Obama’s Unintentional Marginalization of The Middle

From an electoral politics standpoint…you only need the middle. If you can unify and win the middle, you will win every election.

That is the overarching theory behind Obama’s brand of “bipartisanship,” and that is what he is trying to achieve. It is a flawless intellectual theory, especially from the purely electoral viewpoint.

It is however deeply flawed, right now, from the pragmatic viewpoint…..IF you are more interested in stuff like right and wrong, a healthy and well fed world, equality, freedom, justice, The Rule of Law and especially….right now…..economic equality and justice. Rather than ‘just’ winning elections.

If we were starting with a clean slate, say right after WW2, or in some utopian (instead of teetering dystopian) world, it would absolutely be the way to go. For the simple reason the the extremes that the theory seeks to marginalize would be more sane and less extreme.

The advantages of the theory of “Bi-partisan compromise” lies in taking the best of two equal, and equally right positions and combing them into a pleasing and agreeable Middle.

IF we had two equal, and equally right sides or positions to draw from it would be a grand and glorious way of governing. But we don’t.

Of THAT…..I am certain.

After nearly fifty years of Culture War and RW propaganda and economic injustice……bi-partisanship sucks. It sucks for one simple reason….the positions that the extremes have evolved into after that 50 years. Especially after the last eight years where the extension of “The Southern Strategy” reached its peak under Rove, and fed the racist, hate filled, intolerant, war mongering and torturing Right Wing into a rabid foaming frenzy of mindless extremism. And pulled a goodly portion of that oh so desirable Middle ….unwillingly… with them.

With them not on the issues per se, not on racism or intolerance….not on anything real even.

But on how the Middle…thinks. On what we in the blogosphere have come to call framing. They have been pulled into an extremist or reactionary attitude, they consider all things from a viewpoint that has been imposed from the Right. They react from the view of the RW. But when you ask or poll about specific issues, they respond as Progressives.

Which of course, is why Obama won.

If Obama’s middle-seeking “bi-partisanship” sought only to eliminate the Far Right Extremists who were able to hoodwink and lie America into electing George Bush…..and then absolutely hating him once they realized what he really represented….that would be fine and dandy.

But it definitionaly seeks to marginalize the Left as well.

And much, much worse….since the playing field on which Obama is attempting to reach the Middle of is SO skewed to the advantage of the Right…

It seeks, unintentionally but inevitably and by definition, to marginalize vast portions of the Middle as well. The portions of the Middle known as the Lower Middle Class, the Working Class and the Poor.

We all know what the Far Right stands for, and wants, and demands after the last eight years. War, torture, intolerance, inequality and justice ….and economic advantage…for only the white, Ruling Class elite, theoretically with enough crumbs ‘trickling down’ to the Middle Class to barely keep them in line. We know it and we rejected it. Resoundingly. As all inherently unjust Plutocracies should be rejected.

As long as Obama seeks the Middle while the extreme of the Far Right is so ridiculously, outrageously, and damagingly extreme…. this brand of governing will fail.

And IF he allows his brand of governing to fail by trying to find compromise with such an extreme extreme…an extreme that is also deeply committed to NOT compromising, it is possible that the theory of bipartisanship will also fail electorally.

For one simple reason.

The economy.

The cultural issues at the heart of the Southern Strategy were created and pursued not for cultural ends, but for economic ends.

The Base of the RW were activated through the Southern Strategy and its attendant cultural issues for one and only one real reason.

To give the economic plutocrats, The Ruling Class, an electoral base.

To allow them to achieve political power….in order to enact economic policy….that allowed them to grow even more obscenely rich.

While the rest of the country and the world grew obscenely poorer.

And it worked.

In attempting bi-partisan compromise with the economic plutocrats….bailing out the banks in order to save the current deeply flawed financial system that exists solely to give unequal and unjust advantage to the economic elite, the Ruling Class, Obama (and by extension of his policies and their own corruption, Congress) has…..thus far….. screwed the Middle Class, the Working Class and the poor.

In other words……the voters.

And if the voters are screwed economically, (it’s the economy, stupid) they will not vote to continue to be screwed.

And the voters are still VERY subject to listening to the Right Wing framing and bullshit. They have been deeply conditioned by the incredibly able propagandists of the RW.

To avoid being a Cassandra, there is till time for Obama to address the inequalities inherent in trying to be bipartisan in a vastly skewed political environment, and he knows very well that Health Care is a huge part of addressing those inequalities. But hopefully he also knows that Health care won’t be enough with the rampant unemployment, record foreclosures, and growing anger at the blatant economic equality inherent in the America of the 2iCen.

The question is….can he win Health care against the combined forces of the Plutocracy?

If not, he and all of us are screwed. Period. It is literally the ONLY way the RW can get back in power, a Populist movement based on the economy, even though the RW will promptly screw that Movement once it is back in power.

If he, with our help, can win….then what is next?

The GenPop is speaking as loudly as it ever has on anything on the issue of Health Care. If WE, and it simply has to be WE, win this fight and hand the RW and Plutocracy a real stinging defeat for the first time in a long time…..will we and Obama be able to finally, at that point, throw of the chains of the RW propaganda and marginalize the RW to the point that it shifts the balance of power?

IF that occurs….it UNskews the playing field. Or at least, starts to.

And then and only then could Obama’s brand of political bi-partisanship work. Because then and only then can it benefit the Lower Middle Class, the Working class, and the Poor.

In other words….the voters.


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  1. My mind is kinda muddy today and that sort of just came out of my fingertips all on their own, lol!

    In case it doesn’t, maybe this forgotten gem will make up for it!

  2. I never thought about the unintentional marginalization of the middle.  I have been bemoaning for weeks the absolute strangle hold this administration has on the left in this nation.  My parents, moderates who were both radicalized by the Bush years, still do not want to hear on word of criticism about Obama.  This is worrying to me as those are the people who gave me my progressive values.  Obama just confirms what I had begun to expect in my young political life…..America loves to settle.  You are very right though, the far right is so extreme that finding common ground with them forces even liberal dems to shift right all the while abandoning more and more of their constituency.  You also make a good point about the Southern/Rural Poor White Strategy.  It was never implemented to truly reflect the “values” of poor rural whites, but designed to provide a base where there should be none.  Someone a long time ago realized you could get people to vote against their economic interests if A) They were not educated/open minded and B)if you could make them hate those pushing whatever the opposite agenda might be.  Southern rural white were perfect for this.  You know it’s funny, Republicans abandoned the civil rights movement they,(yes, let’s remember that those who wanted to kick the most shit out of the white south after the Civil War were radical northern republicans)began simply because they realized Southern/rural whites were not going to go along with it.  It is interesting to note that our contemporary Democrats are afraid to run with the Gay rights movement for exactly that same reason (with a few caveats).  The key to success for the american political party has been to build a social movement that you don’t really care about to gain support for economic policies that either hold stagnant or worsen the economic situation of it’s voters.  The Democratic party today, I fear, is shifting hard towards that method of operation.  Obama is doing nothing for the middle class, save flowery rhetoric and empty promises.  We are getting the vague sense of departure from the Bush years without any substantive change (CHANGE!!! I want CHANGEEEEE)It is clear from his actions that he cares very little about the progressive social agenda and is maintaining political support with token gestures.  His economic policies are, as you said buhdy, marginalizing both the center and left by giving so fucking much to the right for the sake of “bipartisanship”……….There I hope that was intelligible.  Rant over.

  3. not bad! Cant wait to hear when after you “get your spark back”! lol.

    I am not so familiar with this more “analytical” side of you. More, more!!

  4. saying this about the democratic party for over a decade and a half.

    Thank you.  

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