Washington Babylon — August 24, 2009, 10:37 am

The Myth of the Obama Movement

“Grass-Roots Battle Tests The Obama Movement,” ran a headline in the Washington Post yesterday atop an article that looked at why health care reform has bogged down. The story examined the work of activist Jeremy Bird, who “became one of the people most responsible for validating Obama’s campaign ethos: that grass-roots support can power government and shape legislation.”

Wake up, people. There never was an Obama movement. There was merely a rhetorically gifted candidate who inspired a lot of people who should have known better (admittedly, it was easy to believe given the alternatives) and who foisted on to Obama their fondest hopes and desires, which were largely delusional. Now, Obama is disappointing them just as thoroughly as did Bill Clinton, the last candidate liberals stupidly fell in love with, and not just on healthcare but pretty much across the board.

Yes, Obama was the best candidate and yes, he may even accomplish something decent here and there over the next four years. But let’s not talk about an Obama movement, because that’s a fantasy.

What’s sad is how many liberal Obama supporters continue to believe and insist that he’s the real thing. One even hears progressives saying that health care reform would have worked out differently if only Tom Daschle had been confirmed as secretary of health and human services. Yes, Tom Daschle, the Democratic hack, industry advocate and tax cheat would have been able to get through health care reform, maybe even a single payer system.

And you thought the Republicans lived in fantasyland.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

July 2015

One Day Less

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dressed to Kill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Wrong Prescription?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Travel Day

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Fugue State

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Avian Voices·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The mockingbird’s bath is an orgy of thrashing and writhing about. When he has finished, one of the innocents alights on the rim of the basin and looks with disbelief at the thimble of water remaining.”
Illustration by Eric Hanson
[Browsings]
Before the War·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I’m worried that what the Houthis did to push Yemen into a civil conflict in September 2014, the Saudis may end up doing again when they end their campaign by eliminating the Houthis.”
Photograph by Alex Potter
Article
The Speakeasy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In order to understand how Marty’s could survive as an institution, I returned a year after my first visit to spend a week at what was sure to be the world’s bleakest comedy club.”
Photograph by Mike Slack
Post
The Lost Land·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I had first encountered some of these volumes—A Swiftly Tilting Planet, The Giver—as a child, and during adolescence, they registered as postcards from a homeland recently abandoned.”
Photograph by the author
Article
Wrong Prescription?·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Whatever the slogans suggested, the A.C.A. was never meant to include everyone.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery

Estimated cost of the environmental damage caused each year by the world’s 3,000 largest companies:

$2,200,000,000,000

Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.

Beekeepers began extracting 1 million honeybees living beneath the siding of a house in New York State.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today