Applause to Cohen for taking this one on. It’s about time it was done.
The point could be made more strongly, though. It is a sad slide to regard the Obama administration as “normalcy,” and I don’t see that those with some experience of the prior history–and this certainly includes Jeff Cohen–need accept that construct.
Obama called himself a “Reagan Democrat.” He mostly extended the policies of GW Bush:
- He brought more war to more places
- He prosecuted and persecuted more journalists
- He reduced the traditional protections of constitutionality, claiming to be authorized to murder even American citizens and our families without trial, by fiat
- He pushed for increases in mountaintop removal and strip coal mining, tar sands exploitation and transport corridors
- He pushed for the TPP, a treaty to limit the capacity of local governments and populations to mitigate the actions of international corporations
There is more, of course. But considering the Obama presidency as “normal” ought to involve considering the prior Bush presidency as normal in almost all but rhetorical style. I suppose there’s an argument for that, given that things getting worse has become fairly consistent since 1980.
Cohen makes it clear enough that this is not a normal he wants to go back to, and that’s great. But it seems important to understand that this abnormality did not in 2016 suddenly slide off of some relatively stable “normal” spectrum into corruption. Corruption is ancient, of course. And the slide into relatively unhindered and unadulterated corruption has continued year by year and administration by administration for at least a couple generations.
Understanding that is part of establishing a hard rejection of current policies as normality. Slipping by the insight provides another opportunity for the oligarchs to play dress-up, to change the persona of the pretender in the White House, to change the rhetoric from A to B and B to A, to give one a savior and the other a goat and never alter the flow of policy.