Obama Chose Wall St. Over Main St. – Thomas Frank on RAI (8/9)

Updated : Nov 09, 2019 in Articles

Obama Chose Wall St. Over Main St. – Thomas Frank on RAI (8/9)


PAUL JAY: Welcome back to Reality Asserts
Itself on The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, and we’re continuing our discussion
with Tom Frank. Thanks for joining us again. THOMAS FRANK: It’s my pleasure, Paul. PAUL JAY: One more time: Tom’s a historian,
a political analyst, and he’s the author of ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas?’, ‘Listen,
Liberal,’ and lots of other books. Before we get started, I just want to frame
something for our viewers. I don’t think either of us think that somehow
Bill Clinton is a demon or Barack Obama is a demon. For that matter, I wouldn’t think George Bush
or even Mr. Trump, President Trump is a demon. We’re at a stage of the development of this
social economic system, capitalism, where ownership is extremely concentrated and finance
is extremely powerful, and the control most of the politics. And these political personalities, they come
up at certain times, and if you want to be a successful president, you’ve only got certain
choices. If Obama hadn’t been a Wall Street loyal person,
he never would’ve been president. That’s a choice he made. So it’s not like this is all about the individuals
and their policies. THOMAS FRANK: I don’t know about that. We probably don’t want to keep going over
and over and over this, but the mood of the country in 2008, I think you could’ve elected
someone who was way to the left, who really did get tough with the banks. By the way, you mentioned something very important
about financialization of the economy. We had the perfect chance in 2009, when Barack
Obama came in, to disrupt that cycle and get back to being an economy that actually produces
things rather than an economy that shuffles financial instruments back and forth. And we didn’t do it. We thought we did, we thought we were voting
for that, but our leadership chose not to go in that direction. PAUL JAY: And I think an expression of the
power of finance, they selected a guy who could feint left, and when he comes to power,
appoint Wall Street as his financial team. THOMAS FRANK: Yeah. Well, that was the big disappointment for
me, is watching Barack Obama deal with the financial crisis, and basically right off
the bat, it was apparent that he –I mean, not apparent to me, of course, I was very
hopeful, as the phrase went at the time — that he was going to take the steps that needed
to be taken. And by that, I mean that he was going to do
what Franklin Roosevelt did to the banks back in the early 1930s. PAUL JAY: And had control of Congress and
could’ve done it. THOMAS FRANK: And then he had the bailout
mechanism. He had seats on their boards. He had everything at his disposal, including
prosecuting these people for fraud. They were dealing in something called “liar’s
loans.” They were packaging them up and selling them
to retirees in Germany. This is so bad in so many ways. And as we all know, they were designing financial
instruments to blow up in people’s faces, the people who bought it. They were doing all this deliberately. We know this is true. It would’ve been hard to prosecute them because
they have good lawyers, but you still have to do it. You’re the president. PAUL JAY: And not a single prosecution at
a senior level. THOMAS FRANK: Not a single one. That’s right. He didn’t even fire them. This is the other thing. Barack Obama had every authority over these
guys. If you go back and look at what Roosevelt
did in the ’30s, his bailout agency constantly was firing bankers from their positions because
the government basically owned the banks because it had bailed them out. By virtue of bailing them out, they had power
over them, and he could remove, and he did remove bankers from leadership positions all
the time from management. Obama never even did that. Now, he did fire the CEO of General Motors,
which they also bailed out. But no, he didn’t lift a finger with the banks. PAUL JAY: In terms of the banks and the way
that- THOMAS FRANK: Well, they did around to regulating
them later, the Dodd-Frank measure, which we’ll come to. PAUL JAY: But in terms of the banks and who
gets bailed out and the inequality of it is why they lose control of Congress. THOMAS FRANK: When Barack Obama was running
for president, he said, and he actually did say this, this is not just hopeful thinking
by a sappy liberal from Kansas, but he said that we were not just going to bail out Wall
Street, we were going to do something for homeowners as well. They never did it. They just never did it. And they never even did anything for small
banks. Small banks all over America went out of business
in those days. There was this huge die-off of small banks. And they never got crammed down … You remember
this? This is one of the early fights. There were a whole series of things, of battles
in the early Obama years where he was required to choose sides between Wall Street and Main
Street, and he persistently chose to side with Wall Street on basically every issue
that came up. Or take another issue like, one of the other
things that people like me were saying at the time, we’re saying it still, you want
to do something about inequality in this country, make it easier for workers to form unions. It’s almost impossible to form a labor union
in America today. I mean, that’s one of the reasons workers
don’t have any power. PAUL JAY: His number one promise to the unions. THOMAS FRANK: To organize labor. PAUL JAY: The Employee Free Choice Act. THOMAS FRANK: Correct. Also known as “card check.” And labor, they worked real hard to get him
elected, as they always do for Democrats, but a little bit harder in 2008. It was a great year. They come to him, “This is our one request. This is our one piece of legislation that
we really want to get passed.” No, not interested. Not interested. Let it die. PAUL JAY: Never gets put forth in Congress. THOMAS FRANK: Right. Now, Obama had supported it as a senator,
had voted for it as a senator. But as president, no, he didn’t lift a finger
for it. You can go down the list. There are so many things like that. And you can say, “Well, look, the man had
only been in the Senate for two years. He didn’t really know what the job would entail.” And that’s true, but he did have Rahm Emanuel
at his side, one of the toughest, meanest political fighters in this country. Rahm Emanuel could’ve gotten anything through
Congress he wanted. The Democrats had a majority, the economy
is flat on its back, they’re looking to Barack Obama as a hero figure. He could’ve had whatever he wanted. PAUL JAY: Well, stronger unions was not something
Wall Street wanted. THOMAS FRANK: Of course not. PAUL JAY: It’s clear where their fidelity
was. THOMAS FRANK: You go down the list of Obama’s
achievements, and he had some big ones. Of course, the stimulus, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank,
and all three of them had wonderful things about them. They were all good things overall, but they
all were half-measures. They only went so far and no farther because
to go any farther would be to start stepping on the toes of his allies. For example, Obamacare. There was all of this debate at the time,
whether it was right for president to stop focusing on the economy and start moving to
healthcare. I didn’t really have a problem with that. Healthcare is the great sort of … You’re
from Canada. You know this. This is the great unfinished sort of aspect
of the American welfare state. We got Medicare but no more, and so many Democrats
have tried to get some form of national health insurance, and they’ve always failed. Well, here comes Obama, and he’s going to
try. I was very happy with that. What made me unhappy was that the solution
that they settled upon, Obamacare, this massively complicated thing, and the reason it’s massively
complicated is because it’s all about making sure that private, for-profit health insurance
companies stay viable and continue to make profits. They get written into it. PAUL JAY: And don’t touch pharma. THOMAS FRANK: Yes, that’s right. PAUL JAY: Leave pharma alone, which is-
THOMAS FRANK: You’re going to have a national system where these guys continue to make these
exorbitant profits all the time. How is that going to work? PAUL JAY: And you don’t even allow single-payer
Medicare for- THOMAS FRANK: Right. Not even an option. PAUL JAY: It can’t even be discussed. THOMAS FRANK: Right. The public option, which Obama said he was
for and then changed his mind and let it go. Yeah. This is the great missed opportunity. And again, the Republicans played him. Like I said, the Republicans are very, very,
very good at the game, but how they managed to win that one is … it still boggles the
mind. They delayed, and they dragged their feet. Do you remember this? Chuck Grassley. Obama, of course, wanted a Republican vote. “Just one. Just get me one Republican vote.” By the way, this is one of his … Democrats’
persistent failings is that they believe in bipartisanship, even when all the evidence
of the senses tells you to not believe in it anymore, that it’s a dead end and it just
opens you up for … The Republicans are going to bust some game theory on you. You reach out, and they’re going to retract. It’s very easy if someone’s looking for your
agreement to keep withholding it. So if you’re the guy that’s looking for bipartisanship,
you’re going to get played every single time. How Barack Obama didn’t know this …
PAUL JAY: Well, maybe it’s the restraints of where your campaign money comes from. THOMAS FRANK: Yeah. But the long story short, so the Republicans
did play him. Then while they’re playing him, Ted Kennedy
died, which is like, wow, that’s terrible. You remember what happened. So then-
PAUL JAY: Scott Brown. THOMAS FRANK: Scott Brown got in, and they
had to just pass whatever they had. Thus, Obamacare with its million moving parts. It’s extremely complicated. PAUL JAY: It all happens because in the first
two years of Obama’s administration, when they controlled Congress, nothing significant
happens that makes people’s lives better. THOMAS FRANK: Exactly. And this is what’s always forgotten. People think, well, there’s always a backlash
in the off-term elections. Not necessarily, and not necessarily one that
completely overturns your control of the House of Representatives and ushers in this enormous
Republican majority, which is what happened in 2010. That didn’t need to happen at all. Barack Obama could have still been in 2010
this enormously popular figure, as he was in 2008. All it would’ve taken was getting tough with
the Wall Street banks and showing the people that he was on their side in this uniquely
awful economic situation that we were in. PAUL JAY: You’ve done a lot of writing, and
you’ve gone to places that vote for Trump, both in Kansas and other places and Missouri-
THOMAS FRANK: And places that voted for Obama and then switched. PAUL JAY: And switched. And it’s not just about Trump gets elected
after the Obama years, but something, what is it, over 1,000 seats that were Democratic
flipped in state legislatures across the country to, flipped to Republican. THOMAS FRANK: Yes, yes. That’s correct, yeah. The Obama years have been, I mean, aside from
the presidency, were a disaster for the Democratic Party. I mean, they’re wiped out at the state and
local level all over America. You just look at the electoral maps. These trends were already underway. I wrote about in ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas?’ This was already happening. But you look at a state like, let’s say, Missouri. Missouri was once profoundly Democratic. Harry Truman, Stuart Symington, Eagleton,
Gephardt, these were all people from Missouri. It starts to shift. By the time Obama comes in, it’s a battleground
state. They had basically a tie there between Obama
and McCain. And today, Trump takes it by an enormous percentage. There are rural counties in Missouri that
Trump got 80%. PAUL JAY: Why? THOMAS FRANK: This is happening all over America. Everywhere you go outside of the two coasts
and Chicago and a handful of Midwest cities. PAUL JAY: Outside of big cities. THOMAS FRANK: Yeah. This is happening. So you look at a map of Missouri, Hillary
got St. Louis, Kansas City, Missouri, and the college town in the middle. And that’s it. Every other county … Well, this is the great
story that you and I have now been talking about for, what, seven episodes of how the
Democrats basically lost their touch with ordinary, average Americans, specifically
white Americans. PAUL JAY: We’re talking about how the Democratic
Liberal League, the corporate Democrats are beholden to Wall Street and so on-
THOMAS FRANK: Yeah, well, that’s obviously the answer. I mean, these two things are related, you
understand, Paul. PAUL JAY: But the Republicans are even more
so. THOMAS FRANK: Oh, I know. I know. It drives you crazy this whole thing. Trump is out there … By the way, to get
back to Trump, every conversation leads to Trump these days, Trump actually was banging
Hillary over the head with Goldman Sachs, was actually using that against her, and now
look who’s the Secretary of the Treasury. It’s unbelievable that they’re able to get
away with it, but they are. How do they do that? Now, that’s a really good question. How does a party like the Republicans come
off pretending to be on the side of the ordinary people? Well, they do. They do it again and again and again. This is one of their themes, is populism. It’s fake populism, but they’re very good
at it. PAUL JAY: Now, you’ve been to these places
recently. THOMAS FRANK: Yes, but the answer to our question
is the Tea Party movement in 2009, 2010. This fascinated me when it happened. I was a columnist for the Wall Street Journal
at the time, so I was on top of the news cycle, not like anymore. Now I don’t care, but back then I was very
clued in. It was basically, we were in a smaller scale
version of the Great Depression, so I let all my friends know I want to go to some protests. I want to see economic protests in action
like you had in the 1930s. We know it’s going to happen. I want to see it with my own eyes. The first time I heard about it, someone called
me up, was like, “Yeah, there’s a protest happening tomorrow down in front of the White
House.” And I go to it. It’s the Tea Party movement. This is their first rally. It was all of these lobbyists, all these guys
that work for Grover Norquist, all these guys that work for Newt Gingrich. They’re all out there. CPAC was in town, the big conservative get-together,
so all these guys came over from CPAC. And they held this rally, and they were wearing
ties. Some protest, right? It was so obviously a put up. I wrote about it. I made fun of it in the newspaper the next
day. It’s like, look at this silly, made-up protest,
the Tea Party movement. I’ll be damned, it caught on. I’m sorry, I keep blabbing. It was a genius move in this sense, they made
up a fake protest movement for hard times, and I mean they made it up. They said, “Well, hard times. You got to have a protest movement. Let’s get out there and make one. Let’s do it.” And they did, and they managed to change the
subject from getting tough with Wall Street to deregulating Wall Street. PAUL JAY: When I talk to people that voted
for Trump, and I try to talk to them, there’s a pretty clear fact base that what Trump is
doing is not good for ordinary working people, but they can’t even hear it until I start
to do a critique of the Obama years. Because they just think you’re so partisan
because their experience with the Obama years … I just don’t see how any Democratic candidate’s
going to be able to do any better in these areas of the working class and rural America
if they’re just- THOMAS FRANK: If they’re just reiterating. Well, they’re-
PAUL JAY: Obama’s too sacred to touch. THOMAS FRANK: Okay, so let’s talk about that. I want to forget the Tea Party movement. This is a huge problem for Democrats, or it
was in 2016, is that they love Barack Obama, they admire … I admire Barack Obama, by
the way. I should say I’ve soured on him to some degree
from where I was in 2008, but I saw him at the Democratic Convention in 2016, and that
man has a gift. He has a way of speaking that is … He’s
a spell-binder. I mean, I listened to him, and I was like,
all of my cynicism drained away, and I was like, “Let’s run this guy for president. This is who you want out there. This guy is great.” He was superb. But the problem is that inequality got worse
and worse and worse while he was president. This is the consequences of not dealing with
Wall Street. When you have the golden opportunity, and
you drop it, this is the consequences. Inequality gets worse. What they call the labor share of the gross
domestic product fell to its lowest point since we started measuring it, which means
World War II or the ’30s. The lowest point ever for labor share of gross
domestic product. That means what labor is taking, workers are
taking as opposed to- PAUL JAY: Share of the pie, yeah. THOMAS FRANK: Right. As opposed to what owners, shareholders are
taking. And it stayed there, and that’s Barack Obama
that happened. You go around to these towns that we’ve been
describing, these Trump voting areas, and you talk to people, you talk to working-class
people, and they are furious with what is happening to their lives. And maybe it’s happening to them personally
or maybe it’s not. Maybe they got a pension, maybe they’re retired,
maybe they’ve got a secure job, but they can see it coming for their kids, that there are
no good jobs anymore. Everybody knows it, and everybody is so angry
about it. So look at the Democrats. Here’s the party that should traditionally
be in touch with that anger and speaking … They used to be the party of organized labor. They should know about this. Instead, they’re out there campaigning and
saying, remember what Hillary was saying, America is already great. This is poison, this is toxic to be putting
out that message in a year like 2016. PAUL JAY: I was saying to you earlier, the
night before the election, everyone thought Hillary was going to win, so did I. But the night, they did a final rally in Philadelphia,
and Barack Obama was on stage next to Hillary and spoke, and it was all about the great
achievements of the administration. THOMAS FRANK: Yeah. This is the dilemma. Because they loved that man. They love Barack Obama, and they can’t acknowledge
that the economy got worse under his watch. PAUL JAY: Not for everybody. THOMAS FRANK: Yeah. There’s a famous quote from Hillary. Actually, it’s not famous because it’s in
… Where is it? I think it’s in Donna Brazile’s book. It’s in one of the campaign books. Hillary says, “But how can I say those things
without people thinking I’m criticizing Barack Obama?” She just couldn’t do it. PAUL JAY: Even Bernie held back. THOMAS FRANK: She couldn’t bring herself to
do it. So I was at the Democratic Convention, and
someone did give a very fiery speech, and it was Elizabeth Warren, and she did talk
about, everything I’ve said, she talked about. The problem is she’s railing against these
things, and here’s the President of the United States sitting up there in the box, the box
seat up there. She never mentioned him of course. She can’t. She’s in the same party. So they have this terrible problem that they
love Obama, but they’re very upset. They can see the pain out there in the country,
but they can’t criticize it. PAUL JAY: It goes even further. THOMAS FRANK: So Trump is no dummy. Trump can see this, and so Trump just parks
out of the garage. Trump drives at home. PAUL JAY: And Obama is actively now fighting
against the Sanders forces in the party. He is not hands-off. When they had the fight over the DNC chair
with Tom Perez, Obama’s working the phones to stop Keith Ellison. THOMAS FRANK: Barack Obama himself, some presidents,
you know this, they care very deeply about their legacy. So it’s going to be very hard for him to acknowledge,
it would be for any president to acknowledge that there could’ve been something, that there
were shortcomings during his presidency. By the way, one of the stories that I’m proud
of that I wrote a while ago is where I visited a bunch of presidential libraries. I went to the two George Bush libraries, and
I went to the Bill Clinton library. They’re all very evasive. They all try to get their principal out of
trouble for various things. But the one that really blows your mind is
the George Bush, Jr. library because this is a president — everything went wrong. The Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the things
we were listing before, and of course, financial crisis and economic disaster. This guy is just one disaster after another. And, of course, 9/11. How do you make a presidential library for
something like that? It really poses quite a challenge to the historian
to try to get him off the hook for all of these things. I haven’t been to the Nixon library, but I
imagine it’s the same kind of deal. But presidents are very zealous about guarding
their legacy, so I’m sure that’s where … Barack Obama is [crosstalk 00:21:06]… PAUL JAY: Partly legacy and partly, maybe
we don’t agree on this, I think he has very much taken up the mantle of representing Wall
Street interests, and that continues in terms that, who’s going to control the Democratic
Party? Because I think the last thing on earth Wall
Street wants is a Sanders or a Sanders-esque and maybe Elizabeth Warren. THOMAS FRANK: Yes. PAUL JAY: Don’t forget we’re in our fundraising
campaign, every dollar you donate will get matched, and it’s a very important time of
year for us in terms of fundraising. So, if you like Reality Asserts Itself and
shows like that on The Real News, please donate. There’s a donate button somewhere around this
video. Thanks for joining us.

58 Comments

  • Frank, though great at analysis, fails to see that the Dims are COMPLICIT! Its not that big scurry republicans stopped him from using his 60 seat majority in the senate, IT WAS OBAMA'S WALL ST DONORS THAT CALLED THE SHOTS.

  • nice. thanks, Paul, for this interview. the context of the tea party "protest" and their connection with average people helps shed light on the last election and the current political climate. 

    I'm a mechanic, at a non union shop, and a coworker said to me that he was really happy the tax bill got passed, because he will pay a lower rate. I couldn't believe it.

  • Frank has great erudition and analysis of history but he never takes the final logical step his own analysis demands, i.e. he still clings to the idea – it must be an emotion need – that Obama had good intentions… that he was played by the Republicans, blah, blah, blah, rather the obvious truth Obama was as much a tool of his donors as any other politician (Republican or Democrat) is a tool of theirs. One only need look at Citibank making "suggestions" for whom Obama should pick for cabinet and the fact the actual people he picked mirror Citibank's list exactly. The core problem in our system is that the Supreme Court has for over 100 years ruled that money equals speech and as long as that's the law of the land then we will have a quasi-democracy actually ruled by a moneyed elite. (Yes, exceptions occur, but I cite the Princeton study that showed vote as their donors want over 80% of the time and per public opinion under 30%. http://www.upworthy.com/20-years-of-data-reveals-that-congress-doesnt-care-what-you-think

  • To correct Thomas; a brilliant man with compelling ideas, the reality is that Wall Street IS NEVER OUT IN THE COLD! Yes Obammer totally sold out to Wall Street, But his pivot to the Tech Giants is just a different subsection of the dominantly powerful members of Wall Street!

  • OBAMA WAS A COWARD WHO ONLY CARED ABOUT HOW HE LOOKED. IF HE DIDN'T HAVE THE BALLS TO STAND UP TO THE ONE PERCENT HE SHOULD NOT HAVE RAN. WHEN I SAW HIM WEARING A YAMAHA I KNOW HE WAS A LACKEY.

  • I think the point is missed. The Republicans never "played" Obama. He was a Republican who was playing a progressive and he fooled many of us the first time. Republicans now have their Obama in the Whitehouse: Trump. Until there's a constitutional amendment clarifying that political contributions are not "speech" and laws banning those who cannot participate in the electoral process by voting (corps, trade organizations, foreign citizens, non-constituents, etc.) from the political process, we're doomed. We also need laws allowing rank-choice voting as well as making elections an opt-out system. But this will NEVER happen.

  • Obama's only talent is being a charismatic liar. I supported him but after 6 months saw he was going to be like Reagan, just a figurehead who likes state dinners and waxing poetic while the rich pull the strings behind the stage.

  • Man Thomas Frank is a difficult guest to interview. He never lets the host finish the question or commentary. Jay must be so annoyed…

  • Capitalism doesn’t function very well, Franklin R. understood this and that is why he enlisted Keynes an Economist to help get us out of the depression. Keynes told him the Government had to increase the money supply to the population to increase aggregate demand and that would revive the economy. He did and it did spur growth, after WW2 the Government realized increasing money supply to the Military Industrial Complex would do the same thing. To keep growth going in this scenario you had to have endless war. In the Seventies there was this realization that if you increase the money supply to very clever people they could with the help of fraud and deception create financial paper to make it appear that the economy is growing. Because there is no aggregate demand for real goods and services you end up with a 2008 moment. America has been living off of someone else’s Dime from day one; we’ve created a fantasy that we think can be made into reality. Barrack did just what America wanted him to do restore faith to keep the party going just a little longer. When I was growing up Black people that used drugs were viewed as “animals with no self control just wanting to get high”. Now drug use is a disease and it’s the bad old Pharmacy Industry that are the villains. It’s that time Buckaroos it’s time to grow up, wake up and live in a sustainable manner. The time we have to do this is a lot shorter than most people realize.

  • No US president has authority. Corporations and Israel do. Two US presidents were assassinated for trying to turn away from the Federal Reserve. Another president threatened US citizens with imprisonment if they spoke about the day Israel attacked America #USSLiberty. The US didn't even allow European Jewish refugees to step one foot on US soil post WWII so why does every presidential candidate need to publicly commit to funding and siding with Israel at AIPAC conferences in order to have a chance winning?

  • Look at Larry Summers in the background of each picture. He's the criminal who deregulated the banking industry. He changed corporate accounting rules. He allowed for unlimited executive pay.

    And the next Democratic President will appoint this criminal to her/his cabinet.

  • Obama as a great speaker? Gak! All he did was say how the schools need to be fixed and this and that is a problem, and he never did anything. Just point at a problem you can't fix, and would not try to, Then trump makes it all worse

  • Equivocating between the environment of FDR's time, and our current, completely undermined system, is just plain silly. Obama was bought and sold before he got into office. That's how he got there.

  • Obama threw away the potential of the presidency to protect his benefactors. He never chose people over banks and corporations. He was a smooth-talking, pretty-faced fascist in the original context of fascism – the bundling of corporate and government powers. Mussolini had his cabinet of the corporations, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama and Trump had (have) their cabinets of increasingly numerous Oligarchs. America peaked in the 70's, then SCOTUS thrust a dagger into the beating heart of democracy in December 2000, and now, after 8 years of death throes, and 8 years of laying in repose, the corpse is beginning to decompose and reek of corruption.

  • Eye opening – rather frightening how sappy the Democrats are concerning the corporate wing of their party- blind faith has not served us well! Hopefully, with the interjection of the progressive movement – the party can move back to it FDR roots. Thats a big hope! If it doesn't the young people and progressives will move to a 3rd party or worse not see voting as an option.

  • Obamacare wasnn't a half-measure. It was a gift to Big Pharma and the insurance industry. Dodd Frank was indeed signed into law by Obama, who immediately began issuing waivers to prevent its enforcement. The stimulus was NOT an achievement. In fact, it didn't really happen. AT A TIME WHEN THE DEMOCRATS HELD A VETO-PROOF MAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS. Mr. Frank is biased to the point where I won't be watching anything he says again.

  • I still find it highly disturbing that smart people like Frank and many others fell for Obama's bullshit. I found myself defending him up until the point that he went to the meeting with Hillary and the Bilderberg group after which Hillary finally dropped out. I'm not even going on the conspiracy that they control the world but that they're privately held meetings by the very rich. Which gave me the cue that he was from that point on. In the game.

  • Of course Obama's not a demon, but for a man who is the most intellectually capable president since Kennedy, he sure has proven himself to be a moral weakling.

  • Paul Jay, well said.

    But y'all (and by that) I mean the so called journalists, still fail to hit the nail on the head.
    First off, I'm black, thank God not american, German by citizen and attitude. After astutely following Barack from July 2007 till January 2009.
    I remember getting an SMS from a very beautiful Fräulein saying blacks would be worse off after Barack's 8 years. This was Inauguration Day!
    I just brushed it aside. I hoped, yeah I hoped just like other millions that I hoped. I hoped Barack would bring change. I didn't need him to change anything for me. I'm made. My life's made. Solid. But I had witnessed poverty, inequality, nepotism, etc. To put it short, I was hoping for FDR in 2009.
    I thought Barack had the balls to pull an FDR in '09, the situation warranted it. He didn't. He chickened out. What a pussy ! A chicken shit black pussy!
    Can I say that? Yes I can, I just did.
    Now Paul Jay I've got a couple of questions for ya:
    Why was Barack another Uncle Sam?

  • Paul Jay, well said.

    But y'all (and by that) I mean the so called journalists, still fail to hit the nail on the head.
    First off, I'm black, thank God not american, German by citizen and attitude. After astutely following Barack from July 2007 till January 2009.
    I remember getting an SMS from a very beautiful Fräulein saying blacks would be worse off after Barack's 8 years. This was Inauguration Day!
    I just brushed it aside. I hoped, yeah I hoped just like other millions that I hoped. I hoped Barack would bring change. I didn't need him to change anything for me. I'm made. My life's made. Solid. But I had witnessed poverty, inequality, nepotism, etc. To put it short, I was hoping for FDR in 2009.
    I thought Barack had the balls to pull an FDR in '09, the situation warranted it. He didn't. He chickened out. What a pussy ! A chicken shit black pussy!
    Can I say that? Yes I can, I just did.
    Now Paul Jay I've got a couple of questions for ya:
    Why was Barack another Uncle Sam?

  • Paul Jay, well said.

    But y'all (and by that) I mean the so called journalists, still fail to hit the nail on the head.
    First off, I'm black, thank God not american, German by citizen and attitude. After astutely following Barack from July 2007 till January 2009.
    I remember getting an SMS from a very beautiful Fräulein saying blacks would be worse off after Barack's 8 years. This was Inauguration Day!
    I just brushed it aside. I hoped, yeah I hoped just like other millions that I hoped. I hoped Barack would bring change. I didn't need him to change anything for me. I'm made. My life's made. Solid. But I had witnessed poverty, inequality, nepotism, etc. To put it short, I was hoping for FDR in 2009.
    I thought Barack had the balls to pull an FDR in '09, the situation warranted it. He didn't. He chickened out. What a pussy ! A chicken shit black pussy!
    Can I say that? Yes I can, I just did.
    Now Paul Jay I've got a couple of questions for ya:
    Why was Barack another Uncle Sam?

  • Thomas, thanks for keeping Paul honest. Even Paul, tilts ridiculously liberal (the nonsense kind of liberal) too often. The unfortunate thing is that no one challenges Bernie and/or E.W. et al to a LIVE debate where they can actually be cornered to take the public stand they FUCKING ALWAYS run from.  In some respects, Berne is (or possibly will) do us…progressivism more harm than good b/c of yet ANOTHER lose that didn't need to be. Bernie COULD have won in 2016. But he didn't really want to. Not really. There's a reason for that and THAT is the question/answer that MUST be exposed RELENTLESSLY agitated.  Se la vi.

  • Why? The worst Uncle Sam there ever was. Why?
    Why didn't Bankers, lots of them, get jailed under Barack? Why? Why is Hilary still not in jail? Why? Why is Trump president? Why is the middle class dead in America? Why? Why didn't FDR have the balls to stand up to the DNC officials why didn't want Wallace? Don't tell me he was ailing. Why?
    Why did Truman drop the A-Bomb? And that wasn't necessary, the war was already over. Why? Why didn't Kennedy and Chruschtschow blow us all up? Why? Why didn't Woodrow Wilson stand up against the Banksters in 1913? Why?

  • Why? The worst Uncle Sam there ever was. Why?
    Why didn't Bankers, lots of them, get jailed under Barack? Why? Why is Hilary still not in jail? Why? Why is Trump president? Why is the middle class dead in America? Why? Why didn't FDR have the balls to stand up to the DNC officials why didn't want Wallace? Don't tell me he was ailing. Why?
    Why did Truman drop the A-Bomb? And that wasn't necessary, the war was already over. Why? Why didn't Kennedy and Chruschtschow blow us all up? Why? Why didn't Woodrow Wilson stand up against the Banksters in 1913? Why?

  • Why? The worst Uncle Sam there ever was. Why?
    Why didn't Bankers, lots of them, get jailed under Barack? Why? Why is Hilary still not in jail? Why? Why is Trump president? Why is the middle class dead in America? Why? Why didn't FDR have the balls to stand up to the DNC officials why didn't want Wallace? Don't tell me he was ailing. Why?
    Why did Truman drop the A-Bomb? And that wasn't necessary, the war was already over. Why? Why didn't Kennedy and Chruschtschow blow us all up? Why? Why didn't Woodrow Wilson stand up against the Banksters in 1913? Why?

  • Why? The worst Uncle Sam there ever was. Why?
    Why didn't Bankers, lots of them, get jailed under Barack? Why? Why is Hilary still not in jail? Why? Why is Trump president? Why is the middle class dead in America? Why? Why didn't FDR have the balls to stand up to the DNC officials why didn't want Wallace? Don't tell me he was ailing. Why?
    Why did Truman drop the A-Bomb? And that wasn't necessary, the war was already over. Why? Why didn't Kennedy and Chruschtschow blow us all up? Why? Why didn't Woodrow Wilson stand up against the Banksters in 1913? Why?

  • Obama was never for Main Street – He has a very questionable background – his first job after college was for a CIA front company, His Mom seems to have been in intelligence and his grandparents as well. …. Hawaii is like Arizona – Military/intelligence has a lot of clout out there.

  • I have Social Security and a small pension- I'm not wealthy but I am grateful. I went to college virtually free- no student loans or debt! Our children deserve a good life- student loans, no pensions, no affordable healthcare, no future Social Security! Not acceptable!!!

  • Any interview with Thomas Frank is great, and FDR was the best President.  Dodd-Frank was a bust from the start … 40,000 pages of impossible to use regulation that would have tons of loopholes for lawyers to spit in the faces of Obama and the executive.  Wall St. has this country by the balls.

  • One thing is that over time every time you see anything that portrays the Democratic party there are tons of minority faces in it, but very few white faces … it is a kind of reverse racism on the part of the Democrats.  It was of note to me, but did not keep me from voting Democratic, but I think to a lot of white people it was a warning sign to stay away and caused this kind of racial backlash.  The subconscious message was the Democrats are only representing minorities, and often only the poorest and worst samples of minorities, such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown – who whatever you think about their deaths were not the major issues politically in the country, yet they were raised to the highest and loudest priority.  We have a political bipartisan co-ordinated attack of bullshit against the people of the US to make the peoples' vote pointless and divided on issues.

  • Democrat party ceased to be the party of organized labor in 1975 with the neoliberal Michel Foucault. Now it is the party of organized money, which is, as FDR said, just as dangerous as the organized mob.

  • The following is my message to the Democratic Party that I posted again and again before Hillary Clinton became their nominee:

    "II really don't think that the you have any idea of the hatred and rage that oppressed people like me have towards the Clintons (both of them), Obama, and the Democratic Party. They have sold us out. They talk like they are on our side, and make us think that they are "fighting for us", but then we get NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, fracking, the bank bailout (with NO jail time for the criminals who stole from us!), the bankruptcy bill, the Patriot Act and other atrocities that go on and on and on while they rake in millions of dollars (like the $21.5 MILLION Hillary got from speeches in just two years) from our oppressors in payment for their part in screwing us over again and again while we work longer and longer hours for less and less. Let me tell you something: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!! This is why Bernie is so popular, and why I am Bernie or Bust – I am more anti Hillary than I am pro Bernie (I have hated both Clintons since 1992 and at that time I had no idea who Bernie Sanders was.), and I WILL NOT VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON, even if it means holding my nose and voting for Donald Trump. However, I don't want to do that either, and I am voting for Jill Stein. Why should I be forced to vote for somebody I utterly despise?

    Democratic Party, listen up. This your final warning. Selecting Hillary Clinton as your nominee will hurt you badly. Do not do it. Seriously." [Especially if she had won, this would have done more damage to the Democratic Party than Trump ever could do]

    Well, they did not listen to my message, and they paid the price, but it is not as big of a price they would have paid if Hillary had won – I have no doubt that she would have done more to destroy the Democratic Party than Obama and Bill Clinton combined. (Both of them did horrific damage to the Democratic Party.) Be very glad Trump won, the alternative would have been far far worse. If they are smart, they will:

    1. Do not have candidates that cuddle up to Wall Street.

    2. Get rid of superPACs. Raise money the way Bernie did.

    3. Get rid of superdelegates.

    4. Allow Independents to vote in the primaries. You had better believe they will be voting in the final.

    What should we as progressives work on?

    1. Ranked Choice Voting (aka Instant Runoff Voting, which is the exact same thing)

    2. Brand New Congress.

  • Obama put liberals to sleep w his eloquent speeches about the working man and didn’t do d..k for them. ACA was a Republican idea. Now he just moved into a 9 million dollar mansion. Total fraud of a President.

  • More fake progressives. Frank talks about Obama in 2009 elected as progressive but lead with wall street people. Why then did you so call progressives re-elect him in 2012 and nominate Hillary in 2016? Both know to be in wall street hip pocket.

  • Obama was as big of a successful con artist as trump was in 2016. Obama certainly got me fooled in 2008 and 2012.

  • job automation, technological unemployment, and neoliberal globalization will put every human being out of work.

  • Obama, Clinton Bush, Reagan, and all these idiots are lunatic psychopaths for money. they trying to destroy our citizens and our country, one has to be totally stupid not to see this. All these presidents supported Rich Corporations and Wall Street. These people are evil. What presidents? Trump is real lunatic psychopath People must be dumb they do not see this. Obama was a loser and people that did not see this were not intelligent, Obama is total loser period.the

  • Love you Thomas Frank, but Obama is a War Criminal. Admiring him is like admiring George W. Bush. Justice for the victims of America.

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