With the election campaigning in fifth gear, we are receiving a constant barrage of messages pitting democrats against republicans and vice versa. As American citizens, we need to be cognizant of the fact that these mouthpieces are not representing us. Because of the rhetoric surrounding the democratic campaign and the extraordinarily hypocritical commencement speech just delivered, this post will be a case study on President Obama.
Although the reelection campaign claims that Romney represents the 1% and Obama represents everybody else, the truth is that both represent the 1% and no one is representing us. During the speech given at Joplin, Missouri high school, President Obama stated, “the story of Joplin isn’t just what happened that day. It’s the story of what happened the next day. And the day after that. And all the days and weeks and months that followed. As your city manager, Mark Rohr, has said, the people here chose to define the tragedy “not by what happened to us, but by how we responded.” Reflecting upon the man-made disaster our nation survived in 2008, I agree whole-heartedly with our President that the response is what matters. The real story is not the financial crisis, but rather what happened the months and years that followed.
The Obama administration hasn’t put any handcuffs on the executives of the bailed out financial institutions. In addition, the “securitization task force” announced during the state of the union address in 2012 is simply an additional layer of expensive bureaucracy committed to avoiding the pursuit of justice. It is unconscionable that in three and a half years not one single prosecution has occurred.
A $26 billion mortgage settlement has been promoted as a huge advancement by the Obama administration, but in fact, it is a propaganda puff piece. The banks are getting credit for doing business as usual. A part of the settlement is going to the states and by and large it is not going to housing. A portion of the settlement is going towards insultingly small payments to foreclosed homeowners. There is a part of the settlement to get used as ‘mortgage relief’, but it is too small to make a difference in the housing market.
Another example of President Obama’s representation of the 1% is his refusal to push legislation to end our bailout nation status such as the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, thus reinforcing our high risk for a future economic crisis.
As the commencement address continued, President Obama shared, “here in Joplin, you’ve also learned that we have the power to grow from these experiences. We can define our lives not by what happens to us, but by how we respond. We can choose to carry on. We can choose to make a difference in the world. And in doing so, we can make true what’s written in Scripture -– that “tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.”
Unfortunately, our President did not have perseverance to fight against the bought-and-paid-for Washington political system. He therefore showed his character and stripped us of our hope. The fact is that President Obama is an elite member of the 1% and will continue to be regardless of the outcome of this election. As Matt Stoller explained today in Naked Capitalism
, Bill Clinton is worth something on the order of $80 million today. For most politicians, what matters most is post-election employment
. It’s all about staying in the elite political class, which means being respected in a dense network of corporate-funded think tanks, high-powered law firms, banks, defense contractors, prestigious universities, and corporations. Although President Obama has run a campaign based on populist themes, his actions demonstrate a sharp focus on achieving his post-election lifestyle of the rich & famous. Matt Stoller wrote, “Elections in many ways are just like regular season games in basketball – they are worth winning, but it’s not worth risking an injury. The reason Obama won’t prosecute bankers, or run anything but a very mild sort of populism, is because he’s not really talking to voters. He just wants to be slightly more appealing than Romney. He’s really talking to the people who made Bill and Hillary Clinton a very wealthy couple, his future prospective clients.”