Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Anyone minding the store?

I've been very bored with politics and the news since the election. Pretty happy with the results of the election, mind you, but I don't really care about following all the rumors about who is going to be appointed to what position in the Obama administration. I'll judge the administration on it's policies once in office. But I have to admit to being a little disappointed by just how ordinary Obama's picks seem to be. Especially Hillary Clinton as Sec. of State, if that's going to happen.

During the primaries foreign policy seemed the one area where Obama really seemed more progressive than the other candidates. It will be a missed opportunity if the more conventional thinkers like Clinton and her followers fill up the diplomatic posts. The younger set of policy wonks who went out on a limb to support Obama early will be left out in the cold, and the folks Clinton advances into State will dominate the institution for another generation. Add to this the Bush administration burrowing in its political appointees into last-minute civil service posts, and the federal bureaucracy will be hobbled with unimaginative functionaries, or worse, people actively trying to thwart the business of government.

And while the pundits obsess over what every appointment (rumored or announced) will mean for the Obama presidency, the Bush administration in its last days is shoveling billions of dollars at the financial industry. It's a haphazard attempt to shore up crumbling sectors of the economy, which might be necessary. But it's being done in a very careless manner, and taxpayer obligations are pilling up hundreds of billions of dollars at a time, with very little accountability for past or future actions required from the bailout recipients. If only Congress could at least pretend to care.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Meet the New Clinton, Same as the Old Clinton

Back in the primary season, when I would tell people that Barack Obama in 2008reminded me of nothing so much as Bill Clinton in 1992, many of them looked at me like I had just said something completely outlandish. (Granted, some of these people may have been small children in 1992...) But now I think we can see that the centrist Democrats are back in charge again.

As a former Edwards supporter deciding between Clinton and Obama back then (an indecision I carried almost all the way to the voting booth), one definite plus I always gave Obama was that he was better on foreign policy. So, what, now what is he about to do? Oh, and let's watch him as he reinstalls a Clinton-style centrist economic team, to reassure Wall Street and raise the Dow for a day or two.

We can only hope that in these turbulent times (though it is worth remembering that Bush I had a bad economic recession at the end of his term too), we will muster enough popular pressure to push Obama in a more progressive direction. I'm not sure how we will successfully manage any of these mounting crises--economic, diplomatic, environmental, health care--without a hard leftward turn away from the conservative and neoliberal policies of the last four decades. I guess Obama throws us a little rhetorical morsel about creating jobs every once in awhile (just like Bill used to do), but it is hard to take much comfort from who is surrounding himself with these days for his advisors and likely top-level officials. And I don't see much unified pushback from the Progressive Left these days, apparently since many of them are still so high from Obama's election (much like we were, I recall, back in '92 when Bill was elected...) But will events and movement pressure someday force a change?

Sorry I haven't posted anything for a very long time...and this post is just a middling level rant. But I do intend to start blogging more often again. Thanks for keeping up with this blog anyway, and thanks to my fellow Lumpenlogocrats for keeping the posts up for the past several months.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What Yglesias said

I have nothing to add to this, but "Amen." Not only is it an eloquent indictment of our outgoing president, but it's also missing Yglesias's usual glaring typos. You should read the whole thing, but here's one of the good parts:
On his watch, the country suffered the most catastrophic terrorist attack in its history, and he’s been relentless ever since that day in trying to turn his own inability to keep the country safe into a political bludgeon to wield against his opponents.

Monday, November 03, 2008

C'mon, Tuesday...

I can't wait for tomorrow to be over. According to the pollster geniuses at, McCain's chances of winning the election are now at an all-time-low 1.9%. Obama stands a fair chance of winning North Carolina (yay!), and could even pull out victories in Missouri, Indiana and Georgia. Amazing.

Of course nothing is certain until all the votes are counted. C'mon, Tuesday...