Sunday, March 14, 2010

No One Could Have Foreseen that Spring Is Icumen In

... and already I've made the first sighting of a Democrat trying to defend his President in amusingly familiar terms:
This was at a time when we had every reason to believe that Obama would support Medicare for all, would withdraw troops from Iraq, would end discrimination in the military, would support a strong jobs bills, would hold the banks accountable, would not torture, and so on. He is not an awful president, just not the caliber of leader we need for a time of crisis.
The Democrat is Charles II, commenting on a post at the Sideshow. (I don't know if I've actually managed to track down a permalink for his comment there. Woe, woe, to the purveyors of JS-Kit software! A lake of fire and sharp-toothed demons await their toes.) He and I have differed in the past. The time he's referring to is the Democratic Primary season of 2008. Quite apart from the falsehood of his basic claim, which was ably shown by the commenter vastleft before I even got to Charles's original comment, I was struck by Charles's deployment of a version of the "No one could have foreseen ..." line that we've heard so often in the past couple of years from pundits and apologists for power.

No one could have foreseen
that Saddam didn't have WMDs.
No one could have foreseen
that the levees would break when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.
No one could have foreseen that the US invasion of Iraq would lead to civil war, chaos, endless US occupation.
No one could have foreseen
that deregulation of banking and finance would lead to abuses.
No one could have foreseen that the stock market would collapse in the late summer of 2008.

And so on. Except that many did foresee, but they don't count, because all they care about is ideological purity. What counts is being willing to get your hands dirty in the service of hegemonic pragmatism, not fussing over a few hundred thousand human lives.

And then there's the guy, another perennial Obama hasbarista, who rebuts with "Avedon, if Al Gore had won in 2000 things would have turned out differently. Nuff said." There's a realist for you.