December 5th, 2009 10:08 EST
Lobbyists are Turning TV Ads into a Snake-oil Bath
A certain inexorability attaches to President Obama`s governing impulse to satisfy partisans of every stripe however much it may be the undoing of his presidency.
Our first African-American president is under the weight of a racist history not to antagonize the very people who went to the polls and voted against him. He has an understandable desire to be everyone`s president. Technically he is, but more than any other president he will never placate his harshest critics because their animus is rooted in their qualms about people of color in the White House.
Under these circumstances, he would seem destined to be a noble, even tragic failure. He has just dug us deeper into a war in Afghanistan that is already bankrupting us, thereby doing again what he has done before, enriching bankers "because the indebtedness wars incur benefits only them.
It would be one thing, a dark enough thing in its own right, if our propensity for war were that of Warren Zevon`s Excitable Boy, but it seems far more likely that it is rooted in the commitment of our power elite to enrich bankers by bestowing upon them our towering indebtedness and all the profits for them that go with it. Seen in this light, Excitable Boy is merely a stooge to cover up the cynical purposes of war with patriotism.
Lost in the welter of disembodied facts and developments is the knowledge that this is a mercenary`s and contractor`s war, as well as a banker`s war. Some Americans are making a great deal of money putting their fellow Americans at risk, and President Obama has become the great facilitator of this transfer of wealth from taxpayer to predator.
It is particularly sad to see a man in whom we placed so much hope tie his shoes together and fall on his face when his presidency is just getting up in the morning. He is trying to placate the generals and bankers and their bought-and-paid-for chicken- hawk allies. But he will never have their confidence, and in doing so he has lost his progressive base and rattled the moderates who looked to him for reason and prudence. Worse yet, he has made himself suspect to the vast middle of the electorate that, nurturing doubts about him, nonetheless looked to him for new ideas and intelligent leadership. What we have gotten instead is warmed-over Bush, better spoken to be sure, but just as cynical and dishonest.
The strategy of the banking and credit industries is to beggar the nation and dun it for interest. Once we are wrung dry, as we almost are, the predators can move on to more lucrative societies elsewhere. So much for the glories of globalization. The President, having already bailed out the bankers instead of the mass of voters who put him in office, now proposes to impoverish us to the third generation in order to come across as everybody`s president. His stance turns his words about health, jobs and education into gibberish, because money is their currency, and it`s heading straight into bond holders` pockets and thence to unreachable tax havens.
Once elected, a president is everybody`s president but can`t please us all and shouldn`t try unless he is content to leave a one-term debacle behind. The voters understand this, even if Barack Obama doesn`t.
That said, he may find himself more comfortable with the creditor-predator class than the debtor class to which most of us belong. If so, it is his elitism that may prove his Achilles heel. Those who are not born to the elite often find it more attractive than its inheritors, witness the Clintons. But either way, placater or elitist, he has headed us down an evil road by deepening a war we couldn`t afford eight years ago when it started and certainly can`t afford after the Bush-Cheney fiasco in Iraq.
But it gets worse, because few believe here or abroad, on the right or the left, that anything worthwhile can be achieved in Afghanistan in the time frame the President proposes. All that can be achieved is death, debt and profit for the vultures who have already feasted on our future.
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
His book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.