Some things don’t change. Obama may be in the White House, shuffling between the safety of the center and the language of change (“changeguage?”), firm in his commitment to the doctrine of neo-prog pragmatism, which all too often requires the abandonment of ideas and ideals that could offend both the right and wrong people.
He is in office, but is he in power?
The mistake that many make is to confuse the trappings of symbolic power with the exercise of real power. Truth be told, real power is exercised mostly by unchecked private interests, lobbyists and our media. They have the power to obstruct policies, stir up controversies and orchestrate pressure to kill measures they don’t like. They are a well-funded minority and work skillfully in the shadows and through highly paid PR practitioners.We also have to anticipate what my former government professor at Cornell, Theodore Lowi, is now saying; he expects Obama will also inevitably be targeted and go through a downward spiral:Barack Obama
“If you check out the rhetoric on the front pages of papers and magazines and TV, you’ll see how personalized references are: ‘Can he deliver? When will he deliver?’….
“The reality is that all the powers in the world could not make it possible for him to do what’s expected.That’s what makes me so sad. Obama excels in all that we require in a president and he’ll fail, precisely because he’s president. I know this sounds like an awful contradiction or conundrum, but that’s the presidency.”
Monday, March 16, 2009
Danny Schecter: "How the Permanent Power Structure Is Trying to Stop Obama"