Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Post-Euphoria Reminder: 6 - 7 Percent Does NOT A Mandate Make!

Not enough of a mandate, anyway.

Yes, the margin is greater than that enjoyed by any Democrat since LBJ's 18-point margin in '64. But, to actually achieve the REAL "change" he ran on (in the unlikely event that such "change" was EVER on the agenda of the resurgent Dims; I'll give Obama himself a temporary 'benefit of the doubt'), would have required a margin of Johnsonian/Rooseveltian proportions. FDR garnered a 16-point spread in '32, 28 points in '36. It was this wide, deep, overwhelming popular support that enabled FDR to extract such concessions as he did (which, in the end, weren't very much, really) from the plutocrats and oligarchs who were even then bent of reducing any pretensions of USer 'democracy' to an historical footnote, and who have labored tirelessly--and VERY effectively ever since--to reverse, or incapacitate, or eviscerate all the popular the programs FDR set in place, albeit they diminished the power of the elites only even ever so marginally. LBJ's 18-point margin made it possible for him even to CONSIDER the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, which would have been even politically untenable with less of a popular mandate. Obama faces problems even more pressing than those LBJ confronted, and almost as severe as those FDR had to face.

To enact change of ANY significance, BHO needed at LEAST a 10-point margin (and 15 points would have been a THOUSAND percent better). Five or 6 million votes out of more than a reported 130 million votes cast is a fart in a windstorm. "Electoral Vote" majorities are meaningless, since they can be won with a one-vote margin as well as with a 200,000-vote margin. Electoral votes are not reliable indices of the popular will, but only of a particular peculiarity of the USer political system, which was in any case designed to LIMIT the effects of the popular voice and the power of the popular vote.

In order to motivate and energize his base and to capture the necessary number of Independents, Obama HAD to make a LOT of promises he has NO FUCKING WAY of keeping. At the same time, he had to avoid making many promises that he COULD or MIGHT keep--except that by doing so he would discommode the financial (versus the 'popular') interests whose support he enjoyed. We need to recall that, while just about half of his campaign war chest came from "individual donors," the OTHER half came from 'CorpoRat interests' that are positioned--as 'popular interests' are not and never can be positioned--to claim the preferences he implicitly (via his record, which was ANYTHING BUT 'LIBERAL") promised them as the pro quo for the quiddity of their endorsements and financial support. He led the recent "Big Banker's Bail-out," remember, and acted to stiff the 'people' when it might have mattered. He favored the interests of Big Bidness on the FISA bill, too. These weren't the first times in his short career he had done so, either. We can safely predict he will stiff the people; he WON'T stiff the bankers, if (when, inevitably, as he has already readily and repeatedly shown) the "push" comes to "shove."

Here's where the 'benefit of the doubt' comes in: Obama's not morally culpable for his, that's not right. He's not POLITICALLY culpable for the failures that will attend him. He'll fail on ALL the big things. He won't get--won't even try to get--Universal Health Care; he won't end US universal militarism, just relocate it; he won't boost alternative energy to parity with the conventional energy industry in terms of tax-code protections, incentives or out-right grants, and probably he won't restore many of the rights and liberties stolen from the people by the busheviks and a compliant, complicit Congress under the rubric of "national security."

But he won't do those things out of a lack of will or political courage. He won't do them because 6 or 7 points is not anywhere near a sufficient mandate to overturn his politician's innate caution, and fear of alienating the really POWERFUL members of his constituency. He needed at LEAST 60% of the popular vote to do what the people elected him to do. While it is true that his campaign needed the contributions of the millions of individuals who sent them, it is also, and probably MORE, true that he couldn't have won without the donations and the support of the CorpoRats.

And they're in a much better position to remind him of his debt to them than are those millions of people who sent in their hard-earned sheckels.

Aye, there's the rub...

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