Sunday, May 15, 2016

FDR, Bernie and Obama (Added note)

Added note: I've just read that deranged Bernie fans at the Nevada convention booed Barbara Boxer.

Seriously? Is this what we've come to -- assailing a fine woman like Barbara Boxer? If they had jeered DiFi, that I could understand. But Boxer...? Do the BernieBots really think that they can win in November by adopting a position to Barbara Boxer's left? Are they that delusional?

BernieBots make me want to vomit. At this point, I despise Bernie Sanders even more than I despise Trump.

And on that note, here's my original post:

*  *  *

I'm sick of hearing people place Bernie Sanders in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt. Nothing could be further from the truth. In FDR's time, socialists of all stripes despised the President.

While scuttling about the library at UCLA, I've seen some of the literature produced by socialists during the 1930s. They were scathing. They thought that Roosevelt was a racist -- after all, he did have to keep the south Democratic. They thought he was a warmonger. Most of all, they considered him the ultimate tool of Big Capitalism, the preserver of a despised system. What socialists of that era said about FDR was pretty much what so many disillusioned lefties later said about Obama.

And their assessment became mainstream. From a 1999 Los Angeles Times piece: "Roosevelt saved capitalism and the principles of privately owned business for the U.S. economy."

Bernie Sanders does not want such things said of him. He does not belong to a tradition in which "saved capitalism" would be considered a desirable item on one's resume.

He also does not belong to a tradition in which it is considered desirable to attain actual power. The great aim of the American "democratic socialist" is to view the political process from an Olympian remove and to offer a critique. It is considered bad taste to get oneself into a position in which one may get things done.

I've known lefties of Sanders' stripe; I've met 'em in college and elsewhere. If they succeed at anything, their jealous colleagues routinely charge: "You've sold out." Unless you are an academic or an artist, you are supposed to do only the humblest forms of labor -- pushing a broom, working behind the counter. If you are good enough at your job to become the store manager, you've sold out. If you're an academic who gains tenure, you've sold out. If you're an artist who earns a decent living, you've sold out.

The only way to avoid the "you've sold out" accusation is to fail. The romantic appeal of Grand Failure is part of the American socialist psychology.

That's why American socialists think so fondly of Upton Sinclair's EPIC campaign: He failed. If he had become governor, if he had made the compromises necessary to that position, the left would have despised Upton Sinclair. (Lefties kind of disliked him anyways. His books sold well. Too successful; very unbecoming.)

Bernie Sanders does not want to be president. Not really. He wants to prevent a Democrat from becoming president. That's his job: Elect Trump. From Bernie's point of view, the rationale would be: The worse things get, the better things get. Crisis begets revolution.

Personally, I distrust revolutions, which usually go wrong. Only young idiots find allure in crisis.

Was I right, or was I right? In 2008, I disparaged Obama, who was then the darling of all good progressives. Today, I disparage Sanders, the darling of all good progressives. The difference between the two men is that Obama was always meant to win office (and to disappoint the left), while the manipulators who have pumped millions into the Sanders campaign -- and who have assured his good press -- do not intend for him to attain actual power. (He doesn't really want power anyways.) 

The NYT offers an uncharacteristically candid assessment of what Obama has wrought:
Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.

Granted, Mr. Obama is leaving far fewer soldiers in harm’s way — at least 4,087 in Iraq and 9,800 in Afghanistan — than the 200,000 troops he inherited from Mr. Bush in the two countries. But Mr. Obama has also approved strikes against terrorist groups in Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, for a total of seven countries where his administration has taken military action.

“No president wants to be a war president,” said Eliot A. Cohen, a military historian at Johns Hopkins University who backed the war in Iraq and whose son served there twice. “Obama thinks of war as an instrument he has to use very reluctantly. But we’re waging these long, rather strange wars. We’re killing lots of people. We’re taking casualties.”
His closest advisers say he has relied so heavily on limited covert operations and drone strikes because he is mindful of the dangers of escalation and has long been skeptical that American military interventions work.
It's as I've said for a while: Obama is a CIA guy, not a DOD guy. He favors the secret dagger, not the massive explosion. I reluctantly supported him in 2012 because the secret dagger seemed less horrible than the massive explosions that Romney clearly wanted to set off.

Are these our only choices -- an Obama or a Romney, in various guises, under new names, election after election? Must it ever be so? No. We had peace, once, and not that long ago.

Under Bill Clinton.

I know you don't want to admit it. You will resort to casuistry, verbal trickery and historical revisionism to avoid making a hated admission. But it's true: Under Bill Clinton we had peace and prosperity.

That's why the Establishment has always hated the Clintons.

I don't dislike Bill Clinton particularly, but his peace and prosperity was no more than Obama's.

Obama's secret dagger has been at war in seven countries. How may did Clinton go in to? Haiti. Iraq. Serbia. Sudan. Somalia. Kosovo. Off the top of my head. No boots, of course, just like Barry. Sanctions, bombs, coups and commandos.

For prosperity, Clinton prototyped the jobless recovery. He kept the classical economists happy with his responsible spending, he kept the stock market and the rich happy and the poor had a brief period where things didn't get much worse.

If you're comparing him to GWB, it's a damn good record. If you're comparing to Obama it's no more than slightly better. If you're comparing to FDR it's a fucking disaster.

So, eight wasted years or eight years of respite? Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Exactly. Clinton was famous for his "Third Way." What we need, however, is not a compromiser-in-chief, but a leader. My hope is that Hlllary is closer to FDR than Bill or Obama. Whatever you may think of Thatcher or Golda Meir, they were forceful leaders, proving that forceful women are ofttimes stronger than their male counterparts. I haven't given up on our future quite yet.
Clinton did not have a jobless recovery. What are you referring to? Over 21 million jobs were created during his terms. Anybody who wanted to could find a job, as the unemployment rate first went under 7%, then 6%, then 5%, and then finally under 4%, to 3.8%. At a far higher labor participation rate. Anybody who wanted a job could get one in his last years.

All income quintiles gained income over his 8 years, as they used to, before the '80s. Black incomes rose so much that some polls found a majority of them thought the economy benefited them more than it did white people. Clinton left office with a higher job approval rating among blacks than they now give Obama, although his is very high itself.

Thanks, XI. It's gratifying to encounter someone who hasn't drunk the revisionist Kool-Aid.

It should also be noted that this is how Clinton got the government into the "surplus" category -- people were not only employed, they got paid better and better, leading to "bracket creep" -- in other words, as they got richer, they entered higher tax brackets, and the government took in a lot more money.

THAT'S the painless way to get out of the red.

We could have that again, if only the fucking progs would stop lying about the Clintons.
You are not wrong. Just point to the Onion. Their finest moment was when Bush Jr won and they wrote, Finally, our long national nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is over!

I lived it, I remember it.

Before you yell at me, let me say that I will vote for Hillary in the fall.
My question is this:
Why is it taken for granted that Hillary will do exactly what Bill would do if she were elected?
Is she not her own person? Let me say that she is as smart and capable as Bill and has much more discipline than Bill. However, she is not Bill. She has her own ideas and life experince and ideals.
She is not as charismatic as Bill, but she is more pragmatic.
In a nut shell, if you do not blame her for Bill's mistakes, should we credit her with Bill's achievements?

I have closed many right wing threads with what amounts to "what XI said." The droolers aren't totally immune to facts, I think, or else they just go away. Either way, a win for truth, justice, and the American way.
Boxer supported Joe Lieberman in his primary.

No surprise she's for Hillary.
I just read a post on naked capitalism which presented the Sanders supporter claims about the Nevada convention. Surely they must be exaggerating cos if their allegations are true it would be very ugly. Excluding delegates using arbitrary rule changes? No wonder they booed Boxer!

But it's true: Under Bill Clinton we had peace and prosperity.

That is the cold, hard truth, Joseph; you won't get an argument from me. And remember when the debt clock was taken down in NYC during Clinton's second term? Things were moving in the right direction...until the imbroglio in 2000, bought about by Jeb, Harris, Nader, the media, and the GOP's shenanigans.

Bill Clinton was a better President than his predecessor and his successor. Bush II's trainwreck of a presidency should have put to rest the insidious Nader lie that "both parties were the same".

There are interesting parallels between Obama and Eisenhower; both preferred low-cost, politically low-risk proxy wars to large-scale military conflicts. One point in Obama's favor is there is no obvious equivalent to Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton, who were religious fanatics with pretty obvious fascist leanings.

One real difference, though, is that Obama quietly brought the fifty-year GOP-led Culture Wars to an end. Gay marriage is the law of the land, and marijuana legalization is spreading across the country. People openly speak about GLBT rights as civil rights that all civilized countries should have.

Hippie-bashing goes all the way back to Nixon and Governor Reagan, and after fifty years, it finally looks like it has exhausted itself. Obama deserves a lot of credit for removing one of the most powerful weapons used against the left in this country.

The Democratic Party has two wings: the Economic-Justice wing (traditional FDR and Truman), and the Social-Justice wing (JFK, LBJ, Carter, the Clintons and Obama). Bernie's focus on the long-neglected Economic-Justice wing has put the Occupy Wall Street agenda into play; even Republicans have been forced to talk about inequality, which is never comfortable turf for them.

Bernie's campaign, though, has overlooked the massive change in social consciousness we've seen over the last eight years. It's really not the same country, and that's what the "Take My Country Back" crowd is howling about.
Even though I was mostly pretty poor during the Clinton years, I was never starving and somehow the $6 an hour job I did get (which was the most I had ever made at that point, at 24 years of age with a college degree)l, managed to provide health care for less than $20 a month (not exactly comprehensive, but I could see a doctor for $20 at least and wouldn't have been screwed by a hospital visit). So generally speaking, I was pretty happy with the Clinton years (I didn't actually vote in either election he won, as I was basically apolitical back than like so many Americans....the first election I could vote in was 1988.....I voted 3rd party, if I recall).

Yeah, I've finally come around to realizing what Bernie's campaign (if not Bernie himself) is all about. I'm not thrilled about Hillary, and I think it's pretty dubious to think that she will be Bill part 2, but there is no way I would ever vote for a psychopath like Trump (which I think is exactly what he is.......they are very good at pretending to have a conscience and empathy.....Trump doesn't even bother to do that and in his line of work really never needed to).
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