Obama talks to Jeffrey Immelt during a meeting with members of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board on May 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.
Last night, Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC’s flagship and top-rated Countdown program, abruptly told his viewers that he had been fired by the network. On the same day, Jeffrey Immelt, the top honcho of General Electric, was hobnobbing with Obama at a GE plant in Schenectady, New York – a plant which has received subsidies from the Obama regime. Government financial help for GE has not gone mainly to the firm’s remaining industrial manufacturing divisions, but rather– and in boxcar numbers –to GE Capital, long notorious as a derivatives hedge fund in drag.
Immelt, a well-known asset-stripper and runaway shop devotee, has also just been appointed as the boss of Obama’s new White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which in turn is part of Obama’s sharp right turn towards austerity, tax cuts for the rich, and a new assault on the Social Security-Medicare-Medicaid-jobless insurance complex. In this regard, Wall Street puppet Obama is reputed to be preparing new historical crimes against the American people, and new stabs in the back for his own base. This goes together with Obama’s naming of JP Morgan banker William Daley, an advocate of free trade sellouts, as White House chief of staff, and the new prominence of Goldman Sachs associate and derivatives deregulator Gene Sperling as the successor to Larry Summers as economics Czar.
During the 2007-2008 campaign, Olbermann had thoroughly degraded himself by acting the role of a media toady to the new Messiah, and the implacable defamer of Obama’s rivals. But, over the last few months, Olbermann had launched some critical sallies against the Anointed One. Olbermann was increasingly critical and disillusioned about the administration. He was especially indignant about Obama’s December sellout on the Bush tax cuts for the rich, pointing out Obama’s dangerous erosion of the integrity of Social Security, and the cynical betrayal of the 99ers, the long-term jobless.
So put two and two together: did Immelt fire Olbermann as a gesture to please Obama by silencing a possible critic of the White House’s stunning rightward lunge? This makes much more sense than the competing explanation, which is that Olbermann was driven out by Comcast, which is buying NBC Universal from GE. MSNBC is still under GE control, and will be for weeks or months.
Olbermann was still far from breaking with Obama, or for calling for a Democrat to challenge the tenant of the White House in the primaries, or for demanding that Obama be dumped from the Democratic ticket. Even so, with a raft of further capitulations to reactionary demands in the offing for next week’s State of the Union, Olbermann’s response on any given day was unpredictable. The Countdown host was unquestionably a loose cannon, apt to go off the reservation at any moment by embarrassing the Messiah with barbed Special Comments that hit home with the liberal Democratic base.
For Obama, an obvious part of dropping the mask of hope and change for the second term, revealing the hideous bankers’ stooge underneath, is the need to protect his left flank by suppressing likely political attacks from that quarter. Quite apart from anything Olbermann has done or not done, his ouster is designed to chill any anti-Obama invective that might come from the left-liberal complex of MSNBC-Huffington and their acolytes. Obama is reminding the fatuous left libs that he is after all a brutal thug in his own right, and can be his own Rahm Emmanuel.
The big MSNBC beneficiary of Olbermann’s sacking is Lawrence O’Donnell, a former congressional aid who regards Capitol Hill as a serious place deserving of respect, rather than a congeries of thieves and cretins, and whose fealty to Obama was shown by his support for the administration’s sellout on the Bush tax cuts, when he was the only MSNBC prime time host to fully back Obama. The philistine Ed Shultz pretends to represent labor, but he will always roll over for Barky, and the same goes for the shrill and unstable Chris Matthews, who still gets that thrill in his leg when he views the Messiah. Rachel Maddow may now find that, without Olbermann’s million-strong audience already tuned in, her own program is not viable. All of these figures can see that, if Immelt is willing to can the biggest moneymaker and most influential figure on the network, all of them are expendable and had better toe the line and watch out. The result is a new example of how Obama’s catastrophic Wall Street presidency is destroying progressive causes in this country for the decades ahead, just as Carter did. The only answer is an immediate primary challenge to Obama, with the intent of dumping Obama in 2012.
Webster G. Tarpley