Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.
The plot worked to perfection. "Democrat" Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . . . Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.
If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we'd know why.
As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America's sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose "Harry and Louise" TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.
His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U.S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.
As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn't lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.
He has done nothing to solve the nation's greatest economic problem -- unemployment -- while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers' bonuses soar into the stratosphere.
In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.
Every time Republicans say "Boo!" he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying "Boo!" again: emasculate the agency or we'll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse's Goldman Sachs pals.
Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we'll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.
'Tweren't us common folk.