17 November 2008
I’m coming across quite a few essays by lefties bemoaning the fact that Barack Obama has somehow ‘let us down’. For example there’s a piece by Dave Lindorff ‘Obama’s First Big Mistake on the Job – Rescuing Joe Lieberman’
Mistake? There is no mistake. The gist of the piece is about the “treacherous” Joe Lieberman, former Dem, who when he lost the race for nomination as Democratic Senator for Connecticut, turned around and ran as an ‘independent’ (with the support of many Democrats and Republicans) and got elected. Okay, the guy is as Lindorff says, “…a wretched example of a man without principle—a back-stabbing slimeball of a politician whose only allegi[a]nce, apparently, besides to himself, is to Israel”, something else I object to in Lindorff’s piece is his qualification of his reference to Lieberman’s Zionist ‘credentials’:
“Now I don’t want anyone to think I’m some rabid anti-semite. My wife and kids are Jewish, we have good friends who are Israeli, and no, I don’t think the Jews run the media or the country. I do, however, think that Joe Lieberman thinks more about what, in his warped and shriveled worldview, is good for Israel, than about what is good for America.”
Come on Dave, ‘some of my best friends are Jews’? There’s no need to apologize for attacking Zionism, you’ll be branded as an anti-semite no matter how much you protest that you ain’t. Get used to it.
No, my major objection to the piece is the implication that somehow Obama has ‘let down’ us progressives. This is the man whose first appointment was Rahm Emmanuel (see ‘Ali Abunimah: Obama picks pro-Israel hardliner for top post’) and since then Obama appears to have invited Madeleine Albright onboard. Remember her infamous statement about the deaths of half a million children who died as a result of the 12-year long sanctions of Iraq prior to the invasion, “We think the price is worth it.”
Why do we persist in maintaining illusions about Barack Obama? Because he’s black? If I remember correctly isn’t Colin Powell black and wait, so is Condoleeza Rice. Clearly ‘blackness’ is very much a state of mind at least when it comes to measuring the worth of a politician.
Okay, Obama is streets ahead of GW Bush, but when you start this low, it doesn’t take much to raise the bar. But in any case, that isn’t the point, or rather, the point of selecting Obama in the first place was precisely because he is black and not because he is an alleged progressive, or come to that, an alleged anything except a ‘nice guy’.
To the contrary, it was a carefully calculated act to make a ‘break with the past’ and what better way to do it than with a black man, given the role of racism under capitalism.
How could it be anything else, given the nature of the racist, white power structure that rules the United States that selected Barack Obama?
In fact selecting Barack Obama is a perfect example of the ideology of racism in action for its function is, in part, to ‘disarm’ opposition to US policies. Witness the millions of black and hispanic folks who voted for him.
It should be clear to all that Obama could never have become the candidate, let alone the president without having been ‘cleared’ as it were, by the Democratic power brokers. Never mind his association with Bill Ayers or whoever, inevitably such ‘associations’ are part and parcel of becoming a politician and are easily dealt with by the candidate disassociating himself from such individuals (put it down to youthful and inexperienced enthusiasm).
I think the best measure of the value of Barack Obama to capitalism was the huge—and audible across the planet—sigh of relief breathed by virtually every corporate/state media outlet, let alone the politicians, when he got elected. It amounted to a ‘stay of execution’, that is until the economic collapse came along and screwed it up.
And here too, we see Obama’s real colour, green.
“There is no indication that Obama will break his ties to his Wall Street sponsors, who largely funded his election campaign.
“Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bill Gates’ Microsoft are among his main campaign contributors.
“Warren Buffett, among the the world’s richest individuals, not only supported Barak Obama’s election campaign, he is a member of his transition team, which plays a key role deciding the composition of Obama’s cabinet.”
The lesson here is that one doesn’t bite the hand that feeds, no matter what colour it is.
1. Quoted in Mark Curtis’ ‘Web of Deceit-Britain’s real role in the world’, p.38
For more on Obama’s seamless continuation of the Cheney/Bush programme see, ‘Why Obama Will Continue Star Wars’, Time Magazine, 16 November, 2008.
Postscript: Danny Schecter of Media Channel informs me that Obama actually campaigned for Lieberman!
Obama Endorses Lieberman for Senate
By Jeralyn, Section Elections 2006
Sat Apr 01, 2006