Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch
It is not Obama's fault that for 30 years America's policy – under Reagan,
both Bushes and Bill Clinton – has been to export jobs permanently to the
Third World. The jobs that Americans now desperately seek are no longer
here, in the homeland, and never will be. They're in China, Taiwan,
Vietnam, India, Indonesia.
No stimulus program, giving money to cement contractors to fix potholes
along the federal interstate highway system, is going to bring those jobs
back. Highly trained tool and die workers, the aristocrats of the
manufacturing sector, are flipping hamburgers – at best – for $7.50 an
hour because U.S. corporations sent their jobs to Guangzhou, with the
approval of politicians flush with the money of the "free trade" lobby.
It is not Obama's fault that across 30 years more and more money has
floated up to the apex of the social pyramid till America is heading back
to where it was in the 1880s, a nation of tramps and millionaires. It's
not his fault that every tax break, every regulation, every judicial
decision tilts toward business and the rich. That was the neoliberal
America conjured into malign vitality back in the mid 1970s.
But it is Obama's fault that he did not understand this, that always, from
the getgo, he flattered Americans with paeans to their greatness, without
adequate warning of the political and corporate corruption destroying
America and the resistance he would face if he really fought against the
prevailing arrangements that were destroying America. He offered them a
free and easy pass to a better future, and now they see that the promise
It's Obama's fault, too, that, as a communicator, he cannot rally and
inspire the nation from its fears. From his earliest years he has schooled
himself not to be excitable, not to be an angry black man who would be
alarming to his white friends at Harvard and his later corporate patrons.
Self-control was his passport to the guardians of the system, who were
desperate to find a symbolic leader to restore America's credibility in
the world after the disasters of the Bush era. He is too cool.
So, now Americans in increasing numbers have lost confidence in him. For
the first time in the polls negative assessments outnumber the positive.
He no longer commands trust. His support is drifting down to 40 per cent.
The straddle that allowed him to flatter corporate chieftains at the same
time as blue-collar workers now seems like the most vapid opportunism. The
casual campaign pledge to wipe out al-Quaida in Afghanistan is now being
cashed out in a disastrous campaign viewed with dismay by a majority of