Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Ordinary Team of Rivals

The latest revelations that President-elect Obama has been reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's recent biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals, left me somewhat puzzled. He's reading the right author but the wrong book. The book he should be reading is her biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, No Ordinary Time. Like FDR, Obama will be entering office facing what can only be described as an economic catastrophe. And as the American people looked toward Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a renewed sense of hope and expectation, Barack Obama's election has a large part of this troubled country feeling the sort of hope that they have not known in decades.
First of all, as tricky Dick Nixon used to say, let me make one thing perfectly clear: The economy has never been one of my better subjects. My knowledge is, at best, remedial. But this I know to be an absolute truth; it is so Economics 101 as to almost be trite:
As goes the middle and working classes, so goes the nation.
This is something the extreme Right Wing has never been able to understand. The actions of the Bush White House to the current economic meltdown is all the proof you need to establish that fact. The economy is collapsing? No problemo, muchacho! Just pump America's treasure (or what's left of it) into the coffers of the two percent of the people who control over three quarters of the nation's wealth - not the people who are gong to spend it and pump it back into the economy - but the ones who will merely hoard it. Now that makes perfect sense! I need a drink.
Here's what's happening: The plutocracy is in the process of looting our national treasure. This has actually been going on since the day Bush took office eight years ago this January 20. They're now making the final assault. If you think the situation President Obama will face is a mess now, Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait. As bad as things are now, it's nothing compared to what it will be come Inauguration Day.
Consider this: Most large retail businesses operate all year long in the red. It is the Christmas shopping season they depend on to put them back in the black - and that's just not going to happen this year - COUNT ON IT. The holiday season of 2008 is unlike any other in over three-quarters of a century. The most wonderful time of the year? Not this year, Santa! People are hurting in 2008 - Hurting badly. They're not going to go out and piss away seventy percent of their pay checks on presents and flub dubs. They need to survive. You just wait and see how many businesses fold after the new year. It ain't gonna be pretty, Bubbah!
The children were nestled
All snug in their beds
While visions of poverty
Stomped on their heads
As bad as things are now, Barack Obama's first day in office is almost certain to find them much worse. The most disconcerting thing about his proposed cabinet is the make up of it. All of these damned Clintonistas! I don't know about you, but that's not necessarily the kind of change I can believe in. I changed my political registration a decade ago from Democrat to Green - and Bill and Hillary Clinton were my primary reasons for doing so. The one thing that can be said in their favor is that the presence of so many Clinton people in the new administration will at least guarantee a good degree of hands-on, government experience. Let's hope they don't blow it.
Clinton was, in many ways, a good and competent chief-executive. He was certainly head over heels better than the asshole whose term of office is about to mercifully end, that's for damned sure. But President Clinton's major sin, as far as yours truly is concerned, is the fact that he and his once-great party forgot that they were the party of Franklin Roosevelt. He didn't put a stop to the GOP's assault on the New Deal that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, but merely passively enabled it. One can only hope - indeed one can fervently pray - that the Clinton people have learned a lesson from their errors of the past. It's the only hope we have.
Barack Obama would do himself a big favor by having a look at Ms. Goodwin's other book. If you listen to the recorded speeches President Roosevelt made all those many years ago - his inaugural address and his famous Fireside Chats - the phrase that keeps popping up is, "Action, NOW". Some of the action he and his Brain Trust took was bold and experimental. Some of it was unsuccessful. But he saved this country by "tempering the excesses" of capitalism.
Don't listen to the half-witted revisionists on the Far Right. Their historical talking points have always been that Roosevelt's entire administration was a failure; that his policies actually made the economic situation worse and prolonged the Depression; that he knew the Japanese were about to invade Pearl Harbor and he allowed it to happen - it's all nonsense. If there is a president that Obama will do well to emulate, it is not by any means Abraham Lincoln - great president though he no doubt was. The situation the Great Emancipator faced, as serious as it was, was totally different than the one facing FDR - and Barack Obama.
Nobody survives from the Roosevelt administration to act as technical advisor so Obama and his people will need to rely on a careful study of the historical record. That is not to say they should parrot the New Deal note by note. Obama needn't get a pair of prince nez spectacles or restart his former smoking habit with a cigarette holder. While there are many differences between 1933 and today, there are also a good deal of ominous similarities. They should carefully pick and choose what may be applicable for modern times and what may not be. Their best mode of operation? They should be bold but thoughtful; careful but fearless The only thing they have to fear is....well, you get the idea.
Will the Obama Administration be successful? His chances of success are about as good as Jimmy Carter's were thirty-two years ago. What the people who love to disparage his reputation always conveniently omit from their tirades is that Carter inherited a disastrous economy from the Nixon/Ford years. Instead of making delicious lemonade out of the bag of nasty tasting lemons he was handed, he whipped up a pitcher of donkey piss. The biggest challenge Barack Obama faces will be how he responds to the current crisis. Of this we may be certain: He will be so much more able, responsible and competent than George W. Bush, even his failures (and there will be some) will seem like successes.
When the sun rises on the morning of January 21, 2009, his first full day as president of the United States of America, no other human being on the planet will be shouldering a greater burden than President Obama. No American president since Franklin Roosevelt has had bigger man-made obstacles to overcome.
I sure as hell don't envy the guy.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Did you happen to catch FDR's grandson, Curtis Roosevelt's lecture at Hyde Park on C-SPAN 2 last weekend? It was taped on November 9 and will probably be repeated in the future. I was the questioner who asked him to speculate (and it was only speculation, mind you) what his grandparents might have thought about the current president. Lovely man. He signed his latest book for me afterwards.
In fifty-five days this disgusting administration will be history! Cant'cha just feel the change??? CAN I GET A WITNESS???


At 10:08 AM, Blogger Katy said...

I'm thinking that since Obama has, you know, a BRAIN, maybe he's already read the FDR bio? Or it's next on his nightstand reading pile?

I just love listening to complete sentences by a president who reads books and can think on a higher level than a 10 year old. Can't wait for the press conference today.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Yes, Katy. My biggest problem is the fact that it's going to be hard as hell to find satire in the Obama administration. With Bush it has literally been the gift that keeps giving.

....and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and....

Tom Degan

At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom , Obama is already on the wrong path. There's a good article that you should read : " Obama’s odious entourage "
By Eric Walberg
Nov 27, 2008

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

A portion of Eugene Robinson's column from this morning's (27 Nov. 2008) Washington Post gives me, at least, some pause...

"Whether you voted for Obama or not, it's hard to watch this crisply orchestrated transition and doubt that the president-elect both understands and relishes the great possibility of the moment. That doesn't mean he'll succeed, and it certainly doesn't mean he won't make mistakes. It means he has big ideas and big plans -- right or wrong -- and I think most people know intuitively that this is no time for small."

We're on the cusp of something much bigger than us, individually, and it will require the utmost of sacrifice and cooperation to fulfill. I just hope, as President-elect Obama alluded to yesterday, that this is the beginning of putting "government back in the hands of the people it serves." If he can achieve this, the possibilities are endless.

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another article worth reading:
The Obama "Dream Team":
Rubin-clones And Other Fakers
By Mike Whitney
November 27, 2008 "Information Clearinghouse"
It's for those who think that actions speak louder than words.

At 1:52 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...


I read the article, Obama's Odious Entourage. It is a very good article and brings up some of my own concerns with having chosen Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State (She of the "We will annihilate Iran. . " fame).

I found the article's take on Rahm Emanuel interesting, however, isn't the current Secretary of Homeland Security also a dual-citizen who fought for a foreign nation?

I was unhappy with Obama kowtowing to AIPAC, which made Wolf Blitzer possitively giddy, when off camera, but makes me extremely wary of the pro-Zionist agenda constantly promoted by US foreign policy of continuing to throw money at Israel with them making no concessions and yet enabling them to take and compromise the civil and human rights of others'.

Obama has his hands full. I think he could have chosen a less "war-god" Secretary of State than Hillary Clinton, surely their must be a more objective candidate? Or was. . .

People bitch and moan about the "offshoring of jobs" and yet few, if any, know that we gave $1,100,029,000 Million to Israel in the same type of "loans" Wall Street is being bailed out with, with one unwritten proviso, we don't expect or even attempt to receive loan payments.

The US is giving HUGE amounts of money in aid to Israel and yet, The State of Israel was sanctioned by the USA for selling advanced military equpment and technology to CHINA?!

A Google search for "US funds to Israel in 2007" presented pages of money transfers from the USA to one of the richest countries in the Mid-East. Then that leads me to thinking "Why are they?"

The USA gives that money for "Defense." Who gets to define defence over criminal activity (Lebannon 2006) doesn't seem to have kept the Bush Administration from losing anymore sleep than it did when doling out the 2% of the country club set that can get camera time at the snap of a finger, while the real victims suffer in silence; watching their money go to help a guy buy another $1,500 Hermes tie. Tsk tsk tsk. . .

What kind of uproar would result if these "victims," Wall Street, AIG, GM and Israel took responsibility for their futures and fates?

As one of my favorite scholars,
(On the *HATE* list of Alan Dershowitz-->which if he wasn't Jewish could make him a cadidate for Beatification, in my books) often states,

"The victim is always morally superior."

We just kept getting suckered on who the REAL VICTIMS are by the glitz of those who can buy the "optics" and face time in the media.

Obama better reign in the Zionists in his group lest he lose all the respect he has garnered from around the world for the hope of change being on the horizon. OR, we could get Israel to erase their censors by the UN, if they accept, as the UN Security Council did, to accept UN Resolutions 242, 332, and return to their 1949 boundaries.

I don't think their is much hope for that though when Israel's Foreign Affairs Minister reduced all the death, destruction, and trauma of hundred of thousand traumatized by the attacks throughout Mumbei, to one line,"They are out to get Jews!"

The victim is always morally superier, the greatest need is to determine who are the **REAL VICTIMS**?

I think there will be only *clear skies* when the USA (cuts all money to Israel)and stops kowtowing to the nature and towards the policics driven by AIPAC.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home