Thu, 18 November 2010
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Still unwilling or unable to admit that they were “psyched out” by Barack Obama and his corporate handlers, Lefties search for psychological reasons that the First Black President has been such a disappointment. It’s the failure to fight thing, or the lack of vision thing, or the failure to communicate thing, they say. “It isn’t that Obama has trouble conveying his vision, it’s that his actual vision is unacceptable to progressives.” As for his willingness to fight, Obama fought his own left wing, and “stomped their butts into the dirt” over his corporate health care plan.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“Rather than face the fact that Obama is not a friend of the people, leftish commentators insist on conducting a psychological analysis of the president.”
For two years we watched Barack Obama undercut the left wing of his party at every turn, with a disdain so palpable his minions could not resist insulting leftists in the most juvenile terms. For two years we watched the First Black President facilitate the greatest transfer of wealth in human history – $12 to $14 trillion – to Wall Street, and we watched as he put the U.S. war machine back on the offensive in the world. For two years we heard Obama say over and over again that he had no intention of taking targeted action to help Black and brown communities that had been targeted for destruction by banks. After two years, one would think that folks on the Left would have gotten the idea that Obama is pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, and doesn’t have a transformative bone in his body regarding either race or class. But, for many, the message, however obvious, has not sunk in. Rather than face the fact that Obama is not a friend of the people, leftish commentators insist on conducting a psychological analysis of the president. They seem to be trying to find some quirk in Obama’s personality that can by corrected in time for the Armageddon showdown with the Republicans.
Take Paul Krugman, of the New York Times, for example. People on the Left quote him a lot, which I find strange, since Krugman can talk about the political meltdown of 2008 for 45 minutes and never say the word “corporation” – as if corporations had nothing to do with the meltdown. But anyway, the liberal Krugman insists that Obama’s problem is, he tried to transcend partisan divisions, not understanding that sometimes one has to fight. That’s a recurring theme with Obama apologists, that Obama won’t fight. But Obama showed plenty of fight during the health care debate. He fought the left wing of his own party every step of the way, exiling single-payer supporters to the margins while he kissed Republican boodie and empowered Blue Dogs and DLCers. He didn’t just fight progressives, he stomped their butts into the dirt.
“They seem to be trying to find some quirk in Obama’s personality that can by corrected in time for the Armageddon showdown with the Republicans.”
Dr. Ron Daniels, of the Institute for the Black World, thinks the problem is Obama’s “failure to effectively communicate” his “vision, programs and policies.” I think Obama has communicated quite effectively, that he wanted expanded theaters of war, trillions for Wall Street, and nothing special whatsoever for Black or brown America – those places that he says don’t exist. It isn’t that Obama has trouble conveying his vision, it’s that his actual vision is unacceptable to progressives. Of all people, Barack Obama doesn’t need communications lessons.
William Greider, probably the left-most of our three subjects, says Obama “needs to learn hardball” so he can fight the Republicans that are “trying to bury him.” This, however, would require a 180 degree vision change on Obama's part, since his actual “vision” has always been to join with Republicans at some point much further to the right than the rest of us would ever want to go.
The psychological problem is not Obama's. It's the problem of much of the Left, who imagined an Obama that never existed. That's why it was so easy for Obama and his corporate handlers to psyche-out the Left. If you think Obama is salvageable, then you're the one with the psychological problem.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.