The following are questions from The Great Financial Crisis, published in 2009 at the beginning of Obama's first term when hopes were high and the Republicans utterly discredited.
"Will the government assume responsibility for providing useful work for all those who desire and need it? Will housing be made available (free from crushing mortgages) to everyone ...? Will a single-payer national health system be introduced to cover the needs of the entire population ...? Will military spending be cut back drastically ...? Will the rich be heavily taxed and income and wealth be redistributed? "
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Consider today how appropriate a negative response is to each of these questions. The talking heads on MSNBC would have us believe that an obstructionist Republican majority in the House and a filibuster-prone Senate are to blame, not Obama's spineless lack of leadership. However, does a positive answer to any of these questions truly reflect Democratic Party policy?
Several months before Ronald Reagan won his first term, Irving Kristol, founding father of the neoconservatives, said: We Republicans will spend eight years driving up the deficit while rewarding the rich with tax cuts, corporations with deregulation and the military with new contracts, and then we'll allow our opponents during the "interregnum" to "tidy up afterward."
Kristol was right about Bill Clinton's eight-year interregnum. And today the systemic function of Barack Obama and Democrats is to rearrange the deck chairs after Bush II by pushing a milder austerity than the Republican version and deflecting the justified rage of millions at Wall Street.
Obama still looks and sounds good on television giving mostly boilerplate, rhetorical support to "change." Soon, however, when the expectations of the electorate thoroughly dim, it'll be the Republicans' turn once again to get on with Washington's really serious business of rewarding the already well-off.