With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Obama's lament

"We lost track of the ways we connected with the folks who got us here in the first place." --Pres. Obama
Yes he did. Including, youth, teachers, unions, civil rights activists, anti-war (torture) people, GLBT, immigration reformers... In short, the very heart of his political base. Most stuck with him anyway and saved mid-terms from being a total disaster.

Time to re-connect.


  1. In a nut shell...CORRECT!

    Let's hope and pray for the best...and get engage!

  2. No reconnecting to do. Obama will use scapegoating teachers and busting unions as his "common ground" with the new Repub powers in Congress.

    You can be sure that he will work to create a NCLB Jr that adds tons of standardized tests to every grade at every level, ties teacher evaluations and pay in every state to those tests, and turns Title 1 grants into a mini-RttT.

    We'll see if Repubs go along.

    I bet the Dems in Congress will.

    As long as teachers and union members continue to support anti-union and anti-teacher politicians or politicians who promote anti-union and anti-teacher policies, people like Obama will continue to abuse us.

    It is some sick kind of co-dependency that has blinded so many on the left from seeing Obama as the anti-teacher, anti-union corporatist that he is.

  3. I can understand R-B Ed for his gloomy prognosis. But you are right to push, encourage Obama to reconnect with his base. Otherwise we're left only with self-fulfilling prophecies. That shouldn't keep us from doing our jobs.

  4. I'm not sure I understand this push Obama to "reconnect with the base" thing. In my mind he has always been a corporatist and a neo-liberal sell-out. I voted for him reluctantly in '08 because I knew his ed policy was going to be bad. I didn't realize it would be this bad! But I had severe reservations about him. Eight years of Bush convinced me it was important to vote for him regardless of the reservations.

    But now I am done with voting for the lesser of two evils. Whether it was TALF, appointing Geithner to Treasury, forcing the UAW to take 50% pay cuts, listening to Summers, the HAMP program, RttT, renominating Bernanke, or doubling down on the Bush spying program, Obama has been a corporatist, neo-liberal sell-out.

    I wish this were not so. But I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary. I am happy to be wrong, though!

  5. RBE--Your comments don't make sense to me. If he has always been a "corporatist" and a "neo-liberal," how can he be a "sell out"? Who did he sell out?

    You should probably lighten up on the left jargon and start making sense.

  6. Here's where the left jargon and analysis get somewhat problematic. There appears to be a good portion of the new GOP congressional delegation that wants less federal intervention, less federal mandates and less federal money going to local schools. To say that Obama and Duncan have and are pursuing a Republican ed agenda might beg the question: Which Republican ed agenda?

  7. Who said Obama and Duncan are pursuing an Republican ed agenda?

    I said they are pursuing a neo-liberal corporatist agenda.

    They are enlarging the powers of the federal government for the benefit of corporations - in this case, the EMO's and for-profit charter operators and test prep companies that stand to make millions from their top-down, test-driven, data-driven reform movement.

    Some Republicans - specifically Boehner and Lamar Alexander - are right in line with that kind of policy. Indeed, both were big proponents of NCLB and have been big fans of Race to the Top as well.

    It is true that some Republicans have been elected who are NOT proponents of these policies - Rand Paul perhaps is the most well known. Perhaps Paul and other Repubs close to his position will be successful in keeping Boehner and Alexander from pushing through some bipartisan compromise on education that promotes more federal mandates similar to the ones adopted by states looking to win RttT.

    Perhaps. I hope so. As it stands now, the corporatists in BOTH parties - the Obamas, the Michael Bennets, the George Millers, the John Boehners and the Lamar Alexanders - will be looking to push through a NCLB reauthorization that continues the mandates of NCLB (minus perhaps AYP), doubles down on the testing the law requires (adding science and social studies to the mix), and requires all states to track the data and pay/punish teachers and schools accordingly.

    The point is that the old left/right dichotomy doesn't work for many issues anymore - especially education. Obama, Bloomberg, Christie, Cuomo - they ALL have the same education policies (anti-union, pro-charter, pro-testing, pro-value added teacher evaluations) and the rhetoric from them has also been pretty consistent. Yes, Christie is the most vociferously anti-teacher, but who can forget Obama applauding the firing of the Central Falls RI teachers (as part of a policy put in place by his administration, btw) or going on NBC to call for a national policy to fire "bad teachers"?

    Hell, if you mix up Bloomberg or Obama quotes on teachers, you wouldn't be able to tell who said what - they are nearly identical in policy and tone.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.