Neither an idealist nor an ideologue… just an American politician
Political conservatism went onstage this past week (February 18-20) in the nation’s capital with some new faces taking leading roles, while the true and tried actors of old conservatism resorted to a thicker coat of Obama-hate makeup in order to stay visible. It was the largest annual gathering of conservatives sponsored by CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) and the first major rally to unseat the Democratic majorities now ruling Congress as the campaign trail for mid-term elections gets underway.
There is little question that the old stalwarts of the conservative establishment have lost favor in the composition of the “new conservative movement.” Not just think tanks, i.e. the Heritage Foundation, but groups as the American Conservative Union, the NRA, and other organizations espousing religious and social activism – against abortion or same-sex marriage – or even targeting national security. The Bush-era Republican establishment, both acolytes and defenders, all seemed to have lost ground, certainly trust, with the birth of a right-wing populist movement, as yet not a political party... although its cacophonic membership is commonly referred to as tea partiers honoring, we assume, those pre-revolutionary events leading to the 1773 Boston Tea Party.
But these tea-partiers may not have to become a full-fledged political party, just the fresh vanguard of a tired and decayed Republicanism, reclaiming the long past-due fiscal responsibility advocated by Barry Goldwater over four decades ago, while also maintaining the same pseudo-patriotic attributes bequeathed by Reagan and Bush II.
What should start to become obvious, to progressives and non-progressives alike, is that change may be coming to America, all right, but not from Obama’s administration but from the populist right. New emerging leadership is likely to come from people such as Republican-Libertarian Ron Paul, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the true igniter of the tea parties, and a new breed of fiscally conservative jingoes such as Tim Pawlenty, the current governor of Minnesota. No room for the old school, Mitt Romney or Newt “Contract with America” Gingrich; not even for the celebrated Alaskan Dame, Sarah Palin, who is likely to slowly drown in her own ignorance before the 2012 presidential elections.
Didn’t it dawn on Obama that the three recent special election losses (in Virginia, New York and Massachusetts) had not been to rooting tooting Republicans, but rather to silent-Republicans wearing populist face masks, and espousing fiscal conservatism?
And all this while President Obama barking up the wrong tree, childishly searching for a bipartisanship with the wrong rightist crowd! On the morning following his State of the Union Address, still smarting from those political reverses and an intransigent GOP leadership intent on contradicting anything, good or bad, he might suggest, a seemingly confident president was at the hornets’ nest, ready to be buzzed and stung by the loyal political gendarmerie of American plutocracy.
If anything, Obama was more than truthful when he told those Republican leaders in Baltimore, Maryland, less than a month ago, that he is no ideologue. Only a fool, or a vitriolic demagogue, could accuse him of that. No impractical idealist, this Obama, something totally obvious to anyone who has followed his career… first as a community organizer, then as an elected official for both senates: the State of Illinois and the United States. Only a disingenuous or a confused individual could accuse him of complete or blind advocacy for any particular ideology or cause. No, Obama did not have to recite the obvious in order to make points with a committed and immutable Republican audience: that he is no ideologue.
But neither is Obama an idealist, a dreamer, or a visionary. Perhaps many of those who helped him attain the White House, particularly the less-cynical young, wished for a more romantic and quixotic president… one that would bring about revolutionary, if bloodless, change; instead, they will have to be content with a pragmatic evolutionary who will bring neither change of major consequence, nor be a prophet, a precursor to much needed fundamental change. Whether or not we are willing to admit it, Barack Obama is just another politician tailored with an American-fit.
And just what is an American-fit? Well, in this age of American forced-dominance in the world, it is the dress de rigueur US politicians must wear, tailored to this nation’s strict specifications in both domestic policy – abiding by all corporate demands – and foreign affairs – abiding by the precepts of the industrial-military complex in the running of the Holy Judeo-Christian American Empire.
Obama had a clear and distinct opportunity to lead progressives in the takeover of the Democratic Party simply by allowing unregulated capitalism to remain in its knees, and in constant view of the American citizenry, just as he inherited it from the irresponsible prior administrations of Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. Instead, he surrendered to his instincts as a real corporatist, and the absurd notion that he was capable of bringing bipartisanship to an ideologically and economically splintered America.
Now, it is the rightist tea-partiers who have stolen the thunder from Barack Obama with a populist movement which has sequestered much of the independent vote, leaving this last hope for change in America… as just another lost hope.
Why is it that progressives in America still don’t get it… that President Obama is neither an idealist, nor an ideologue… but just another corporatist following on the footsteps of every successful American politician to date?
© 2010 Ben Tanosborn
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