Like millions of others, I regularly receive email from President Barak Obama about a variety of different issues. Some are funraising appeals. Others are lobby campaigns. They’re building on an electoral machine which included a strong reliance on social networking. That impresses me. Generally, once an election is done with, campaign volunteers go home until called upon in the lead up to the next election. Not so with the Obama machine which has been trying to build on these relationships in order to help pursue his agenda.

However, one I email I have not received from Obama is about Afghanistan. Nothing. At least not yet and  I don’t think I’ll be sitting by the computer waiting for that one.  Obama’s not looking to develop grass roots support or raise money to pressure Congress for his troop escalation program. That’s probably because he is acutely aware that his base is firmly opposed to both wars (Iraq) and that he has (pick your verb) pissed off, alienated, disappointed or betrayed the values and hopes of a lot of his supporters. He has surrounded himself with hawks who haven’t had a fresh thought in decades when it comes to war and peace.

I suppose their electoral calculation is that anti-war voters have no choice except to vote Democrat because the republican option is undoubtedly even worse. Zero sum game? Maybe they’ll even pick up some pro-war republicans and independents? But then there are those who just won’t bother to get active or even vote next time around. And I guess the Demcrats strategic braintrust has calculated that it won’t matter so – to hell with them. I’m not really surprised because the signals have been there all along – particularly with the Van Jones purge. But like so many others, having ones hopes dashed, however modest, doesn’t leave one feeling warm and fuzzy.

For ongoing analysis on US foreign policy, I find the email updates from War Times very informative.

Gary Shaul

Gary Shaul is a life-long Torontonian and retired Ontario civil servant. He's been involved with a number of issues over the past 45 years including trade unionism, proportional representation, Indigenous...