I will make two statements to begin this piece.
One: Obama does want true Progressive change. He is not, as his critics on the Left suspect, a “stealth Corporate Imperialist.”
Two: 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.
From the bowels of the bureaucracy to the hallowed Halls of Congress, a government which was once hailed as being Of The People, Buy The People and most importantly For The People….no longer even bears a passing resemblance to that shining vision.
In the BEST case scenario….there is a battle for our government between the industries and Corporations, who represent America’s Ruling Class that benefit immensely from legislation or favorable regulation by the government…..and The People.
Guess who is winning that battle?
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.
And make no mistake about it, though we may think of our Congress members as powerful individuals, most of them are not rich. They need these jobs to survive, to feed their families, to, haha, have health insurance. If they weren’t in Congress, they would be out here on the streets with the rest of us peons. They prefer K Street to the mean streets….who wouldn’t?
And they are painfully aware that 435 of them need millions of dollars every two years, and 100 of them even more millions of dollars every six years, to stay off of those mean streets.
Of the ones who are rich, most of them got rich by being in Congress.
Bottom line? They are rather easily and cheaply ‘influenced,’ ‘compromised,’ ‘bent,’ or outright bought, and corrupted to switch from being the representatives of The People….to representing The Ruling Class, the Corporations.
As I wrote a couple of days ago…
Over the last couple of days of watching Health Care get sold down the river, I have seen a couple of Senators shake their head and make the following statement…
“We just can’t pass Single Payer.”
Well……why not? What is stopping you? You are the most powerful legislative body in the world right? The People of the United States, your constituency, overwhelmingly wants Single Payer Health Care right? The Democrats have 59 votes, so all they have to do is turn ONE Republican right? So it is not that you “don’t have the votes” because of partisanship. Because it is not about partisanship, is it? All that talk by Democrats about how it was the Republicans who were stopping the Democrats from doing what the People want, what happened to that?
So……why? Why are Senators so convinced, so adamant, that it is simply impossible to give the American people, the people who voted you into office, the people who pay your salary, the people the Constitution SAYS you are there to represent, the people who are protesting….and suffering from…our current Health Care system, what they OVERWHELMINGLY want?
You have the power to do it, you have the public support to do it, you SHOULD have the votes to do it.
So what is stopping you?
What is stopping them is money. Period.
Not partisanship, this is not a battle between Noble Democrats and Evil Republicans. In this battle, many (not all) of the Democrats are on the wrong side of the battle lines as well. And many more are wavering in their allegiance.
This Battle is between Money and The People. And Money is winning. In the past, corruption usually amounted to passing laws and regulations that merely favored ‘Big Business’ over the interests of The people. But with the health care and other upcoming battles such as climate change Legislation, that has Changed.
The American Government is passing Legislation that is directly against the interests of The American People.
Which brings us back to President Obama and Change.
In this battle….Obama is almost inconsequential. Much to the coming disappointment of those hoping for a savior, in the battle between the Money of The Ruling Class and The People that Obama would LIKE to represent….Congress will choose the Money every time.
If Obama forces a showdown, if he gets out front and takes on the Corporate Money…and makes the CongDems pick between him and the Corporate money….
They will turn on him. They will choose the Money that they need to keep their jobs above the President and The People he is trying to represent. We see everyday the slow slide that has occurred under the influence of The Money….away from Single Payer….then away from the Public Option…then to the ridiculous ‘Trigger.’
When it had slid too far for Obama to tolerate, he took a big risk and used his ‘political capital’ to make a statement in support of the Public Option. Which we all know is the absolute minimum for true Change on health care.
That was, in the current climate, a huge risk.
The worst of the CongDems want to go with The Money. It is a risk for Obama to get between them and The Money and Obama deserves praise for taking that risk…. And revealing just how powerless he really is.
If he comes out and puts his
ass political capital on the line for the Public option and loses….if Congress chooses The Money…
Then the Obama Spell is broken. His popularity is all that has prevented the CongDems from just blatantly, well more blatantly, ignoring him and The People and taking the side of The Money in the Battle for our government.
If they do that, then it is no longer a Battle, but open war for our government between the Ruling Class and The People.
Open Class War.
How would that War go?
A commenter recently asked the 64 trillion dollar question:
Obama has the bully pulpit.
If the Congress went against him, and he spoke out against the Congress, wouldn’t the people believe him, and forgive him any failures until he got his own people elected to the Congress?
That is what he COULD do indeed.
But then ALL of his corporate money is not only cut off, but the Ruling Class and their minions in Congress (all of the Republicans and a goodly number of ‘bought’ Democrats) all of the industry lobbyists….
…and the press would openly turn on him.
There would be no corporate money for ‘his’ candidates. There would be no favorable press coverage….and they would face Corporate candidates that had ALL of the Corporate money and the Corporate Press behind them. And the full measure of every political ‘dirty tricks’ ever invented.
And he would very much risk losing the election in ’12 too a corporate candidate with record funding. With record press support. And record sabotage and dirty tricks. And a public that is disappointed and disillusioned and thus easily convinced that their trust in Obama, and all other reformers, was once again misplaced. That would be the thrust of their efforts, to get The People to turn on Obama.
If it comes to open Class War, if Obama can’t finesse his way through, and he is VERY good at that, to get the Change that The People want him to deliver….Obama WILL lose.
There is NO way Obama can or will win without a real majority of The People really committed to having his back, to fighting for him. To being active, not passive, in their support….to Yelling Louder, lol.
And we cannot support him and fight for him by just saying how much we love him.
The KNOW we love him, and they don’t care. They can easily ignore that.
We have to….in the bizarro world of American politics that goes against evry form of common sense….support him and fight for him by DEMANDING that he gives us what we want. We have to put pressure on him, so that he can then point to that pressure and transfer it on to them.
Of course we also have to be putting massive pressure on Congress and the industries in question.
But Congress is MUCH harder to effectively ‘lobby’ that the President is. Only a relatively small number of The People can lobby each congress member. We can ALL lobby the President. And with our power behind him, then HE can lobby Congress, then he has our power clearly behind him, (nut just our nebulous and amorphous ‘support’) and with that power he can twist arms and make deals in our favor.
President Obama is essentially The People’s Lobbyist.
To get back to the title of this piece, he simply cannot be an effective lobbyist for us unless he can point to us and say “Look! The People DEMAND that you do this.”
As Markos said yesterday…
There is certainly a distaste among many on the Left for the kind of tough politics our current political environment requires. Lucky for us, those types are in the minority.
And as I said recently…This is NOT a time for Moderation
Bush was powerful because he worked FOR the Corporations, for The Ruling Class, and thus everything he did was backed by them. Obama does NOT have the same power, because he is TRYING to work for The People.
Against a table full of armed villains and a stacked deck and the entire structure of what our government has become.
A Government Of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations….and The Ruling Class. A government that has been bought. Or in the Best Case Scenario…is fighting against being bought.
Make no mistake, just as we are fighting for our lives, “they” are fighting for theirs. And they fight dirty.
The ONLY weapon we have in The Class War that is raging and threatening to erupt into open battle is …our voices. Raised to take back OUR government.
slinkerwink has provided us with the contact info for the key players here.
As she said in that diary…
PLEASE CALL the White House and let President Obama know that you don’t want him to consider the “7-year trigger” for the public option. Let him know that you’re ANGRY. Tell him it won’t be REAL health care reform without an immediately available, strong, robust Medicare-like public option.
CALL the White House at: 202-456-1111 and E-MAIL them as well!
And please call and mail YOUR representatives as well.
And don’t worry about being TOO polite or…moderate…let them hear your anger, let them hear your dedication to fighting back.