Anti-progressivism in D.C. and Olympia
Having won re-election thanks to the strenuous efforts of millions of Democrats and progressives, President Obama is now freed from the pressures of campaigning. I fear that he will do what he really wants to do: serve the interests of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex.
Last year he volunteered to cut Social Security and Medicare, and he seems unwilling to cut the bloated military budget. (Perhaps his hands are tied.)
As Glenn Greenwald says of Obama, “There is some expectation that he’s now suddenly going to reveal his true progressive self, now that he’s been liberated from the pressures of re-election. I think this is completely mythological fantasy thinking.”
Indeed, Obama has already made an early post-election compromise. In Already? Obama Tells Supporters to Expect ‘Bitter Pills’, Common Dreams reports: “In a conference call with key supporters Tuesday night, President Obama urged Democratic activists to stay engaged in the coming budget negotiations concerning the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ but also telegraphed plainly his intent to give away much in his showdown with Republican lawmakers.”
Again, quoting Greenwald, this time from Obama and progressives: what will liberals do with their big election victory?, “That’s the language of the ‘grand bargain’: very modest tax increases on the rich in exchange for cuts to entitlement programs.”
Same deal with Governor Inslee here in Washington State. The Seattle times reports:
Inslee was asked repeatedly about Gov. Chris Gregoire’s assertions the state needs to increase taxes in order to meet a state Supreme Court mandate to increase K-12 funding. Her office estimates meeting the court demands will cost the state more than $1 billion in the next two-year budget, on top of a roughly $900 million projected budget shortfall.
He stayed on the same message delivered during the campaign — taxes aren’t needed.
Speaking of the three transition chairs that Inslee appointed, former legislator Brendan Williams comments: “Certainly a bi-partisan start. Of the three, Brad Smith is a R and leading anti-tax activist, while far-right Elson Floyd’s biggest lifetime donation ($1,000 on 10/4) was to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee to take the majority away from Ds.”
Yes, outgoing Governor Gregoire has, over the past year, been saying that the state needs new revenue. This is despite her failing to push for new revenue during most of her tenure. Instead, she went along with the anti-tax mood of the voters, led by Tim Eyman, even though Washington State has perhaps the most regressive tax system in the nation, because of the lack of a state income tax and because of the reliance on the regressive sales tax.
In one sense, you can’t blame Gregoire and Inslee too much: they’re just following the will of the deceived voters who vote against their own self-interest and believe right wing talking points about taxation and government. We need to counteract those talking points with marketing of our own.
In a related matter, Road Kill Senator Rodney Tom may be installed as state senate majority leader. See Could coup install Rodney Tom as state Senate majority leader? Tom is one of the three turncoat Democrat senators who last year helped Republicans approve a regressive budget in the senate. See Outrage as Road Killers help Republicans seize control of the Washington State Senate. Depending on the outcome of too-close-to-call senate races, Republicans and Road Kill Democrats may have enough votes to install Tom as majority leader.
Disclosure: I donated several hundred dollars to Inslee’s election campaign. I have the right to be upset.
In 2008 I also donated several hundred dollars to the Obama campaign, but not a penny in 2012, because Obama failed to live up to his promises to bring change to D.C. In my opinion, he didn’t even try.