Diary

William Greider hopes Obama fails

I was working in the basement and caught a story from Bill Moyers on PBS.  I can’t say I have much history watching him so I can’t comment much on his politics (although I have an impression of a pretty soft, non-confrontational interviewer).  This evening, he facilitated a discussion with William Greider.  I’ve never heard of Mr. Greider before the story so I’ll let Bill introduce him.  Exerpts were pulled from this transcript.

Perhaps no journalist better understands the intertwining twists and turns of government and money, the collision of capitalism and democracy, than William Greider. He wrote the definitive account of the Federal Reserve system, SECRETS OF THE TEMPLE. In the spirit of Thomas Paine he produced, WHO WILL TELL THE PEOPLE? Followed it with, THE SOUL OF CAPITALISM. And now, COME HOME, AMERICA: THE RISE AND FALL (AND REDEEMING PROMISE) OF OUR COUNTRY.

Mr Greider opens with some not-so-shocking-to-RS-followers comments.

I’m offering a breath of skepticism toward this grand transformation of government. I don’t want to be a cynic, but it feels more to me like trying to restore the old order that failed. And I mean by that these big mega banks that had been liberated by deregulation to do as they pleased and the other rules that were undermined. I think this President, and I’m a big fan of this President, but I think his first priority seems to be to recreate those institutions which, some of which are now insolvent, as healthy again.

(emphasis mine) “A breath of skepticism”…well, that’s understated…but I’ll take it from any and all sources.  And AMEN! to that last part.  He and Geithner are propping up failed institutions to wrest control of them.  What caught my attention was Mr. Greider’s assertion that Obama and Geithner are dragging our country back to old ideas which failed miserably.  Change?  Hope?  Hardly!  This next part is not news…but I welcome hearing from a somewhere on PBS. 

President Obama and if the Democratic leaders in Congress follow along, he’ll put the Democratic Party on the wrong side of history. At this critical moment. What we ought to be seeking, the goal of reform, and government aid, is creating a new financial and banking system, of many more, thousands more, smaller, more diverse, regionally dispersed banks and investment firms. That’s first obligation is to serve the economy and serve society. Not the other way around. What the administration’s approach may be doing is consecrating too big to fail, for starters. Which, of course, everybody in government denied was the policy until the moment arrived. And secondly, and this will sound extreme to some people, but I came to it reluctantly. I fear what they’re doing, not intentionally, but in their design is setting the crown for a corporate state.

(emphasis mine)  Sounds…um….exactly the opposite of Obama’s words (imagine that).  For all the talk of redistributing the wealth, I think what he intends is to redistribute wealth from market winners to government-selected winners…to Democrat constituencies and massive, TooBigToFail companies that have a dangerous entanglement with government.  Mr Greider continues with

The corporate state is here. And I’d say, let’s not argue over that. The fact is, if the Congress goes down the road I see them going down, they will institutionalize the corporate state in a way that will be severely damaging to any possibility of restoring democracy. And I want people to grab their pitch forks, yes, and be unruly. Get in the streets. Be as noisy and as nonviolently provocative as you can be. And stop the politicians from going down that road. And let me add a lot of politicians need that to be able to stand up. Our President needs that to be able to stand up.

(emphasis mine) That last sentence is part of a pattern in the interview where Mr Greider wants to feign support for Obama…but also wants him to fail.  (As an aside, I’m getting tired of people feeling they have to qualify any pragmatic analysis of Obama’s policies.)  

Mr Greider closes with a bit of perspective….from the Depression era.

Here’s my take on the New Deal and the history of what actually happened. And it conveniently fits my deeper prejudices about the country and how progress is achieved in America. That is, people in the streets or churches or wherever found their voice and made it happen by agitating and informing the higher authorities.

Tea Parties, phone calls, mail, email…our elected representives aren’t paying attention and need to hear from us.  I don’t vouch for the entire article.  Mr Gredier trys his best to support Obama. But it’s yet another example where pesky details like facts and history keep getting in the way of TOTUS’ words.