Which lesson will Obama take from sweeping midterm losses? The mantra from the media is move right, conciliate, bridge build. But that’s the rotten road that brought the Democrats this far. There are other voices to listen to.
Robert Reich, who was part of the Clinton administration during the Gingrich Revolution of ‘94, says the media’s wrong about Clinton’s reelection. Clinton was reelected then because the economy was booming, says Reich, not because he caved in to Gingrich—although he did, to devastating effect on the Democratic base.
The relevant lesson for Obama isn’t ’96, says Reich, it’s 1936. When FDR, in the middle of a Great Depression, retooled and came out swinging – against speculators, monopolies and the men he called "the reckless Banksters of finance."
Obama thus far has prioritized protecting bankers. He even told them, memorably, in March 2009, "My administration is the only thing between you and pitchforks."
Having soaked up the government’s largesse, the banksters repaid him by pouring millions of anonymous dollars into defeating Democrats. As Simon Johnson of MIT points out, a blueprint for a way forward would be to follow the lead of —Elizabeth Warren, interim director of the consumer protection agency.
Warren’s a real consumer protector who could put the faux populists to shame. It’s his very last chance. Obama better let her, for our sake, as much as his own.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.