In the story of Br’er Rabbit, the trickster protagonist escapes from his predator by begging him not to throw him into the Briar Patch – knowing that the Br’er Fox will throw Br’er Rabbit into the Briar Patch since that is what Br’er Rabbit claims to fear most. Of course Br’er Rabbit isn’t really afraid of the Briar Patch. He knows that Br’er Fox will want to do whatever causes Br’er Rabbit the most torment. It is a dizzying logical strategy to take with one’s adversaries. However the Republicans and neoconservative movement in America have taken just this approach with their emulation of Br’er Rabbit.

That casts the rest of us – the vast majority of Americans – as Br’er Fox. Basically the Republicans and the government media’s official protesters – the Tea Party Movment – pretend that Obama is doing the worst political damage to them that anyone has ever done. But in fact, Obama is largely implementing the program Republicans and neoconservatives have tried to implement for decades. So while the Republicans in Congress protest profusely to ‘please do not pass healthcare reform’ and ‘please do not implement cap and trade’ and next  ‘please do not take away social security’ their pleas merely provide a false sense that Obama is doing the opposite of what Republicans and neoconsevatives want and therefore must be doing the right thing for America.

Though it pains me to say this, Obama had affected me during the 2008 campaign (even while I did not vote in the 2008 election and would have voted for either Nader or Mckinney). I imagined all of the possibilities enabled by our first black president – one who campaigns on change – and was sure that those possiblities must be a good thing for America. Looking back I now have to admit that Obama never said specifically what kind of change he meant. Since his innauguration, more and more, Obama reveals his use of the term ‘change’ means the type of change neoconservatives have dreamt about since the Reagan Adminsistration. With the official government protester tea baggers attacking Obama from the right-wing racist point-of-view, they help provide all the cover Obama needs to implement his neocon vision. Obama is basically implementing the policies the Bush administration never could but with a different rhetorical flourish which is then celebrated as “progressive”. Obama has so dilluted the meaning of “change” and “progressive” that even progressive Democrats are losing their moral center and are being seduced by his rhetoric (witness Kucinich’s late defection to support the neocon healthcare proposal).

Obama’s healthcare plan is a plan the neocons have been promoting for decades: to mandate overpriced health insurance to the young and healthy who can seldom afford it to subsidize the well-to-do. The fact that Obama’s plan included not only government mandates but also goernment subsidies for the for-profit monopoly insurance industry is only an added bonus as far as neo-conservativies are concerned. Add to that the proposed $500 billion reductions in Medicare – which the plan doesn’t detail how they will be achieved – and the Obama healthcare program is shaping up to be a neo-conservative’s dream come true (those Medicare reductions were originally included because the public option was expected to bring down all healthcare costs but without any cost cutting strategy the only approach left will be to actually reduce medicare benefits).

The climate change legislation is likewise tailored to the skewed ideology of neo-conservatives. It provides taxpayer subsidies to the energy industry without any firm requirements for reducing carbon emissions. It does so through the market mechanism of cap and trade: a cap and trade system which is tailored specifically to encourage speculative absuses. Compare the American Climate and Energy Security bill which passed the house to my cmpaign’s proposal to address climate change and it becomes boldly apparent how much of a corporatist give-away Obama’s initial proposal really is (and he hasn’t even watered it down and adulterated yet as he did with his initial healthcare proposal).

Alternet has an unusually insightful article on the beginnings of Obama’s plan to privatize social security (Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters or read the non-syndicated original here). In it it shows how Obama is initiating a plan to deal with our national debt problem. However, like the Bush administration before him, he is bringing together those who will surely focus on dismantling the successful and solvent social security program, gutting that to further redistribute wealth from the poor and working men and women of the United States to the super-rich. It is a plan that will do nothing to reduce the budget deficit but it will eliminate the basic retirement system that is insulated from market collapse which we have established for all Americans. Again compare that to my own fiscal reform plan which truly introduces fiscal responsibility into the budget and reduces taxes on the vast majority of Americans and Obama’s true agenda becomes even clearer.

Add to this the fact that Obama has placed the most egregisious neoconservative foxes in charge of the henhouse (for example, look at those he appointed to his Council of Economic Advisors) and the real damage Obama is doing to the vast majority of Americans again becomes apparent. SImilarly, think about how easily Obama has invaded three additional countries during his first year in office (Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia) and compare that to the two countries Bush invaded (Iraq and Afghanistan) which now in retrospect look so much more momentous and difficult for Bush to ram through. Obama has made invading countries a routine affair: something Bush would have loved but could not achieve without this artful deception created by neoconservatives.

With all of these initiatives it is difficult to imagine Bush, given his druthers, crafting policies any different than Obama has done. Surely the rhetoric would be very different. Bush would talk of “evildoers” and ”welfare cheats” while Obama leaves that mudslinging out of the discussion almost entirely. Instead he talks about his programs as if they are actually designed to help the poor and working families of the US. He talks about these programs as if they are something else: something other than they are. Like Br’er rabbit, Obama too talks about his policies as if they are meant to help the vast majority of Americans who voted for him. Such rhetoric may be soothing to so many who are accustomed to be spoken about with disdain from their presiddent, but we should not let this rhetoric fool us.

It is time for us to look past the rhetotic. Forget what all the talking heads on television are telling us as they try to refocus our aspirations on the narrow parochial aims of the neocons. We need to start to think about what it is we ourselves want in our lives, and what is it we need from government to accomplish that. Do we need government to bailout the banks? Do we want government to tell us what we think through monopolized media outlets? Do we need government to invade countries all around the world and brutally bomb nieghborhoods just like the ones in which we all live? Do we need government to mandate that we buy insurance from private monopoly for-profit corporations? Do we want government to hand over the democratic governance of our coutnry to the private for-profit oligarchs to run instead.

Or on the other hand, do we want government to reflect the will of the people? Do we want government to provide an infrastructure that allows all of us to propser and flourish? Do we want government to serve as a vehicle for us to accomplish colletively the things we can never achieve in isolation? These are the roles the framers of our Constitution expected government to play. They sought to minimize foreign aggression by placing control over war in the legislative bodies closest to the People. They sought to provide a government which would promote the general welfare and ensure domestic tranqulity. Obama and the neo-conservativies instead enrich their own corportist oligarchs in the financial and insurance sectors; in the coal, oil and nuclear industry; and throughout the military industrial complex. All of these interests stand at odds with the general welfare, they expand foreign aggression, and they undermine our domestic tranqulity.