Monday, October 18, 2010

A Lose-Lose Situation

Professional Leftist Paul Krugman quotes himself:
We’ll never know how differently the politics would have played if Obama, instead of systematically echoing and giving credibility to all the arguments of the people who want to destroy him, had actually stood up for a different economic philosophy. But we do know how his actual strategy has worked, and it hasn’t been a success.
I've been harshly critical of Obama on many occasions and I'm not likely to stop any time soon. But it might not be inappropriate to mention that on one level I never wanted him to fail. That's the level where success is measured by (for example) getting the US out of the economic hole it's in, bringing our armed forces home and letting innocent people abroad go on living unscathed by drone missiles. If success is measured instead solely by keeping the Democrats in control of Congress and Obama in the Oval Office while pursuing destructive policies, I could hardly give less of a shit. Of course Obama and the Dems would like us to believe that things can't get better without them in the driver's seat. But as Krugman says, Obama's "actual strategy ... hasn't been a success," either in making things better for most people or, it seems, in maintaining Democratic political hegemony. So I guess the question to ask someone who accuses someone else of 'wanting Obama to fail' is "Fail at what?" If his goal is to give us a third Bush term, then he ought to fail; unfortunately, he seems to be succeeding. But Bush's policies failed for him, and they're failing for Obama -- and for the rest of us.

By the way, Gore Vidal recently lamented that Obama is "incompetent. He will be defeated for re-election. It’s a pity because he’s the first intellectual president we’ve had in many years, but he can’t hack it. He’s not up to it. He’s overwhelmed." So much for intellectuals! Vidal should have read more of Noam Chomsky on intellectuals and the state, but I think he seriously overrated Obama's intellectual prowess.