And all the timebombs
They’re all dancing to the same song
In a world full of no one
I am a someone
I am a timebomb
An overly mannered, attempted droll reference to our torch-carrying friends in the Movement? Too lazy. Their er, tea bagging and now their subconscious projections via guns and swastikas a boring commonplace.
We resurrect this catchy pop tune because it seems to apply to all of us this August, beyond the Movement fringe. We sense a Nation in the lull before a storm. The latent potential for frustrated expression is not an exclusive trait of our brownshirted irrational Fox Lovers. (We will concede them the franchise on violence, ‘May Pole’-esque reverence for ‘big’ guns and Corporal homages). What strikes us this August is how many non-political acquaintances are openly expressing frustration over dashed expectations. These are the majority of Americans who demanded ‘change’ last Fall but don’t particularly care whether Laurence O’Donnell was chief of the Senate Finance Committee staff, what Wilkerson has to say (on anything), or whether John Dean thinks Pepsi’s new logo is worse than Watergate.
Our view remains that Obama’s best function historically is to stabilize the Republic after 8 years of Christian Socialist Authoritarian misrule. Ideally, he would need two terms to return governing to a non-radical, non-extra-legal meme basis. We do not see it in him actually to roll back the damage. That will be up to one later who can build on a stabilzed foundation with a clearer restorative purpose. We personally are not reacting in this post to all the Rightist August frenzy per se. It’s to be expected. Even a stabilizing caretaker simply counter-flooding watertight compartments in our ship to compensate for huge holes left by the Warlord would galvanize the Movement eventually. Cost of doing business. We just didn’t expect Obama or the Democrats to be so pitifully unprepared.
Why shouldn’t one expect some competency? We’ve debated here in our cozy little corner whether he took on too much at once, had no alternative, could have prioritized, etc. What can not be denied, we believe, is that it is imperative that he be seen as having done something well. At least one thing. We know of almost no one who trusts Geithner and Summers. If Liz Warren, our old acquaintance is skeptical, knowing how her mind works, we are too. We do not share the Obama team’s enthusiasm for war in Afghanistan or a prolonged presence in Iraq. We never understood why so much of the deficit should be for more Republican tax cuts in the pitifully small stimulus when the tax cuts got no Republican support anyway. One could go on. They did handle Swine Flu reasonably (the Biden-on-the-plane-thing merely loopy). But to be this clumsy over 1/7 of the economy after the bailouts?
Should he prove to be neither competent nor progressive it may well be the worst of all outcomes for those wary of the Counter-Enlightenment Will to Power: general disillusionment combined with a radically energized, irrational Movement raging for revenge. His first 8 months suggest a very good ordinary politician feeling his way through a learning curve. But these are not ordinary times. Our biggest disappointment beyond competency? Team Obama shows the Stiftung time and again that at the core they, like Reid, Pelosi and the rest, do not understand the regime they overthrew in Fall 2008 or the shards coalescing for a re-match.
The tissue of American commitment to civil society, civil liberties and liberal democracy has always been more gossamer thin than most suppose. Obama revealed as ordinary tactical pol with mixed competency facing a galvanized Movement? One wonders if the commitment withstands that challenge. Let’s hope Obama doesn’t put it to the test. For our sakes, we hope he succeeds. On at least one thing.
In that sense, we are all timebombs. Ticking, ticking timebombs.