|Wherefore art thou, Matt Stoller?|
After first calling for progressives to dis-elect Obama, failing that he now wishes progressives to "hold Obama's feet to the fire." Shocking display of wisdom, that. Where were you in 2009-2012, Matt? Oh, making a name for yourself among gullible pwoggies with your wit and "wisdom..."
Remember Stoller's laughable bits in Salon the week or so prior to the election, both rife with the empty echo chambering of self-serving third party progressive cliches and bereft of any substance at all?
His first piece contained really nothing beyond a vote of supremely arrogant confidence in the "know it all" white middle class progressive elites who automatically assume the Green Party is an "optimal" choice, in Greenwald's typically ridiculous description.
|Stoller, who has written some excellent stuff at times, succumbs to his audience's childlike desire for affirmation. He is playing a bad joke on a deceived people's expectations. A bad joke that continually flies right over the heads of the Obi-wan Kenobis of the Whiteysphere.The big lie is that Obama designed the system that increased US income inequality in 2009-10. An honest appraisal would and (already has! several times over!) confirmed that the recession inherited by Obama caused the acceleration of income inequality, a process that is thirty years (at least) in the making under conservative Reaganite Washington DC hegemony.|
That's right, under Barack Obama there is more economic inequality than under George W. Bush. And if you look at the chart above, most of this shift happened in 2009-2010, when Democrats controlled Congress. This was not, in other words, the doing of the mean Republican Congress. And it's not strictly a result of the financial crisis; after all, corporate profits did crash, like housing values did, but they also recovered, while housing values have not.
This is the shape of the system Obama has designed.
These, of course, are the same type of bald faced misrepresentations of historic fact and distortions that formed the basis of Mitt Romney's failed campaign. Surely, this line of persuasion works so much better when the Great White .35 of One Percent Shark Jumpers attempt it.
But, of course, the third party progressives always have all the answers, always after the fact (AKA Monday morning armchair quarterbacking) and most importantly they have no way to implement them so will never suffer the opportunity to be proven full of shit, in any case.
Yet somehow, someway (never defined) after we elected Mitt Romney, the more intelligent, more noble great .35 of one percenters' magic beans would right the ship of state just as soon as the electorate, including the roughly half on the right who absolutely hate Obama, not to mention Stoller and his magic beans brigade decide to (again by magic) place the reins of government andbusiness into the knowing hands of the progressive jedi.
But can a third-party candidate win? No. So what is the point of voting at all, or voting for a third-party candidate? My answer is that this election is, first and foremost, practice for crisis moments. Elections are just one small part of how social justice change can happen. The best moment for change is actually a crisis, where there is actually policy leverage. We should look at 9/11, Katrina and the financial crisis as the flip side of FDR's 100 days or the days immediately after LBJ took office. We already know that a crisis brings great pressure to conform to what the political establishment wants. So does this election. We all know that elites in a crisis will tell you to hand them enormous amounts of power, lest the world blow up. This is essentially the argument from the political establishment in 2012. Saying no to evil in 2012 will help us understand who is willing to say no to evil when it really matters. And when you have power during a crisis, there's no end to the amount of good you can do.How do we drive large-scale change during moments of crisis? How do we use this election to do so? Well, voting third party or even just honestly portraying Obama's policy architecture is a good way to identify to ourselves and each other who actually has the integrity to not cave to bullying. Then the task starting after the election is to build this network of organized people with intellectual and political integrity into a group who understands how to move the levers of power across industry, government, media and politics. We need to put ourselves into the position to be able to run the government.
Perhaps the worst aspect of Stoller's commentary is its dishonesty. Well, to be fair, it could also be considered stupid, and it surely has been so considered, which makes him look only slightly better than his dishonest self. As anyone who follows fake lefty blogging about economics and finance can attest, it's a very thin line between stupidity and dishonesty and it scarcely matters which is which: teh stupid is the norm and dishonesty among the .35 of one percenters doesn't even register anywhere with anyone anyway, at least prior to entering the gates of Pwoggie Heaven.
Here is Stoller going gah-gah-goo-goo over a supposed deal Paulson offered Obama prior to the inauguration that included TARP funds release being tied to forced mortgage principal write-downs.
But the primary policy framework Obama put in place - the bailouts, took place during the transition and the immediate months after the election, when Obama had enormous leverage over the Bush administration and then a dominant Democratic Party in Congress. In fact, during the transition itself, Bush's Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal. Yup, you heard that right - the Bush administration was willing to write down mortgages in response to Democratic pressure, but it was Obama who said no, we want a foreclosure crisis.
Of course, had Obama accepted that deal (if it was even truly offered. Barney Frank was the source for this report and Frank can be as slippery as any of them when ducking and re-assigning blame) Stoller and Greenwald would have blown their gaskets over this shady, non-transparent backroom deal between the Bush lame ducks and the incoming Obama PTB prior to the changing of the guard. And naturally, the stock and bond markets would have absolutely tanked worldwide had the Government forced red-blooded, God-fearing capitalist corporations to re-arrange their balance sheets against their collective will.
Full disclosure, I too believe that mortgage writedowns should have been a major part of the solution but I also do not own stocks or bonds and therefore would have had no problem with the resulting worldwide financial market crash and multiple trillions of lost wealth that remarkably Stoller either doesn't recognise or can't fathom.
The stupidest part of Stoller's argument is, that by not forcing mortgage asset write-downs, Obama somehow is at blame for $7 trillion in lost wealth of the middle class. Uhhm, dude. The mortgage write downs we both wanted necessitate also lowering of principal on the loans, which means the loss of individual's asset value in the process of "writing down" the mortgages anyway.
Here, I'll let one of the few cognitively healthy commenters on a typical pwoggie echo chamber called "Naked Capitalism" (run by a wealthy, narcissistic ex-Goldman-Sachs reach beach no less) explain it to the ignorant herd:
Yves appears to let her hatred for Obama get in the way of math. She is comparing part of $700 Billion in Tarp Funds of which I believe $350 Billion was spend on tax cuts for nation; with the $7 Trillion Dollar wealth gap.
Even accepting her argument even if every dollar was spent on the "wealth gap" it would not have made a significant dent in the overall situation. However, the remaining tarp funds would not have been available to juice the economy.
Further, most people experienced much more than a 10% drop in housing prices.
However, anybody that did not sell their house and did not buy another inflated home would have never experienced this wealth anyway. It was a bubble.
Once the bubble burst-as it did-housing values would have had to retreat back to normal levels.
So if you allow your hatred to shine through so that you can make Barack Obama be worse than the moral equivalence of George Bush who actually lied us into war killing over 3,000 American Citizens unnecessarily and injuring over 50,000 many of whom we will have to support for the rest of their lives, then you can bring yourself to making these riduculous comments.
Truly, Ives, I don't know why I keep coming to your site. You have truly jumped the shark.
In his second Salon nonsense, Stoller revises his own argument, probably because he recognised his first attack lacked a sense of political realism:
The President does not sit in the Oval Office and play a video game where he governs the country. The Presidency is constrained by the various checks and balances in our governance system, notably a partisan opposition and public opinion. Under Obama, that partisan opposition has been a right-wing Republican force buttressed by well-funded Tea Party activists. This has made it far easier for Obama to implement conservative policies. Under Mitt Romney, the Democrats will be far more likely to oppose Romney from the left, and the public will be much more likely, as it was under Bush, to mistrust its President and demand social justice.
Yes, the movement of the country to the right makes it easier for Obama to implement rightwing policies, just as the movement of the country left under Nixon made it easier for Nixon to implement liberal policies. I detailed this phenomenon, usually meme-ified on the fake left as "Nixon was a liberal" in any number of diaries leading up to the election, first in my now-classic masterpiece "A Tale of Two Dicks."
Of course. Any high school kid knows this already, that the President is inextricably bound to his Congress and the prevailing zeitgeist of the electorate. Only the infantile left and the Tea Party right believe that Obama is omnipotent, while at the same time blaming him for being what he is not.
RIOTOUS! Straw man much, loosers?
Obama and Nixon accomplished what they could under the constraints of their times. Nixon effectively set the stage for the coming four decades swing to the right, which Progressives and their magic beans can somehow reconfigure (macroeconomically!) overnight even with the Congressional reality that change is hard and slow, taking decades to achieve.
Stoller doesn't account for this reality. He believes falsely, as do most third party progressives, from cherry picking a handful of issues based polls, that the US is actually a leftwing country (haha) and that Obama could have any policy he wanted 2009-2012. More stimulus? No problem. Except Obama asked for more stimulus. That he got any was a result of compromise and avoiding the filibuster. Why does Stoller believe the country is leftwing when only 20% self-identify as such?
From his delusional sense of deduction and progressive echo chambering, that's how.
Politicians can't ignore electoral preferences if they desire to be elected.
Stoller can and third party progressives do ignore political reality day after day after execrable day and then every four years repeating the same ignorance expecting a different result. And yes, the only way to "move forward" in Stoller's thesis is to ignore the fundamental reality and spin magical solutions ("woulda/coulda/shoulda") that are only available to amateur bloggers and paid pundits.