Saturday, February 13, 2010

The corporate-politics side of Obama

Here are two articles that criticize Obama's corporate-politics tendencies. Paul Blumenthal of the pro-transparency group The Sunlight Foundation looks in some detail at the health care reform deals that the Obama administration made early last year in The Legacy of Billy Tauzin: The White House-PhRMA Deal 02/12/10.

Michael Brenner of the Center for Transatlantic Relations writes in Obama vs. Obama Huffington Post 02/12/10 that the President has a liberal-reformist side that he forefronted during the 2008 campaign. But we've also been seeing his less appealing side:

The unhappy conclusion is that we have in Obama a President who is what we used to call a moderate Republican before the species became extinct. Moreover, someone who is very much a man of his times - those times being the 1980s and 1990s. That means suspicions of government programs (last week Obama declared that New Deal thinking wasn't applicable to day's problems), a strong belief that we should always give private interests the benefit of the doubt, an assumption that the rich deserve their riches, and an insensitivity to the plight of salaried Americans (Obama's push for a Bipartisan Commission to recommend budget cutting measures to be voted 'up or down' by Congress clearly had Social Security in its sights). Abroad, Obama is ready to deploy military might in dubious causes defined by the country's hawkish defense establishment. [my emphasis]
I'm not so sure about the "moderate Republican" comment. Even before "the species became extinct", that may be giving them too much retrospective credit. But Blumenthal's description of the basic outlines of Obama's neoliberal economic/political outlook is correct.

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