A Kabuki Dance on the Grave of American Democracy

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

In Why We Can’t Have Change Buhdy argued that there is just not much Obama can do to bring Change about . . .

There is plain and simple, just not much he can do to bring Change about. There is not…yet…much he can do to bring Change about for one basic reason. One basic reason, which then blooms into a thousand flowers all smelling like DC bullshit in the spring.

The one card Obama has to play in the DC Realpolitik Poker Game is….us.  The Power of the People.  A steady 65% approval rating, and that is a HARD 65%.  The People who support him REALLY support him. And his many and varied opponents know it. He has that, and the limited (even post-Bush) power of the Executive Branch.

He brings that to the table.  But sitting across from him, arrayed around the table far outnumbering him….is the entire structure of the United States Government.

The entire structure of the United States government is broken, and everyone knows it. That’s why Obama got elected.  Americans elected him President to fix that broken government.  He has far more than one card to play, he’s sitting at that poker table in Washington with a Royal Flush, but he won’t lay it down on the table.

In 2004, no one had ever heard of Obama.  Yet somehow, he won the Presidency of the United States only four years later.  Why?  Because he promised Change.  Because 65 million Americans believed him when he said we have to put the politics of the past behind us, and voted for him.  But he’s not putting the politics of the past behind us, he’s letting the politics of the past, the politics of bullshit posturing in Congress, prevent him from doing what needs to be done.  

I’m not buying any arguments that Obama can’t bring Change.  The problem we have here is that he won’t bring Change.  Not real change.  He knows, and said so many times on the campaign trail, that the overwhelming challenges we face require new solutions.  Yet the only solutions he talks about involve playing the same old politics of the past with a broken Congress that’s about as popular as syphilis.  

Buhdy argued . . .

The Ruling Class owns the economy.  They own the banks, they own the insurance/health care companies, they own the energy/pollution industries, they own the Military Industrial Complex.  They have lobbyists that have intimate access to the Legislators and Regulators, hell in many case they used to BE the Legislators and Regulators. But most importantly, they have The Money. The Money that the Legislators and Regulators absolutely need to keep their jobs.

Buhdy tells us that “what is stopping them is money.  Period.”  His view is that Congress won’t let Obama bring real Change because the Ruling Class controls them with money.  They need that money, so if Obama pressures them to bring real Change against the wishes of their corporate masters, Congress will turn on him.

Obama should invite Congress to give that a try.  

He should make major campaign finance reform THE issue next year, he should make speeches across America demanding that Congress pass campaign finance reform legislation mandating that corporate contributions to congressional candidates cannot exceed contributions from individual citizens.  

That’s more than one card to play.  That’s a Royal Flush.  Obama’s sitting at that poker table in Washington with a Royal Flush in his hands.  He could lay it down on the table any time.  But he won’t. He could make the 2010 midterms a national referendum on campaign finance reform.  He could force every incumbent in Congress and everyone running for Congress to make a choice–are they going to be hacks for the corporate establishment, or are they going to represent the people in their states and districts?

Can Obama force them to make that choice?

Yes he can.

He’s the President of the United States.  He’s the best political speaker of the modern era.  He’s immensely popular.  He can make any issue the top priority if he chooses to.  He can make it the top priority and keep it the top priority, his speeches command media attention, he could confront Congress with the issue of major campaign finance reform, he could tell America in a series of major speeches that every member of Congress who votes against major campaign finance reform should be thrown out of Congress in November 2010.


Can Obama do that?

Yes he can.

But he won’t.

Like every American, Obama knows our government is broken.  Like every American, he knows why it’s broken–MONEY.  CORPORATE MONEY IN POLITICS.  But is Obama  saying anything about that? No.  Is he doing anything about that?  No.  He’s not doing ANYTHING about that fundamental obstacle standing in the way of EVERY form of change this country so desperately needs.  

Corporate money in politics is blocking single-payer health care reform, it’s blocking reform of the corrupt banking system, it’s blocking investigations of massive fraud on Wall Street, it’s blocking investigations of BushCo’s eight-year crime spree, it’s blocking media reform and perpetuating that propaganda spectacle we’re subjected to every day whenever we watch the “news” on the corporate networks or listen to the “news” on corporate radio.

It’s getting really tedious to keep hearing progressives defend Obama and to keep seeing them trot out one excuse after another that he can’t do this and he can’t do that, when it should be glaringly obvious that if he was serious about real change, he would have a strategy to achieve that, based upon equalizing corporate campaign contributions with individual citizen contributions, and upon implementing related major campaign finance reforms, because this would eliminate most of the obstacles to Real Change.  

Are we seeing that strategy implemented?  No.  It’s not even being talked about, we haven’t heard even a whisper about it from a staff drone.  They’re all busy dancing that kabuki dance of theirs, they know all the moves by heart, they’re dancing with a little more energy this time because they’ve seen some pitchforks in the audience.  That’s gotten their bought-and-paid-for-corporate-hack-hearts beating a little faster, they know damn well they’d better fucking dance like they’ve never danced before.  And Obama is dancing along with them.

We’re not seeing a real debate in Washington about real change.

We’re seeing a kabuki dance on the grave of American democracy.

Wall Street bankers killed it with that 10 trillion dollar gun

Obama let Bernanke and Geithner load for them.

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is dead.

This is a Ghost Democracy.



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  1. I have the greatest respect for Buhdy.   He’s expressed his views about Obama and change, and I’ve expressed my views.  

    That’s why we’re here.

    What are your views on this issue?  

    • Viet71 on June 6, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    is that after his presidency, the only practical choice for the American people will be revolution — either at the ballot box or in the streets.

    Who will believe a candidate’s call for change?

    Who will want to vote for more of the same?

  2. I keep waiting for someone to come out with a split screen video of what he said on the campaign trail and what he says today.

  3. Eventually there WILL come a showdown he can’t avoid…..and then we will see where he really stands.

  4. are that the Obama administration and congress and the judicial and everybody else involved in the government have the same agenda. It has nothing to do with democracy, or the common good. Obama may or may not have good intentions I haven’t a clue but who cares if he will not govern according to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and use the power that we the people gave him when we elected him and actually represent us.. The main thing that makes me think he is just as complicit as the rest of the rat bastards is his defense of the fucking lies and fictions that he throws out as reality. Now he is a smart man unlike the demented, deluded psycho bush, so he must know that all of the things he says are necessary are not.

    The terrorists are not going to kill our families. Banks are not going to fall on us, (although they ought to be demolished for our good) We are not going to get jobs from more corporate welfare and squeezing out labor. Giving up our civil liberties, our right to tort, our human rights for these shams is pretty hard to pull off as change or reform. It’s even harder to bamboozle us whe were squeezed ourselves for bogus corporatate extortion plots and no end in sight cause it’s all for the great God profit. Maybe he can as the US seems to have forgotten the principles and reason it even exists. So if it’s a ghost then it’s citizens are just walking zombies who cheer the fact that the dude isn’t sending us all to gitmo and is at least better then the last decider.        

    • Arctor on June 7, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    paid speaking engagements that Big Dog Clinton currently is. We’ll have the Obama Foundation for world peace or whatever, etc. etc.

    We are all victims of the cult of the great man, in our case the imperial president. The media sees every event through the prism of Obama, how he did, how he is perceived, his legacy. And he’s not the first one or the last, statues to Reagan now…

    When this whole game collapses then the people will be forecd to reinvent our collective future and that’s not too promising either…we seem to be fucked, anyone have any good ideas?

    • Viet71 on June 8, 2009 at 1:05 am

    the system in charge of Washington, D.C.  

  5. until the funds for broadband internet run out.

    Auf Deutch no less the Illuminati lives.


    Someplace in there, in years past there was an excellent graphic about how “they” control everything imaginable, every single human endeavor.  Avoid, freep society Ghandi style.  Tell lamestream media how they suck daily, practice self sufficiency and survivalism, know that the entire western world financed Red China’s massive industrial gold rush only after China was named carbon emission exempt in 1993 well before carbon emission was a household word and that natural human defenses should protect you from Unicorn flu so don’t line up for that mandatory shot.  Till we meet in the afterlife I dub thee all Knights of the Veil for having the audacity to question the dilema of life and demonstrating compassion for your fellow man.

  6. Obama is already very close to or beyond his limits if he doesn’t want to be Wellstoned.

    Although I’m very unhappy with what has occurred so far, he’s not ‘one guy’ standing in the way of change.  It’s the American system of government–it’s massively corrupt. The Senate is disgusting for instance.  Just plain chock full of barely human fucking slime.  With only ONE exception-Sanders.

    To be honest, I’m surprised he’s done what he’s done.

    And you have only to take one look at DK for you to realize that the public isn’t exactly pushing for real change; they don’t know what that is.  1/2 these fools want to make war against nuclear Pakistan.  

    But, to push the government–push the public, they will have to follow.    

    This is where the Republicans have beaten us – they have relentlessly attacked education and the schools and the media since the 1980s –bringing Made-In-Texas-Textbooks to the whole damn nation.  

    And if we continue to let them control history, and therefore hearts and minds of the future we will always lose.  And it has abosofuckinglutely nothing to do with McBama or anyone else.  

    We nee to push back hard.  

  7. campaign finance reform would only change the rules in a game which has been neutered of any potential to control the true powers of society, which in fact is controlled by the true powers of our society with or without campaign contributions by the enforcement of hegemonic norms through all means.  Electoral politics and all the associated frippery are a form of “busywork” of distraction, to convince us we have influence and significance in society while all the time the fruitlessness of the efforts we put in should show us, do show us, how entirely useless and wasteful that time and energy and money so spent is.  Yet we fear acknowledging what our own experience shows us, to the point of denial; the system has exposed itself to us, in both the general sense and in the legal-criminological one, yet we turn away, poretending we haven’t seen, and keep turning and turning and turning…is this why the messages sent to us to keep us turning are called “spin”?  The republic is near brain death, taking two Electorols and calling your congresscritter in the morning isn’t sufficient to the challenge.

  8. and more than 6 months to fix all the shit that is broken.  Hell, probably more then two terms to even make a dent.  That is how bad it is right now.

    It’s going to take time.  Lots of time.  People seem to forget that.

  9. why is Obama different?  If all the rest of them have been bought and paid for, why do we assume Obama has not been?  I remain unconvinced of this assumption.  Not that I ain’t willing (and very much wishing) to believe, but…

    I agree with TomP upstream that Obama’s the best we’ve had in recent memory.  That’s something.  I really want to believe that Obama is playing to win, not one hand, but the whole tournament.  I want to believe he’s attempting to amass more chips to develop an insurmountable lead.  But you can’t fold every big blind and win.  And surely you don’t fold a royal flush.  I feel like that’s what he’s done on TARP, on health care, and on torture.  Making the final table is something, but I really really want to win, dammit.



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