Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nice Music: Overture to a Sell-Out

The Old Gray Lady was positively ecstatic.  "President Obama, Reinvigorated," she trilled in the headline on her editorial.

"For months, the original President Obama had disappeared behind mushy compromises and dimly seen principles," the New York Times editorial said. "But on Wednesday, he used his budget speech to clearly distance himself from Republican plans to heap tax benefits on the rich while casting adrift the nation’s poor, elderly and unemployed."

Please forgive the Pianist for failing to share the Lady's enthusiasm.  Perhaps it's his accursed memory for familiar old tunes.  Heckuvva speech, Barry.  Fluid, firm, articulate, smooth, reassuring -- all the right notes.

Just like the campaign rhetoric on health care.  "Insure every American."  Except that we took universal single payer off the table before there even was a table.  Except that we sold out to the pharmaceutical industry before there was even a plan.  Except that every time the Republican minority shouted "Boo!" we gave away more benefits for the sick, the aged and the poor.  Good speeches, though.

Just like the campaign speeches on the economy.  Grand populist phrasing, bold pledges to "main street" -- and a total sell-out to Wall Street.

Just like the campaign speeches on war, on torture, on working people -- a moving, soaring hymn to our better angels.  Except that we still torture shamelessly, have added a third war to our agenda and refused to stand shoulder to shoulder with the brave unionists of Wisconsin.

And now we're expected to believe that Dr. Kidglove will actually stand up to the Tea Pot House of Representatives on the phony issue of the Deficit Bogeyman and the Battle of the Budget ?

Good speech.  Remindful of the exchange in the bleachers of old Tiger stadium when Norm Cash played first base in Detroit and hit the occasional home run.  Norm swung at a fastball and  missed by a foot.  "Goof riffle," said one patriot.  "He leads the league in good riffles," said his companion.

Don't mind the cynics,  Barry.  It was a good speech.

Of course we've heard this tune before.  We have learned that it is but an overture, a  stringing together  of pleasant, hummable platitudes that won't be borne out when the curtain rises and the real action begins.

You could call it, "Prelude to the Cave-In."

He has said the pretty words -- with a few glaring hedges if you listened closely. Even the Old Gray Lady sort of noticed. "His plan relies on about two parts spending cuts to one part tax increases," its editorialist said. "It should have been closer to 50-50, broadening the sacrifice."

Sacrifice? How about reining in the war machine?  Old Gray Lady?  Old Gray?  Hey, the war machine?  Are you still there, Old Gray editorialist ?

Oh, never mind.

From yesteryear's presidential debates comes the distant sound of another pretender to be president, chiding his debate opponent.

"There you go again!"

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