During Barack Obama's presidency, the anti-New Deal Democratic Establishment has lost 1,000 political offices across the nation, lost the White House, lost the Congress, and lost the Supreme Court. These losses have delivered us into what Noam Chomsky calls the "most dangerous organization in world history" (the modern, extremist Republican Party - which seeks to disassemble government and replace it with an unregulated, billionaire-run utopia, and which will scapegoat the most powerless people in America, e.g., low-income workers, the unemployed, and minorities).
So dangerous is this organization Chomsky speaks of, that even right-wing extremist Glenn Beck has said that Donald Trump's top adviser, Steve Bannon, "has a clear tie to white nationalists... He’s a guy that wants to tear this system down and wants to replace it with a new system... He is a frightening man - no no no, a terrifying man." Now, you know, if Glenn Beck is afraid of someone on the right, we all have reason to be afraid (the chairman of the American Nazi Party expressed approval of Trump's choice of Bannon as a top adviser, and told CNN "Perhaps the Donald IS for real")
But if the loss of 1,000 political offices, and the loss of all three branches of government (all under his watch), are not enough to convince you that President Obama is the worst president in U.S. history, let me give you 15 other reasons:
1. Pushing the TPP
Throughout this entire election, the American people--Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and others--expressed anger about trade deals that never seem to help American workers, and that only seem to help the fat cats of Wall Street. Despite overwhelming opposition to the TPP--opposition that even forced Hillary Clinton to pretend she was against it--President Obama kept pushing it and pushing it. Trump, on the other hand, was consistent in his opposition (whether or not that opposition continues remains to be seen). How obtuse does one have to be to keep pushing for something that is so detrimental to your favored replacement?
2. Siding with fraudulent creditors over innocent borrowers
Obama and his Department of Education officials were extremely reluctant to fight for student borrowers (see, e.g., "Obama Administration Misled Public On Student Loan Fraud," Huffington Post, March 1, 2016). How many borrowers were left with a bad taste in their mouths, after Obama and his corporate hacks brushed them aside?
3. Offering to cut Social Security and Medicare
As part of a "grand bargain" with Republicans (the people who hated him), anti-New Deal Obama offered to cut Social Security and Medicare, which would have financially harmed the tens of millions of people who voted for him. What kind of a treacherous act is that? (See "Obama Offers to Cut Social Security, Medicare and Popular Programs (Again)," Common Dreams, March 4, 2013.
4. No WPA for the unemployed
In 2011, at the height of the recession (i.e., when it was worst for the working class), U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced legislation to create a new WPA, to put the unemployed back to work and fix our crumbling infrastructure. Anti-New Deal Obama offered no support (and neither did most of the anti-New Deal Democratic Establishment) and the bill died a lonely death in committee. Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's economic adviser, later informed us that "There will be no WPA-type programs in our near future. There was no appetite for them in the Obama admin in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression and there's a lot less now. The reasons for that are interesting and I'll speak to them another day. But it ain't happening." (As far as I know, Bernstein never followed up with an explanation.)
5. No help for American Indians being attacked by the corporate-controlled police
President Obama (and Hillary Clinton) offered no leadership or moral clarity with regard to the American Indians being attacked by the corporate-controlled police in the ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline controversy. We know that the financial industry supports ramming the pipeline through areas important to American Indians, and we also know that Obama and Clinton are in bed with the financial industry (a kinky, greedy little menage a trois). The Democratic Establishment thinks we can't put two and two together... but we can, and we have.
6. No public option
This, of course, is legendary. When much of the public was screaming for a public option during health care reform, Obama sided with Corporate America and failed to fight hard for it... even though he spoke positively about it on the campaign trail (see "Obama tries to distance himself from the public option," Politico, December 22, 2009). Interestingly, when Obama began campaigning for Hillary he "backed" the public option again, perhaps hoping we had forgotten his earlier betrayal. If this doesn't show you how anti-New Deal Obama and the anti-New Deal Democratic Establishment play us for suckers, nothing will.
7. Failure to use the bully pulpit
With respect to the public option, and other issues important to progressives, many people said, "He can't get it through Congress!!" What these people fail to realize, and what Obama failed to realize during his entire presidency, is the power of the bully pulpit. Obama should have used the bully pulpit to constantly pound Republicans into the ground, to explain to the public how Republicans only cared about rich people. But instead of using the bully pulpit, Obama constantly tried to "reach across the aisle," constantly tried to be "the adult in the room," constantly brought already watered-down ideas to the negotiation table... and then caved some more. Well, with the loss of 1,000 political offices, and the White House, and the Congress, and the Supreme Court, we see just how well that strategy worked out.
8. Obama: A Republican in Progressive clothes
In 2014, former top Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett wrote: "Obama has governed as a moderate conservative - essentially as what used to be called a liberal Republican before all such people disappeared from the GOP." Bartlett agreed with Dr. Cornell West, when West said, "[Obama] posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit" ("Obama is a Republican," The American Conservative, October 21, 2014).
9. Trying to sell the TVA
Anti-New Deal Obama persistently tried to sell off the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a New Deal legacy that still provides affordable power to millions of Americans. And though the TVA could definitely use some updating, the idea of selling it off is so incredibly stupid that even Republicans were aghast ("Republicans blast Obama proposal to sell Tennessee Valley Authority," Fox News, April 16, 2013).
The Obama Administration refused to hold white collar criminals and financial fraudsters fully accountable, instead choosing to settle for fines - fines that were frequently less than the profit derived from the wrongdoing. And it's no secret why. Many of the criminals and fraudsters are undoubtedly big donors to the Democratic Establishment. It was a financial protection racket at the highest levels of government. Once again, the Democratic Establishment thought we were suckers, and that we'd never put two and two together. They were wrong. (See, "Are banks too big to jail: PBS Frontline's stunning report shows how the Obama administration undermined the rule of law," Salon, January 23, 2013).
11. Endorsing Debbie Wasserman Schultz
All throughout the Democratic Primaries, Sanders supporters were screaming "bloody murder" over the tactics that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was using to suppress the Sanders campaign. She limited the number of debates, and scheduled them on odd days and hours when people might be distracted by, let's say, a prominent sporting event. And, back in February, she famously said of the corrupt "super-delegate" system: "Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists" (in other words, she's telling us, the Establishment shouldn't have to deal with rabble like Sanders and his supporters). And so what was Obama's response? Well, in June, he fully endorsed Wasserman Schultz during her re-election campaign for Congress: "Obama says he has Wasserman's Schultz's back" (Politico, June 3, 2016).
By the way, shorty after Obama's endorsement, Wasserman Schultz resigned from the DNC in disgrace, for her role in rigging the primaries against Sanders. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said: "Bernie really had a movement out there, and it wasn’t right to treat him that way. I knew--everybody knew--that this was not a fair deal." But Wasserman Schultz's disgrace did not last long. Hillary Clinton--laughing and spitting in the face of Sanders' supporters--quickly hired Wasserman Schultz to be the "honorary chair" of her campaign ("Wasserman Schultz immediately joins Clinton campaign after resignation," Washington Times, July 24, 2016 - the Washington Times is, of course, a right-wing mouthpiece but, hey, when you're right, you're right). Yes, Hillary Clinton rewarded Wasserman Schultz's fine work in rigging the primaries by bringing her aboard the Clinton Train (but, truth be told, Wasserman Schultz was already on the train - only now she could openly sit in Business Class).
12. The Bundys
When the Bundys--and their heavily armed comrades--took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Obama continued his let's-ignore-crimes-by-white-people stance, and let them run amok for weeks and weeks. Things got so bad, that Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said of the Obama Administration: "They haven’t done anything. It’s just like Obama and Wall Street. They don’t seem to want to take on any law breakers whether they’re white collar criminals on Wall Street or radical extremists in the West."
13. Obama's Drinking-the-Water-In-Flint Stunt
After thousands of children drank lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, and incurred various levels of brain damage, President Obama went to the city, drank some of the water (filtered of course) and said everything would ultimately be a-okay. Instead of aggressively using the bully pulpit, to explain how right-wing principles like "starving the beast" and "tax-breaks-for-the-wealthy" were depriving communities across the country of the resources they needed to update their infrastructure, Obama said, "Generally, I haven’t been doing stunts, but here you go," before gulping down some of the filtered crap water.
14. Watered-down economic stimulus
Most people don't realize that the largest single portion of President Obama's stimulus package was tax cuts. Ask any conservative, and they'll tell you that the stimulus was just wild spending by liberals (they think this, partly because they're misinformed by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, and party because Obama never effectively used the bully pulpit to explain it). In any event, why did Obama support such a weak stimulus? Many progressive economists--including Paul Krugman (who later morphed into a Hillary shill)--told Obama that the stimulus needed to be much bigger in terms of spending. But, as would be his standard operating procedure, he dismissed progressives, plodded on stupidly with a watered-down package (to pacify right-wing extremists); and so a weak economic recovery ensued, just as progressive economists had predicted. This weak economic recovery played a large role in Donald Trump's ascendancy to the White House.
15. Appointing Wall Street cronies to important cabinet & administrative positions
Like the public option, this is legendary. It would take volumes to explore this thoroughly, but consider U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren's take on SEC Chair Mary Jo White, who was a powerful pro-Wall Street attorney before Obama picked her to police Wall Street (???). In a letter to President Obama asking him to demote White, Warren wrote:
"I do not make this request lightly. I have tried both publicly and privately to persuade Chair White to direct the agency's resources toward pressing matters of compelling interest to investors and the public, and toward completing those rules that Congress has required it to implement. But after years of fruitless efforts, it is clear that Chair White is set on her course. The only way to return the SEC to its intended purpose is to change its leadership... For years, the Chair of the SEC, Mary Jo White, has refused to develop a political spending disclosure rule despite her clear authority to do so, and despite unprecedented and overwhelming investor and public support for such a rule. This brazen conduct is merely the most recent and prominent example of Chair White undermining your Administration's priorities and ignoring the SEC's core mission of investor protection."
The only thing I disagree with Warren, is her statement that White was "undermining [the Obama] Administration's priorities." Let's be frank, reining in political spending by the super-wealthy was never an Obama Administration priority - indeed, they wanted more billionaire money for the Democratic Party (I suspect Warren knows this too, but she had to base her letter on Obama's supposed priorities).