President Barack Obama (Photo: www.whitehouse.gov)
It is being reported with barely concealed glee that Apple now has more cash ($76.2 billion) on hand than the U.S. government ($73.8 billion). Somewhere along the line, the implication of the news seems to be that a private corporation is better run than the US government. More money, ergo, greatness, ergo, worship-worthy.
It may be useful to remind those who make the two leaps that while one makes slick but barely necessary products without which life will not end, the other has to concern itself with every conceivable human frailty and folly. If you cannot tell the difference between the two, you are only fit to carry an iPad2 and watch ‘Shrek Forever After’ all day long. Don’t get me wrong. I love Shrek as well but I also need money to buy iPad2 and ‘Shrek Forever After.’
That said, this morning I was planning to write about how and why President Barack Obama’s liberal base feels duped by him as he increasingly looks like a truckler cowering in front of the hordes of unreasonable right wing politicians.
As I began formulating it in my mind, it struck me that it makes no sense to me whatsoever. I don’t just mean Obama and his ways but the whole scene out of Washington. It all seems surreal to the extent that I cannot comprehend it and put it in words. These guys first light a level 6 fire under their own ass and then complain that their ass is getting roasted unless the world extinguishes it. What’s the point of that?
I have no problem with pointlessness and meaninglessness since I have spent all my life with the clear realization and acceptance of cosmic pointlessness and meaninglessness. It’s all bogus anyway. But for those who take life a little more seriously than I do, and particularly for liberals, there is a sense of having been flattered to deceive by Obama. The New York Times today talks about the president’s “rightward tilt” in matters of fiscal policymaking under pressure from the Republican Party.
At the core of liberal disillusionment with Obama is what Bill Maher, America’s most trenchant and astute political comic, says is the president’s failure to pursue objectives and policy options that his Democratic Party believes in. The notion that partisanship ends once you enter the White House is unrealistic because Obama, or for that matter any president, gets elected and rejected purely on partisan considerations. That is how democracy is supposed to function. Obama was elected by 52.9 % of the electorate because they agreed with his broad vision for America, which included policies that he now seems so eager to cast aside because the political climate has changed.
One way of looking at Obama is to say that he is merely adjusting himself to the political reality of the day. That’s a fair way of looking at his predicament and the way he is trying to fight out of it. An equally compelling, albeit doctrinaire, view would be to say that he has no principles that he would not bargain away in the interest of self-serving politics. Maureen Dowd of the Times puts it effectively when she writes, “Amid the chilling anarchy, there’s not a single strong leader to be seen — not even a misguided one. All the leaders are followers. You have to wonder if President Obama at some level doesn’t want to lead. Maybe he just wants to be loved.”
In the end, only Obama and those very close to him know what really they are up against and what animates his own conduct. From the outside, we can only wonder and speculate on the basis what clearly seems like a man who would rather yield than yell.
Meanwhile, the liberals’ plight can be aptly described by the profound Indian expression, “Sab ka chutiya kat gaya hai.”