When Obi doubled down recently on an astronomically expense per-seat fund-raiser, it was hooked up by Goldman. Unnerving, if you noticed. His natural constituency has been unions, independents, and the disenfranchised. Goldman is none of these. Drilling down into the man, it’s an unavoidable reality that the latest Texas fool noticed something about Obi: his higher education and career always required acceptance and a kind of sponsorship by the powers that be. These powers are very not part of his natural/original base, the 99%. The price of his advancement, as with Justice Thomas, was making nice with those powers in return for a smooth career path. Whatever came out of Obi’s mouth during the election was required by political expediency. Fine, but what he did when elected was another matter.
One of Obi’s issues is that he did not experience the hardscrabble world facing most Americans without money behind them. Rick Perry, a down-home cracker, noticed this. He was never, it seems, abused by the system, by his family or by bad schools. Golden all the way, he never worked his way through college by working at Wal-Mart or a gas station. He never got fired or had to shut up and swallow his bile to hold a job. He does not understand this world and clearly would rather not think about it or have much to do with it. Not his thing. This is why he never quite got what Clinton grasped, and which made Clinton so very different.
It’s the economy, stupid obviously translates to It’s the jobs that make the economy, stupid. If you have empathy with working people, you know that – it’s obvious. What has been obvious to Obi is that it’s the big dance, and you stick with the one who brung you. In his case, it was both the establishment that paved his way and the groundlings who took him at his word. He’s largely gone with that establishment, which made fortunes off the Bush Wars and prominently includes the finance industry, with which this writer is more than familiar after a decade in the financial software industry.
Nor is Obi a statesman, or even an exceptionally talented politician. He was an idea whose time has come. With the assistance of the social media, he came to office with a massive mandate for change – much like FDR’s, in similar circumstances. He was a highly skilled opportunist with few (too few) enemies. FDR, who was born into the establishment, had no illusions. He also had the experience of governing New York, and he knew something of Washington as former Undersecretary of the Navy, When elected, he knew what to do with that mandate, and acted with breathtaking speed. He did not try to lawyer his way through or make deals that were impossible. He acted. He was elected four times because the American people knew he was keeping the faith. Errors (like the budget-balancing move of 1937) were tolerated because of that.
Back to the inglourious bastardly finance industry. The late lamented Glass Steagall Act, enacted under FDR, took that industry by the throat and made it impossible for them to control the nation’s money, which is inevitably the goal of the financial business.) Obi dodged this greatest of issues, and this industry (in combination with their natural allies, the great corporations) continues to control the money, and the nation in a way that never happened until Bush II. Glass-Steagall never came back. How could it with the pristine and smarmy Geithner at Obi’s ear? The banks are unbroken and arrogant, and we have a financial log-jam because they will not invest in stateside businesses. Because they are banks first, multinational second, and American third. And because the Roberts Court has opened the floodgates on money to buy the Congress. (Not really very expensive.)
We have seen his limited learning curve his lack of political instinct in many areas, and we saw it very early. Elected with that powerful mandate, he did not act swiftly to use it on the most basic problems. Instead, after too many meetings, he spent his political capital on a very compromised health care fix. We needed that, but we needed jobs and money flowing through the banks much more.
Will I vote for him? Probably, because the competition is farcical. The only grown-up is Romney, and, like Obi, his big idea is to get himself elected and work out the details at his leisure. The idea that a man who spends a fortune remodeling one of his homes might really involve himself in the problems of ordinary Americans proles is funny. Texas has another buffoon, Ron Paul has never learned that politics is the art of the possible, Herman Caine is a wholly owned subsidiary and Gingrich is a cold, greedy, high-IQ loose cannon.
We can only hope that Obi’s on-the-job training has taught him that some problems just can’t be lawyered, and that active support of the 99% – as with FDR – can, with skill and will, sometimes overcome those powers-that-be.
He could also consider taking on some new advisors and relaxing enough that his testicles be allowed to fully descend.