Opinion » Ted Rall

Fooled Again

After re-election, Obama sells out liberal democrats


After the election, Kerry Eleveld wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled "Why Barack Obama Will Be a More Effective Liberal in His Second Term."

"In response to their initial disappointment with the president's early performance, many progressives speculated that Obama was just waiting for a second term to be more liberal," Eleveld wrote. That was true. They were.

"A more likely explanation is that Obama was still finding his groove, figuring out which levers worked best for him in the context of governing the nation. And in some ways, he was still developing the courage of his convictions," Eleveld continued.

That was false. There was a time when liberal Democrats who chose to ignore Obama's conservative first term, career in the Senate and pre-politics career as a University of Chicago law professor, believed that his re-election would lead to a progressive second term.

"It's time for President Obama to assume the Roosevelt-inspired mantle of muscular liberalism," Anthony Woods wrote in The Daily Beast. "This is his moment. He only has to take it."

It's his moment, all right. But Obama's economic policies are closer to Herbert Hoover than Franklin Roosevelt.

Everything you needed to know about Obama boils down to the fact that he voted 10 times to fund the Iraq war. Everything became clear in December 2008, when his cabinet picks didn't include a single liberal.

I thought Obama was a Democrat, so why appoint a Republican as secretary of defense? Not just a Republican but a homophobe? In 1998, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel criticized President Bill Clinton's nominee for ambassador of Luxembourg not only for being gay, but for being "openly, aggressively gay."

The fiscal cliff negotiations have led to a replay of Obama's 2008 sellout. Throughout the 2012 campaign, the president promised to raise taxes on the top 2 percent of American households--those earning more than $250,000 a year. As of Nov. 9, he was still "sticking to his guns," calling his stance nonnegotiable. On Dec. 17, however, he not only offered House Speaker John Boehner to protect the wealthy taxpayers who earn up to $400,000 from a tax hike, he quietly sold out senior citizens by gutting the system that calculates cost-of-living increases for Social Security and other entitlement programs.

At first, few would notice Obama's switch to a so-called "chained consumer price index." This year, the inflation rate under the chained CPI is .3 percent less. But inflation is exponential and the effect is cumulative. By the time you hit age 92, you'd lose an entire month of Social Security benefits each year.

The good news is, the anticipation is over. Liberals can settle down for four more years of depressing Republican-lite kowtowing to corporations and the 1 percent.

They're thinking things would be even worse if Mitt Romney had won. I wouldn't be so sure. Policy-wise, a Romney administration would have been pretty much the same as Obama's second term. Romney would have galvanized liberals and progressives to fight for a fairer society that treats everyone equally and with dignity. Obama, his sellouts, and his faux liberal apologists represent two steps backward for progressivism.