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Gratuitously Liberal

Apparently, that’s my problem. It’s the root cause for why I’m not happy with Obama’s performance. Obama is actually doing a great job. I’m just incapable of seeing it because of my rigid, gratuitously liberal ideology.

Okay, so that explains my discontentment. I’m just a curmudgeon. How does Obama explain his falling poll numbers among independents? He’s losing the liberals, but they’re obviously a bunch of malcontents like me. But the independents? I think I know the answer to that one; they’re also in a very liberal mood these days.

Here’s the thing about America; we’re kind of fickle. When things are going well enough for us economically, that we don’t have a care in the world, we’re conservatives. Remember the late 90s when we had the luxury of talking about Bill Clinton’s penis in perpetuity? We had that luxury because we were employed and generally well off. We could indulge in cockpalooza because we weren’t looking for jobs. We weren’t worried about where our next meal was coming from, and we weren’t one paycheck away from total financial ruin. When Americans are financially prosperous, we start to go right in our thinking. The thought process is; “well I’m working and earning a good living, so someone else is clearly sponging off of my hard earned tax dollars”. You see, when are in a position of thinking that you’re not taking anything out of the system, you start to resent having to pay into it at all. 

Inversely, when times are tough, we all become filthy socialists. Programs like unemployment insurance, medicare, medicaid, and social security suddenly become essential components of the American compact. They suddenly become entitlements. Not in that dirty way of peh, entitlements that you didn’t earn and don’t deserve, you fucking freeloader! No, they become entitlements in the, “I paid into this program that I am now entitled to collect out of”.

We’ve seen these (now) predictable shifts in the ideology of the American people over and over again. The most glaring example being the transition from Hoover to FDR. America was ready to be socialized a la The New Deal. They weren’t sitting in front of their radios, in their Hoovervilles cheering spending cuts. It happened again in the transition from Clinton to Bush 2.0. Americans had jobs, and therefore had the luxury of swinging right

So when Obama was elected, his victory was born out of our desire for a little bit of socialism that had been missing from our lives. He was elected to be the dirty hippie that would counteract the policies that left us unemployed, uninsured, and drowning in mortgage debt. This simple fact seems to be lost on him and every member of his administration, regardless of what polling tells them.

When Americans disliked the health reform bill because it didn’t go far enough to change the system, it was because we were all being gratuitously liberal and just couldn’t appreciate a good compromise.

When Americans wanted to eviscerate Wall Street with strict regulations, we hated the ineffective reform bill that ultimately passed because we were being gratuitously liberal and just couldn’t appreciate a good compromise.

When the debt ceiling discussions were going on and congress was talking about cutting the crap out of programs that help the middle class to tread water, while preserving ever single penny of savings that the elite have enjoyed, Americans were unreasonable in their disapproval of the situation. We were just being gratuitously liberal and just couldn’t appreciate a good compromise.

This is honestly how they’re looking at the situation! Never mind the fact that his approval rating went up when he passed the stimulus package. That was a meaningless spike and Americans clearly prefer compromise to socialism.

I don’t know why it is that politicians seem to completely lose touch with Americans once they get elected. And I definitely don’t understand how it is that they become incapable of making the most obvious observations in the world. Nothing I’ve said in this post extends beyond the bounds of common sense and observation. Yet this administration seems oblivious to all of it.

They may be correct in their assumption that most Americans won’t notice that the debt ceiling deal just made college $8,000 a year more expensive. But they’re dead wrong if they think that we won’t notice that life is getting harder. As a country, we may not be engaged in the policy changes that make life more difficult, but we’re definitely noticing that we’re working harder and have less to show for it than our parents did. There’s a palpable anger in the air.

More and Americans are figuring out that Obama is never going to deliver on the hope that he promised. But there’s no one out there to give them new hope, so we’re left with a void.

My hope is that we eventually reach a level of hopelessness that motivates us into action. Not useless action like voting or picking the most likeable corporate shill to support, but real action. Action like collecting signatures to pass publicly financed campaigns all across the country. And action like squelching the myth of corporate personhood once and for all.

Dammit! There I go being gratuitously liberal again.



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