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Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

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  • Part 1: Part 1: Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy- Rightward Drift and Donald Trump
  • ‘Inauthentic Hope’
  • Part 2: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul
  • In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest <http://evergreenedigest.org>

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Part 1: Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy- Rightward Drift and Donald Trump

‘Inauthentic Hope’

Paul Street, Truthdig

http://thebrokenelbow.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/obama.jpg?w=500&h=330Jan 3, 2017 | In a parting shot near the end of his depressing, center-right presidency, Barack Obama wants the world to know that he would have defeated Donald Trump if the U.S. Constitution didn’t prevent him from running for a third term. It was a stab at Hillary Clinton as well as the president-elect.

I suspect Obama is right. Like Bill Clinton, Obama is a much better fake-progressive, populism-manipulating campaigner than Hillary. Also like Bill, he has more outward charm, wit, charisma, and common touch than Mrs. Clinton. Plus, he’s a male in a still-sexist nation, and he would have had some very sharp election strategists on his side.

Truthdig Contributor Paul Street is the author of numerous books, including “Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis” (2007), “The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power” (2010), and “They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy” (2014), and a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Z Magazine/ZNet, Black Agenda Report and teleSUR English. 

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Part 2: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

Matt Stoller, the Atlantic

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/2016/10/19/Atlantic_Hippies_Final2_revised/1920.jpg?1476902655Oct 24, 2016 | It was January 1975, and the Watergate Babies had arrived in Washington looking for blood. The Watergate Babies—as the recently elected Democratic congressmen were known—were young, idealistic liberals who had been swept into office on a promise to clean up government, end the war in Vietnam, and rid the nation’s capital of the kind of corruption and dirty politics the Nixon White House had wrought. Richard Nixon himself had resigned just a few months earlier in August. But the Watergate Babies didn’t just campaign against Nixon; they took on the Democratic establishment, too. Newly elected Representative George Miller of California, then just 29 years old, announced, “We came here to take the Bastille.”

 

One of their first targets was an old man from Texarkana: a former cotton tenant farmer named Wright Patman who had served in Congress since 1929. He was also the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Banking and Currency and had been for more than a decade. Antiwar liberal reformers realized that the key to power in Congress was through the committee system; being the chairman of a powerful committee meant having control over the flow of legislation. The problem was: Chairmen were selected based on their length of service. So liberal reformers already in office, buttressed by the Watergate Babies’ votes, demanded that the committee chairmen be picked by a full Democratic-caucus vote instead.

Matt Stoller is a budget analyst on the Senate Budget Committee.

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