Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Enemies List

The only way I'm going to get less gloomy is to spend more time with my Boston Terrier Prozac. She's got a great attitude. She lives right in the moment. No past, and the future is just great. She lives simply, plays regularly, eats a healthy diet, all in the company of people she loves more than life itself and can snuggle with. It really can't be bad to live a life like this.

Alas, the no past and no future part doesn't work for me, even if most of the rest does. No, I'm driven to scope out what's going on, what's really going on behind all the chaff, fluff, and falsehood our right-wing media is heaping on our heads daily. I purposely expose myself to articles like this that don't improve my attitude. The thrust of this piece, which would repay your reading if you've got time, is that Obama, in whom we reposed so much hope just a few weeks (seems like years, doesn't it?) is likely to be only a one-term president. He is surrounded by implacable enemies who are going to do everything they can to thwart his agenda. You probably know who these enemies are. You've seen some of them hard at work.
Obama faces near-unanimous Republican opposition to his strategy for salvaging the U.S. economy (and a GOP readiness to use the Senate filibuster at every turn); right-wing talk radio and cable-TV personalities are stoking a populist anger against him; Wall Street executives are miffed at limits on their compensation; and key military commanders are resisting his promised drawdown in Iraq.
In addition, former Bush administration officials are making clear that they will fight any effort to hold them accountable for torture and other war crimes, denouncing it as a “witch-hunt” that will be met with an aggressive counterattack accusing Obama of endangering American security.
Republicans
The most visible. They've become en masse an engine of "no" to everything. Their shamelessness knows no bounds. The idea is to hobble the administration right out of the gate, cripple his agenda by refusing to support anything, even if it means making the country's myriad woes worse. Then, having assisted the country in getting further screwed up, the GOP will be in position to regain power in 2010 and 2012. What a hateful bunch of people!
Media
"[M]ost of the U.S. news media continues to tilt to the Right – from the Washington Post’s neoconservative editorialists and CNBC’s millionaire commentators to the right-wing ideologues of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal." Case in point: the imbecilic performance of CNBC's Rick Santelli on the floor of the Chicago commodities exchange, frothing about Obama's mortgage relief plan. The Right lapped it up, cheered themselve blue in the face. And let's not forget the slime balls of right-wing talk radio. If anything, they've ratcheted up the spew of bile and venom against Obama and all his works.
The Military
To me, this is the scariest of all. Obama is dissed as a softie who can be manipulated into doing what the Pentagon wants. Can anyone guess what that is? Correct! More war. No withdrawal from Iraq and an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, which has the potential to become a quagmire every bit as destructive and fruitless as Vietnam.
Thomas Ricks, a Pentagon expert who has just written a follow-up to Fiasco, his celebrated expose of our military ineptitude in Iraq reports this disturbing news:
“The widespread expectation inside the U.S. military is that we will have tens of thousands of troops [in Iraq] for years to come. Indeed, in his last interview with me last November, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told me that he would like to see about 30,000 troops still there in 2014 or 2015.”
“I worry now that we are once again failing to imagine what we have gotten ourselves into and how much more we will have to pay in blood, treasure, prestige and credibility. I don't think the Iraq war is over, and I worry that there is more to come than any of us suspect.”
Of course. The Pentagon beast must be fed. It will be fed. It doesn't matter who is president. And its keepers don't care what the diet is, just so long there's enough of it to keep shoveling in there.
Big Money
. . . is going to scream bloody murder if Obama goes ahead with plans to cut Pentagon spending or if he decides to nationalize some banks or otherwise further constrain the malefactors of great wealth. They've shown themselves to be without conscience, compassion, or common sense, but that doesn't stop them even at the juncture where the taxpayers are shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars at them from thumbing their noses at the common good, which by definition is always inimical to their own.
Religious Right
These nut cases haven't gone away. They're already in a lather about Obama's reversals of Bush policies on abortion and stem cell research. They consider our unblinking support of Israel to be something ordained by God. Given their antipathy to the poor in general, people whom God has obviously spurned for their sins, you can bet your Bible these people are going to oppose any safety net programs or social reforms that benefit anyone besides themselves.
It's this array of immovable and ruthless enemies that Obama, the Democratic party, and the people who believe in them confront. I don't mind telling you it makes me crazy. For a couple of reasons. First, because I don't think the chances of Obama's success are very promising in the face of such opposition. Combined, especially with the media continuing its migration to the right, they're practically invincible. Second, because the failure of progressive government will doom this country, eventually the globe, and my children and grandchildren to miseries we have not even imagined.
A dog's life at that point might even be preferable.
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