Of course the Obama White House has principles. They simply aren’t the principles he campaigned on. They are a new and more efficient set of principles that have little to do with morality and everything to do with the care and feeding of power for power’s sake, a power devoid of decency.
Obama’s pragmatism is the pragmatism of power.
Power’s zookeeper is White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. His appointment should have tipped off Obama’s progressive base that they were about to be screwed to the wall.
Emanuel is a dyed-in-the-wool corporatist who hugs the center like it was a thousand dollar an hour call girl. He has but one guiding principle: to keep the corporate leeches bloated and happy so the bulk of their cash contributions will flow into the coffers of the Democratic Party.
There is much commentary about what Obama has to do to regain his street cred and, once again, win the hearts and minds of his base. There is advice about how he has to frame issues, change his staff, pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and push for a single-payer health plan.
Implied in all of this advice is the assumption that Obama is a victim of his advisers, that Emanuel is his Mephistopheles who grants Obama power in exchange for his soul.
The truth is that Obama knows exactly what he is doing. He is another Clinton who sang sweet ballads to the masses while cutting deals with the powerful. But Obama is going Clinton one better as he morphs into a Bush lite.
Or perhaps he was one from the very beginning.
Moral exhaustion brings down empires, and one of the symptoms of this exhaustion is the pursuit of power for power’s sake.
*Note: This is a riff on a post by Robert S. Becker.