Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Having humiliated and marginalized the core constituencies of the Democratic Party in his first term, Barack Obama calls upon these same groups to give him four more years. For most, it would be difficult to even find the words to refuse. The president's essential conservatism, masquerading as consensus-building and bipartisanship, has helped move “the parameters of the national political conversation to a narrow spectrum, that goes from Obama, the corporate, center-right Democrat, to the Tea Party, the corporate-financed white nationalists.” Left Democrats are wholly adrift.
After Years of Abuse, Obama Now Woos Democratic Base
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“Who has Obama NOT betrayed, in the traditional Democratic base?”
It has begun. Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign saw union workers in Detroit, a large proportion of them Black, spending their Labor Day chanting “Four More Years!” after four of the worst years in African American history, from an economic standpoint. Barack Obama has been a prime shaper of events for the last three of those years, since October 2008, when he singlehandedly saved George Bush’s bank bailout, after it had initially been defeated. Obama then assembled an economic team comprised of the same people that had set the stage for the meltdown, less than a decade before.
He spent the first year of his presidency making health care safe for the drug racketeers and private insurers, through backroom deals that froze out members of Congress most friendly to Blacks and labor, the Democratic Party’s core constituencies.
Within a year, the left wing of the Democratic Party was beaten down, demoralized and isolated at the hands of the First Black President. From then on, the parameters of the national political conversation were confined to a narrow spectrum, that went from Obama, the corporate, center-right Democrat, to the Tea Party, the corporate-financed white nationalists. Nothing favorable to Blacks or labor could possibly emerge from such a toxic political mix. But it was a mix of Obama's making. This was Obama-Brew, and he was the bartender through two years when the Democrats, with a congressional majority, were encouraged by their president to behave as if the Republicans were in charge. In 2010, the Republicans did take charge in the House, and it was as if they had seized the entire government.
“In the second year, he dropped even the pretense that jobs were a top priority.”
There was no push for a national jobs program in Obama’s first year, despite good chances for passage, because Obama did not want one. Labor’s most sought-after legislation, the card-check bill that might reverse the steady decline in union membership, got nowhere in the Democratic Congress, because Obama did not support it. Then, in the second year, he dropped even the pretense that jobs were a top priority, and began shouting like a Republican banshee about deficits and the need for “austerity.”
Blacks saw their futures flushed down the toilet while Obama dismissed them with nonsense about fictitious rising tides. Latinos, whose growing numbers are shaping America’s future, watched while the Democrat that two-thirds of them voted for deported more immigrants than his Republican predecessor.
Who has Obama NOT betrayed, in the traditional Democratic base? The environmentalists got their education in Obamaism last week, when the president made the executive decision to stick with George Bush’s pollution standards, to great applause from big business.
For those who were looking for a president who would stand up to Wall Street and the Pentagon, Obama has been a dismal failure. But for those on the Right whose mission in life is to utterly smash the power of Blacks and unions, Obama has been a godsend.
The Democratic base, to the extent that it votes, will vote for Obama in 2012, seeing him as the “lesser of evils.” But he is, in fact, the “more effective evil,” having done more damage to Democratic core constituencies than any Republican could dream of.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]