Disdain Versus Democracy

That strange sound you hear if you listen closely is Senator Ted Kennedy spinning in his grave. Could he have possibly imagined a worse consequence of his departure from the Senate when health care reform was so close? Absolutely not. When he was alive he probably was not even aware of Massachusetts state senator Scott Brown. Though Kennedy deserved a better outcome, Democrats richly deserved the Republican win in Massachusetts.

The main reason is that Democrats in Congress and President Obama have shown nothing but disdain for the overwhelming national desire for an end to the self-serving corruption that is revealed through never-ending sweetheart deals for corporate interests, even as a large fraction of Americans suffer in this Great Recession caused by corporate greed, incompetence and criminality that go unpunished.

One of the very few truths coming from Obama’s lips was that the forces that swept Brown to victory were the same as those that propelled Obama into the presidency. What so-very-smart Obama apparently did not fully appreciate when he acknowledged this was that the truth of that statement was evidence of Obama’s failures as president. Obama sold himself as an independent-minded, trustworthy Democrat committed to change and better government, and that same approach was used by Republican Brown. If the scam worked for Obama, why not make it work for a Republican? Obviously it worked.

So two days after Brown’s victory Obama announces a new Wall Street and banking reform effort. Coincidentally, 53 percent of Democrats that voted for Brown said they would vote for Democrats if they would actually fix Wall Street.

In other words, the national desire for true change and reform that convinced so many independents and others to vote for Obama has been made a mockery by a White House and Congress that has continued to behave as conventional, corrupt and lying politicians. How else to punish Democrats then to make someone like Brown a winner that could derail health care reform and other legislation in the Senate?

I say bravo! Nice work. Thanks for all the Obama voters who either did not vote or voted for Brown. Nice message.

All that Obama and the congressional Democrats have shown is that Americans can never believe that politicians who work their way up through the two-party plutocracy can ever be trusted as true change agents. In a system where money dictates public policy corporate and other special interests will continue to win over true public interests.

As long as third parties do not stand any chance of competing against the two-party plutocracy because the system has been so rigged against them, what else can voters do other than to punish one corrupt political party at critical times by shifting power to the other corrupt political party? So much for American electoral democracy.

Obama was a little known state senator who had accomplished very little before becoming a US senator. Ditto for Brown. If Obama could become president with good looks and a winning personality, why not Brown? Now we should all root for Brown becoming the Republican’s best bet for preventing Obama from winning a second term. At least that’s what I hope Obama obsesses about and loses sleep over. Maybe then he will stop showing such disdain for democracy, stop making deals with corporate interests and start producing the changes in the political and government system that Americans want and need. And, most of all, get rid of many of your top advisors that are nothing more than status quo establishment figures with terrible political and economic ideas. And also get your Justice Department to prosecute a large number of criminals in the financial sector that created the Great Recession.

Do these things or millions of angry Americans will surely vote out Democrats in the coming mid-term congressional elections and keep you from getting a second term. Not that Republicans, of course, will ever perform any better. But in our delusional democracy about the best voters can do is shift power between the two useless major political parties. Populist anger demands more than empty populist rhetoric from lying politicians of both major parties.

Joel S. Hirschhorn was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he has authored five nonfiction books, including Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. Read other articles by Joel.

6 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. bozh said on January 22nd, 2010 at 10:09am #

    No prez ever fails. If any ever wld fail, only the system dicides and not joel`s wishful thinking.
    To illustyrate, nixon was not impeached for crimes against `àliens`, but for nicking the system.
    No prez can ever be prosecuted for crimes against people in distant places because it is only US which can commit them. Or to be more precise, it is ab 2% of US pop which solely or largely commit all US crimes.

  2. John Hatch said on January 22nd, 2010 at 3:57pm #

    In a speech today, an apparently newly rejuvenated Obama used the word ‘fight’ fourteen times. Once again he’s promising to fight for you. For you he’ll fight. Fight,fight,fight. You, you, you.

    He’s begun the 2012 campaign, using the same cliched sloganeering that worked so well the first time. Will it work again, proving that you CAN fool all of the people all of the time?

    People are still disappearing. People are still being tortured. Cover-ups of murder are ongoing. Bush policies on detentions without evidence or charges are still being pursued. Guantanamo is still open for business. Bagram is expanding. Other ‘dark sites’ still exist.

    New wars are being started while illegal invasions are ongoing and expanded. Millions have died, been injured, or displaced, all based on Bush lies that Obama adds to.

    America still behaves as Israel’s bum-boy as Palestinians are tortured, displaced, and murdered.

    Wall street is still getting away with financial murder, while workers and homeowners remain abandoned.

    Health care reform was always a joke as Obama secretly took single-payer off the table and made unconscionable secret deals with Big Insurance and Big Pharma.

    The list goes on and on. But now Obama is getting nervous, so he’s promising (starting now! No, really!) to fight, fight, fight for you.

    Since Obama can’t be trusted, I’d rather ‘enjoy’ the bittersweet amusement of America’s final destruction under the leadership of a President even dumber and more vicious than Bush (!). Sarah in 2012! Fight, fight, fight! You Betcha!

  3. bozh said on January 22nd, 2010 at 4:33pm #

    Doesn’t every safeway manager fight for his/her customers? tnx

  4. insultant said on January 22nd, 2010 at 6:45pm #

    Sometimes I feel like “We, the People” are smack-dab in middle court during a tennis match sometimes watching the ball go zooming by us but mainly, simply trying not to get hit!

  5. lichen said on January 22nd, 2010 at 7:06pm #

    I don’t agree that the best we can do is shift power between the parties, and least of all pretend that the corporate GOP ‘teabagger’ losers are somehow a grassroots campaign that will result in anything but more bush/gingrich policy. I think we can do something much greater.

  6. Don Hawkins said on January 22nd, 2010 at 7:50pm #

    Yes we do need to think in a substantially new manner if we wish to survive. It has to start somewhere even with only a few. Am watching hope for Haiti now on TV and the way it is being done is it a substantially new manner of thinking, no it sure isn’t. Money is not the answer a new way of thinking is the answer. If we are going to try it has to start soon yesterday would have been good. Insultant your last comment true and lichen the truth the knowledge we are starting to see granted with all the noise, BS can be hard at times but not that hard. This will not be boring and easy probably not.