Club Obama, or the Borg? You Decide

Posted on 12.10.08 9:23AM under The Everglades Room

At the gym, working off too much Thanksgiving turkey, I stepped onto a treadmill under a television someone had tuned to Fox News. Instead of frantically grabbing the remote, I found myself watching Geraldo and a gaggle of pundits going all gobble-gobble gah-gah over Barack Obama’s impending cabinet appointments.

Now, I’d sworn off television news over five years ago, shortly after President Codpiece got hisself all butched up in a flight suit and pranced around on the deck of a carrier docked near San Diego for his “Mission Accomplished” photo op. I wasn’t putting up with any more psy-ops from the Friedman-Strauss Gang’s amen chorus of press-release readers posing as reporters. And I sure as hell wasn’t sitting still for full-blown homages to Leni Riefenstahl. As the man said, “what a waste it is to lose one’s mind.” There was no way these soul-suckers were getting any more chances to help me lose mine.

So, like millions of others, I’d circled the wagons and tended to my family, vowing to outlast the Forty-Third Reich, getting my news on the internets and my commentary right here. But there I was, listening to the House Organ of Evil, wondering what to make of all this “bi-partisan” (read: right-wing) happy talk.

Obama’s so-called “team of rivals” approach may turn out well, or not. Historians strongly disagree as to whether it worked for Abraham Lincoln. It’s far from clear that Obama can neutralize his opponents by deputizing them, much less force them to become invested in his administration’s success and work toward a transformative outcome. All of which begs the question whether the desired outcome is transformative at all.

While we’ve been breathing a month-long sigh of relief, one can’t help but notice that Obama gets a lot more love from the right-wing punditocracy than from progressives, who keep hoping for the best, with little evidence to support that hope. Obama’s done little and said nothing to dispute the “center-right” meme that the MSM dutifully drills daily into its audience’s skulls. His cabinet picks may indeed indicate an uncanny ability to disarm opponents by putting them to work for him. But what exactly is that work?

Is Obama going to do anything to limit the monumental thievery of Paulson and the investment bankers? Will he lift a finger to prevent the destruction of the UAW? Is he taking any steps to limit the power of the Money Party in their war on the middle class? Can we really expect him to turn on the army of Rubins that gave the okay for us to put him into office? And what about that withdrawal from Iraq? Is there any real chance the powers that be will look back on Obama the way Ike did Earl Warren, as the biggest damn fool mistake they ever made? Right now, that doesn’t appear likely. So far, Obama’s work looks like a huge PR campaign. Meet the new boss, same as, well you know.

I’m not just spitting up sour grapes because I filled out the “expression of interest” form the day after the election and never got an email enclosing my very own anal probe disguised as a job application. I wouldn’t have submitted to the indignity and they wouldn’t have hired me if I had. But I did expect to have the option. BTW, did it occur to you that the only material difference between BHO’s database of intimate private facts and Admiral Poindexter’s infamous “total information awareness” program is that Obama has convinced people to volunteer their secrets?

So far, Obama appears to be the anti-Bush, offering lots of press conferences and openness to discussing almost anything, but not doing much. The world is still crashing and burning, and the masters of the universe are still partying hearty on our tab.

And Obama keeps on spamming us, asking for still more money, apparently for his permanent campaign, for what? He sure as hell didn’t spend enough of the billion he already took in to win the Georgia Senate runoff and destroy that Replican “firewall” to a transformative administation. Wasn’t that a crucial goal of this election?

I don’t want an Obama holiday fleece. I don’t want a commemorative t-shirt or a limited edition coffee mug. I want a world turned right side up, okay? As far as I can tell, Obama is not the star of a basketball team, rock band or religious cult, but the non-stop begging for money and selling of logo-laden crap sure make it look that way.

Combined with a studious aversion to actually laying hands on any political hot potatoes until he has to, Obama’s chess-like triangulations of issues and concerted efforts to surround, co-opt and absorb the opposition appear less the work of a transcendent unifier than the Borg.

I, for one, will not be assimilated.

*  *  *

Alan H. Rolnick has practiced law in Miami for twenty years, appearing in high-profile civil and not so civil cases, after putting himself through a music career by working at the New York Times. His first novel, Landmark Status, received ecstatic reviews without resort to the scandalous pictures in his publicist’s safe. He provides trenchant social commentary without warning, and is Executive Producer of the independent film Canvas. To learn more, visit his website or email

As posted on December 5, 2008, at Smirking Chimp

Post Comments

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

XHTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

* Required. Your email will never be displayed in public.