Over at the NYTimes Caucus blog, there’s a post about the slightly conciliatory tone between Obama and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that seems to have taken hold in recent weeks. Predictably this has brought out a rash of comments deriding the President for being in bed with big business and no friend of the American people. Never mind all the wins he’s had, it seems to be more fun for the far-left-wing contingent to deride Obama as little more than a Democrat in name only. I don’t get that.
Who are all you people harping on the idea that Obama capitulates to “the powers that be?” Are you the same people calling him a socialist but using different screen names to do so on comment threads? How is it possible that both the hard right and the hard left dislike him so much? And when did the idea of political compromise become “capitulation?”
Those of you who say Obama has always been in love with business, capitulates to the powers that be, and doesn’t care about everyday Americans, I assume you are liberals (as I am). So I have to wonder what it is about American politics that you think has suddenly changed? Did you really think that Obama was going to get into office and then slam through a bunch of very liberal policies without giving anything up to the other side? There was nothing about his campaign that implied that he would act that way.
Let’s imagine that he did somehow “force through” very liberal policies, just like W did for the right (a favorite trope of extreme left wing liberals). If Obama had done that in his first two years, do you think that the Ds would still control the Senate? Would Obama now have any chance of being re-elected two years from now? More to the point, do you really think, given the make up of the last Congress, that he could have done that?
Yes, yes, I know that on paper he had 60 votes in the Senate and a solid majority in the House. But do you remember who those Ds were? Do you remember that many of those Ds were from very conservative states and were very conservative Ds in the first place? If those people were not going to vote for a single-payer system or a climate change law, how was he supposed to get these policies passed?
As for the he loves business argument, I’ll first say that without business in America, there is no America. Yeah, we’re hurting and yeah, business got away with murder for the last 30 years (sorry, does that include your god Clinton? Good cause he was complicit in those policies). But we do need businesses to have some amount of freedom to act in their best interests or we’ll become even more marginal than we already are in the global market. Hence, the government did everything it could think of to support businesses after 2007’s crash. I know you like to whine about all the TARP money and Geithner et al…. but really, had we not done that, do you think 9.4% unemployment would look as bad as it does right now? We’d be crying to get back DOWN to 9.4%.
That said, Obama has not capitulated to business. His EPA is pushing CO2 regulations since Congress won’t do it. His Administration got the consumer protection agency created AND put a person who cares about people over business to head it. His administration passed the health care law and his administration is getting a dam good return on the vast majority of the bail-out money that was given to banks and car makers.
So before you whine that Obama isn’t liberal enough, think. Before you call him a Republican in name only, imagine what this country would be doing if McCain had been elected. Before you make “perfect” the enemy of “good” remember that revolution is a process, not an event. You have to compromise, or you get nothing.