Lemme lay some quotulation down upon yinz.
Kuttner's critique of Obama is on the money --- in my view, if there was ever a president who had the economic circumstances and political mandate to challenge the prevailing wisdom, it was him. But for reasons about which we can only speculate, he didn't do it.For reasons about which we can only speculate . . . how do we explain . . . I have often felt that so-called progressives approach politics with the dull, explicatory minds of an eleventh-grade English class charged 1,000 words on "A Rose for Miss Emily" or "Barn Burning," which begins with some crackpot Freudian speculation and goes on to summarize the plot for the final 700 words. Obviously, to the question of why Barack Obama did not attempt to transform American into a peaceable kingdom, the answer is that he did not intend to attempt it. Well, you can speculate on all the ways that this traduces his various heartfelt expressions of brotherhood and fellowfeeling through the bleating of what Digby calls his "reputation for rhetorical brilliance," or you can take the more pedestrian path of concluding that his character and his intentions are not contained within the wordfog of a Presidential campaign but are in full evidence in his behavior and his actions. Why has the President governed like a neoliberal coporatist? Because he is a neoliberal corporatist. Why do his pedantic, proceduralist utterances and didactic vocal cadences fall so short of his reputation for rhetorical brilliance? Because he is a pedant. Why has he failed to combat the systemic imperatives of war and business and the business of war? Because he is the system.
How do we explain President Barack Obama's failure to rise to the challenge that history dealt him, and the inversion of a Franklin D. Roosevelt moment into a new period dominated by the corporate elite and the far right?