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Let the lowering of expectations begin!

I always enjoy the Left Coaster (especially eRiposte), and here's an interesting -- and distressing -- post from paradox:

As a very concerned Democratic Party constituent and citizen I had a natural expectation [Heh, indeedy!] that the 2008 nomination process would yield tangible policy plans for a number of urgent problems: precise extrication plans from the nightmare in Iraq, specific goals to reach in acquiring universal health care, unambiguous 2020 initiatives to combat global warming, and exact taxation proposals for inequality and deficit reduction start a very long list.

With a ludicrous American political propaganda corps obsessed with hair and preachers, a careful, optimistic Democratic candidate and a 2009 Congressional majority that hasn’t been set yet it’s finally dawned on me[*] that my expectations for the American electoral process remain absurdly high, faith will have to do that policy directions in Iraq, healthcare, global warming and inequality will be aggressively reversed by Senator Obama’s 2009 presidential term.

For now we’ll just have to wait on real details of how to get the country out of the canyon of a ditch we’re in.

Perceiving precise change on a number of big policy issues does not mean real progress will be immediately made on a number of smaller policy issues, however, and their diminutive [!!] nature on the agenda should not mask the enormous amount of good that will happen upon policy change and an Obama presidency. It can be credibly argued that great change over a wide policy swath is impossible, no person or country is capable of it, so the small moves of incremental change are what one should expect.

These are just two small vital acts of change among many that will be initiated in 2009, and of course an Obama presidency means critically important judicial and agency appointive choices that will vastly improve life for Americans in a myriad of small ways. Details of how the big issues facing us are going to be attacked are not clear yet, but it is certain even now that with continued hard work to elect Senator Obama president life for Americans, starting in 2009, will immediately start to get better in a lot of incremental, important ways.

Yes, well. (The creative class threw universal health care overboard a long time ago, so that's no surprise.)

But.... This is what the fervor was all about? Incremental changes? Tell me again why people are still so excited about this guy?

Ah well.

All we can do is hope. Or, translated: Hope is all we can do.

I'm not sure I believe that.

NOTE * Oddly, or not, the nature of the Obama campaign does not appear on this list of causal factors.

NOTE One excellent way for Obama to initiate the process of reconciliation wisely recommended by Paul Krugman would be to give some detail.

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hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

Well, he says we're going to be able to smoke pot and have sex. So I guess Obama is not really so against the excesses of the 60's.

I really wonder what was in the air when the World Trade Center came down and how far afield it drifted.

FlipYrWhig's picture
Submitted by FlipYrWhig on

I don't think Obama has specifics in mind (OK, fine, go to the website &c). His campaign is all about making it possible for someone else's specifics to emerge, gathering stakeholders to bargain in good faith [cough], and establishing a consensus _afterwards_. There is no plan. There are, maybe, desiderata. He wants to create a space in which plans can be made later.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

If incremental change is all we can expect, then why shouldn't a dedicated progressive not want to hedge their bets by forcing McCain to the center/left on issues (such as global climate change, LGBT, pro-privacy judges, etc.) where he might actually want to distance himself from the crazies in the Republican party?

As is typical in any contest, we consider only the adjustments we are making and not those of our 'opponent'. We have no clue where McCain will go and only think we know based on past Republican behaviour. I submit that is remarkably self-congratulatory and also unlikely.

How about this for a Rovian ploy? What if we try moving the ball for both sides closer to our side rather than fighting it on their side (seems only one Democratic candidate for President has this as a game plan).


Good night and good riddance!

dotcommodity's picture
Submitted by dotcommodity on

here - What Should Superdelegate Al Gore Do?

There is a reason why the dark side is pushing him. He is a perfect puppet, like that other unity fascist puppet we just had. Back when I wrote at dailykos I still thought he was just an innocent making mistakes, like on the advisability of running our
cars on coal fumes I know different. This is real evil being perpetrated on this nation.

MOBlue's picture
Submitted by MOBlue on

That article is devoid of what type of incremental changes I can expect. It basically only says that whatever they are they will be good. How do I know this is true?

Seems like Obama has ambitious plans to consolidate all money under his brand and eliminate funding to outside activists groups. He has big plans on how to get the DNC under his control from what I've read. He has spent time on plans that are a definite benefit to Obama.

What exactly are the benefits that people in the U.S. can expect? Maybe the OFB are willing give their all and ask nothing in return but I am not. No faith based initiative for me. Thank you very much.

Submitted by hipparchia on

[we're going to start miniature golf now?]

well, both the remaining candidates are all about incrementalism, but dude! it's way more fun to go to rock concerts than it is to stay home and do your homework.

my prediction: the details will magickally appear and they will be edwards' or clintons' [she didn't come up with a lot of details either until edwards put forth his], with liberal dashes from liebman, goolsbee, et al.

if we end up with a president obama, the increments aren't always going to to the left, either, unless we have an alert, left-leaning congress with backbone [something i'm not sanguine about].

sure, he's not going to privatize social security, but have you seen his retirement plan?

Create Automatic Workplace Pensions: Obama's retirement security plan will automatically enroll workers in a workplace pension plan. Under his plan, employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan, will be required to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit IRA account that is compatible to existing direct-deposit payroll systems. Employees may opt-out if they choose. Experts estimate that this program will increase the savings participation rate for low and middle-income workers from its current 15 percent level to around 80 percent.

[i read their websites so y'all don't have to] we're all going to be propping up the stock market -- playground of the wealthy -- with our measly mite, unless we actively opt out. this from a man who opposes individual mandates on health insurance.

as for supreme court justices, we sure as hell cannot let mccain get his hands on those appointments, but i worry about obama's choices. he won't actively seek to overturn roe v wade but speaking of diminutives, have you seen his stand on abortion? it's a choice to be left up to the woman, her doctor, her family, and her pastor. that coupled with the prominence that 'faith' has in his campaign and on his website suggests that he might lean toward religious [and ooh! just by coincidence! socially [read sexually] conservative] judges.

it's too bad that examination of obama's faith stopped at god damn america. that particular sermon is full of a lot of political truths that we should all be listening to, but nobody ever got around to them. i'm convinced that wright's press club appearance after that was a boon for obama, and probably a purposeful one at that, drawing all the negative attention to wright and away from obama.

the basic tenet of black liberation theology, viewing the suffering of biblical characters through the experience of being former slaves, strikes me as sound one actually, for anyone who professes to christianity, but black theology also contains, to a lesser extent perhaps, strong antipathy to both abortion and homosexuality, which explains his past careful actions on abortions and gay rights, and perhaps will inform his future actions as well. i'm not advocating that the democrats become the party of libertinism along with liberalism, but i do think we're staring into the face of a party where your moral worth is going to determine your economic success.

at least it's a change from the republican party, where your economic success determines your moral worth.

speaking of economic success, an examination of his record in the illinos senate suggests he'll be on the side of corporations, wresting perhaps some tokens from them to give to the little people. voluntary reporting of radioactive leaks, anyone? and yeah, that universal health care worked out good too.

his civil rights success seems to be in the realm of blacks vs the police state, which is a hugely important direction, and perhaps he's done more on race relations too [i hope so] but the cosby-esque you've got to stop eating popeye's fried chicken alarms me, going back, vaguely, to that whole morally worthy thing.

so paradox is having second thoughts eh? too bad the critical examination of the less glamorous stuff couldn't have come earlier in the process. speaking of process,

It can be credibly argued that great change over a wide policy swath is impossible, no person or country is capable of it, so the small moves of incremental change are what one should expect

seems kind of disingenuous, given the civil rights era. of course that kind of change is accompanied by [or accompanies] social unrest and turmoil, something we're to be afraid of nowadays. that was so dfh, man.

i didn't mean to get this carried away, but hey, absent details all we can do is speculate, huh? also, i really do not want to give up any of my expectations.

Submitted by lambert on

The rich need their commissions, especially after the subprime debacle. It's every American's duty to do their part!

I'd always wondered what Obama meant by "retirement security" -- now I know. Why not just put the money into Social Security, or at least allow that as an option?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by hipparchia on

the poor need their crumbs! and every time you kill one of us, you lose 5000 ce----oh wait... every time you kill 5000 of us, you lose 1 ceo!

coming up with ways for people to save money, and invest it, and being able to leave it to their children if they die before spending it all are all good arguments, and they're a path out of poverty, and putting your money into social security means you don't get to put it to use buiding your own wealth. the unfortunate part is that when the stock market crashes, the truly wealthy have resources to fall back on, while the poor, and frequently the middle, get wiped out.

it could work if the stock market were very heavily regulated. for-profit insurance can work if it's heavily-regulated too [germany, swizerland], but i don't see any mention of regulations with teeth anywhere, on either issue. i admit i haven't waded all the way through obama's site yet.

the founding fathers weren't stupid about checks and balances. markets, like governments, work just fine when you have adequate and well-trained watchdogs. republicans and libertarians and some centrists and independents will sometimes agree to cute puppies but never rottweilers in the watchdog roles.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

Most politically active people sooner or later come to the conclusion that inertia in our society and our politics is difficult to overcome, barring a catastrophe of some sort. The longer one is involved in politics, the more cautious and pragmatic one tends to become. Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama at least understand the dynamics of incrementalism - that's a big reason they are where they are. Instead of substantial change, we get a death struggle between two technocrats.

If the Democratic Party was really interested in significant change, the nominating process would be more hospitable to someone like Dennis Kucinich. As for the American people, we won't see the changes we want until we learn to stop waiting on the politicians to do things and start doing them ourselves.

...for the rest of us