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In the fall of 2000, during an interview with Teresa Welch, a senior editor for the Austin Ledger, George W. Bush incurred the wrath of mainstream Republicans by making an off-the-cuff remark that seemed to support liberal policies. When asked by Welch if the candidate’s privileged upbringing limited his ability to represent the needs of minorities and middle class voters, Bush said he had always admired the success of Lyndon Johnson’s signature social program, The Great Society….

Uhmm. Actually, that never happened.

I conflated an imaginary interview, conducted by a fictitious senior editor from the Austin Ledger, with a true event that occurred in 2008.

The real story went like this:

LAS VEGAS By Shailagh Murray -- They've argued health care, free trade, immigration reform. Yucca Mountain? Been there, done that. But here's a debate no one saw coming in the Democratic primary: the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Sen. Barack Obama opened the door when he said the following in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal:

I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

When viewed in context, the statement seemed innocuous, albeit insensitive to the members of the Democratic base. And even though many of Obama’s supporters quickly asserted that the real message was about transformation, not about something as nefarious as supporting Republican ideals, the underlying message was a very clear repudiation of liberal policies, described as “excesses of the 1960s and 1970s.” For the millions of progressives who had contributed time and money to assist the Illinois Senator in achieving his bid for the White House, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

Robert Parry:

However, his comments went beyond simply noting a fact. Obama portrayed Reagan as a leader who carried out a necessary mid-course correction for the United States and helped restore a spirit of dynamism

In this attempt to position himself as some post-partisan leader able to praise the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan, there was a troubling mix of naiveté and opportunism. In truth, real accountability was never part of Reaganism.

That slight of hand, the ability to integrate incongruent messages into campaign rhetoric, has been Obama’s trademark, a tactic that he used successfully in 2008 to pull off one of the most deceitful political coups in American history. More than any other politician in recent memory, Obama understood the power of the spoken word. And he used carefully crafted words, mirroring traditional Democratic values, to convince progressives that his administration would reverse 30 years of damage caused by conservative influence.

But five years into his presidency, it’s easy to see that his campaign promises were meant to hide his true political agenda.

When it became clear that he was a neo-liberal, and not the liberal that he portrayed, it was easy to recognize the deceitful methods that he has used to promote his objectives. For example, when he wants to introduce an unpopular policy, he gives an inspiring, eloquent speech that seems to support progressive ideals, and then he quietly sets in motion the new policy, which is usually the opposite of what he has promised during the speech. And then he supplies his followers with talking points to obfuscate and spin the intent of his actions  

That type of obfuscation is a standard method used by neo-liberals to accomplish political goals. In fact, Obama’s presidency could have been taken straight from the pages of the neo-liberal playbook.

Neo-liberals in action.

After helping repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, Bill Clinton said this:

“Removal of barriers to competition will enhance the stability of our financial services system.”

Removing those barriers did exactly the opposite.

And Barack Obama brought back to the top ranks of economic policy-making the very people who had advised Clinton to support financial deregulation. – Paul Starr

Neo-liberalism is one of the most morally and ethically bankrupt political movements in American history. It simply achieves its objectives by means of deceit.

The Washington Examiner

President Obama has hired more than 100 lobbyists in his administration, a new academic study reports. This doesn't match Obama's campaign promise to exclude lobbyists, or his pretenses of having kept that promise.

"President Obama's public rhetoric on contact with lobbyists does not always accord with his private actions," lobbying scholar Conor McGrath writes in the latest issue of the Journal of Public Affairs.

Noam Chomsky defined neoliberalism this way:
Neo-liberalism refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit. Associated initially with Reagan and Thatcher, neoliberalism has for the past two decades been the dominant global political economic trend adopted by political parties of the center, much of the traditional left, and the right. These parties and the policies they enact represent the immediate interests of extremely wealthy investors and less than one thousand large corporations.

Aside from some academics and members of the business community, the term neoliberalism is largely unknown and unused by the public at large, especially in the United States. (Did you know there is an anti-neoliberalism movement being conducted worldwide?) There, to the contrary, neoliberal initiatives are characterized as free market policies that encourage private enterprise and consumer choice, reward personal responsibility and entrepreneurial initiative, and undermine the dead hand of the incompetent, bureaucratic, and parasitic government, which can never do good (even when well intentioned, which it rarely is).

The economic consequences of these policies have been the same just about everywhere, and exactly what one would expect: a massive increase in social and economic inequality, a marked increase in severe deprivation for the poorest nations and peoples of the world, a disastrous global environment, an unstable global economy, and an unprecedented bonanza for the wealthy.

The Reno Gazette-Journal interview, mentioned earlier in this article, provided the first hint that Obama’s true inclination was to support conservative policies. And throughout his presidency he has stayed true to the neo-liberal ideals described by Chomsky. Even worse, his policies have produced the exact consequences that Chomsky chronicled:
The economic consequences of these policies have been the same just about everywhere, and exactly what one would expect: a massive increase in social and economic inequality, a marked increase in severe deprivation for the poorest nations and peoples of the world, a disastrous global environment, an unstable global economy, and an unprecedented bonanza for the wealthy.
Noam Chomsky was prescient when he posted that warning in 1999.

When you view Obama’s presidency in its entirety – his words, his actions, and the fruits of his labor -- what you see is a pattern of anti-progressive, pro-conservative policies and actions that belie White House’s talking points.

The term “free markets” – an economic philosophy championed by this president and the Reaganites – is viewed by neo-liberals as the freedom to commit financial crimes without accountability, and certainly, under Obama’s leadership, the corporate criminals who caused the largest global crisis in history have been free from accountability and prosecution. To understand why this administration has not prosecuted one single Wall Street criminal, you must first identify the group of people who have demanded Obama’s loyalty:

These parties and the policies they enact represent the immediate interests of extremely wealthy investors and less than one thousand large corporations.

And Obama has protected them well.

Keith Olberman

There, in a nutshell, is this Administration. They didn't make a bad deal. We just don't understand it. Just as it was our fault, Mr. President, for not understanding your refusal of even the most perfunctory of investigations of rendition or domestic spying, or the other crimes of the Bush Administration, or why you have now established for those future administrations who want to repeat those crimes, that the punishment for them will be nothing.

But Obama’s use of crony capitalism to achieve political objectives might be nearing an end.

Very early, in Obama’s presidency, many of us warned that he was leading the Democratic Party over a very steep cliff; that his policies would ultimately cause long-term damage to the Democratic brand. Now, five years later, those predictions are coming true.

From NBC:

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday puts Obama's ratings at just 41 percent -- "his worst job approval rating in the survey’s history" -- and just above President George W. Bush's rating heading into the 2006 midterms, which cost Republicans the House. The erosion comes mostly among Democrats, a record 20 percent of whom disapprove.
The NBC/WSJ poll also had bad news for Obama's downticket effects this November, finding that 48 percent of voters say they're less likely to back a candidate who supports his administration, compared to 26 percent who say they're more likely to do so. Republicans have a 1-point edge as the party voters would prefer to control Congress -- inside the poll's margin of error but traditionally a sign that Republicans will fare well, according to the pollsters. (Alex Sink is a prime example).

Both NBC/WSJ and Bloomberg find a majority of Americans continuing to disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy.

Chuck Todd:
"Right now, the ingredients are all there for the Republicans to have the year that they're looking for, which is win enough Senate seats to get control," Todd said. "The question is whether the president is gonna stagnate? Can he recover?"
He ticked off a number of possible explanations for the poll's results, and suggested that Obama is "taking more of the hit" than anyone else for what voters view as the country's overall "dysfunction."

There are many factors that could contribute to low voter turnout. Many analysts cite growing alienation among voters. The scandals of the past several decades have engendered a cynicism that has led to a decrease in political interest, particularly among the nation's young voting population. There tends to be a correlation between self-efficacy — or the belief that an individual can actually make a difference — and voting. Some observers believe that the decline in voter turnout indicates that Americans feel less certain that they can have an impact than Americans of the 19th century. (Encouraging people to vote for the lesser of two evils is a tactic that has lost its impact)

Political Trends Point to the End of Neo-liberalism

Political trends are measured by an accepted set of metrics, primarily, education, family values, religion, region, gender, and ethnic background, information that is easily collected and analyzed by professional pollsters. But that type of data is often unreliable because it reflects ‘current’ feelings of the public at large, which is a very liquid measurement at any given time. A more accurate way to identify current changes to the political landscape is to measure saturation points that herald the end of an era or a movement. And every indicator that I am seeing suggests the conservative and neo-liberal movements are no longer viable. They have reached saturation points in each of the following categories:

1.    Political corruption
2.    Influence peddling – including those who are setting issue agendas, and those who are controlling issue debates
3.    Money – points of diminishing returns
4.    Ideas – a dearth of fresh ideas in D.C.
5.    Human suffering – the sheer number of people who have slipped into poverty and who now feel hopeless is staggering
6.    Inequality – financial, and legal
7.    Efficacy of a representative’s constituent’s voice and/or vote. Is the representative even listening to the voices of his/her constituents?
8.    Command of the political dialogue (why have people stopped listening?)
9.    Excitement – the ennui caused by a philosophy, candidate, or movement that has run its/his/her course
10.    Transparency (or lack of transparency)

Also, outliers often hold keys to understanding political trends. The bulk of voters who are much more reluctant to accept change rarely recognize trends as they are happening, even though they are the ones who ultimately must embrace change before it takes hold. At this moment, the trendsetters who are creating the most political buzz are members of the new populist movement, people like Shakira, Kshama Sawant, Gayle McLaughlin, and Elizabeth Warren. You can also include state initiatives like the recent moves to enact single payer healthcare and a public banking system in Vermont. The recent surge in strength of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party in California is notable.

But in regards to the upcoming midterm elections, the political fortunes of the national Democratic Party look grim, primarily because the party has suddenly found itself – as President Obama said about Putin – on the wrong side of history. We have invested too heavily in personal politics and social agendas, while ignoring the plight of the people around us. More than any other reason, we have failed to hold our leaders accountable for their unethical conduct.

Entering the 2014 election cycle, the progressive base is hurting, even to the point of believing that it has lost, or is losing, its identity. The neo-liberal leadership of the Democratic Party has become so corrupt that it’s impossible to separate the rampant, open, widespread, growing, insidiously entrenched and self-staining political corruption (Stephen Pizzo) from political ideals.

Who is winning the political dialogue in D.C.?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After tonight’s special election to represent Florida’s 13th District in Congress, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

“Republican special interest groups poured in millions to hold onto a Republican congressional district that they’ve comfortably held for nearly 60 years. Tonight, Republicans fell short of their normal margin in this district because the agenda they are offering voters has a singular focus - that a majority of voters oppose - repealing the Affordable Care Act that would return us to the same old broken health care system.

The Cook Political Report
Charlie Cook, the editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, noted that Sink was an experienced candidate who previously had run for governor, while Jolly is lobbyist who was a political novice. “The expectation was that it would be close but that she should win,” he said. “The idea that Republicans underperformed in a district that Obama carried twice is laughable.”  He added that it is “extremely rare” for someone to win special election and then lose the general election just a few months later.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s response was so disingenuous that conservatives are now calling her Bagdad Bob. When you see a party’s spokesperson invent explanations that go beyond reason, then you know the party has run out of meaningful words to excuse its failures.

The Populist Movement

When a political party’s ideas no longer command attention, then you know people or movements that actually produce creative solutions can damage the party’s image.

Paul Krugman

So what I wonder is why the president is pushing the T.P.P. at all. The economic case is weak, at best, and his own party doesn’t like it. Why waste time and political capital on this project?

My guess is that we’re looking at a combination of Beltway conventional wisdom — Very Serious People always support entitlement cuts and trade deals — and officials caught in a 1990s time warp, still living in the days when New Democrats tried to prove that they weren’t old-style liberals by going all in for globalization. Whatever the motivations, however, the push for T.P.P. seems almost weirdly out of touch with both economic and political reality.

And when you compare the prevailing opinion about the TPP -- that it is an attack on the American labor force based on 1990’s ideals, and that those ideals, when placed in action, have proven to be devastating to American workers -- then you know the Democratic Party has become bereft of constructive ideas.

Equally disastrous was the response of this administration to the 2008 recession. Obama’s policies have rewarded the criminals who caused the financial collapse, while decimating the lives of millions of people who once belonged to the American middle class. Given the monumental gap in incomes that has occurred during the last five years, it’s easy to understand why the Democrats are losing the war of ideas to members of the international populist movement, especially when you factor in the president’s opinion about who should be held accountable for those crimes. Remember, those crimes didn’t affect just Americans.

International pop superstar Shakira opens charity school in Colombia shanty

By Agence France-Presse

Saturday, March 8, 2014 10:04 EDT

Lomas de Peye residents used to fear that a strong gust of wind from the Caribbean would be enough to knock down their school. Then Shakira came to their aid.
The pop superstar recently traveled to this shanty town in Cartagena, on Colombia's northern coastline, to inaugurate a new 8,000 square meter brick school paid for through her charity foundation.

The $10 million school, built with funds from local and international donors Shakira's own money, includes a football field and enough classrooms for 1,700 students.

Public banking gets off the ground in Vermont
by David Atkins

Last weekend I mentioned in my longish essay on the future of the Left the need for maximalist policy at a local level, including a strong push for public banking such as exists in North Dakota.

Some good news in that vein: 15 Vermont towns have just voted to establish a public bank that will serve the people, not Wall Street.

Richmond, California Defies Wall Street to Help Homeowners

Despite enormous pressure from Wall Street and real estate lobby groups, the Richmond, California City Council voted Tuesday night (actually, after 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning) to take the next step to advance the city's plan to help financially-strapped homeowners, called Richmond CARES.

Compare the anemic response to the housing crisis by the Obama administration (HAMP) to that of a Green Party mayor who has actually produced a creative, low-cost solution.

Other creative solutions include efforts by members of Occupy Wall Street to
construct affordable housing for homeless people, Kshama Sawant’s efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 in Seattle, the state of Vermont’s push to implement single payer healthcare, and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party’s push to end fracking in California.

As the Populist Majority website documents, voters across the political spectrum are seeking "left" solutions. Some examples:

·    73 percent say they are dissatisfied with the current state of the economy.
·    72 percent think the state of our economy is "not so good" or "poor."
·    65 percent think the recovery is weak.
·    81 percent are concerned that their income isn't keeping up with the cost of living. (They're right.)
·    43 percent say employment or "the economy" is our biggest problem.

Richard Eskow

The nation is still in an economic crisis -- a crisis of jobs, social mobility, wages and growth. We need to start focusing more on the lives that are being devastated by this crisis, and less on the artificial crisis of "debt reduction." President Obama's budget does too little, both rhetorically and economically, to address this crisis. At the same time, it contains changes that demonstrate populism's growing power and influence, and it's good to see that the president finally recognizes that the GOP will reject anything he proposes -- even their own ideas.

How should the independent left respond? Unaligned populists and progressives must not lose sight of the need for a more transformative economic vision. The Democratic Party, and especially President Obama's wing of it, must not define the leftmost boundary of political debate. If we are to see a "dream budget," we need to dream bigger than this.

So, why are we facing a midterm election loss to the most unpopular political party in modern U.S. history?

Harry S. Truman:

I’ve seen it happen time after time…The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat…

From Senator Bernie Sanders
[H]e says his political instincts tell him America is ready for a 'political revolution.'"

We are living in the moment in American history where the problems facing the country, even if you do not include climate change, are more severe than at any time since the Great Depression. And if you throw in climate change, they are more severe. So the same old same old [Clinton administration Secretary of the Treasury] Robert Rubin type of economics, or centrist politics, or continued dependence on big money, or unfettered free-trade, that is not what this country needs ideologically. That is not the type of policy that we need. And it is certainly not going to be the politics that galvanizes the tens of millions of people today who are thoroughly alienated and disgusted with the status quo. People are hurting, and it is important for leadership now to explain to them why they are hurting and how we can grow the middle class and reverse the economic decline of so many people. And I don’t think that is the politics of Senator Clinton or the Democratic establishment."

Mike Lofgren:
[In the US] there is now a deep but as yet inchoate hunger for change. What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed.

If you haven’t read the 2012 Democratic Party platform, then it’s worth the time it takes to read the document simply because the mixture of hubris, mythology, and neo-liberal spin that has defined the Democratic Party’s values under Obama’s leadership have no resemblance to the realities that most people are experiencing. Unlike the 1968 Democratic Party platform, which valued human dignity and emphasized correcting injustices (and then developed policies that actually worked), the 2012 platform is nothing more than a long litany of mythological accomplishments that Obama has never attempted. For example:
The President knew from the start that to rebuild true middle class security, we can't just cut our way to prosperity. We must out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the world. We need an economy that creates the jobs of the future and makes things the rest of the world buys—not one built on outsourcing, loopholes, or risky financial deals that jeopardize everyone, especially the middle class.

I guess they forgot about the TPP.

Or this:

The Republican Party has turned its back on the middle class Americans who built this country. Our opponents believe we should go back to the top-down economic policies of the last decade. They think that if we simply eliminate protections for families and consumers, let Wall Street write its own rules again, and cut taxes for the wealthiest, the market will solve all our problems on its own. They argue that if we help corporations and wealthy investors maximize their profits by whatever means necessary, whether through layoffs or outsourcing, it will automatically translate into jobs and prosperity that benefits us all…
If you substitute the words “The Obama administration” for the words “The Republican Party,” then you have described the events of the last five years.

Consider the new financial records set during Obama’s presidency:

The largest income inequality in U.S. history
Unions have been thinned to the lowest level in U.S. history
Largest number of deportations
Largest number of drilling rigs (offshore)
Largest number of unemployed American’s since the Great Depression
Largest number of privatized prisons
Lowest number of white-collar prosecutions


In the 10 previous recessions since the Great Depression, prior to this last recession, the economy recovered all jobs lost during the recession after an average of 25 months after the prior jobs peak (when the recession began), according to the records kept by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.  So the job effects of prior post Depression recessions have lasted an average of about 2 years.  But under President Obama, by April, 2013, 64 months after the prior jobs peak, almost 5½ years, we still have not recovered all of the recession’s job losses.  In April, 2013, there were an estimated 135.474 million American workers employed, still down about 2.6 million jobs from the prior peak of 138.056 million in January, 2008.


Obama’s so-called recovery included the longest period since the Great Depression with unemployment above 8%, 43 months, from February, 2009, when Obama’s so-called stimulus costing nearly $1 trillion was passed, until August, 2012.  It also included the longest period since the Great Depression with unemployment at 9.0% or above, 30 months, from April, 2009, until September, 2011.


Even Jimmy Carter produced 4 times as much economic growth during his one term as Obama did during his entire first term.  In fact, as Anderson notes, real GDP growth under Obama has been the worst of any President in the last 60 years!

But it’s even worse than that.  Obama’s real GDP growth has actually been less than half as much as the worst of any President in the last 60 years.  In other words, even if you doubled actual GDP growth under President Obama, it would still be the worst record of any President in the last 60 years!

Keith Olberman
It is not disloyalty to remind him (President Obama) that we are not bound to an individual, we are bound to principles. If the individual changes, or fails often and needlessly, then we get a new man. Or woman. None of that is disloyalty. It is self-defense. It is the acknowledgment that, as my hero Thurber wrote, you might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backwards. That is what the base is saying to this President about his presidency.

This is only the beginning of the reckoning.   This is only the first sip of a bitter cup, which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and political vigor, we arise again and take our stand for what is right.

Actually, the part about “we arise again and take our stand for what is right” has already begun.

If you do the math, so to speak, then you know that change is coming.

It is coming as a populist movement that will sweep away conservative dominance, beginning with the end of neo-liberalism. The worst possible move the Democrats could make at this point in time -- at a pivotal moment when the neo-liberal philosophy is dying -- would be to nominate another neo-liberal to run for the White House. Let's hope the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is prepared to embrace the new populism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  at the moment neoliberalism has pretty much (10+ / 0-)

    captured the Democratic Party

    and the only thing that might bring it to an end and a rediscovery of its traditional left wing values is an increasingly faltering economy and an increasing pauperization of the working and middle classes

    and that seems pretty much on the horizon

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:44:37 AM PDT

  •  Hillary 2016 (8+ / 0-)

    Fully endorsed by the editor of this site, 3 years before the election. We have a long, long way to go.

    The Republicans are crazy, but why we follow them down the rabbit hole is beyond me.

    by Jazzenterprises on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:47:30 AM PDT

  •  damn (7+ / 0-)

    well done.

    thank you

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 06:55:01 AM PDT

  •  flame-retardant suit might be in order.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    praenomen, gulfgal98, Agathena, aliasalias

    There were some excellent discussions in yesterday's wrecklisted TPP diary.

    Working with this duopolistic system has brought us to this.

    I used to think this system could be changed from the bottom up. It's clear that the democratic leadership - as well as this blog's owner - aren't interested in this at all.

    So, now I'm leaning towards direct actions:  two week general strike, buy as little as possible, pay only those most essential bills, millions of people in the streets day after day.....

    It's a start, cause what we're doing now are things that the planet no longer has time for.

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:48:37 AM PDT

  •  Wow! What an outstanding diary! (10+ / 0-)

    There is so much in here to recommend.  Your research on this subject is extensive and I hope everyone will take the time to actually read it all.  It deserves greater attention that it probably will get from this site because of the first line in this paragraph.

    We have invested too heavily in personal politics and social agendas, while ignoring the plight of the people around us. More than any other reason, we have failed to hold our leaders accountable for their unethical conduct.
    We have a significant number among the folks here who are personally very invested in this President and/or their own social agendas. While there is nothing wrong with fighting for social agendas, those are the few crumbs that are given to us from the table of the oligarchs. And without real political and economic power, those social agenda items can easily disappear and we can do nothing about it. I hope the people wake up real soon to the destructive forces of neo-liberalism and the water carriers we continue to have forced upon us by the PTB. The election of another neo-liberal is not going to solve the overwhelming crisis we face in this country and we will continue to lose political economic power as a people as a result.

    Great diary.  Tipped, recommended and hot listed.

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

    by gulfgal98 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:56:12 AM PDT

  •  Apart From the Fact That Even Neoliberal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, native

    economics could've produced much greater growth than "Obama" achieved thanks to the the most intransigent congress in US history, yes the party and this president have been neoliberal or what I've also called "conservative" since before Disco, certainly we began implementing neoliberalism before Reagan.

    I'm dumbfounded at the suggestion of neoliberalism ending. We could come out of this midterm election with no longer any plausible means of ending it. History might record the true tipping point as 1 or 2 decades before now.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 07:58:17 AM PDT

    •  I think that when it happens (5+ / 0-)

      it will either be a sudden collapse into obscurity or a revolution by the people (for the record revolution does not always mean violent).  Occupy was on the right track but it was crushed from the top down.  More and more people are waking up to the fact that they are being screwed by big money and corporations, and that our government is aiding that screwing of the public.

      "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

      by gulfgal98 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 08:08:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  gulfgal98, are you involved in politics? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lostinamerica, gulfgal98

        You certainly have insight that doesn't seem to be common on this website.

        Your analysis is spot on.

        •  Other than here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica, praenomen

          or the small Peace vigil I am regularly involved in, not really other than I show up at a rally, etc. when I think it might do good. I am definitely not involved in party politics because I believe that change comes from outside the political system first and then the politicians react to social changes. As background, I worked in local government as a land use planner for the bulk of my working life. It gave me a lot of insight into how politics works.  Most of my posts here are based upon intuition or instincts.

          "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

          by gulfgal98 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:02:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This: (5+ / 0-)
      I'm dumbfounded at the suggestion of neoliberalism ending.
      I've been following politics for a very long time, and my strong suit is analysis (I score in the top 2%), which has always helped me spot trends long before other people even realize they're on the radar.

      Mark my words, change is coming, and I'm afraid the Democratic Party is going to be on the losing one likes the republicans, but a lot of people are going to vote for them just to voice their disapproval of Obama's policies.

      On the brighter side, liberalism is growing, but most people who support liberal policies -- especially the millenials -- are looking for alternatives to the two party system.

      And that's where we are going to bleed first...this site is about social agendas, and personal politics, which is very rapidly losing its mojo...women's issues offer us a strong card, but if we nominate Hillary that advantage might disappear rather rapidly. No matter what anyone tells you, she is not a shoo-in.

    •  It always ends (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      praenomen, Tweedledee5

      Be it in ancient Sumeria, the Republic of Florence, the French Revolution or now.  The inequality is unsustainable and it will fall.  When? How?  I have no idea.

      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

      by The Dead Man on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 12:48:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  excellent diary, praenomen (7+ / 0-)

    well worth taking time from work to read!

  •  meh (0+ / 0-)
    When you view Obama’s presidency in its entirety – his words, his actions, and the fruits of his labor -- what you see is a pattern of anti-progressive, pro-conservative policies and actions that belie White House’s talking points.
    Yet your primary support for this is an obscure quote from his presidential campaign.  The rest is mostly just what critics have to say about him.
  •  I rate this diary as a C-/D+ for a number of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Overall, it makes some valid points and it says some things about public policy that I say, too.  The tone is so unrelentingly destructive and divisive that the piece becomes unreadable and I found myself questioning the diarist's intent well before I reached the last line.

    Even the intent, whatever it is, gets lost. The writer could have adopted a style more suitable to the topic, politics, which relies on the ability to make a persuasive argument. In this piece, persuasion becomes an endurance contest. This kind of artless writing leaves readers worn out and fatigued, but not convinced.

    Along the way, there were false notes that made the reading a tedious chore. Am I really supposed to take the word of conservatives when they call anyone Bagdad Bob? What about the rest of the sources cited and linked? Some of them are credible. They also act as a reminder of the mass media's endless parade of pseudo-experts offering canned opinions, not factual information.

    There's danger when Americans are so willing to be told what to think, when it's not at all clear that a majority knows how to think. For example, if the average length of recovery was 25 months over the last 10 recessions, how far back in history are we going? There were 7 since 1962, another era when the economy was entirely different. The dot com bubble recession that began in Q4/2000 - Q1/2001 needed 54 months, not 25, to recover all the private sector jobs that were lost.

    Anyone, even a parrot, can learn to shout out the buzz words du jour like neo-liberalism or austerity. A lack of real understanding and an absence of thought prevalent in the US today is a fundamental problem typified by the kind of writing found in this piece.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:07:45 AM PDT

    •  Sorry, Mark, but I won't apologize for the (6+ / 0-)

      heavy tone of this diary. It was meant to be a blunt instrument hammering home some very uncomfortable truths about Obama's presidency and his neo-liberal policies.

      I wasn't trying to present a persuasive argument, and if you want to know my intent, it was to counter some of the bullshit that is being posted on this site. Plus, I actually do see change coming, and that change will be populist in nature.

      Obama's policies have caused unnecessary, incredible suffering to millions of people in America. He (and the people who have blindly protected him) needs to be reminded of that daily.

      And this:

      There's danger when Americans are so willing to be told what to think, when it's not at all clear that a majority knows how to think. For example, if the average length of recovery was 25 months over the last 10 recessions, how far back in history are we going? There were 7 since 1962, another era when the economy was entirely different. The dot com bubble recession that began in Q4/2000 - Q1/2001 needed 54 months, not 25, to recover all the private sector jobs that were lost. pretentious in my book. The numbers you have discussed are less important to me than the stories I hear and read about daily detailing how much suffering people have endured because of Obama's neo-liberal policies.

      And this makes no sense:

      Anyone, even a parrot, can learn to shout out the buzz words du jour like neo-liberalism or austerity
      It would be very easy to be offended by your remarks because of the elitist tone you employ, but I've learned that people who make grandiose arguments are more interested in the sound of their own opinions than they are in the reason they pretend to espouse.

      Anyone who supports neo-liberalism in my book is not a true Democrat. And yes, there is a political entity called neo-liberalism. It's not something I just parroted or invented.

      And re: the Bagdad Bob comment: I'm having a little trouble understanding how you could take that comment seriously. Debbie WS's statement was ludicrous, and it deserved to be ridiculed, no matter who said it.

      •   You can see from my writing on this site that I'm (0+ / 0-)

        involved in a study of 50 years worth of data on income inequality. I wrote several pieces on SNAP (food stamps) legislation. Assume we share the same or similar beliefs on substance. Style and presentation count.

        I think about the reader or other counterpart and the barriers they have to resist my message. I know that my personal perspective, my individual opinion, isn't going to persuade a CEO to consider how the wage and salary structure of his company extends deep into the community. I'm not important enough. I don't have that clout. (How's that for elitist?) Even Krugman encounters resistance.

        It's the audience and what they think and believe that I keep in mind. I don't focus on my own choir. I want the message to reach others who may not be inclined to accept it because power comes from what people can accomplish together.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:01:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mark, I have no interest in getting in a (0+ / 0-)

          pissing match with you. We have different approaches, and I can live with that.

          As far as this:

          It's the audience and what they think and believe that I keep in mind. I don't focus on my own choir. I want the message to reach others who may not be inclined to accept it because power comes from what people can accomplish together.
          I am not too popular on this site because I don't tow the party line. But consider the issue through my eyes: I was deeply involved in Democratic politics long before you and most of the people on this site were born. And I watched the Democratic Party being absconded by a group of very unethical, indifferent people who could care less about the suffering they create. So, I use the only tool I have left for resisting; my writing. And I am not interested in rhetorical matters...I have learned that most people are more interested in the way the message impacts their own lives, not the size of my vocabulary, and they certainly are not interested in my philosophical debating skills. Most people are just not that cerebral. And that style of writing has served me well. I have won two journalism awards, and I've published nine books. I have written for magazines, television, newspapers, and I have even written musical jingles for radio and tv.

          I am at the end of my life. I have cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, so there aren't too many options left... but I will go down fighting to protect the futures of my children and grandchildren. If that makes me unpopular on this site, then it's something I can accept; I'm not trying to win a popularity contest.

  •  Thank you for this (7+ / 0-)

    I put together a spreadsheet that takes into account the "recovery"  it is clear that we need to have a monthly job growth that is 3 times what we currently have to recover this country to a similar employment level as we had in 2000 (compensating for growth since then).

    In doing this spreadsheet I have realized that there is an intentionality to this "business party" government that is working to dismantle our collective prosperity.

  •  great diary praenomen ! (4+ / 0-)

    tipped, rec'd, and hotlisted

    thank you for connecting the dots...

    '' one day the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich''

    by lostinamerica on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:18:06 AM PDT

  •  neo-liberalism = liberalism by deceit (5+ / 0-)

    and we are left with a sense of overwhelming betrayal. The betrayers get all that pomp and power and luxury just for being good liars.

    Excellent work praenomen! Thank you.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:43:31 AM PDT

  •  T and R for diligence. Not so sure about the end (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bol, The Dead Man

    of neo-liberalism. When I do the math, I'm not so hopeful.

    It's basic game theory. Which is pretty mathy-like.

    Given that we have a spectrum of people’s political preferences from far, far left through far, far, right and they follow a standard normal curve, with the most extreme positions having the fewest adherents and the most “centrist” positions having a majority, then it makes political sense to run “centrist” and “moderate” candidates who can appeal to the most populous middle.

    So someone out on the far left end of curve is going to have few Democrats to their left who will vote for them no matter what. And if a more moderate Democrat challenges them in a primary that Democrat will take all the Democratic votes to their own right and split the votes between them and the lefty. That’s why we cheer when a bat-shit crazy T-partier challenges a more “moderate” Republican, if the t-partier wins there’s way more ground between them and the Democrat to get votes from than if the more “moderate” Republican won.

    That’s why we end up with two similarly moderate candidates to choose the lesser evil from. Obama was less evil than McCain and less evil than Rmoney. If we wanted a “good” vs. “evil” election the temptation would be too great for a “lesser evil” to come into the middle and take a huge chunk out of the largest, moderate, average, part of the normal curve.

    And add money to the mix and you will always win elections by playing to the center and depressing the other guys turnout with negative ads. That’s the way the game is played. Radical lefties cannot win in this game – they have few certain voters leftier than them and a huge amount of voters more moderate than them in the middle. And, as most lefties don’t, they don’t have as much money as the righties to fight over the middle - so they don’t win elections.

    And the money moves the curve ever rightward because most people are of average intelligence and can be influenced by heavily financed persuasion. They plug them into an idiot-IV called the corporate mass media and as a result of their lazy 24/7 worldwide sensationalist violence whoring the watching consumers (no longer do we call them "citizens") come to feel ever more powerless, insecure and angry. Low information disempowered people don't give rise to populist movements.

    Therefore I am skeptical about your claims that this game is going to come to an end by peaceful, non-catastrophic, populist means. My money is on catastrophic climate change for bringing this tired, useless game to an end. The ship has hit the iceberg – fighting over who's going to steer as the ship goes down has a definite air of futility about it.

    muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

    by veritas curat on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:44:56 AM PDT

    •  I understand your reasoning, but I have lived (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      long enough to know that the people who inspire us the most, the ones who are able to overcome insurmountable odds are the ones who enact change. People who attempt to project an ending to a struggle by using too much logic, and the people who give up before they have even tried are the ones who always lose.

      But, I appreciate the T & R and I appreciate you taking time to respond.

  •  Great diary, praenomen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So much food for thought here, such high-quality research, and you really get right to the heart of the malaise of the Democratic Party establishment with those quotes by Krugman and Truman. The GOP is so radical and idiotic that we should be able to brush them off the map, but instead President Obama and his Third Way minions like Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman-Schulz and the rest of the mealy-mouths in the Beltway kowtow to the same foolish Clintonian triangulation that brought us NAFTA (now attempting the much worse TPP) and the repeal of Glass-Stegall.

    Sadly this will be the legacy of Obama's presidency, a legacy of failure because he failed to understand history and the present moment, rejecting the model of FDR in favor of the neoliberalism of Bill Clinton, which didn't work then and sure as heck doesn't work now. Even today none of the bankers and crooks at Goldman-Sachs, AIG and the other firms that crashed the US economy remain out of jail, giving themselves bonuses with taxpayer bailouts. And Obama, along with Geithner, Holder, Summers and other fools in his first and second terms, simply looks the other way while making things even more difficult for the middle class. Shame on them for their failure when our nation most needs FDR-style leadership.

  •  Thank You (0+ / 0-)

      Swore/swear off commenting but want to Thank You.
       That somehow being humanitarian Democrat, our core of the spirituality of being Democrat is now CT and WAY left. It is NOT. We must give up being Democrat to be "Democrat." WE do NOT!
       Thank You for your beautiful energy. It is not unnoticed :)

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 11:10:37 PM PDT

  •  Democrats are in trouble, but so are Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not talking about politicians. I mean the voters.

     Democrats are obviously disallusioned by being abandoned by the party. But lately even Republican voters are waking up to the fact that the GOP doesn't represent their interests either.

      Increasingly the struggle between the Democrats and Republicans, while real, is much like the struggle between the Houses of Lancaster and York.
       Unless you are party of the inner-party, the outcome of the struggle isn't going to change anything.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 11:21:55 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, praenomen, thanks! I recently ran (0+ / 0-)

    across some thoughts on neoliberalism by Corey Robin, you and everyone might find them interesting.  I sure did!

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 07:16:20 AM PDT

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