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Political Struggle: Don't Take It Personally


Political Struggle: Don't Take It Personally

Gary Olson

Former President Barack Obama's $400,000 check from a Wall Street investment bank to give a one-hour speech is both a partial reward payment for previous services rendered and a graphic reminder of how our political system works.

I was going to begin this op-ed by listing twenty-five of Barack Obama's most egregious actions as president. But I realized that an extensive recounting would be misunderstood as just more Obama-bashing, quickly lose many readers and subvert my overriding message.


To be elected president, all must do as Obama did and protect the plutocracy. So, at that level what Obama has done is not surprising. What is surprising is how much he protected the plutocracy. At least Trump blasts the status quo often with gusto. Obama does but much less effectively. Even allowing that an electable president must be cozy with the corporate interests, that does not require the extent to which Obama helped those interests. There was a gulf between Obama’s rhetoric and his actions. This drove people nuts with the knowledge that he seems to get it (inequality, for example) but then kowtows to the status quo. That contradiction is discouraging and disappointing.