People deride Americans for being politically sloppy thinkers, and for having short memories. This derision may be well deserved, but the flakiness of American citizens in relation to politics is perhaps easily explained.
We are trained by the press to be airheads.
President Barack Obama donned some of the strongest coat tails of any president in modern history, and despite the manufactured dissent that has been rather well executed by the Incredible Shrinking Party of No, his approval ratings stand at higher than usual for any president one year after election. Despite the expenditure of zillions of dollars by the Health Insurance Industry we are paused to refurbish that system. Think about that for a moment. The idea of reforming the US health care insurance industry was considered undoable a year or two ago, partly because the last big attempt to do so was crushed so thoroughly under the jackboot heel of the Right Wing. That it is being done now, robust public option or not, is re-fucking-markable. And pardon my French. Speaking of which, even the French seem to be less in disfavor as a tide of semi-rationality sweeps across the nation and emperors are seen as naked and spades called what they are at a rate much higher than usual.
But a backlash is necessary to keep the ball moving in the kangaroo court of TV and Cable ratings. We have seen a modest effort on the part of the Right Wing to promote the idea that if two unpopular Democratic Governors are defeated and one congressional seat stays in Republican hands that a New Anti Obama Right Wing Pro Republican Revolution has begun!!!! And this modest effort at spoon feeding the press has invoked a giddiness among even respectable journalists that rivals the giddiness of a toddler being spoon fed her first serving of ice cream. And now, we see only partial backpedaling given that the Litmus Test Congressional Seat has been turned over to the Democrats despite vigorous campaigning by all the major Republican Presidential Hopefuls who thought it wise to be helpful in New York's most rural conservative district.
No. The truth is that the not too comfortable but workable marriage of a Progressive Revolution and a Centrist Takeover is going strong despite manufactured rumors to the contrary.
Lawrence O'Donnell agrees with you.
I would call the glass 2/3 full on this post.
Yes, the "MSM" shuffled NY-23 under the rug, for the most part. But, let's see how this plays out.
Beyond that? From the left, I am *not* part of any "centrist-progressive" marriage, so I offer a couple of correctives.
Obama continues to track, IIRC, abouve *average* in polling among post-WWII presidents. Not the worst, no, but not above average, either.
As for what he's done? A health care bill that's a likely sellout to the pharmaceutical industry, and without cost control measures, a federal department of insurance regulation and other things, a sellout to the insurance industry, too.
Bush II on renditions, civil liberties, etc.
A climate bill that's arguably better than nothing, if it passes, but not a lot better.
Socratic: Your comparison is weak. You give us the data for Obama, leaving out the vast majority of what has been done (remember the economy falling apart and shit?) and give no basis for comparison in relation to other presidents. It is hard to see your point other than that you are doing exactly as trained by the press.
Don't be a mere case in point, SocraticGadfly!
For another take on an election that, in hindsight, Dems could have won -- NYC mayor -- but didn't, precisely because Obama himself wouldn't invest in the race, read Greenwald.
Or, is he a "tool," also?
In reference to other things...
Hiring G. Sachs folks left and right has nothing to do with Bush. Continuing to support, perhaps even expand, illegal renditions has nothing to do with Bush. Continuing to support government secrecy and infringements of civil liberties has nothing to do with Bush.
Unfortunately, people who have or have not been trained by the MSM to see "horse races" and such still buy into the two-party duopoly. Would that we had parliamentary government AND public financing of Congressional elections here.
Greg: You wrote: "we are paused to refurbish that system."
Did you mean, "we are poised?"
My occupational hazard as an editor.
As part of the training in idiocy we get from the press, we learn to be filled with gratitude when our overlords make the smallest gesture towards doing something that's good for the public. Why, exactly, are we supposed to approve of Obama and rejoice that the Democrats won some elections?
Barack Obama's great accomplishment is not being George Bush, and that's setting the bar REALLY low. The health insurance industry is indeed spending a fortune on lobbying, because they get their money's worth. Why wouldn't they get on board with a plan that would subsidize and mandate the purchase of their products? The point isn't for Obama to pass a bill called the "Health Care Reform Act" or whatever. The point is for health care to be reformed. It's not going to be, in any way that will have much concrete benefit for non-rich Americans. It's not an accomplishment simply to have Congress do something related to health care. Even Bush added prescription drug coverage to Medicare, and drugs are still unaffordable.
We're supposed to be grateful that Obama's response to the economy falling apart is to give preposterous amounts of our money to his banker friends? Hooray!
Only the agenda of rich people is furthered by either political party. The Republicans appeal to people's baser impulses. The Democrats keep good-intentioned people busy by giving them something to Hope for. The media convinces people that the government cares what they think.
The government will collapse before it sincerely does something for the public good.