By Robert A. Vella

In a new book coming out by former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes titled The World as It Is, the author relates the President’s lament after Donald Trump won the 2016 election.  “What if we were wrong,” Obama asked his aides.  “Maybe we pushed too far, maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe,” he said in apparent reference to both the Democratic Party’s campaign strategy and his administration’s globalist foreign policy agenda.  I wonder, though, if arrogance was involved because the warning signs were certainly present.  First, there was great animosity coming from progressives against Obama’s push to pass the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal during his second term.  Second, the meteoric rise of populist Bernie Sanders in a hotly contested challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination was evident as early as late 2015.  Third, the Brexit referendum passed in June of 2016 demanding the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.  If Obama and the Democratic Party leadership had truly prioritized keeping control of the White House, then they wouldn’t have ignored these obvious warning signs.

President Trump has granted a full pardon to the controversial right-wing activist Dinesh D’Souza who pleaded guilty to felony charges in 2014 for making illegal campaign contributions.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that a record number of white nationalist candidates are running for federal office this year.

After a bitter five year battle, Republican lawmakers in Virginia have finally agreed to expand Medicaid to poor people under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  There is little doubt that their loss of the governorship and several state legislative seats were instrumental in changing their minds.

23 thoughts on “Thursday Potpourri: Obama’s lament, Trump’s pardon, racist candidates, and Virginia Medicaid expansion

  1. Quite frankly, I’m beginning to be thankful I don’t have that many more years ahead of me. This circus is truly beginning to worry me. I mean, there’s not a single day (except maybe on the weekends when he’s playing golf … another sore spot) that he doesn’t commit some sort of action/deed/comment that is against EVERYTHING I believe in.

    And the worst fear of all? He’s going to get off scott-free related to the investigation through a self-pardon. Yes, the legitimacy of his ability to do so is debatable, but from what I’ve read, it appears it’s totally possible. Arrrrggghhhh!

    If anything happens to my other-half and this creep is still in office (and I still have enough energy), I most definitely will be considering a move to another country!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. In Chicago, we’ve got one of those Hitler-loving, holocaust denying, nutters running for the House this Fall, a Republican, natch. What a great guy. NOT!!! And Trump’s gonna pardon our piece of rotten shit ex-Governo, Blagojevich, a truly corrupt rotten piece of shit who wanted to sell Obama’s Senate seat when he was elected President. “This is fuckin’ GOLDEN,” he was taped saying by the FBI. His wife was indicted too. Piece of shit. Trump’s kinda guy, eh?

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  3. TPP was, above all else, a check on China. It was smart, although it was ‘sold’ terribly. Trump pulling out was the single-most insane, deeply damaging thing this Human Dirty Bomb has done.


    • I understand the President’s desire to counter China economically. However, the TPP was neither the appropriate way to accomplish that goal nor was it at all palatable to working class Americans who’ve been watching their jobs shipped overseas for decades. So in those regards, it was definitely not a smart choice.

      I remember the domestic political furor which erupted over TPP quite well. Progressives and labor unions – which comprise a big part of the Democratic Party base – were incensed over a provision known as the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which allowed transnational corporations to circumvent the sovereign laws of member states (e.g. labor standards, environmental regulations, etc.) through a supranational arbitration panel appointed by some highly questionable process. This certainly looked like a subversion of democracy, and that’s exactly how it was perceived. Obama’s point-person for selling TPP was Washington state senator Patty Murray who was so battered back home by the backlash that she basically gave-up and told the president she needed to keep a low-profile for a while.

      Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election by losing the rust belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – the heavily unionized working class states most economically harmed by neoliberal free trade agreements like NAFTA – even though she tried very hard to backtrack her previous support for TPP during the campaign. Obviously, that didn’t work.

      Bernie Sanders, who performed extremely well in those states during the primaries, was adamantly opposed to TPP. This is the reason why many political analysts thought he would’ve been a much better candidate to run against Trump in the general election.

      TPP was an incredibly stupid thing for Democrats to do. And, to justify this criticism, I offer you Democrats’ deafening silence on this issue ever since.

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      • Well, your jobs have been shipped overseas for decades because US consumers want cheaper products, and aggressively marketed US globalisation policy was thrust upon the world. Corporatism is a US baby.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Those are all excellent points, John; however, they require some clarification.

          The craving U.S. consumer demand for cheap products did not arise organically. Before American middle class prosperity reached its peak in the 1970s, the affordability of consumer products was not a prominent issue – not for most families at least. Then, with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, neoliberal (i.e. corporatist) economic policies were pursued by every U.S. president over a four decade span. A systematic assault on labor and consumer power ensued. Along with deregulation, outsourcing of jobs, moving domestic production overseas, and other measures, it began to quickly erode that once vibrant middle class. As American workers lost their income levels and careers, the natural human reaction to want affordable goods and services became a driving economic force within the nation.

          But, this history is now an academic exercise and largely irrelevant to the question at hand. Was TPP and other neoliberal pursuits a smart idea for Obama and Democrats? No, it certainly wasn’t. Like Jeff said, it was very “stupid” and not just in hindsight either. Many political analysts and observers sounded the warning bells beforehand – including myself on this blog. Still, Obama and Dems charged forward anyway. Now, the world has an empowered megalomaniac in the White House. Their mistake is inexcusable.

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