Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cynicism in school and marriage

Taibbi writes an article about how a big new Education initiative from the President actually relates to the whole NSA and Wikileaks morass. Taibbi's point is that Obama is going into full-court press across the country over yet another rather nebulous plan for Education that won't take effect for five years, and the press is just lapping it up. Instead of having the press revisit the NSA and Manning scandals, which each had significant developments last week. Is that a cynical mastery of the 24-hour news cycle? Toss the press a new bone when you want to get their minds off of something bad you did last week?

>> Barack Obama is so frustrating. He can give quite a speech. He says just enough of the right things to give pause, and sometimes genuinely seems to be in touch with the pain of the vanishing middle class. He has the appearance, on occasion, of the politician of your dreams – intelligent, forward-thinking, even-keeled, just. You want to believe in him, you really do. But just taking this week for instance, there's just no way around the math... that the White House has been engaged all summer in a lunatic defense of a vast and apparently illegal domestic espionage program and tossed a young soldier in prison for three decades for exposing war crimes and torture.

The rest of this post is PURE SPECULATION, and it is probably going to get me into ten kinds of hot water with my friends from various parts of the Left spectrum. But I can't help but wonder if the whole Gay Marriage thing, too, was a bargaining chip that Barak intentionally held in reserve -- depending on how cynical you want to get, maybe he's been passively in favor of Gay Marriage for decades, but he acted coy about it during and after the election five years ago in order to make it a big rallying point when he finally came out in favor of it this year.

Why would he save it for his second term, you may ask? When he couldn't have known he'd be re-elected? That's part of the point of my cynicism, that's a reason why a cynical move like that -- if that is the true explanation -- is a bad thing. Maybe he didn't care enough about Gay Marriage to actually push it forward on its own merits, but maybe the only thing it means to him is a bargaining chip. One which might never have been used, if he hadn't found himself on the ropes. A sop, to be thrown.

He couldn't have known exactly what scandal he'd need to pull that Gay Marriage chit out for, of course. But it would be considered smart politics, in America today, when most everybody is very disillusioned with their own side's politicians -- to hold back one big red-meat issue like an ace up his sleeve, flipping it over just when his polls are sinking because he's done something to piss off his own side. Maybe Barak himself couldn't care less, one way or the other, about gay marriage -- or maybe he was even against it, as was kinda hinted in the coy-making when he was first considering his Presidential bid.
But then, last May when Obama announced in favor of it, that was the time that Wikileaks was building steam, and they may have already known that Edward Snowden had absconded with top-secret information. These scandals were hitting, and it was clear they were going to re-inforce each other and hit harder, and it was already turning his core base away from him. So his DLC advisers looked around, scraped the bottom of the barrel, and came up with Gay Marriage: "Hey, here's something you can throw to the core base which will get them back on your side again, without threatening our campaign donors or our basic policy of militarism and imperialism." (Not in those exact words, of course.)

Now, even though I don't personally intend to get gay-married, I'm in favor of gay marriage. The Gay Marriage thing will be a lasting improvement that will probably reverberate down the decades and become part of Barak's, and America's, legacy.

But Barak's expansion of the National Security State and curtailment of civil liberties will also reverberate down the decades and become part of our legacy. Adding to the very, very dark side of our legacy.

The first problem I see with the "chit" strategy, Barak, if that's what's really going on -- though again it's pure speculation -- the problem is, that I don't think you are holding enough chits to get you through another three years, at this rate.

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