We're forgoing our regular weekly candidate chat this week to talk about another the choice voters have to make in November-- the choice between Austerity and Prosperity. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and Co. have brought back Voodoo Economics under a new, more respectable (in certain non-C&L circles) name: Austerity. Yeah, that thing failing miserably in every single European country that's ried it, including the U.K., which is currently experiencing a double dip recession. The alternative, Prosperity Economics, is what our candidates have been talking about all year.
Progressives are in an awkward position right now. It's pretty essential the our most important task is to help as many progressives as possible win seats in Congress. And we have to do what we can-- those of us in swing states-- to prevent Wall Street from imposing their anti-democracy ticket, Romney/Ryan, on the country. But after that we're still going to have to contend with a Barack Obama who doesn't quite live up to the progressive approach we need to move the country forward. In fact, certain people-- if you accept Romney's definition of "people"-- are already looking forward to a post-election "bipartisan" lame-duck session in which Obama and Boehner will sell out working families to Big Business. Over the weekend, the president did a major interview with AP's White House correspondent Ben Feller which sounds, on first glance, like some standard reelection stuff about how radical the GOP has become. But digging just a little deeper you find some scarier stuff than that... stuff about Washington's conservative consensus that threatens America almost as much as Romney/Ryan.
Obama's view of a different second-term dynamic in Washington, even if both he and House Republicans retain power, seems a stretch given the stalemated politics of a divided government. He said two changes-- the facts that "the American people will have voted," and that Republicans will no longer need to be focused on beating him-- could lead to better conditions for deal-making.
If Republicans are willing, Obama said, "I'm prepared to make a whole range of compromises" that could even rankle his own party. But he did not get specific.
Those last 6 words should chill you to the bone. Judging by actions he's taken in the past-- particularly in appointing Wall Street shills, from Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to Simpson/Bowles to key economic positions-- the kind of compromise the president is talking about leans very heavily towards thos same failed Austerity programs being pushed by Ryan and Romney and their Wall Street masters. It's the wrong way to go. And that's why that video of Jacob Hacker talking about Prosperity Economics is up top. I hope you watched it already. If not, please do so now. I'll wait; don't worry.
Obama didn't get specific... but he should-- and he should in exactly the way Professor Hacker has laid out, in the video and at the Prosperity Economics website. Short version: