You are here: home   Blogs   The Range Blog   Sundance, Redford and Obama
The Range Blog

Sundance, Redford and Obama

Document Actions
Tip Jar Donation

Your donation supports independent non-profit journalism from High Country News.

felicep | Jan 25, 2010 04:20 PM

The Sundance Film Festival is underway at Park City, Utah. This year the annual event is being covered by the alternative media news program Democracy Now!. Today,  Democracy Now aired an interview with Sundance founder and LA native Robert Redford.

Redford was asked to describe Utah where he owns land and a home. He did not hesitate - describing what he called Utah's "theocratic stance" and alleging that it is  "overdeveloped". You can listen to or read the interview by following this link.

Late in the interview, Goodman asked Redford for his opinion of the Obama Presidency and by implication the Democratic Party’s control of the federal government for the past 12 months. It is a question that is on the minds of many left-leaning and progressive Americans: why does government under the Democrats seem less confident and effective compared to government under the Republicans? Redford suggested the problem was essentially that Obama is too nice a guy; that he went for bipartisanship rather than aggressively using the mandate he had been given. He contrasted this with Bush II who had no legitimate mandate but acted as if he did. 

Most everyone knows that Obama’s approval ratings have fallen. But do you know how his ratings have fared in the West? The Pew Research Center tracks approval-disapproval by region monthly. Their polls show that Obama continue to enjoy majority approval in the West.  But they also indicate that Obama’s margin of approval shrank in 2009 from 63% in April to 54% in December. You can view these and other Pew Poll numbers by visiting their web site.

Robert Redford finds an explanation for the decline in Obama approval in the Administration’s overall softness and the attempt at bipartisanship.  I think the phenomenon has a more fundamental cause. The reason Democrats lack confidence and effectiveness when in power is rooted in the contradiction of a party which claims to be for everyday working Americans but is simultaneously attempting to do the bidding of its financial backers – the corporations and other monied interests. This fundamental contradiction results in an unwillingness to truly champion the causes of the people. But populist rhetoric raises the expectations of everyday citizens whom the Democrats can not help but alienate when they do the bidding of the corporations.

The presence of Wall Street insiders Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers at the center of the Administration economic team has not been lost on working Americans. All the anti-Wall Street rhetoric in the world will not counteract the message delivered by the Obama Administration’s decision to put these men in charge of the economy.

So long as it is a schizophrenic party confused about who it serves and to whom it owes allegiance, the Democratic Party will continue to lack confidence and appear ineffective. The same holds for the Obama Administration.   

Amy Goodman's interview of Robert Redford is worth checking out. In addition to the topics mentioned above they talked about environmental issues and spent a lot of time discussing Redford's most provocative films.

Redford interview on Democracy Now
Jan 26, 2010 04:49 PM
I could not agree more with the comments of Felice Pace on Obama's fundamental problem. It is his policy towards Wall Street and his deferral to Geithner. Am I wrong that Obama got lots of funding from Wall Street early in his campaign? And now that, thanks to the Supreme Court, corporate political contributions will be unlimited and unrestricted, we are in real danger of becoming even more a government of, by and for the mega-corporations than we are now.

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Why I am a Tea Party member |
  3. The privatization of public campground management | All the info you need to decide whether you love o...
  4. Efficiency lessons from Germany |
  5. The Latest: Interior commits to restoring bison on select lands | The “odd ungulate out” gets a tentative win.
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone