[Marxism] Maureen Dowd on target

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 12 18:28:30 MST 2016

NY Times Op=Ed, November 13 2016
Obama Lobbies Against Obliteration by Trump
by Maureen Dowd

WASHINGTON — YOU know how desperate President Obama is — as he 
contemplates all his accomplishments going down the drain at the hands 
of a man he has total contempt for — when he is willing to do something 
so against his nature.

He tried to persuade Donald Trump.

We saw that unicorn glimpsed only fleetingly in the last eight years: 
the cajoling Barack Obama.

The president flattered the president-elect by letting Trump rack up the 
ego arithmetic.

“This was a meeting that was going to last for maybe 10 or 15 minutes 
and we were just going to get to know each other,” Trump told reporters 
afterward, as they sat in front of the Oval Office fireplace. But, he 
marveled, “The meeting lasted for almost an hour and a half.”

And lo and behold, it worked — sort of. In his first post-election 
newspaper interview, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he would 
consider leaving in place the parts of Obamacare that allow children to 
stay on their parents’ health plan until they are 26 and that prevent 
people from being refused insurance because of existing conditions.

“I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will 
do that,” Trump said.

Of course, those are two very popular elements of the law that 
Republicans wouldn’t dream of killing anyway. Still, President Obama’s 
charm and civility clearly made a strong impression, though it’s 
impossible to say when a nasty tweet will come in the middle of the night.

“I want a country that loves each other,” Trump told the paper. “I want 
to stress that.”

Harry Reid wasn’t in a kumbaya frame of mind, calling Trump “a sexual 
predator who lost the popular vote.”

Out of a hailstorm of unfathomable things during the week, one sticks 
out to me: How can it be that in the end, Barack Obama did not 
understand the Obama revolution?

He came away from that elated whoosh in 2008 not comprehending that many 
voters viewed him as the escape hatch from Clinton Inc. It never would 
have occurred to anyone then — even the Clintons — that President Obama 
would be the one to brush away any aversions and objections, take us by 
the elbow, and firmly steer us back to Clinton Inc.

Voters waited in line for hours at those early Obama rallies because 
they wanted thunderous change. They wanted a newcomer who didn’t look 
like the old dudes on our money, someone who would bust up the 
incestuous system and give us, as the poster said, hope.

But Obama lost touch with his revolutionary side and settled comfortably 
into being an Ivy League East Coast cerebral elitist who hung out with 
celebrities, lectured Congress and scorned the art of political persuasion.

He was cozy with Silicon Valley and dismissive of working-class voters 
anxious about globalization, shrugging that “We’re part of an 
interconnected global economy now, and there’s no going back from that.” 
He was dismissive of Americans anxious about terrorism after the Paris 
attacks, noting that you’d be more likely to die from a bathtub fall.

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, 
the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

He was dismissive of Bernie Sanders and his voters, treating Sanders as 
a fairy tale, just as Bill Clinton treated him in 2008 when he was a 
senator with little record but with an army of passionate supporters who 
wanted to upend moldy politics.

Nudging Sanders and Joe Biden toward the exit, Obama was the ultimate 
establishmentarian. As he told the Rutgers student paper in May, “We 
have to make incremental changes where we can, and every once in a while 
you’ll get a breakthrough and make the kind of big changes that are 

The man who swept into the White House in a boisterous rebellion was 
dismissive of the boisterous rebellions in both the Democratic and 
Republican Parties. He insisted that an incrementalist and fellow Ivy 
League East Coast cerebral elitist who hangs out with celebrities would 
be best to save his legacy.

Even Michelle, who understands the importance of the visceral in 
politics better than her husband and who said in 2007 that the bid to 
usurp Hillary was about “our souls,” tamped down hope. “Remember, it’s 
not about voting for the perfect candidate,” she told a crowd at La 
Salle University. “There is no such person.”

The leaked John Podesta emails showed how deluded the campaign was about 
the insurgent mood of the voters.

In January 2015, Hillary’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, 
advised Podesta: “Make a virtue of her longevity. Embrace all the 
Clinton-ness — the forty years in politics, the decades on the national 

As late as February, Hillary’s chief strategist, Joel Benenson, was 
fretting that the candidate had no vision or message compared to 
Sanders: “Do we have any sense from her what she believes or wants her 
core message to be?”

As she cuddled up to Wall Street, Hillary forgot about the forgotten man 
— and woman. Bill complained in meetings that campaign manager Robby 
Mook was ignoring white working-class voters, according to Politico, but 
his concern was waved off as the plea of “a talented but aging 
politician who simply refused to accept the new Democratic map.”

They should have listened. Bill ousted the first President Bush by 
focusing on “you” rather than “I,” what the voters wanted. Hillary’s 
campaign message boiled down to “It’s my turn, dammit.”

President Obama, trying to hoist Hillary over the finish line, offered a 
solipsistic message, saying it would be “a personal insult” if 
African-Americans did not vote for Hillary, and an accusatory message, 
suggesting that sexism was stopping men from voting for Hillary.

In September, Hillary stumbled when she dismissed half of Trump 
supporters as a “basket of deplorables.” Tellingly, the snooty remarks 
were made at a high-dollar fund-raiser hosted by Barbra Streisand and 
other sparklies at Cipriani Wall Street.

Hillary should have spent less time collecting money on Wall Street and 
more time collecting votes in Wisconsin.

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