Sunday, February 27, 2011

comment on today's Frank Rich column from Marie Burns of Ft. Meyers, Florida

President Obama will not tell the American people what's at stake in the budget. None of us knows what his true ideology is. None of us knows how he would govern if we had a parliamentary system in which the leader of the government can pretty much govern as he wishes.

But we do know this: Prime Minister Obama would not govern as a progressive. All that progressive talk during the campaign was a vote-currying deception. Mr. Obama campaigned the way Republicans always campaign: by pretending his goals were markedly different from what they really were.

Obama perfectly followed the Republican playbook in 2008: he pretended to be a progressive who would right the wrongs of eight years of Republican rule. But when he got in the White House, he suddenly turned into a conservative who engineered a "stimulus" package that was largely Republican-style tax cuts, a healthcare law that was nearly identical to one Republicans proposed in the 20th century (& which also included the individual mandate, BTW), & a financial reform package that lets the banksters do what they want.

If you think I'm exaggerating, let's look at something that's more simple and straightforward than a complex budget or those huge laws that Obama signed into law during his first two years in office: Here's President Obama in a campaign stump speech he made in the fall of 2007 in South Carolina:

"If American workers are being denied their right to organize & collectively bargain, when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a pair of comfortable shoes myself, I'll walk on that picket line with you...."

Today, Republican governors in several states are attacking collective bargaining rights. Obama made one statement -- and then only in response to a reporter's question -- in which he said of the Wisconsin bill, "it appears to be an assault on unions." President Obama's comfortable shoes are nowhere to be seen. Reporters have repeatedly questioned Obama's press secretary Jay Carney about Obama's campaign promise, and Carney has dutifully obfuscated with responses like (this is not an exact quote) "People know where the President stands." Yeah, we know this: he's not standing in Wisconsin or Ohio or Indiana.

Similarly, ever since budget season has been upon us, President Obama is playing a Republican president. He has repeatedly told the American people that the government must act the way families do during financial difficulties -- the government must live within its means. That's a line straight out of the Contract on America. Never mind that politicians since Alexander Hamilton -- you know, one of the fathers of the Constitution -- have said that federal deficits are a good thing. And where has President Obama been campaigning? At corporation after corporation where he has said we can "win the future" (you know the acronym for that) by giving tax breaks to small businesses so they can innovate. Not Word One about funding prenatal care or healthcare legislation or the EPA. Not Word One. Instead, he has given government workers an effective five-year pay cut by freezing their wages even as the rising price of essential commodities (like grain & cotton) have soared, guaranteeing that prices of food and clothing will rise. He has also presented a budget that will cut home-heating assistance to poor families & Pell grants to college students. Hope you're not too cold while you're staying home from college.

Scott Walker made a "fireside" address the other day in which he expressed his respect for unions. ("I really do," he emphasized.) Relying on President Obama to tell the American people the truth about what's in that noxious House budget is like relying on Scott Walker to tell you how much he loves unions:

Not. Going. to. Happen.

The Constant Weader at

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