The alarm bells were, of course, were ringing for Barack Obama long before the Republican Party took over Congress this week.

An Associated Press survey in August, for example, revealed that more than half of Americans disapproved of his handling of the economy. 61 per cent said the economy has gotten worse or stayed the same on Obama's watch. This was, by far, his worst result since he came to office.

A massive 81 per cent of Americans described the state of the economy poor or very poor, Obama's repeated claims that the American economy was gradually recovering were simply not believed.

And why should they have been?

Obama has presided over an economy wracked by high unemployment, home foreclosures, and stagnant production. This has put downward pressures on wages and levels of government assistance.

The devastated landscape that is the American economy is a far cry from the hope and optimism that surrounded Obama when he became President.

Obama's track record didn't actually justify this optimism but, hey, the liberal intelligentsia had got the President they wanted and George Bush had been tossed into the dustbin of history. So the sense of relief was palpable. And Obama had received the blessing of Oprah! Who could ask for more?

Fast forward to now.

His working class supporters have felt betrayed as they have sat and watched Obama throw trillions of dollars at Wall Street, and, at the same time reject any government public works program to create jobs and refuse to provide serious relief for the millions of long-term unemployed.

The American working class has long been effectively disenfranchised by 'the greatest democracy in the world' because it doesn't matter who they vote for - Democrats or Republicans - capital and the interests of corporate America always win. After all, it is corporate America that funds the massively expansive election campaigns of the two main parties.

So less than half of eligible voters voted in the midterm elections and of those who did vote many chose the Republicans simply out of frustration. They don't care for the Republicans and care even less for the lynch mob mentality of the Tea Party but they weren't going to give their vote to the guy who promised much but has delivered very little.

Film maker Michael Moore has expressed the opinion that the Democrats now face a challenge on the left.

Said Moore: "If President Obama continues this war, if he expands the war, if he doesn't put the clamp down on Wall Street and we go through another crash in these next two years — if he doesn't do the job he was elected to do, I can almost guarantee there will be a challenge from the left — a Naderesque-style challenge.'

Me, I'd be hoping for something more than this but if progressive politics are to be reasserted in the United States the grip of the two corporate machines has to be broken.


  1. Ah, but that's the problem, eh Steve?

    The frustrated American workers wanted to vote against Obama (or, more likely abstain in protest) and what did they get? The most right-wing Republican House majority in a generation.

    So, that worked out well - didn't it!

  2. Oh dear. It's the return of the 'lesser evil' argument.

  3. No, Steve, it's the return of the "turning-your-back-on-problems-in-disgust-doesn't-make-them-any-smaller" argument.

  4. The problem with many political comentators is that as professional political "observers" they have already removed themselves from practical political activity.

    They are then left with commenting on the remaining political "realities" in the manner of sports commentators, standing by the side of the ring.

    Mr Trotters dismissal of the possibility of opposing the ruling party hegemony, because of the probable victory of bourgeoise political opponents, is just another sad example of this mentality.

    "Don't try anything " he, and his co-panellists council the workers from the vantage point of his Radio NZ comfy couch, "things may only get worse".

    Sadly for Mr Trotter, the increasingly impoverished American workers are as unlikely to heed his advice any more than we do here in this country.

    The neccesity to fight the agents of the capitalists, in whatever party guise they appear, will force our hand, whether or not we wish it. Some experiments will fail others will veer off track, but try we will, untill we succeed.

    Mr Trotter should take a chill pill and come along for the ride.


Comments are moderated.