Obama: Still not worth the support of progressive voters

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N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Well perhaps Jeff will have more time working for Democrats Abroad, or something like that, and helping Obama. And there are other Discussion Boards.

Too many of his recent posts were rather pointless mischievous flag-raising rituals and Bronx cheers on top of a beehive of babblers. It might have been fun for a while but eventually you're going to get stung badly.

Any Winnipeg Bear who got his head stuck in a jar of honey now and then could tell you that.

[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


I am not going to argue with the moderators (especially as I am banned from the feminism forum), as rabble can enforce rules as they wish as a privately-owned site.

I just wanted to offer my opinion that jeff house seems like a dedicated lawyer for progressive issues. He always offered his opinions in a passionate manner and I think that due to the stories of repression he encountered and heard on the job he found it hard to tolerate or understand any sympathy and rationalization of fascist societies. I always heard him denounce American fascist practices as well. That said, personal attacks don't accomplish anything and ultimately got him banned. I think that it was his frustration due to the personal knowledge he had of the treatment of individuals in various countries that informed his passion. I cannot speak for him, but knowing his day job that is my impression.

Anyways I will miss his posts and am sad that he is gone.


to ensure not total thread drift I wanted to add that I agree completely with the thread title. Anyone who thinks Obama will invoke any meaningful change is deluded.

[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: Ghislaine ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The moderating in this thread has been excellent.


The moderating in this thread has sucked.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Let's get this runaway train back on the tracks, shall we? More lengthy post-mortems could be on rabble reactions.

I've seen a couple of critiques of Obama's promotion of more U.S. troops in Afghanistan that accompanies his proposals for reducing troops in Iraq. Immanuel Wallerstein has a short piece at Monthly Review WebZine, and there was the op-ed by Thomas Friedman recently in the NY Times. Both authors criticize Obama's approach. Wallerstein quotes Gйrard Chaliand from [i]Le Monde[/i] who notes that


"Victory is impossible in Afghanistan. . . . Today, one must try to negotiate. There is no other solution."

Now I can't help but notice that Obama's approach on Afghanistan and Iraq resembles the past (and present?) approach of the NDP here in Canada in relation to Afghanistan and Darfur in Sudan. Both seem to be premised on an apparent determination to send troops somewhere, to not appear "weak", or something like that. A good argument for removing troops gets connected to a dubious argument for sending more troops somewhere else.

Not a very smart way to approach foreign policy. Maybe the advisers in both cases think it is good domestic politics.

Sandy47 Sandy47's picture


Originally posted by Willowdale Wizard:
[b][QUOTE] ... Obama (far more than McCain) has a chance, and hopefully will be willing, to take the "organic crisis" that the US has been presented with (a crisis of projecting soft power; a crisis domestically on housing; a crisis globally of accumulation versus environmental sustainability) and create a new settlement.

McCain is not going to restructure "ideological discourses" that portray low taxes for the rich as natural, as common sense, and Obama will.

McCain is not going to restructure "ideological discourses" that portray off-shore oil drilling as common sense, and Obama will.

The key is which parts of "common sense" will Obama accept, and which parts has he already signalled that he will change.[/b]

I'm sorry, I don't see where any of that necessarily follows. I personally don't believe that the legacy of November 2008 will be anything other than its being the month between October and December.

Whatever the outcome of the vote on the 4th, I foresee the Empire struggling to operate as usual while becoming ever more dangerously piqued over their growing inability to project the kind of power they have grown used to.

I doubt there will be any surprises or changes - unless they're for the worse.

[ 01 August 2008: Message edited by: Sandy47 ]


Some people representing the "African socialist revolution" made their presence felt at an Obama rally in St Petersburg, Florida early this Friday, August 1st.

[url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/obama-interrupted/#more-57..., Interrupted[/url]


Oh, another important propaganda piece from the New York Times.

I would have bought those socialist a beer after the dog and pony show that they so uncouthly interrupted.

Wilf Day


Originally posted by Robespierre:
[b]I do not accept the boundries of debate set fourth by Obama and McCain, and Babble contributors don't, either. [/b]


Originally posted by Sombrero Jack:
[b]I must have missed the thread where you were appointed as the spokesperson of all Babblers, Robespierre. Congratulations.[/b]

A personal attack in which I concur.


Originally posted by Sombrero Jack:
[b]For me, it's no so much about accepting the boudaries of debate as it is acknowledging the reality that either Obama or McCain is going to be the next President of the United States. Given that choice, I know who I'd pick. And contrary to the opinion of many on this board, I believe that an Obama presidency would be substantially more progressive than a McCain presidency.[/b]

I'm not convinced Obama would be better for the USA than McCain, but he likely would be. Whether that would be good or bad for the rest of the world is a whole different topic. Obama might just be a better front office for the US war machine. It's a valid topic for debate, but not my debate.


Originally posted by Robespierre:
[b]The signer's list of that open letter has people on it who I know or have worked with on the left during the last twenty-five years, and they haven't changed one bit. They are still singing that same old mainstream song---never too radical, never to threatening to the status quo.

That letter is pathetic.[/b]

Should people who agree with those signers be permitted to respond in kind?


Originally posted by jeff house:
[b]Yes, they are still singing that mainstream song.

And YOU are still singing the murderous song of fascists and communists.

You know what's pathetic? Being a left-sectarian in the 21st century.

You offer nothing, only criticism of people actually able to make changes.[/b]

Sounds fair to me.


Originally posted by oldgoat:
[b]Well Jeff, that probably hasn't even been the most egregious attack from you in the last few weeks, but I guess it's going to be *the* one.

Multiple suspensions haven't worked, you just come back worse than before with unwarrented personal attacks. Your personal attack debate style is making the board unworkable. It's really some of the good work you do in other areas that has kept you going here as long as you have, when if you were anyone else you would have been gone ages ago.

Given both of our long history here it is in sadness rather than anger that I feel I have to do this, but I think it's time to pull the plug.[/b]

The troll here is Robespierre, not Jeff House. The wrong person has been banned. If I cared about what Americans think, I would concur in his assessment of Robespierre.


This is totally ridiculous. Troll?

I think I have stepped into the twilight zone here.

Wilf Day


Originally posted by oldgoat:
[b]Given both of our long history here it is in sadness rather than anger that I feel I have to do this, but I think it's time to pull the plug.[/b]

On the other hand, I think it's time to reconsider your decision, please. Banning Jeff House is conduct unbecoming a good moderator.


Wilf can certainly be counted on to stand up in support of people who will attack babble on a regular basis.


Sorry. It's not up for debate. And Robespierre has already been told that he is not allowed to personally attack Jeff House, especially now that he's not here to defend himself. And he's stopped. Jeff, on the other hand, has been told countless times that he's not allowed to do so.

Robespierre's remarks about the letter and the signatories were well within bounds. Jeff's remarks about Robespierre were not, and this comes after a long line of suspensions (and multiple warnings before each suspension) for exactly the same behaviour. In fact, every time Jeff came back, his first post would usually be a continuation of the same behaviour.

He has gotten a lot of leeway because of his offline activism and long history here. But it's clear that he had absolutely no intention of stopping the behaviour that the moderators have warned him about so many times in the past.

The decision is final. Please stop derailing this thread debating it.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture


Obama said Friday that he would be willing to compromise on his position against offshore oil drilling if it were part of a more overarching strategy to lower energy costs.

"My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices," Obama told The Palm Beach Post early into a two-day swing through Florida.

[url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/02/campaign.wrap/?iref=hpmostpop]Ano... one bites the dust ...[/url]


Ahahaha! I like the wording [i]"...two-day swing through Florida"[/i].



Originally posted by Wilf Day:
[b]The troll here is Robespierre, not Jeff House. The wrong person has been banned.[/b]

Wow! I bet that's the first time that's ever happened, eh?



Originally posted by Robespierre:
[b]Oh, another important propaganda piece from the New York Times.

I would have bought those socialist a beer after the dog and pony show that they so uncouthly interrupted.[/b]

They could have used it. Everyone regarded them as a joke.



Originally posted by MCunningBC:
[b]They could have used it. Everyone regarded them as a joke.[/b]

Oh---you were there? Sorry, I didn't realize that.

Down in the USA, especially in conservative Florida, there's a lot of backwardness, confusion, and a fair amount of intolerance to any ideas that haven't been pre-approved by the corporate media. It's not surprising at all for Florida folks to react that way.

But, what's your excuse?



Originally posted by Robespierre:
[b]Oh---you were there? Sorry, I didn't realize that.

The article made it clear they were the subject of considerable derision from the rest of the crowd.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture


Recently Obama was asked by CNN's Candy Crowley [b]if "there's anything that's happened in the past 7 1/2 years that the U.S. needs to apologize for in terms of foreign policy?"[/b] Obama responded by saying, [b]"No, I don't believe in the U.S. apologizing.[/b] As I said I think the war in Iraq was a mistake. We didn't keep our eye on the ball in Afghanistan. But, you know, hindsight is 20/20, and I'm much more interested in looking forward rather than looking backwards." [b]The United States, Obama told Crowley, "remains overwhelmingly a force of good in the world"[/b].

I would like the Afghan "war" enthusiast Barack Obama to write a [b]Letter of No Apology[/b] to Orifa Ahmed. On October 7, 2001, Orifa's house in the Afghan village of Bibi Mahru was destroyed by a 500-pound bomb dropped by an American F-16 plane. The explosion killed her husband (a carpet weaver), six of her children and two children, who lived (and died) next door. Away visiting relatives when the bombing occurred, Orifa returned to find pieces of her children's flesh scattered around the killing site. She received $400 from U.S. authorities to compensate her for her losses.

I would also like Obama to write a "Letter of No Apology" to Gulam Rasul, a school headmaster in the Afghan town of Khair Khana. On the morning of October 21, 2001, the United States dropped a 500-pound bomb on his house, killing his wife, three of his sons, his sister and her husband, his brother, and his sister-in-law.

[url=http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/18325]there's more...[/url]


Good ZNET piece. Thanks.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture


The Democratic and Republican parties are the official political organizations of the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC). They prosecute the interests of US capitalism's ownership class by managing the dollar-area empire, both parties vying for each four-year contract to operate the national government. These two parties are called "the major parties" because they share a joint control of the political apparatus, extending to all three branches of government: executive, judicial and legislative....It is important to remember that the domestic component of MICC capitalism is economic class warfare, capital's unrelenting attack on the working class ("labor," "wage earners," or most accurately "wage slaves"), and the foreign component is imperialism by militarized dollar-area economics (see my previous article, [url=http://www.counterpunch.org/garcia07112008.html]"Oiling The War Machine"[/url]).

Voting for a major party candidate is an endorsement of MICC capitalism, both in its domestic assaults on popular democracy and the working class, and in its imperialistic aggression. Expressing a preference for a Democratic or Republican candidate is accepting MICC capitalism with an endorsement of one of its two proposed management styles. The major parties have been called collectively a "duopoly."

[b]It is delusional to imagine that, once in office, a charismatic or maverick presidential candidate from a major party would betray the class interests of his or her patrons -- the MICC sustaining this political career -- to advance a popular working class aspiration, in other words to reverse the course of the class war.[/b] On the other hand, it is certain that those the MICC advances to the presidential competition will be adept at convincing much of the public (in the proletariat) that a populist bond of shared aspiration does indeed exist between them. The MICC prizes Individuals capable of this feat because they are more effective at social control by the leading of public opinion. This projection of illusion, basically a lie, is called "identity politics." Vanity leads many presidential contenders to overestimate their capabilities in this area, and the primary elections are intended to weed them out.

The third category of presidential candidates is that of independent and minor party candidates…. The three minor parties of most significance are the Constitution Party (paleoconservative, or authoritarian capitalist), the Green Party (center-left populist) and the Libertarian Party (anti-authoritarian capitalist). Two notable independent candidates today are Ralph Nader (a long-time and effective advocate for economic justice), running for US president, and Cindy Sheehan (today's best-known US anti-war activist), running for California's 8th congressional district seat in the US House of Representatives….

Voting for a minor party or independent candidate is an endorsement of their platform. Since the US American empire is a hierarchy of greed managed by patronage, [b]the only way to register your preference for a different model of national organization, through the electoral process, is to vote for an anti-imperialist or socialist minor party or independent candidate. In doing this you add to the popularity of the party or organization advocating the platform you support, and that organization may then reach the stature necessary in the U.S. to receive public funding. A vote for a minor party or independent candidate is a vote to "build the party" that carries the message, the platform, you believe in. In choosing to vote this way you choose to forsake registering an opinion on which of two styles of empire management is preferable.[/b]

So, you have three choices: 1, vote for the empire led by John McCain with a lumbering regressive politics; 2, vote for the empire led by Barack Obama with sophisticated regressive politics; 3, vote against the empire.

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/garcia08082008.html]Manuel Garcia Jr.[/url]

Willowdale Wizard

[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/09/michael.moore.us.elections.b... things that Obama should not do (Michael Moore)[/url]


[b]Somehow forget that this was a historic year for women and that there is more work to do.[/b]

Obama should be making a speech about gender like the brilliant one he gave on race back in March. Millions of people, especially women, had high hopes for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Attention must be paid. And you don't pay attention to it by having your advisers run your wife through the makeover machine, trying to soften her up and pipe her down. Michelle Obama has been one of the most refreshing things about this election year. But within weeks of the end of the primary season, the handlers stepped in to deal with the "Michelle Problem". What problem? She speaks her mind? She wears what she wants? She thought he was crazy to run for president and tried to put her foot down? Only a crazy person would want her husband and family to be chewed up and ground through the political grist mill.

Michelle's biggest sin, according to the punditocracy, was to say that, as a black woman, this may be the first time in her adult life she's been really proud of her country. Shock! Surprise! Outrage! But not from any of the black women I know.

Barack Obama, outnumbered in his household 3-1 by the female gender, has a lot at stake in making sure that women's rights and opportunities are on a par with men's. As one who knows what it's like to be in a class of people who traditionally have not held power, he's in an excellent position to speak to another group that has been left out - women - and assure them that he will be their advocate.

Plus, this is just good politics. Women vote by a larger margin than men. And if it remains true that Obama will not carry the white male vote (as most of the polls indicate he will not), then he simply cannot win without capturing a strong majority of the female vote. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both lost the white male vote but won the White House. They did so by winning an overwhelming percentage of the black, Hispanic and female vote. That has to be Obama's strategy. Otherwise Cindy McCain will be our new First Lady.


Male chauvanism by men, and whatever you chose to call it when women incorporate that oppression into their own thinking, is a large part of why Hillary Clinton lost to Obama, there really wasn't any programatic differences between them.

I have a lot of respect for Moore. He's done more for the country than Obama has and likely ever will.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture


Originally posted by Willowdale Wizard:
[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/09/michael.moore.us.elections.b... things that Obama should not do (Michael Moore)[/url]

You only reproduced one.

The others are pretty interesting, too.


I happened across this. Amusing and to the point:



Doug, that cartoon rocks. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]


That was a good bit by Michael Moore, and a great cartoon, Doug.

Reminded me of [url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/memo-to-obama-moving-to... bit by Arianna Huffington I read a while back.[/url]. I'm not sure the Dems have the nerve to take her advice though.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/wright08042008.html]We're Protesting at the Democratic Convention[/url]


In every election, we are told to vote Democrat because the Republicans are worse. It's as basic and ingrained as the colors of a stoplight. Whether it's done with bright eyes and high hopes, or with gritted teeth and muttered cynicism, almost the entire American left accepts the logic to some extent: If we want to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, if we want environmental justice, if we want to challenge the racist criminal justice system, if we want to support immigrant rights, if we want equality for the LGBT community, if we want to truly support a woman's right to choose, and if we want to build real progressive social movements in the United States, then, we're told, the first step is to get Democratic politicians into office.

The problem today with this argument is that Democrats have had a majority in congress since the 2006 elections. Since then, they have taken an overwhelmingly antiwar, anti-Bush mandate, and used it to:

* Pass "non-binding" resolutions expressing "disagreement" with the Iraq war, while simultaneously voting for hundreds of billions more in funding for it.

* Declare that "Impeachment is off the table".

* Join Republicans to gut civil liberties and allow the government to spy on anyone, at any time, without a warrant.

On broader social justice issues the record is just as lukewarm.

* Abortion remains unavailable in most counties in the United States and access to it continues to be restricted.

* Education today is more racially segregated and unequally funded than it was decades ago, and college itself is increasingly unaffordable.

* While productive industries crumble into recession and outsourcing, there is a "bipartisan" consensus on the need to expand both prison construction as well as military recruitment in schools.

Voting Democratic hasn't brought the rosy results that were promised. A lot of hopes were raised as the returns came in two Novembers ago, and what has (or more importantly, what hasn't) happened sense then has significantly changed the political landscape.

[b]There is no more post-2004 "awe" of mythical "red state" domination. Farmers in Kansas aren't keeping the war going. Democratic votes in Congress are.[/b] The period of "wait and see" has come puttering to its inevitable end, and the leadership of the Democratic party has failed to live up to the mandate of its voters. [b]Barack Obama, whose early opposition to the war and community organizing background inspired many liberals to support him in the primaries, is bunkered down in right-wing positions on a wide range of issues (much to the concern of those to whom he owes his victory).

Tragically, many social movements have tended to demobilize in election years. For the antiwar movement, this was quite obvious in 2004, happened again in 2006, and is going on this year as well.[/b] The political effects of this have been to leave the movement, and most antiwar activists, confused, disorganized, demoralized, and unsure of how to proceed.

This has occurred at a time when a confident, progressive voice in the streets has been more important (and conspicuously absent!) than ever.


Ooh-oh, M.Spector posting calls to action, the get-up-offa-yer-ass kind of action. It's people like you who [i]ruin[/i] the voting process in America.

Hey, maybe I'll attend that demo, sounds like a lot of good folks will be there, too. As long as United for Peace and Justice, and the U.S. ISO aren't actually controlling the event---which often means it's doomed---it could be a rocking event. Thanks for the the 411.

And, Counter Punch is God. I mean, if there was a god. [img]cool.gif" border="0[/img]


Obama has won the critical US Communist Party endorsement. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]


broad multiclass, multiracial movement is converging around Obama’s “Hope, change and unity” campaign because they see in it the thrilling opportunity to end 30 years of ultra-right rule and move our nation forward with a broadly progressive agenda.

This diverse movement combines a variety of political currents and aims in a working coalition that is crucial to social progress at this point. At the core are America’s working families, of all hues and ethnicities, whose determination to move forward does not depend on, and will not be diverted by, the daily twists and turns of this watershed presidential campaign. They are taking the long view.

Notably, the labor movement has stepped up its independent mobilization for this election. It is leading an unprecedented campaign to educate and unify its ranks to elect the nation’s first African American president. Last week, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka told the Steelworkers convention that there is “no evil that’s inflicted more pain and more suffering than racism — and it’s something we in the labor movement have a special responsibility to challenge.”

If Obama’s candidacy represented nothing more than the spark for this profound initiative to unite the working class and defeat the pernicious influence of racism, it would be a transformative candidacy that would advance progressive politics for the long term.


I like how they have a section on their website for shopping, showing that even communist Americans can't resist trying to sell you things.


My goodness, they like to hear themselves talk. Putting an end to 30 years of "ultra-right rule" - no less! Who are these people? They sound like our Liberals.


[b]Attention all Obama Haters![/b]

The ill-fated [b]Hillary Clinton Campaign[/b] actually had the goods on [b]Barack Obama's closet megalomania[/b] months ago!. Bill Clinton authorized a full release of this devastating material in Iowa, yet incredibly the stuff bounced! It seems Iowa voters were more imipressed by Obama's soaring speeches than by the cold hard facts the Clinton camp had dug up:


The magazine described how at a dinner with editors of the Des Moines Register editorial board before the Iowa caucuses, Mrs. Clinton learned of the campaign’s faltering efforts in the state.

“On the next morning’s staff conference call, Clinton exploded, demanding to know why the campaign wasn’t on the attack,” the article said. Patti Solis Doyle, the campaign manager “was put on a plane to Iowa the next day to oversee the closing weeks.”

“Within hours of the call, the panicked staff produced a blistering attack on Obama for what it characterized as evidence of his overweening lust for power: he had written a kindergarten essay titled ‘I Want to Become President,’” the article continued “The campaign was mocked for weeks.”

[url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/clinton-camp-riven-by-diss... Camp Riven by Dissent[/url]

I am sure that even those Babblers who've condemned Obama as a complete fraud must be shocked to learn that he was already a full-blown imperialist war monger at the age of five! Bill Clinton sure thought it was worth mentioning.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/walsh08142008.html]Buyers Remorse Over Obama[/url]
By John Walsh


In the latest issue of The Nation, an “open letter” appears in which the signatories position themselves as abject supplicants to Obama, begging him to revert to his earlier stances in his primary campaign....

The letter is also frankly dishonest when it says that Obama is simply moving to a more “centrist stance” In what sense “centrist”? The war is wildly unpopular and close to 70% of Americans want the U.S. out of Iraq asap. What is “centrist” about moving away from a landslide majoritarian position? And what is the “peace” candidate doing when he calls for 100,000 more active duty army and marines, when he calls for more military spending, when he calls for stepping up the war on Afghanistan, when he talks belligerently about Iran, and when he equivocates on how many tens of thousands of troops are to be left in Iraq? All these are positions that the “peace”candidate took during the primary. They are not new.

The “open letter” also pretends that Obama took a position for universal health care during the primary. That is true only in words. As Paul Krugman has pointed out, Obama’s health care plan is even worse than was Hillary Clinton’s – a mighty low bar.

The worst part of the supplicants’ letter is that it is all based on wishful thinking. The idea that Obama is an “antiwar” or progressive candidate is a fantasy, never supported by the facts. And there is no way to change Obama by begging as the letter does. There is plenty of carrot, in fact downright ass kissing, in the letter - but no stick. Ambitious pols understand sticks.

What is awfully irritating is that Katrina Vanden Heuvel and the rest of the “liberal” elite criticize supporters of McKinney/Clemente and Nader/Gonzalez for “wishful thinking.” Compared to the sentiments and views of the supplicants’ letter, supporters of third party candidates are hard core realists. And it is very sad to see some of the signatories of this letter who in better times would have been men and women who put principle over partisanship. Read the letter carefully. Look at the signatories. It may bring tears.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture


We on the left, those who should be out there fighting for universal health care and total and immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, sit like lap dogs on the short leashes of our Democratic (read corporate) masters. We yap now and then, but we have forgotten how to snarl and bite. We have been domesticated. And until we punish the two main parties the way big corporations do, by withdrawing support and funding when our issues are ignored, we will remain irrelevant and impotent. I detest Bill O’Reilly, but he is right on one thing—we liberals are a spineless lot.

Labor unions don’t negotiate with corporations on the basis of good will. They negotiate carrying the threat of a strike. What power do we have as long as we cave on every issue we stand for, from opposition to the death penalty to battling back against the military-industrial complex?

It is not about liking or not liking Obama. It is not about race or class or gender. It is not about growing up poor or a member of the working class. There is no shortage of greasy politicians who, once in power, sold out their own. Look at Bill Clinton. It is about fighting back. It is about confronting a system that belittles us, what we stand for and what is best for the majority of Americans. We need to throw our support behind alternative candidates who champion what we care about, whether Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. Bob Barr’s health care plan, like John McCain’s, is even worse than Obama’s tepid proposal. We need to begin to actively and militantly defy the corporate state, and this means stepping outside of the two-party system. Universal health insurance is one issue. There are others. Nothing we care about will change until we do.

[url=http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080831_curb_your_enthusiasm_for_ob... Your Enthusiasm for Obama[/url], by Chris Hedges

M. Spector M. Spector's picture


It’s a pretty straight forward equation: centrist Democrats don’t have a great track record of winning national elections. Voters want straight-forward, common sense approaches to handling the problems our country faces today, not posturing and political maneuvering for the sake of manipulation. For what it’s worth, John McCain shoots it straight. He supports more war and doesn’t know much about economics. Voters know exactly what they are getting if they punch the card for the old Arizona senator.

That’s not the case with Obama who says he wants an end to the war but has voted for its continuation and will leave troops and private mercenaries in the country to deal with the so-called insurgents -- even threatening to shift US forces to Afghanistan and Iran, where he’s promised to bully our enemies into submission.

Obama says he supports our civil liberties but voted to reaffirm the PATRIOT Act and FISA. He says he will expand the Pentagon budget, and on Israel he promises to do whatever it takes to protect the country from “terrorists,” paying little to no attention to the plight of Palestinians and their suffering in Gaza.

The good senator also wants to put Americans to work with a neo-Keynesian economic plan, producing millions of “green jobs” across the country. Our addiction to foreign crude surely needs to be dealt with, but Obama’s call for diversified energy sources includes some not so great alternatives, such as nuclear power, clean coal, and more domestic oil production.

Obama also claims to speak for the underprivileged but has refused to support a cap on credit card interest rates and has spoken little about the ruthless prison industry, the war on drugs or the death penalty -- all of which unfairly affect the poor.

I would call all of these postures a huge betrayal. But they aren’t. Obama has never been a true progressive. He’s another centrist Democrat that has done his best to appease all sides of the political spectrum; giving the corporate wing the hard evidence they need to trust he’ll protect their interests, and the left-wing, rhetoric and political bravado to ensure they won’t flee from the stifling confines of the Democratic Party.

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/frank09232008.html]Joshua Frank[/url]



Obama also claims to speak for the underprivileged but has refused to support a cap on credit card interest rates and has spoken little about the ruthless prison industry, the war on drugs or the death penalty -- all of which unfairly affect the poor.

All of which have also been encoded into the culture wars.

Don't forget, while Obama did indeed get his hands dirty as a community organizer, he was raised middle class white. He's helpful, he has actively helped, but he's not from da hood.

The electoral college awards disproportionate seats to areas full of people who frankly don;t give a damn about prison, the WOD, the poor, or minorities. Just themselves. Maybe if they can be educated enough in ways to see beyond their own nose, it might be different, but the fact is for most, there is self interest, and maybe enlightened self-interest.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.votenader.org/blog/2008/10/29/what-do-they-have-to-do/]What do the Democrats have to do to lose your vote?[/url]


What is your breaking point? At what point do you decide that you’ve had enough?

Ken Burch

I voted for Nader in 1996 and 2000. Nothing progressive happened as a result.

No new party was built. No movement was built. No gains happened at all, anywhere in the U.S., as a result.

This proved that voting third-party in presidential races was useless.

If it didn't build a movement then, that proves it can't build one now.

Nothing progressive can possibly happen under a McCain administration, folks. No gains can occur and there can't even be regional victories.

We need to get these guys out, then build from the ground up. But that can only happen if McCain is beaten. And all of you know it.

It's your call, but you know everything has to get permanently worse if McCain wins.

[ 29 October 2008: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

wage zombie


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b] For what it’s worth, John McCain shoots it straight.[/b]

That's all Joshua Frank had to do to lose my attention.


Rootin-tootin straight shootin' John McCain!



Originally posted by Ken Burch:
[b]I voted for Nader in 1996 and 2000. Nothing progressive happened as a result.

No new party was built. No movement was built. No gains happened at all, anywhere in the U.S., as a result.

This proved that voting third-party in presidential races was useless.

If it didn't build a movement then, that proves it can't build one now.

Nothing progressive can possibly happen under a McCain administration, folks. No gains can occur and there can't even be regional victories.

We need to get these guys out, then build from the ground up. But that can only happen if McCain is beaten. And all of you know it.

It's your call, but you know everything has to get permanently worse if McCain wins.

[ 29 October 2008: Message edited by: Ken Burch ][/b]

How would you go about building from the ground up under an Obama administration. I am sure we are all very interested about this strategy.

Ken Burch

You use the space that is opened to push on to start with, three fronts:

1)Health-care(start continuous protests and various forms of activism to push for single-payer healthcare);

2)Electoral reform(organizing campaigns for local and state initiatives for PR for legislative races and IRV for executive offices(gubenatorial and presidential races);

3)Labor Law Reform(passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make union organizing much easier, and ultimately repeal of Taft-Hartley);

Other issues can also be raised, but these three would be a good start towards building the alternate America.

Obama will be as progressive as he is pressed to be, as was the case with FDR. McCain can't be forced to do anything progressive, nor can there be even any intermediate progressive victories if he wins.

Ken Burch

And Joshua Frank was wrong in one respect. We DID make Democrats pay in 2000. Fat lot of good THAT did. Everyone who voted for Ralph that year knows that nothing positive came of it.

And the next eight years would HAVE to be exactly like that if we did it again.

I'd vote for Ralph if it didn't mean electing McCain. And yes, Obama has flaws. But no one can really argue that those flaws are so terrible that it doesn't matter if McCain and Palin win.

Parkdale High Park


Originally posted by Ken Burch:
I'd vote for Ralph if it didn't mean electing McCain. And yes, Obama has flaws. But no one can really argue that those flaws are so terrible that it doesn't matter if McCain and Palin win.[/b]

I can. The fundamental problem with Bush wasn't Bush, it was unified government (the same party controlling all branches of government). War strengthens the power and popular support of the executive. If congress is controlled by the same party, they are more likely to approve of a war, since the president can use his support and executive authority to aid the party.

Wars under unified government
2003 Iraq
2001 Afghanistan
1982 Lebanon (Reagan had a policy majority with southern Democrats)
1964 Vietnam war (I consider Gulf of Tonkin the key there)
1950 Korean War
1917 First World War (the Dems maintained control thanks to minor parties and had a solid lead in the senate)
1898 Spanish American war
1860 US Civil war
1846 Mexican American war
1812 The War of 1812

Wars under divided government
1999 Kosovo (an extremely limited war involving no ground troops)
1992 Gulf War (a carefully fought war with a UN mandate, and a limited objective)

(I do not count the second world war, since the US didn't initiate it)

M. Spector M. Spector's picture


Originally posted by wage zombie:
[b]That's all Joshua Frank had to do to lose my attention.[/b]


Your short attention span caused you to miss a very perceptive article.


Voting on the likelihood of perceived social gains in the short-term is not only erroneous; it is without a true understanding of what it is going to take to bring about real change in this country. - Joshua Frank.

Ken Burch

Real change can't happen if we accept a McCain victory. We can't gain anything in the long-term from letting the extreme right hold permanent unaccountable power.

It's enough to support alternatives by voting third-party in down-ticket races. There's nothing magical in doing so in presidential races. 1996 and 2000 prove it achieves nothing.


If voting for war appropriations and taking away civil liberties was bringing us closer to a more democratic and egalitarian society, well, I would advocate it. But it isn’t doing that. - Matt Gonzalez

I really like his article..I would vote for him.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm now hoping for an Obama victory, especially after listening to nonsense from McCain and Palin all this week. I listened to several speeches from Obama (and from Bill Clinton late last night) and while Obama has serious flaws in his foreign policy positions, it seems to me he's overall a hell of a better choice than McCain. And, it's due time that an African American took the highest office in that country!


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