A commenter over at Matt Taibbi's blog makes some excellent if painful points about this week's election results, and it was so good, so much to the h
January 22, 2010

A commenter over at Matt Taibbi's blog makes some excellent if painful points about this week's election results, and it was so good, so much to the heart of the matter, that I thought you would all want to read it:

The idiot pundits proclaiming this as a protest to Obama’s “overreach” are just morons and deserve to be ignored by anyone with half a brain. In a just world, bankers would wipe out their savings, after which they’d be fired and have to stand in today’s unemployment lines.

The lesson Obama should take from this is that people are not fooled by Obama throwing out platitudes like “I didn’t run for President to please fat-cat bankers” and then appointing people like Tim Geithner of Goldman Sachs to Treasury, keeping Ben Bernanke around, and having people who caused the economic pain for so many people like Larry Summers and Robert Rubin as his economic advisors. And are not fooled when he does nothing but mouth platitudes, or makes a scene of phoning a bank to tell them not to buy a plane, as the largest round of banking bonuses is handed out the year after they did the financial equivalent of blowing up the world. And are not fooled when he gives a speech to Wall Street politely requesting them not to be so greedy, and that they don’t need to wait for him to enact legislation to change their behavior. And are not fooled when all the popular elements of reform like a public insurance option are gutted out of the health care reform bill in order to “pass something” and call it a win, and then lie that you “never campaigned on a public option” (for someone who ran such a new-media campaign, it’s pretty brazen to act like in 2010, people don’t have the YouTubes!).

Health care reform with the public insurance option was popular with 60% of people – the health insurance industry giveaway without it is popular with about 30% of people. And people are not fooled when he generally doesn’t enact anything meaningful because he is so comfortable in his bubble and so weak and “above the fray” of the den of rats that is Congress that he bows and scrapes to the 60th corrupt, brainless, and paid-for Senator like Ben Nelson or Joe fucking Lieberman for absolutely anything and everything.

I think Obama and his circle really believed that if he just talked the talk, and acted more empathetic in his photo-ops, no one would notice they were carrying on with the contempt Bush and Republicans had for the general public. But people did notice, and people who they counted on before to volunteer and vote for them because “they have no one else to vote for” are sick and tired of playing that game – not seeing a meaningful difference between the parties, they didn’t play the game this time and either sat out or expressed their disgust.

Whether he will take that lesson remains to be seen. He seems incredibly tone-deaf to me, and the corporate donors to the Democratic Party have no interest in that message getting through. Whether he’ll even feel the inclination to act on that lesson if it actually does sink in is also highly questionable.

I came of voting age just a little before 2000, and could never really understand why people would “waste” a vote on someone like Nader. And although I was a supporter of Kucinich in 2004, once he was out, favoring Kerry made sense to me. But I’d never really had a real opportunity to see the modern Democratic Party running things in my adult lifetime.

Now I understand why people vote third-party. When the country is teetering on the brink and can’t get by on non-solutions anymore, and avoiding failed-state status actually depends on starting to fix the problems rather than just pretending it’s trying, and EVEN THEN the Democratic Party can only respond by offering trillions to Wall Street and legally requiring people who can’t afford health insurance to buy it from private, oligopolistic, profit-maximizing companies, all because of industry’s hold on Congress… then there’s nothing else you can do. In such a sick system, all you have left is your integrity as the country goes to hell, and I understand with crystal clarity why people vote third-party.

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