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Simple answers to simple questions


What Krugman is asking, what I have asked for over a year, what anyone who actually listened to what Obama said should have been asking, is whether Obama is capable of mobilizing the power of the state for the benefit of the citizens in a way that actually forces an unwelcome outcome onto an unwilling power player.

I don't see a question mark, but I'll treat this as if it were a question:


Or, to be charitable, "not yet" (See under Chess, 11 Dimensions Of).


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TreeHugger's picture
Submitted by TreeHugger on

Why is anyone asking that question when Obama has not evidenced any INTEREST in actually DOING what benefits citizens?

He sees his role as floating above all that ugly partisanship and power politics on the ethereal wings of his....teleprompters. It's still all about HOPE, don'cha know?

When I send emails to friends with contents liberally cut and pasted from reality based sources documenting Obama's actions contradicting his soaring rhetoric, they usually reply with one sentence amounting to the "hope" he will do the right thing.

This past week the Village has coalesced on the talking point that Obama is simply evidencing the typical new president's transition to the 'hard work' of governing and moving away from campaign positions toward the center. Funny, I don't recall Republican presidents moving to the center.

If I were inclined to be charitable, which I am not, I suppose I could argue that you have to govern with the conservative democrats and senate leader you have, not those you wish you had.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i think treehugger is a bit closer to the right question: is he willing to mobilize the power of the state for the benefit of the citizens in a way that actually forces an unwelcome outcome onto an unwilling power player.

i think obama does care about the little people [that's my bit of charitableness], but i think he truly believes [1] all that crap about nudges and personal responsibility and whatever other pseudo-ideas the pseudo-intellectuals at the univ of chicago filled his head with; [2] making the ruling class uncomfortable, taking away some of their power and giving it to the least powerful classes, is the wrong way to go about things, and that the right way to go about things is to leave the lower class you're in [by working hard, staying in school, etc].

personal responsibility? the popeyes fried chicken crack, his fathers day speech last year, i'm sure there are others i could think of.

nudges? the more explicit wording about automatic enrollment into some kind of 401k-type plan at work, that you have to actively opt out of, has been changed on the website, but i doubt that his ideas on this have changed.

i applaud like crazy his willingness to try to fix education [he really does care about kids], but ultimately he seems to see education mot just as kids' tickets to a future, but their only ticket to a future, nor does he seem to realize just how much govt will need to be involved on the other end -- making sure there are good jobs for those educated kids [and good jobs for the ones who don't want to become intellectuals too]. apparently magickally, all kids will become smart, and jobs for them will be there as a result of their getting a degree.

like ian welsh said somewhere in comments here the other day, obama is conciliatory. his work in the illinois senate on health care and nuclear power regulation convinced me that he sees doing things in small, non-upsetting increments is his philosophy. his present health care expansion plans mirror this: he's willing to put a sizeable chunk of money [though nothing like the bankster bailouts] into the budget up front to extend insurance to as many poor people as possible [he cares about them], but isn't willing to stick his neck out for single payer [that would be actually taking some power away from the financial elite and giving it little people].

i don't even want to get into his govt can't solve all problems and his expansion of the faith-based initiatives program. again, his heart's in the right place [the church has historically been the only entity that blacks could turn to for social services] but his execution is lousy [on a nationwide scale, only govt can fix these problems for real].

oh yeah, there's also that public-private partnership outlook he's had for what seems to be some time now. looked good on paper....

sasq -- yes, i think he's more than capable of mobilizing power to get done what he wants to get done.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I think he ideas about education maybe his worst. Read the teacher blogs from Chicago and you will understand the sort of disaster capitalism privatization Obama is advocating.

Submitted by hipparchia on

could dance on the head of a pin alongside the angels. which is to say that i know zilch about education. but i can do math: public schools, private schools, the private school where obama's kids go now.

i can see why obama is short-sightedly in favor of privatization. sure would be nice if all kids could $30,000/year educations. unfortunately turning the capitalist vultures loose to prey on the public school system is a far cry from sending your kids to sidwell friends.