October 05, 2012

Why Obama lost the debate « LBO News from Doug Henwood First, I should say that while I am not a Democrat, and never had much hope invested in 2008’s candidate of hope, I do think we’d be marginally better off if Obama won. One reason we’d be better off is that when a Democrat is in power, it’s easier to see that the problems with our politics—the dominance of money and state violence—are systemic issues, and not a matter of individuals or parties. That’s not to say there are no differences between the two major parties. The Republicans are a gang of terrifying reactionaries, which flatters the gaggle of wobbly centrists that make up the other party. But the Dems have some serious foundational problems that help explain what is almost universally regarded as Obama’s dismal performance in the first debate. First, Obama’s personality. In an earlier life, I spent a lot of time studying the psychoanalytic literature on narcissism. It was all part of a study of canonical American poetry, where I thought that the imperial grandiosity of the American imaginary could be illuminated by examining its underlying narcissism. But all that is by way of saying I’m not using this term recklessly. I think there’s a lot of the narcissist about Obama. There’s something chilly and empty about him. Unlike Bill Clinton, he doesn’t revel in human company. It makes him uncomfortable. He wants the rich and powerful to love him, but doesn’t care about the masses (unless they’re a remote but adoring crowd). Many people seem to...
Poverty rises dramatically in Michigan (WSWS) Poverty in Michigan has increased a staggering 66 percent since 2001 according to the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) released in September. This is the largest increase in poverty in any state in the country. Three-fourths of this rise occurred before the recession began in 2008. Michigan’s poverty rate continued to rise sharply through 2011, to 17.5 percent up from 16.8 percent just a year earlier, and well above the national average of fifteen percent. The climb in the poverty rate only partially measures growing social distress because state and federal governments are at the same time cutting safety net programs once available to the most economically vulnerable populations. Almost 1 in 4 children in Michigan lives in poverty. Child poverty rose to 24.4 percent in 2011, up from 23.1 percent in 2010 and 14.2 percent level in 2001. Michigan is in the worst third of the nation for child poverty. Thirteen other states, all in the US south or southwest and the District of Columbia, had child poverty rates even higher. Mississippi continues to have the highest child poverty rate in the nation at 32 percent. North Carolina recorded 25.6 percent, and West Virginia had 25.8 percent. The city of Detroit has a child poverty rate of 57.3 percent. Partly this reflects the abandonment of the older, disabled and otherwise vulnerable population that makes up a growing part of the population. The proportion grew when factories closed and families left the city over the past decades. Household...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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