In his latest Rolling Stone piece (which you may or may not want to take with a grain of salt), Matt Taibbi distills everything wrong with the Obama administration into two pithy sentences:

The point is that an economic team made up exclusively of callous millionaire-assholes has absolutely zero interest in reforming the gamed system that made them rich in the first place.

(…)

There’s no other way to say it: Barack Obama, a once-in-a-generation political talent whose graceful conquest of America’s racial dragons en route to the White House inspired the entire world, has for some reason allowed his presidency to be hijacked by sniveling, low-rent shitheads.

This is the essence of what makes our political system so infuriating.  That first sentence doesn’t just apply to Obama’s economic team – it applies to most of our government, on both sides of the aisle.  No one wants to stop the gravy train that makes them rich at the expense of the ordinary Americans they’re supposed to represent.

As long as politicians and their spouses personally benefit from corporate contributions and the promise of fat private-sector paychecks, they will continue to place the well-being of corporations and high rollers above everyone else’s.  Instead of constructing strong legislation that protects the environment, the economy, our jobs, and our health, they craft potemkin legislation that hides corporate giveaways under a thin glamour of reform.

As for Obama himself, he squanders his eloquence and charisma on pro-corporate incrementalism at a time when we desperately need bold progressive action.  It’s like watching Albert Pujols try to bunt for a base hit.  With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when he’s the tying run.  Even if he succeeds, it’s still so much less than what he’s capable of, and so much less than what the situation requires.