The bad we all know. So I'll concentrate on the NOT CRAP, largely because it's more interesting (with the PRF audience, that is) and less horrifying.
Best things you can say about them:
1. Their failure to enact even extremely tepid, corporate-cowed liberal reforms is (finally) calling the public's attention to the real centers of power in this country--corporate power--and the various methods they use to game our "democratic" processes--the U.S. Senate being their most intractable fail-safe measure. (Five years ago, nobody knew who in the fuck Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, or Kent Conrad were.) This is a very good thing.
Witnessing Obama's failure/consent (not entirely sure it matters) provides us all with a better understanding of how corporate-capitalism really works--how it completely supersedes democratic governance entirely. Most of us needed this. And, to a large extent, its worked: I don't know a single person who hasn't gone batshit-left in the past year, including both myself and former paid employees of Obama for America. It's sad to watch the first African American president either flail about or sell us all up the river, but I don't believe that clarity, maturity and intellectual growth can truly take hold without first experiencing disappointment, disillusionment, and despair. As a result, we are--as a nation--talking about about "capitalism" as if it was a choice
that we've made, and not simply the air that we all breathe. That's quite a coup.
Let's just hope that it doesn't unleash the Falangist faction.
And on an even more intangible (i.e. possibly bullshitty), Zizek level:
2. The "spirit" of optimism and collective-effort towards a common goal of social and economic justice was, and is very real, despite the fact that the people hocking it did so for completely cynical reasons. "Very real" in the same exact way that the spirit of jingoism, fear, xenophobia, and authoritarianism sold by the Bush administration had the "very real" effect of turning a large portion of the country into jingoistic, frightened, xenophobic, and authoritarian assholes--and leading them along to the appropriate ideologies and texts. (Have we forgotten what it was like to live in a so-called Red State circa 2002-2005?).
3. Putting a justice--an ex-corporate lawyer!--on the Roberts Supreme Court who broke out of the gates with this:
Raw Story wrote:During arguments in a recent campaign-finance case — that may upend campaign finance law to allow more spending by corporations — Sotomayor suggested that the core underpinning of protecting corporations’ rights was flawed.
Judges “created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons,” she said, the Wall Street Journal noted Friday. “There could be an argument made that that was the court’s error to start with…[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics.”
4. Though marginalized: Mark Lloyd (the one guy on Glenn Beck's hitlist that likely is something of a threat), Steven Chu, and Jared Bernstein. And former Nader-Raider David Vladeck heading up the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. Neat!
5. Seymour Hersh says that Obama is finally standing up to the Pentagon.
They're not really used to that kind of thing. Of course this is his opinion, but I've long respected Hersh's take on such things. Hardly a guy with "liberal illusions."