I’m an Obot. I think he’s a better president than Hillary or (the candidate I initially supported) Edwards would have been, and much better than whoever Cornell West and Ralph Nader would support. But this post gets to my concerns about the upper echelons of the Democratic party, more broadly:
This belief that New Deal liberalism is obsolete is combined with a belief that good policy-making is inconsistent with democratic institutions—that you need to rely on policy experts operating in good faith in the best interests of the country, without elbows being joggled by cranky neo-populists or nutty movement conservtives. And those experts, who can be found at the highest reaches of successful corporations should be brought into government, because they understand how this new global economy works. These leaders need to be brought into partnership with the US government, and hard-headed, realistic policy crafted, so that the US can continue to be the dominant world power.
Note that a central theme here is that it is above partisanship—that the experts, left alone, will best do their work. When you use that frame, then the health care negotiation makes sense. These negotiations took place not with politicians, but with the large service providers, because those stakeholders are the real experts and will keep us out of distracting, distorting partisanship. It makes sense that we turn to the money center banks as the mechanism for minimizing the contraction—they’re the pros who have risen, through merit and diligence, to their positions.
It’s not about Obama per se. It’s about a political philosophy, an ideology that rejects core Democratic values about the government’s role in protecting the citizenry from powerful private interests.
Our society faces two grave threats, the outright insanity of conservatism and the ostensible reasonableness of “centrist” corporatism. There’s a lot of overlap, obviously, but they aren’t the same thing. I’ve reached the point where the corporatism scares me more, because it apparently has the power to seduce many Democrats.
I also have a bit of a darker view than jayackroyd, I think that industry could have killed a health care bill that was less corporate-friendly. So maybe health care is not the best example here. Yes, a bill with a public option would have been better and more popular. But I don’t think it ever would have been possible to pass one.