Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job: The Onion Redux
WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation’s broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it.
The Onion, Nov 5th 2008
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I chuckled when I read that, as did many people I expect. What’s that they say about many a true word? Two years on, I have to say that in hindsight, Obama’s Democrats would actually have been much better off politically if they had lost – or fail to seriously contest – the election. Because Obama is a patriot (and possibly some of his Dems too, although with congress that’s a harder call to make) he took up the offer and has bravely, and inevitably, failed ever since.
After all, it’s not like the mountain was ever scalable. Obama’s task (in hand with a congress and senate so venal and self-serving it’s hard to know which side any of the bastards are on except their own) is not just to fix America, but to repair the world. His report card will not be marked merely against columns called ‘economy’ or ‘immigration’, ‘employment’ or ‘healthcare’, but Iraq and Afghanistan, China and India, Israel and Palestine, against rising food prices and global warming, and the emerging horror of a US military who abrogated their humanity in their rapid descent towards barbarity – adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars, as Dr. King put it. There is no distinction whatever between the brutality of Taliban fundamentalists and the actions of the US military in Iraq recently revealed by Julian Assange through Wikileaks, except that US marines have better food and more sophisticated weapons.
So much for hindsight, that infallible friend. The scale of the task has not diminished, and may have become more difficult given the lack of coherent domestic support for the president’s agenda (and this despite the fact that it’s what Americans voted for. Democracy, huh? Sheesh!)
Is there anyone right now who doesn’t think the democrats will take a beating at the mid-terms? Vengeance may be the Lord’s, but Americans can’t wait for God to exact punishment for all the ills visited on that great country, so they will scapegoat anything that comes in range. And perhaps that’s the saving of Obama and the dems, because between now and the next general in 2012, it will be the GOP’s hand on the tiller, not democrats. Just as they have stalled or sabotaged pretty much everything the elected government has attempted (aided by the sheer incompetence of that government in adopting coherent strategies and the vast sums with which US democracy is routinely rented to the highest bidder), they will now discover that when you take command, effectively reducing the president to a token, powerless figurehead (albeit one with 8000 nukes at his disposal), the buck will stop at your desk, not the Whitehouse.
Come the next general, it will be those in power who must carry the can for the inevitable failure to recover America’s pride, it’s worth and its future. As China steps onto the stage, the US is being ushered stage right towards obscurity and madness, torn apart by ignorance and polarisation, by greed and collusion. They let it happen before, when the Bush regime were so blatant it was impossible to ignore what they were about, yet the Americans re-elected the chump and his entourage of crooks and con-men. Only when, in the last year of Bush’s second term, did the invoice finally fall due for all those years of lining pockets and bending rules, to the extent that very few Americans could pretend they didn’t know just how well they’d been screwed.
Obama’s been trying to put filler in all those screw holes, and where the walls and ceilings are so full of old fixings there is nothing left to screw, he has taken on the thankless task of clearing the site – presumably to build mosques on, right? Anyway, I admire his bravery, his intellect, his dignity and, ultimately, his courageous failure. There is no shame in it; that shame is found only in those who haven’t tried, haven’t helped, haven’t rolled up their sleeves to put right all the damage wrought by the preceding administration. But as we head towards the second half of Obama’s term, it will not be Obama or the democrats held responsible for the next round of failures, but the party that holds the keys to the treasury and the legislative process.
The republicans can take a spell at the wheel. It doesn’t matter which way they spin it, which way the compass points, the outcome will be much the same. In two years time, very little will have changed, but it will be hard to blame Obama’s democrats when they have effectively been stripped of power. Perhaps two years back in the wilderness will bring the dems to their senses, so they can mount an effective challenge to retain the Whitehouse and take back congress. And then again…