Saturday, September 28, 2013

Do We Have His Back?

You know what it means, don't you, when President Obama announces (and his fans echo him) that this time the gloves are off, he's through putting up with these Republican obstructionists, there will be no prisoners and no negotiations!!!!!!   It means that he's busy preparing to cave in and give his opponents what they want.  Not that it makes much difference, since as Whatever It Is I'm Against It put it (via) so pithily, "It's pretty much always Obama's working assumption that he will lose any fight.  And then, funnily enough, he does."

Last night I said as much, when an old friend linked to this story on Facebook and declared stoutly, "In this I am fully behind the President."  He replied that I'm "so cynical," and then expanded on that theme, in tropes taken wholesale from inspirational memes:
Cynicism is the easy way out, even lazy. True, cynicism is born out of frustration but hope can lead to greater things. Cynicism is always a dead end.
I won't bother debating whether I'm cynical; of course I am.  But I'm also being fully realistic, based on Obama's past performance; he's been depressingly consistent.  And as I asked my friend, is it "cynical" to point to the Republicans' record?  My friend, like most of the Obama apologists I know, loves liberal-site memes that compare the GOP's performance to the Democrats'; often the comparisons are even accurate.  But his own team is off-limits: you must judge them by their pretty talk and their promises, not by their deeds.  And that, I would argue, is real cynicism, given Obama's record of the past several years, including his time in the Senate.

I'd also argue that the function and the purpose of my friend's rhetoric, which he gets from the Obama organization (borrowed from time-dishonored party politics), is to prevent "greater things" from being aspired to, sought, organized for, demanded, fought for.  We are supposed to allow ourselves to want only what President Obama, Blessed Be He, is willing to give us.  If he fails to deliver even that, as has generally been the case, it's always someone else's fault: the GOP obstructionists, the Professional Left, those of his base who sat at home instead of mobilizing themselves in his support.  This line is finally wearing thin, thanks to Obama's sheer mean-spirited excess: the NSA revelations, the warmongering about Syria.

But who knows?  I might be wrong this time.  I wouldn't mind in the least if I were, though what Obama actually wants is not necessarily a good thing.  He still wants to cut Social Security benefits, for example, and in keeping with the non-existent recommendations of his Bowles-Simpson commission he wants to cut "the deficit" even more, as long as only social programs are gutted.