Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hey, They're Catching On! BBC Reports that Obama Is Clintonizing

The BBC headlines a current article, "Is Obama recreating the Clinton era?" Well, clearly not the era, much as he might like to — tried and true route to reelection, if it were possible. Economic good times; a nice, continuous, low-level bombing campaign directed at a largely defenseless population to provide pretty pictures of explosions for the nightly news; undisputed American currency and business dominance.

But can't turn the clock back, can we. So Obama is settle for second best by picking up the pieces — Clintonizing — appointing a raft of Clinton people in any number of capacities. Rahm Emanuel, Robert Rubin, and even Hillary herself.

What will this get him? They lucked out the first time round. But they also laid a good deal of the groundwork for the current disaster.

Both Time and The New Yorker play on the comparisons between Obama and FDR. (Newsweek opts for a Lincoln analogy.) But as John Kenneth Galbraith noted towards the end of his life, FDR had people who approached the Depression, the reconstruction of Japan and Europe, as genuine problems to be solved. What form should a body of law take to provide a democratic foundation for a country heretofore a-democratic. How best do we deliver aid to get an economy back to health. These questions are getting little more than lip-service if the current cabinet prospects are anything to go by.

Obama is choosing idealogues who want to sound smart and inventive but will try to hammer square pegs into round holes, not least because they start from the premise that certain ideas are entirely unacceptable, or worse, reprehensible.

So just as when Hillary (before she became the craven political creature she is now) found herself gravitating towards a single-payer system as the best solution to the healthcare crisis, now the authorities, the 'experts', have already decided some solutions will be ruled out before the evidence and research is in.

This is not problem-solving. So it is bound to fail as a strategy to solve the problem

No comments: