro-Hillary argument:
If President Obama makes the bold and historic decision to run with Hillary Clinton in 2012, an Obama-Clinton ticket would launch a rocket of enthusiasm throughout a rejuvenated and mobilized Democratic base.
An Obama-Clinton team would reduce the dangers of a generation-long Supreme Court rightist majority on a court that is already far to the right of two centuries of American jurisprudence with decisions such as Citizens United, in which five unelected justices have put under aggressive and hostile attack the core American notion that our Founding Fathers shared.
President Clinton might sometimes make the White House nervous, but he, and Hillary Clinton, stand for a Clinton presidency that was a great and well-remembered economic triumph and for an Obama presidency that has done great good, with much more great good to come.
Am I convinced? No. To repeat points made in an earlier post
: Veeps don't get unveeped unless they've done something truly bad, and Biden's worst sins have been a few silly gaffes. Few love Biden, but few despise him.
For years, the Republican propagandists have chosen not to go after Hillary because they sought (and still seek) to exploit the 2008 fissures between the Clinton and Obama camps. That situation would change the moment Hillary climbed aboard the ticket.
We would relive it all: Monica, Whitewater, Waco, Mena...all of your favorite hate-memes from the 1990s. And the hate would come in hyper-concentrated form. It would feel like getting a blast of pure sulfur or capsaicin in the face, every minute of every day for months.
There is, however, an argument in favor of choosing Hillary: If Obama looks doomed, then he would need to grab attention with a grand, "game-changing" move. McCain chose Palin for similar reasons. As a lot of people now forget, the trick almost worked: Just before the Wall Street collapse, the Palin factor put McCain ahead of Obama.
Are things bad enough for Obama that he needs to resort to a headline-grabbing stunt? No. But the situation may soon reach that point.
In the public mind, the right's fantasy version of Obama has overtaken reality; such is the power of incessant propaganda in a time of economic hardship. Thus, we have conservatives like Jennifer Rubin
getting away with utter hogwash like this:
Obama also has wrecked havoc in the the Democratic Party. He’s firmly affixed the “tax and spend” label to it ...
In fact, taxes have gone down, and so has spending. The "stimulus" program was mostly a matter of tax cuts -- a fact which conservatives never tell you. There are fewer federal employees now than there were under Bush.
Just a few days ago, I received yet another opportunity to interview a couple of right-wing clowns
offering a hyperbolized version of these same talking points. (Apparently, I'm on some sort of toxic sludge mailing list.)
President Obama's policies of Keynesian stimulus, printing trillions of paper dollars out of thin air and government intervention in the free marketplace have “completely failed” and are now dragging the U.S. back into recession, stagnation and high inflation.
This is sludge in concentrated form. Hell, it's the concentrate they use to make concentrate.
As Paul Krugman details in his excellent new book End This Depression Now
, there was no Keynesian stimulus; the largest item in the stim package was tax cuts. As for "printing trillions of dollars out of thin air" -- when?
When did that happen? I'd be grateful for a citation of evidence. There has been no government intervention in the free marketplace except for the Wall Street bailout (which really happened under Dubya, and which was demanded by both parties) and the aid package offered to GM, which worked out well.
Seriously: What the hell is it with the rightists and their caterwauling about "high inflation"? Do you
see any inflation? Why do right-wingers love to pretend, against all evidence, that we're living in a perpetual Wiemar state? Yes, we've seen some prices rise due to unregulated commodity speculation. But if home prices and wages remain depressed, then there is no fucking inflation
-- by definition.
Nevertheless, the right continues to paint Obama as some sort of left-wing zealot. Here's the latest attempt
: Apparently, the National Review has discovered a story which Cannonfire covered more fully back in 2008
. Most of the credit goes to a contributor called G.
The National Review ideologues thinks that Obama's one-time dalliance with the New Party proves that our president is "trying to move the United States toward European-style social democracy." Oh, if only!
G and I argued that Obama's stances of that time were pure opportunism:
He took far-left positions when doing so served to advance his career, and now repudiates those same positions in order to advance further.
At each step of the way in his political career, Obama has risen by convincing people that he's on "their" side. When Ken Adelman and Noam Chomsky endorse the same politician, you know something's seriously wrong.
Alex Parenne found just the right words
today: Barack Obama is "a passionless former left-wing poser." Years ago, Obama made certain fleeting alliances with various lefties because he rose to prominence in a very left-wing sector of Chicago. Even then, many of the people in his district considered him a phoney who didn't really care about progressive ideals.
If the guy is going to take the socialist rap, then couldn't he have given us at least a little bit of old-school liberalism? Like, couldn't he have given Geithner's gig to someone like Krugman or Stiglitz?
The Obama of right-wing hallucination has obscured the real
Obama. The real one deserves our condemnation, albeit for very different reasons. Matt Stoller
puts the case against the president brilliantly in his piece on the Wisconsin debacle:
I wish I could say I had a new insight, but it’s basically the same problem I’ve been writing about for years. Put simply, it’s that Obama’s policy framework is now the policy framework of the Democratic Party, liberals, and unionism. Up and down the ticket, Democrats are operating under the shadow of the President, associated with unpopular policies that make the lives of voters worse and show government to be an incompetent, corrupt handmaiden to big business. So they keep losing.
Here's Stoller's most important point:
And if Obama loses, the recriminations will start, and liberals will take the blame for not allowing Obama to be centrist enough.
(Emphasis added.) We cannot let that happen. We cannot let that happen.
We cannot allow a false narrative to take hold. Obama screwed us not by imposing Keynesianism but by his refusal to consider such a solution. If a President Romney chooses to save his nation -- a questionable proposition -- he'll do it the same way Reagan and Hitler did it: Military Keynesianism. Huge armaments spending, on the credit card.
(If you're now dying to snarl at me about Godwin's law, screw you. My point is historically accurate. Military Keynesianism is exactly what Hitler and Reagan did. FDR too, arguably.)
Can Hillary salvage Obama? I don't think so, but if the Democrats face a sufficiently dire situation, fortune may favor the bold. The future of the Supreme Court remains a compelling consideration.