I don’t know why the American people keep falling for this. I’m talking about Obama at the moment, but it is by no means unique to him. All politicians do it, and have been doing so for years. What I’m talking about is illustrated by the number of articles headlined to the effect of, “Obama finally gets aggressive with Congress.”
For the first three years of his first term, Barack Obama was clearly a creature of moneyed interests. Before he even began the “health care reform” process, he sat down and made a deal with the pharmaceutical industry that drug price negotiation by Medicare would not be part of that reform, and he never gave more than lip service to the “public option.” He named Wall Street insiders to his cabinet. He watered down the “stimulus bill” in size and diluted it with Republican tax cuts. He allowed financial reform to be a farce.
As the election year approaches he suddenly is making impassioned rhetoric about “taxing the rich,” a nominal tax that leaves capital gains protected, about “payroll tax cuts for working men and women,” and he makes a recess appointment that pisses off Congress. The Democrats all cheer wildly, make statements to the effect that now they “finally see the leadership we have been waiting for” and declaim about how they cannot wait to rush to the polls to vote for him.
For the first three years of his first term Obama’s administration arrested and deported undocumented immigrants at an unprecedented rate, far more than the Bush administration had done before him. Now, as he enters a reelection campaign, Obama signs an executive order easing the deportation process for families. His chances of maintaining the Hispanic vote are projected to improve because of “his record on immigration.”
During the second full year of Obama’s first term the release of toxic chemicals into the environment rose by 16% nationwide. The following year’s budget for the EPA was cut from $10.3 billion to $8.3 billion. Obama’s role in that cut is unclear, but he certainly did not lead any public resistance to the reduction, nor does he include environmental issues in his campaign rhetoric today.
Voters listened to his promises of change during the campaign, suffered through three years of corporatism, and now are willing to be suckered again by the campaign rhetoric that they were suckered by the first time. This is not “the real Barack Obama.” This is the Barack Obama who is campaigning for reelection. The things he is doing now are not what he will be doing for the four years of his second term. The things he was doing for his first three years are the things he will be doing for the four years of his second term; making deals with his corporate masters.