Friday, April 24, 2009

"Bipartisanship" versus Governance

One can never be quite certain that Obama isn’t “faking right” so that he can be in position to do the right thing. But with each passing day, it seems more likely that he isn’t faking: that he’s a go-with-the-flow “centrist” to his core. That’s why he backed down, sort of, on his bipartisan determination to “look to the future” by not prosecuting Bush administration war criminals. But, of course, in this matter, nothing is yet settled -- he could still backslide. For justice to be done, pressure from believers in the rule of law must be relentless. Otherwise, it is sure as can be that Obama will again veer off course.

Sadly, this change of heart is the only inkling of victory to date. In all other matters of consequence, Obama’s reckless bipartisanship is leading to disaster. The title of William Grieder’s latest, “Testicular Politics: Obama is Getting Punked By the Big Dogs of Banking, Does He Have the Balls to Do What’s Right?” gets it right. The same thing is happening in foreign policy. To cite just the most egregious recent example, it is reported that the new extreme right-racist government of Israel wants to take the two state solution off the table unless the U.S. comes around to its view on Iran. This is chutzpah on steroids; in a better possible world, it would embarrass even the likes of Alan Dershowitz. Well, maybe not him, but anyone a shade more decent and less ethno-centric. But Israel could get away with it – if Obama doesn’t have the balls. In this case, in addition to everything else, Obama would have to stand up to his own party in Congress – as recent events concerning Jane Harman, doyenne of the Lesser Evil Party’s right wing, and the ostensibly liberal Nancy Pelosi, aka the Whore of AIPAC, illustrate.

Then, there’s health care. If Republican obstinacy doesn’t derail Obama’s efforts to go bipartisan, he’ll have succeeded not only in marginalizing the single-payer alternative, but in sacrificing universal coverage too. The “partisan” Democratic plan, if true to its word, would at least make public coverage (the same available to federal employees and members of Congress) available to anyone who chooses it. That should put the kaybosh on private insurance in short order. [To keep the Democrats relatively honest on this score, proponents of the Obama plan should be asked at every opportunity just what they think private for-profit insurers contribute to health care. Let Max Baucus and Company wriggle out of that one!] The Clintons set the cause back a generation by not having the balls to take on the private insurers and Big Pharma from the getgo. If Obama is permitted to go bipartisan on this one, that unhappy outcome could happen again.

It all comes down to this: “bipartisanship” or governance. It’s not too late for an enraged citizenry to push Obama and his “team” away from the snare and delusion they are inclined to favor. Obama’s (possible) change of course on prosecuting Bush era criminality proves that. But it won’t be easy – particularly with Congressional Democrats, a few brave souls excepted, dragging everything within their grasp to the right.

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