A MUST read!
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
There is a false equivalency that comes into play when President Obama insists on presenting himself as a “reasonable” mediator between two political sides.
Since BuzzFlash was founded in May of 2000, we have lambasted many Democratic leaders for lacking strength and conviction. We have deplored that Democratic leaders, with a few exceptions like Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich, repeatedly accept the far-right Republican-generated “conventional wisdom” as the starting point for negotiating public policy.
When President Obama, in an appeal to the so-called “Independent” vote, positions himself as straddling the middle ground between two equal sides, it is an abandonment of leadership that could expose the moral bankruptcy and manufactured bullying of the Koch brothers’ (and like-minded billionaires’) created “Tea Party.”
President Obama implicitly and explicitly asserts that those who would protect Medicare and Social Security, for instance, are leftist counterparts to Ayn Rand followers who want to destroy the federal government and create free-market anarchy to replace it.
As BuzzFlash has stated many a time, the mythical “center” of public opinion is not some immutable set of public policies. America’s strength has been its vigorous and inventive ability to evolve. Otherwise, we would still have slavery and women wouldn’t be able to vote.
When the White House legitimatizes the radical notions infused into a segment of confused and frustrated Americans by “Americans for Prosperity,” “FreedomWorks” (two perniciously euphemistic names considering their missions) and the entire right-wing media and think-tank infrastructure, it is providing them with credibility. Outrage is called for from the bully pulpit of the presidency, not equating advocates of programs for the elderly and poor with hateful radicals who want to drown government in a bath tub, after strangling it (as followers of Grover Norquist) – but keep their Medicare and government subsidies.
The 20 to 25 percent of the population that is holding America hostage has made Obama look weak, not strong. In his first administration, Obama held all the cards, but still folded on virtually everything but health care reform (and that, while having many good substantive insurance improvements, was a financial windfall for private health insurance companies).
The White House’s attacks on progressives while showing respect toward the acolytes of Ayn Rand will not help the nation evolve into a clearer understanding of the serious action needed to save our economy and preserve our democracy.
It calls for the audacity of hope, an impassioned advocacy of a vision infused with the facts, not a “reasonable” legitimatizing of psychotic politics that threatens the ruin of our nation.