Thanks Obama: Bernie and Socialism Missed Their Chance
On September 29, 2008, revolution was spelled “Seven Hundred and Seventy-Seven”. The corrupted foundation of America’s economy desintegrated into a network of cracks. One stomp promised to send the nation, and the globe, into a free fall with no end — a bottomless pit of biblical proportions.
By November 4, 2008, Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was a reality and with it came the reinforced idea of banks being too big to fail. This also guaranteed that the common man — the working class — would be screwed. The fat cats would live to eat the poor’s cake yet another day. The gap between rich and poor would grow even wider, beyond even Robbie Knievil’s ability to leap. On that fateful first Tuesday, however, there was hope.
Change came to America in the form of an inspirational first-term U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois, with no old money in his family, and a name that rhymed with Osama. Barack Obama was his name and he would begin his presidency with a filibuster-proof Democrat Super-Majority on Capitol Hill, it was easy to assume that this was it. America was about to be fundamentally transformed. Optimism was higher than the very ocean the president promised to repel.
Climate change would be addressed instead of debated. Immigration would be reformed. Higher education costs would be reigned in. A bold spending program (with lessons learned from the New Deal of course) would be put in place to put people to work quickly. Our crumbling infrastructure would be saved. Oh, yes, how about those damned fat cats on Wall Street whose greed and wrecklessness brought the economy to a near-grinding halt?
Surely they would be prosecuted and imprisoned, you know, similar to what happened in Iceland. Eventually, the rich would be made to pay a mountainous amount in taxes and as a result, the nation’s wealth would be transferred from the top 1% back to the 99. This was supposed to be the beginning of paradise, also known as Socialism err Social Justice err Democratic Socialism.
The collective red fist of a people would pierce the sky in triumph. If anyone spent a minute of their lives listening to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, they would’ve seen it coming. America, Earth’s bastion of capitalism, would be melted down as blacksmiths do iron, and remould into a burgeoning socialist utopia. The perfect time to do it was the year 2008 but it would not be so. Barack Obama happened. The American people caught fire for change, but they never really got a chance to feel the Bern. By electing a black man, the nation merely became social…not socialist.
Although President Obama sounded a lot like Senator Sanders during his run for the presidency, he turned out to be something different. It all went wrong the moment he went (almost) directly for healthcare reform. It was too soon, he spent his political capital too fast. What would the country be like today had Obama push a bold(er) national spending plan? Yes, there was the stimulus. Can we really say it worked? Some thought it weak to be exact and focused on the wrong things. If it’s any consolation to the left, President Obama turned out to be not only a lousy Socialist, but also a terrible Muslim.
Neither is it too crazy to believe that the president’s political capital would not have evaporated so quickly if bankers were prosecuted and his coalition’s hunger for certain (other) changes be addressed early on. He could have tackled Higher Education more aggressively, after all, it could very well be the next big bubble. He could’ve had a decent amount of capital left, enough to help his party stave off the wounding it took in the 2010 mid-terms and lost it’s super-majority status in the process. In the president’s defense, it wasn’t entirely his fault. Republicans suddenly cared about spending again after six years of making it rain.
The nation grew bitterly divided by 2010 and the government, since then, has been paralyzed from the waist down. Fast forward to 2016. America, the left in particular, has the man they want in Bernie Sanders. From massive crowds to religious-like enthusiasm, Democrats love him because he is an unabashed (Democratic) Socialist. Bernie may have missed his time, however. America’s best chance for socialism, be it democratic or not, came and went in 2008. The wretched tendencies of capitalism are still abound, but masked by the illusion of an economy that feels good enough to most people.
This may be Hillary Clinton’s moment, as she showed in the first debate. There will not be another Democratic super-majority…for now. Besides, at the rate our country is going, we are more likely to have a few more mass shootings than a cataclysmic economic collapse. Timing is everything. Bernie is the man who could have fundamentally changed America. He could’ve been the parent forcing the medicine of democratic socialism down America’s throat in the midst of her child-like resistance. Once the country swallowed, and if it worked, he would’ve said “see, that wasn’t so bad!” but that will not happen. Obama took Bernie’s thunder two election cycles ago and it turned out to be a dud for leftists of Bernie’s ilk. And so the paradise that could have been Socialism in America is lost.