Although many conservatives contend that President Barack Obama is dragging the country into socialism, Roger Hodge sees it differently. The former editor of Harper’s Magazine views Obama as a standard machine politician who made false promises that hid his real agenda from the beginning.
And Hodge, author of “The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism,”
tells Newsmax.TV that he believes tea party Republicans and progressive Democrats should combine to change the system. They should reorient the government away from serving the super rich toward serving the country’s broad masses, he says.
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“Progressives have to get used to the idea that the Democratic Party will betray them every single time,” Hodge says. “And tea partyers will eventually learn that the Republican Party will betray them every single time. Both parties are catering to the interests of the super rich, and the rest of us are out in the cold.”
Tea partyers and progressives should forget about the two parties, he says. “The angry left and the angry right have more in common with each other than with their corporate overlords,” Hodge maintains.
“We need to build new civic associations, eventually perhaps parties. What the tea partyers and progressives need to do is find ways to work together.”
As for the president, he hasn’t changed in office, Hodge says. “Obama is doing precisely what he set out to do. But he set up expectations and motivated a large portion of citizens with the rhetoric of change and hope that was fraudulent from the beginning.”
Hodge doesn’t buy the idea that Obama is a radical president. “He was confronted with some radical circumstances,” Hodge says. But “he has governed as a cautious moderate.”
To understand the motivations of the parties, you must look at their biggest financial contributors, Hodge says. For the Democrats, it’s large Wall Street firms, high technology companies and insurance companies.
“They’ve done very well under this administration. Clearly it’s business as usual, just look at the numbers,” Hodge says.
So Obama has been cynical in making promises. “He’s not any different than a typical American machine politician,” Hodge says. “The modern political machine is predicated on corporate contributions. The two parties compete for the privilege of who will represent the interests of the super rich.”
Obama is simply a product of the status quo. “He’s no more mendacious than any other politician,” Hodge says. “He just happens to be very successful at getting elected.”
The president has been a master of triangulation, condensing ideas from both the right and left, Hodge says. “Obama’s better at it than Clinton in some ways or at least tries harder — he’s not quite as talented connecting one-on-one with voters as Clinton was.”
Hodge doesn’t rue the loss of bipartisanship. “Divisiveness is good. We do have different interests. Democracy is supposed to be an uproar,” he says. “It’s not supposed to be smooth bipartisan government.”
The Founding Fathers themselves had competing views themselves, Hodge notes. “There were very fierce divisions. The [James] Madison idea that sees government as a disinterested umpire between competing interests is one I think we need to get back to.”
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