Glen Greenwald's column at Salon this morning, Obama pushing for cuts to Social Security, Medicare sums up what a lot of us feared about President Obama.
As Greenwald noted, many of Obama's strongest supporters always have said Obama's frequent capitulation to Republican demands were due to his personal failings. Obama is "weak and inept," they said. Sadly, that's the best thing we can say about Obama.
Greenwald explored a number of recent offerings by Paul Krugman and Frank Rich and came to the conclusion Obama isn't "weak and inept,"or, at least that he's not just weak and inept, but that he actually believes the things he's doing are the right things to do. For some reason, despite the overwhelming weight of evidence and expert advice, Obama has drunk the snake-oil and has come to accept Republican policy ideas such as spending cuts and tax forbearance as solutions to the problems of the American economy.
No one knows for sure but it's easy to speculate. Maybe Obama is focused on his reelection and believes the money-lenders and independents are the only ones who matter. Giving-up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in return for trivial tax revenue allows him to say he opposed his own party and moved toward the Republicans. That would make those who matter happy and they, along with those of Obama's shrinking progressive base who haven't given-up on him, might be enough
Or maybe it's something a little more sinister. Obama is the first black to be elected President. He got his name into the record books and as long as he doesn't do anything embarrassingly outrageous, he'll be able to reap the benefits of being a former President for the next 30 or so years. That's not bad for a guy who certainly must have experienced American racism, a guy born into a world which promised much and delivered little. He played a rigged game and came-out the big winner.
Maybe that's all he ever wanted.