Is Obama to Blame for America’s Mess?

Exclusive: With the 2009 stimulus money running dry and with businesses unnerved by Washington’s political gridlock and brinksmanship, America’s weak “recovery” has stalled, prompting more criticism of President Barack Obama. Robert Parry explores whether these complaints are fair.

By Robert Parry

Across the political spectrum, commentators are debating why President Barack Obama failed to achieve the lofty goals of his 2008 campaign when he promised “change we can believe in” and a “new tone” in Washington. Friday’s wretched jobs report – showing no net increase in jobs in August – and the acrimony around it underscore the point.

On the Right, the explanation is simple: socialist Obama relied on “big government” solutions, such as an early $787 billion stimulus package, when he should have slashed federal spending, eliminated regulations and trusted the “free market” to straighten things out. The answer is to elect someone like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who would also appeal for divine intervention.

On the Left, the argument is almost the polar opposite, faulting Obama for applying timid solutions to grave problems (like agreeing to water down his stimulus plan with tax cuts to get a couple of GOP votes). He also is disparaged for bending over backwards to Republicans in the unrealistic hope that they would reciprocate with some measure of bipartisanship.

These Left critics say Obama should have used his “bully pulpit” aggressively to fight for his positions, whether his larger stimulus plan or a “public option” in his health-care bill, and he should have held George W. Bush and his aides accountable for war-crimes, from torturing detainees in the “war on terror” to waging aggressive war against Iraq.

Facing this barrage of criticism from all sides, Obama’s shrinking army of defenders points to the unfairness of it all. America’s first black president inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and was burdened with a federal deficit of more than $1 trillion (while Bush started with a robust economy and a budget surplus).

Obama was stuck, too, with Bush’s two unresolved wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These defenders also note that Obama faced immediate and unrelenting Republican opposition in Congress with an unprecedented use of filibusters requiring 60 Senate votes to accomplish almost anything, despite the nation’s economic crisis. On vote after vote, Republicans stayed unified while conservative Democrats often peeled away.

The defenders says the refrain from many on the Left that Obama should have done more when he had a 60-vote Senate majority ignores the fact that Republicans contested Sen. Al Franken’s victory in Minnesota for months and that two key senators, Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd, died and had to be replaced in special elections. The 60-vote majority was fleeting, they note.

While Obama’s defenders certainly have a point – that the young President faced a near-impossible task and had very few good options – they shy away from another explanation for his failures, perhaps because it suggests the true enormity of the problem: the overall U.S. political system has become dysfunctional,

The dysfunction is not simply the Republicans and the Democrats, as some centrist pundits like to pontificate. It is the entirety of the system, including the pundits themselves, the national news media and the think-tank structure. It is the Right’s splurging on what amounts to information warfare and the Left’s skimping when it comes to building a counter-media infrastructure.

It is also a population that is too lazy (or too distracted) to wade through all the half-truths and disinformation to find something approximating the truth on a wide variety of topics. Many Americans either believe falsehoods or are profoundly confused by all the noise.

Class War

Another remarkable part of the American dysfunction is that at a time when – as billionaire Warren Buffett says – the rich are winning the class war, the nation’s top “populist” movement is the Tea Party, which is fighting to give the rich more money and to grant their corporations more power.

Tea Party favorites, such as Rep. Michele Bachman, actually favor taxing the working class more (by making everyone pay some income taxes) so the top income tax rates on the rich can be lowered again.

Given this broad-based mess, it does seem unfair to expect that Barack Obama, as a novice president, would be able to fix this dysfunction in his first two years. And, then with some elements of the Left sitting out Election 2010 in disgust, the Republicans won in a landslide, reclaiming the House and coming close in the Senate.

That new reality guaranteed Obama would accomplish even less and the Republicans would be encouraged to step up their obstructionism. In a sense, the election enabled the Republicans to take the economy hostage (as was shown in the debt-limit fight) and keep torturing it until the American voters give the GOP full control of the government again in 2012. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Making the US Economy Scream.”]

Not that restored Republican rule would ease the pain of the American people. Indeed, it would likely make things much worse for many, especially if Republicans go through with their plans to privatize Medicare and end the “Ponzi scheme” that Perry calls Social Security.

But at least the Republican Party would be happy, and the Democrats wouldn’t raise too much of a fuss because they always want to be seen as the “reasonable” ones in the room. Remember how they – and the U.S. news media – responded to Bush’s seizure of the White House in Election 2000 by urging Americans to accept his “legitimacy.” [For details, see Neck Deep.]

So, if the American voters acquiesce to the GOP hostage-taking – and give control of the White House back to the Republicans – there likely would be a surface calm, at least among the politico/pundit class of Washington.

There also would be some derision directed at “loser” Obama, maybe some stories about his quirky personal behavior like those articles about Al Gore growing a beard after his “defeat” to Bush, all to reinforce how thankful Americans should be that another straight-shooter like Rick Perry is in the White House.

As with Bush’s presidency, Americans could expect an enforced public unity with dissidents being rhetorically tarred and feathered as “unpatriotic” or “treasonous.” From brandishing guns against Obama and waving “Don’t Tread on Me” banners, the Tea Party would redeploy itself as a paramilitary defense perimeter for President Perry.

The Washington press corps, which has grown accustomed to going “on bended knee” for Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan, would be comfortable in its subservient position again. Remember how the mainstream media bowed to Bush for at least the first six years of his presidency, including helping him make his false case for invading Iraq.

A Rick Perry Presidency

The real question about a Rick Perry presidency is how far could the American people be pushed before they collectively realize their backs are against the abyss. Surely, more scapegoats would be presented – Muslims, socialists, atheists, Iran – but what happens if millions of Americans catch on to Buffett’s insight about the rich winning the class war.

As their dreams are crushed, will Americans continue to embrace the “government is the problem” orthodoxy of Ronald Reagan and the “free market” fantasies of Ayn Rand? Will they accept their gradual reduction to economic serfdom (in the form of joblessness and homelessness) under the boot of all-powerful corporations?

The answer to those questions could play out painfully over the next few decades or they could be addressed right now with Americans acting both foresightedly and practically. There is still time to build a movement for rationality and common-sense solutions to problems.

And, while America’s political problem is indeed bigger than Barack Obama, he certainly could play an important role by finally engaging in that debate he keeps promising about what an effective government can do for the people.

Arguably, one of Obama’s early mistakes was in surrounding himself with advisers who were committed to making today’s broken-down system work, rather than undertaking a dramatic overhaul of the entire process.

Many top aides were recycled officials from the Clinton administration, including White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Some were longtime Republican operatives, like Defense Secretary Robert Gates, or bureaucrats closely tied to Wall Street, like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Together, their limited vision was confined to simply patching up the old system – both domestically and globally – achieving more “continuity” than “change” from the Bush administration. While that might have been understandable given the economic crisis and the two wars, their approach shut out any serious structural reform.

So, instead of subjecting the gambling banks to the shock of short-term nationalization and stringent new rules, Obama continued a policy of stabilizing them with taxpayers’ money. Instead of terminating the stalemated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he kept them going with promises of gradual withdrawals.

Instead of demonstrating that the United States really meant what it has said regarding international law and human rights, Obama let Bush and his subordinates off the hook on torture and other war crimes. He didn’t even authorize a serious public inquiry into these abuses.

Howling Protests

Granted, to have taken these actions would have risked a major disruption to the system as it now exists. You would have heard howling from the trading floors of Wall Street to the editorial-page offices of the Washington Post. Obama would have been called an angry black man, an out-of-the-closet socialist. Conservative Democrats and independents might have bolted.

It’s also not clear that a more aggressive strategy toward the immediate national problems would have worked. Indeed, such an approach might have made conditions worse.

If the “too-big-to-fail” banks rebelled, the economy might have toppled into a depression for which Obama would have gotten the blame. Powerful institutions, like the Pentagon and the CIA, might have turned their political guns on the new president. The mainstream media would have joined in the uprising against him. His public popularity likely would have sunk even faster than it has.

Plus, the Left is extremely weak in the United States. At times when I’ve noted the Left’s tendency to criticize but not do much, I’ve been told bluntly by progressives that “there is no American Left.” But whose fault is that? And how do people on the Left expect politicians to make these fights without a political movement behind them?

The bottom line is that whether Obama can summon up the nerve to make bold job proposals or not, they won’t happen unless the American people can demonstrate that they understand the lessons of the New Deal, that only effective action by a democratized federal government can counter the recklessness of Wall Street and reduce the suffering of the unemployed.

It’s hard to understand why supporters of Social Security and Medicare can’t be as potent a political force as the Tea Partiers who want to dismantle these government programs. There may be rich right-wingers, like the oilman Koch brothers and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, funding the Tea Party, but there are wealthy progressives, too.

This movement could make the reasonable argument that many of the fortunes of America’s super-rich were not simply the result of their own industriousness, but rather their ability to piggyback onto major advancements paid for by the taxpayers, from the Interstate Highway system to miniaturized computers built for the space program, from microbiology to the Internet.

Yet, instead of paying back the country generously for making their fortunes possible, the rich hire lobbyists and accountants to help them avoid reimbursing the taxpayers – and starving the government so it can’t finance other technological breakthroughs that could help future generations of Americans.

If the responsible rich like Warren Buffett really do recognize how much the country has done for them – and how they should reinvest more of their money in the country – why can’t they build the sort of political/media infrastructure that the greedy rich have? Or why can’t middle-income progressives at least do more to support some worthy projects taking on these tasks?

It’s not enough simply to criticize President Obama for not making all the right moves. The problem is much bigger than Obama.

The mess in America recalls the famous line in the Pogo comic strip, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

[For more on these topics, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep, now available in a two-book set for the discount price of only $19. For details, click here.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book,Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

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28 comments on “Is Obama to Blame for America’s Mess?

  1. fosforos on said:

    This sounds like Obamist apologetics. Hr would have been attacked by the Washington Post? Duh. He was frustrated by Republican filibusters? He had a much more than sufficient majority to change the Senate rules (only a simple majority required) to get rid of the filibuster–or if, as a Senate boy, he couldn’t get up the gumption to go so far he could have at least changed the rtules to force any filibuster to be real–talking 24/7–instead of an unconstitutional 40-vote veto against even considering legislation. In his campaign it was already perfectly clear that he was another corporate stooge–remember that Bush’s TARP giveaway bailout couldn’t have been done without his strong support? remember his already exposing himself as a liar by his FISA vote? Everything since was written in tall letters before the election, down to his capitulation yesterday on smog control. What is really disfunctional about American politics is right there in Mr. Parry’s article–the slavish submission of the self-annointed “Left” to the Democratic Party leadership, unable even to mount a primary challenge to the wall-street president. Anyone who, at this point, isn’t promoting the formation of a left-populist Third Party to contest next year’s election is worth nothing. And, by the way, Obama is sure to be re-elected barring an American Spring–wall street will fund him up the wazoo and make sure that the Repugnicons nominate a Perry or some other unelectable clown.

  2. Thanx Bob for being the voice of reason in this political atmosphere. I agree whole heartedly with your analysis and would like to know what movements can I join as a government employee?

  3. Hi Bob

    thanks for injecting some clarity, as always. I am a Christian, and Rick Perry frightens me. The Bible says that the Judgment will begin in the Church, and that and many other Scriptures that show Yahweh’s true love for us, all of us, like ‘the earth cries out to the Lord to judge the blood spilled on it’ (my paraphrase), give me comfort. At this point I support Obama, also a believer, as the ‘lesser of two evils’, and at the same time throw my support to the ‘resistance’, a Hodge-podge of a Movement I don’t really trust either, but I have to do something somewhere. Occupy. Jefferson wrote that a revolution would be necessary every two hundred years, didn’t he? Eventually this whole house of cards, this ‘military-industrial complex’, this American Empire, has to fall, like all the rest (where’s the British Empire now?)…what was that Jesus said about serving God and Mammon? People are strange…Rick Perry can pray all he wants, and he should, perhaps a spirit of repentance will fall on him, but in the meantime he’s just another bully, a mere human, and the Will of God will be done, must be done…blessings forever, Andy Pratt

  4. Dennis Boyter on said:

    My initial reaction to “fosforos” was an angry, knee jerk dismissal of his angry rhetoric. Then, after a little reflection, his comments broached many troubling aspects of governance, especially given Obama’s tenure. However, perhaps I am naive to believe that Obama was too, naive, believing he could bring the disparate groups together and move the country forward. The amount of obstructionism, couple with vile hatred, has created gridlock. President Obama, in my view, is still the best hope. I shudder, as a Texas, to think of Rick Perry assuming the reins of leadership. Mr. Parry, s usual, provides provocative insight into the problems confronting our nation. We ignore him at our peril.

  5. rosemerry on said:

    I am sorry to say it, but believe that Obama never had any intention to change the status quo; he exonerated the obvious war criminals Bush et al,as he goes much further in warmaking with the terrible drones. He ignored the Gaza attack by Israel starting on his election day, the carnage conveniently ending when he was inaugurated. He is a worse pawn of israel than WBush was! Every so-called reform was a failure, and the lies about Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya continue. All his chosen advisers were retreads from the Clinton years or Democratic hacks like Biden. No antiwar or innovative person got through the net to influence policy eg Elizabeth Warren.

    • Kathleen Flanagan on said:

      To rosemerry and others who would agree with her. On the contrary, I believe Obama had every intention to pursue the change he ran on. I believe Obama is an idealist and is confident in his ideals. But he encountered/inherited the worst possible set of world-wide economic problems ever inherited by an incoming president since FDR, possibly worse. He also faced bigotry, mostly from the right, that became in the name of the Tea Party and some Republican seniors in the House, to “make him a one time President. These same bigots and extremists presented themselves in the 1980′s as the John Birch Society…arising as an abomination of the thinking of Barry Goldwater. Ronald Reagin became President with the support of this thinking in American politics and became their “god”. This element of thinking has now evolved into the extremists we see in today’s Tea Party movement. This President is thoughtful and builds concensus, maybe to a fault, but he is careful, honest, and above all an humanitarian. This is the best we can have in a President. We are witnessing pure party politics during his first term as we have never witnessed in the history of our country. And it is a test of our country as to our humanity…our love of our fellow man, not only in our country, but in the world. Republicans with Tea Party bent are challenging us to stand up for everything that is loving and Godly to what is greedy, dishonest and criminal according to our standards as a people. They due their challenge with the appearance of “God at their backs”, but is this real? I think not.

      • angelwatching1 on said:

        Thanks Kathleen. I agree with all my heart that President Obama
        tried to do right for America, but the GOP and the Teaparty who rules them
        wants to break him at any cost. Damn We the People is their motto!
        As a senior citizen, I will work as I did before to elect him,
        hoping we get a true Democratic Congress an Senate(no blue dogs.)
        The Bible” say help those who are the least of us.” Maybe the GOP missed that part. God Bless America, God Bless Our President.

  6. Is there ever going to be an end to these articles apologizing for poor little O being beat up by the mean, nasty Rs? Good grief! He was elected on a platform of change and all he’s done is change into Bush lll. Had he actually done some of the things he promised so what if the media and Wall Street had gotten pissed! To say that his “public popularity would have sunk faster” is a total misreading of the country. It was the “public” that elected him! He didn’t even try and look at where his popularity is now!

    He is nothing but a corporate shill and until we can find a viable third-party candidate I’m afraid we will have nothing but two sides of the same big-money coin.

    • Bob Loblaw on said:

      Unfortunately, every candidate who achieves these levels is going to be a corporate shill at best, a puppet in every way at worst.

      President Obama has proven his loyalty to those who pull his strings.

      Personally, I like President Obama, smart, and compassionate, he could be doing so much worse, but we all know what happens to POTUS’ who do not obey.

      Our only hope is that we get someone we like, who spares us the most. Perry would enthusiastically help, a worse option indeed.

    • Kathleen Flanagan on said:

      Why are you abandoning the honesty of someone who has put is life on the line for you? This is the first person to run as a “people’s president” knowing full well he was making himself a target of those who would hate him for his skin color, for his ideals, his success… We should be humbled by his commitment to the change he promised…and history has interrupted. This is a President of the People. To say the things you have said, only dimishes his potential to do for the People he is committed to. Face the fact that the Supreme Court with their decision on Citizen’s United made corporations individuals like you and me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t make the salaries of the CEO’s nor do I make the profits of corporations (who are people, ha!). So I don’t have the big bucks to contribute to Obama’s grassroots support system that these corporation “individuals as people” do. He knows to stay competive in the 2012 race, and to win, he has to have some corporate (large “people” donations) to finance his campaign. The corporate campaign nonations this year will be staggering. If you are going to “play on the same playground” you need all the same bats and balls…and coaches. You need to praise Obama for being “street wise” and for being in your corner.

      • Kathleen,you are whats wrong with the world today.Obama diden’t put his life on the line for me or anybody.Since he was elected ,he has tried to turn the Democratic party into little republicans and back to its rightwing roots before FDR.When elected he appointed all rightwing advisors to his staff and kept former Bush advisors on his economic staff.He could have fought to get the senate to change the rules so a simple majority could pass bills as the constitution says but he didn’t.He campaigned against liberal Democrats in primaries so conservative Democrats could be elected.He approved of the 12 man super committee to slash the budget kin owing it would be stacked with conservatives who will cut all social programs to defend the ridiculously large military budget.I could go on and on and on.True he had a lousy situtation with all the blue dog Democrats siding with the Republicans but he didn’t even try to fight.People like you who are willing to accept the destruction of FDR’s party are whats wrong with America,you are as bad as the republican lemming who if told to jump off a bridge would ask “wheres the highest bridge”

  7. From here Obama looks like a slavish servant of the corporatocracy

    What he could have done – should have done – is stand. forthrightly and at the top of his voice, by his oath of office

    eg, restore habeas corpus

    eg, prosecute torturers

    This would have cost gridlock? He created gridlock!

    This would maybe have precipitated massive upheaval? Riots, ruthlessly suppressed? Maybe…but, maybe, better now than later, when surveillance and suppression of dissent may be worse…

    • Kathleen Flanagan on said:

      You are talking about ousting George W. Bush for his positions on habeas corpus and torture…we’ve done that and moved on. But the GOP has not…the gridlock is purely GOP in the House. The GOOPs have made it their purpose in life to make Obama (or any Democratic President that might ever be in office) a ONE TIME PRESIDENT. The GOP think they are the only ones with the RIGHT to govern. They think they are the only ones with the ideas! Where are their ideas since they won the majority in the House in 2010. Where is their job creation? Where are their justice demands for the criminal behavior of banks and Wall Street? They have become obstructionists to any ideas for jobs for the middle-class and the poor…they don’t have ideas, they don’t have compassion…they are a group of “pull up the ladder, I’m aboard” thinking, ego-centric elitists. We need to vote them all out and replace the Speaker with someone with integrity, who heeds the will of the people.

  8. Andrew Dabrowski on said:

    I’d feel better about Obama and be more likely to agree with this article if I were convinced that Obama was really trying to change things. But he doesn’t seem to be exerting himself.

    After dithering for a full year he nearly lost completely on health care “reform” before Pelosi and Reid saved his bacon. As ACA was just warmed over conservative plans it’s not really a victory for the left anyway.

    On the national security state he’s been every bit as bad as Bush-Cheney. It’s not even clear he’s stopped torture as black sites and renditioning still go on.

    “Obama was stuck, too, with Bush’s two unresolved wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    That’s a funny way of describing his enthusiastic embrace of Afghanistan and Libya. His drawdown in Iraq is no more than most Republicans favor these days.

    I’ll grant him success on repealing DADT. Too bad there aren’t more gay militarists, that could have really turned the economy around.

    He’s largely ignored the jobs crisis and let Republicans set the terms of the the recent debate on the debt ceiling. If he’d fought as hard as Bush did for SS reform I could respect Obama even if he ultimately failed to get his bills passed. But when he doesn’t try to get congress and the people and his side I begin to wonder whose side he’s really on.

    I share Parry’s pessimism about US politics. We voters get the government we deserve, and evidently we don’t deserve much.

    The older I get the more I agree with Gore Vidal’s old quip that in the US we have one political party (money) that employs two PR firms. And money is pulling out of sight of the rest of the country. I see a return to feudalism in our future: there will be steady downward pressure on labor standards till the US matches China and India. Maybe some time next century conditions can start to improve again.

  9. Evelyn Kiresen on said:

    Sadly, I had high hopes for Obama when he first took office. However, he failed at every opportunity to meet the challenge and pursue a policy consistent with his pre-election rhetoric. He”talks the talk”, but seldom “walks the walk.”

  10. Some may call this raciest, but”O” has proven that he indeed is the white mans boy. He’ll probably be reelected because he has come through. Perhaps if the whole of the U.S. population were stupid, then Perry might get the nod. But you have to take into account the “O” placed well @ “Harvard”, while Perry didn’t show too much smarts in Texas. I seriously doubt the plutocracy wand another flimflam man at the helm. All this is “KABUKI” as far as the Repuglicon field is concerned with some of the dolts running. It really doesn’t matter who runs, wins, because it’s doubtful that person will make it too far into the 4 year term before the shooting here at home starts.

  11. I would be more sympathetic to Obama if he had made a genuine sustained effort to change the status quo. Instead the president has made change more difficult with his pro Wall Street agenda, not to mention giving the Bush administration
    a pass for war crimes. Mr. Parry, you say that its the system that’s to blame and that is in large part true, but it is also true that this president is enabling those who want it to stay that way.

    President Perry would be a nightmare but it would be like jumping from one nightmare to another. This won’t end until we hit rock bottom.

  12. I watched the tears of joy the night Obama was elected, and I thought about how sadly disappointed these people will be. The Republicans have destroyed government. One of John Dean’s book titles says it all: Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches. I knew the forces arrayed against Obama were going to be too much. As a black man, he was at a huge disadvantage. Any strengthening of the social safety net would have been read as helping all those “lazy blacks.” But I had hoped he would have at least fought the good fight more strenuously. Even if he had lost, he could have said I told you so when Republican policies failed. Take Guantanamo. He could say, “Look Republicans, this thing has gone on long enough. Why are you so scared of trying the prisoners in our courts? There is no security risk here. You have a choice: either allow trials in the States or I set the prisoners free. I am going to do one or the other. The ball is in your court, and you have a week to give me your decision. Scream if you like, but I am listening only for your answer, not the screams. If you say nothing in a week, they are gone.” At least he could get the initiative on something!

  13. Paul Bulger on said:

    Obama is not responsible for the mess in which America found itself at the end of a criminal administration. However, it is his watch and he IS responsible for leading it OUT of the mess. But rather than stepping up to the historic challenge of leading, he has chosen to follow – the classic politician where we need another FDR. When the Democrats are in the minority, they are powerless. And when they are in the majority, they are also strangely impotent, a predicament the Republicans never seem to be in whether in the majority or minority. If the Democrats can’t lead, perhaps they should go the way of the Whigs. Leadership is doing what is right, not what will play well in Ohio politics (using the word “politics” loosely).

  14. kristine on said:

    My son would not vote for Barry; saw him as a pretender while he was running. I did not send him my intended $100 because his campaigners would not define for me what he meant by ‘change’. I now find him dangerous and repugnant.

  15. erm no, don’t blame obama.

    ITS BUSH ITS BUSH

    fuck you obama voters.

  16. Ken Haldenstein on said:

    As a new subscriber/donor I am very disappointed in Mr. Parry’s article; what did he say that we don’t already know… ?Worse, I agree that he comes across as another mass media apologist type, almost corporate media, in glossing over O’s countless lies, backpedals, and feckless giveaways to every Bush-era corporate or military special interest he had the opportunity to suck up to.

    If this type of reporting continues, what does this news site have to offer that you can’t find much better on TheNation.com, etc.?

  17. greatdogs on said:

    Candidate Obama made a lot of promises he could not keep. Holding Bush officials and others accountable for torture and Iraq were not possible for a couple reasons. One, it would turn the MIC and the CIA against him. Second was that if torture and rendition were investigated, a couple of senior Congressmembers, i.e. Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harmmon would have been implicated in their knowledge of what was going on but their silence on the issue. No wonder Pelosi took impeachment “off the table”.

    His talk on the renegotiation of NAFTA was only a talking point to appease the unions. His true colors on the issue are now clear with the upcoming trade talks on the Trans-Pacific Trade Pact. Isn’t it ironic that during the week of Obamas jobs speech, the trade negotiations are going on in Chicago? I wonder what Trumka and Hoffa will say about that. It will interesting to hear the spin on how this new agreement will “create jobs”, seeing how NAFTA was such a wonderful deal for the middle class. But, why should Obama care? How many of the middle class donations will it take to match the $2.4 million he raked in on Wall Street. Which coincidently was one of the first places he went fundraising.

    Obama’s reelection is in doubt, and when the questions of operation Fast and Furious start flying during the campaign, his goose is cooked.

  18. I was surprised that the participants in this discussion have not yet written very much about Obama’s three years of totally missed opportunities to educate millions of our citizens about how and why trillions of dollars were spent and squandered in losing and colaterally genocidal wars that were and still are not at all necessary for our “national security.”

    He might have contributed what was and still is most needed, that is appointment of many scholarly experts like Chalmers Johnson, Noam Chomsky,John Perkins and Robert Parry to high office or to frequent and highly promoted TV forums on how our Neo-con/evangelical global military conquest-strategies have bankrupted our economy and severly suppressed healthy criticism of the “Big Lie” that all our wars have been and still are for “national security” rather than for profiteering and silencing the anti-imperialist half of our citizens.

    By devoting his energies to becoming an anti-imperialist activist in the WH and Congress Obama might have done the most possible good for our nation and world peace.

    Even if Obama was impeached for any excuse, we still would have had the great honest national debates that the corporate controlled mass media have almost totally suppressed,leaving the vast majority of our citizens uninformed to such disastrous degrees that, still as of now, they cannot really know what they are supporting or tolerating as our nation rolls on toward further economic collapse and the trajectory of conventional and nuclear wars of mass destruction and widespread radioctive wastelands.

  19. Those of us who will always know that the 2 to 3 million Vietnamese that were killed during their war for independence from colonial powers like France and our USA were mostly innocent people,. . those who know also that the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (mostly children) who died because of our nation’s deliberate embargo of life-saving chemicals desperately needed for Iraq’s water purification were also innocent victims of the
    wrecklessness of arrogant imperialist wars sold to our uninformed citizens as necessary for “national defense.”

    In this era of terroristic intimidation of our own citizens as well as millions of innocents who just happen to live in nations that are strategicly located near the vast oil reserves coveted by our energy corporations, we who are informed have a strong moral obligation to expose what our nation has done in dishonest ways to promote what is called “national defense.” We need not become depressed about this because the internet has provided us with the opportunity to be proud of our mission to educate our fellow citizens, most of whom still believe,for instance, that Sadam was involved in the 9/11 attack.

  20. By listing the entities that would have been upset if Obama challenged the system Robert Parry pretty much told us who really runs the country and who has been running it for some time. When people around me complain and start spewing Right Wing talking points (man, that really pisses me off) I ask them this. If we change presidents every four to eight years and there is turn over in Congress why do things essentially stay the same? Why do we get involved in a major war or wars on generational basis? Why do have a military/industrial complex? Why do we still have poverty, hunger and homelessness? Why can’t the working class get ahead? Why are the wealthy exempt from paying for crimes? Why do we have pollution and low quality food to eat?

    The majority of the population in this country have been getting pushed around by the wealthy class almost since day one. The real enemy isn’t terrorist now or the Germans or Japanese or the North Koreans, the Chinese or the North Vietnamese then. It’s always been the wealthy class. They created and screw with the economic system. They start wars so weapons can be built and destroyed for profit but don’t send their children to fight. Where do you think the term, “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight came from”? They now own almost all of the media and are rewriting history as we speak. The upcoming generations will know virtually nothing about the labor movement. This is by design and goes hand in hand with trying eliminate unions and the minimum wage. Their corporations control our access to food. They dump crap into it to get it to grow faster and we ingest it. If you haven’t noticed we have an obesity issue here. Those tummies we see on young women are called “muffin tops” by the 20 somethings. Too much fast food and additives.

    You have to ask yourselves, are you going to take it or are you going to do something about it and boot these jack asses out of their ivory towers once and for all and forever. Think for yourself. You have the solutions within.

  21. Pingback: It ain't Obama or the Government, it's the system itself

  22. Larry Bartlett on said:

    I came to this website because it was listed on catholic.org. what garbadge. There is not one penny or tax write off for the rich difference between the two parties. G.E. paid no federal tax and the ceo gets promoted to a white house job from obama. Welcome to the party Parry, you finally figured out what’s wrong.