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The whole rationale for the continuing existence of the conservative, Democratic Party leadership to which Mr. Obama belongs is that they, and only they, can save us—save our Social Security and Medicare, prevent us from invading Iran, and keep the Supreme Court at least where it is now.
We were so scared and bewildered we continued buying into this rationale even as President Obama betrayed pretty much everything he ran on, hired back all the old Clinton hands who did so much to help cause the world financial panic in the first place, and turned over all of our names and addresses to the desiccated mummies still running the Democratic Party.
We put up with it all, thanks to the growing conviction that he really would win again and save us all from the lunatic, nihilist Republicans.
We put up with it even though he solemnly promised absolutely nothing for his second term, save that he would once again try to make us work more years for less money and fewer benefits, in exchange for a budget deal.
Then Barack Obama came apart before a national television audience and, in an hour and a half, changed the entire public image of both men. Overnight, Romney went from national punch line to Pew-poll front-runner.
The diehards who posit that Obama is just setting Romney up for the next debate are fooling themselves. The idol really is smashed, and I suspect for good. Far from playing three-dimensional chess, the most logical explanation for the president’s Denver daze, as I wrote after the debate, is that he simply wants out. Who knew it was going to be the Skypilot himself, Flight Chief Obama, scrambling for the eject button while the rest of us tried to batter down the cockpit door and force him back into his seat?
I predict we’ll see further evidence that Obama’s heart isn’t in it. But we liberals are going to have to pull him through. We’re going to have to do it because the only alternative is too awful to contemplate, and there’s no time to replace him. We are going to have to push, and haul, and shove him back into the White House . . . even though the first thing he’s going to do once he gets there is to try his best to screw us over again. We have to save our own Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. We have to save the environment from catastrophic climate change. We have to prevent a disastrous invasion of Iran.
If we can do this, then we will have demonstrated to ourselves and to the nation that we no longer need our keepers, all these very practical, very moderate individuals who keep insisting that they alone can save us, even as they once again betray us.
If only we can save ourselves, there’s no telling what we can do next.
And yes. We. Can. Even if he can’t.
More from Kevin Baker:
Context — November 25, 2016, 11:26 am
Rudolph Giuliani and the politics of personality
Appreciation — June 26, 2014, 8:00 am
From Johnny Cash to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”
Years that a Nigerian woman appealing a sentence of death by stoning in March will be allowed to live to wean her baby:
Movie editing was found to have evolved toward the natural pattern of human attention, which corresponds to the natural rhythm of the universe; Rebel Without a Cause, in particular, was found to possess a near-perfect universal rhythm.
Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, announced that he has ordered the country’s navy and coast guard to bomb the ships of kidnappers even if civilian hostages are on board.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."