When I donated 250 bucks to the Obama for President campaign in the spring of 2008, I was about as excited as any cynic can be. I had soured on the Democrats for, what I thought was, forever after eight years of Clinton corporatism, welfare reform and Tipper Gore’s attacks on rock ‘n roll. I resolved never again to vote for another Democrat for president, and certainly to never vote for another southern white guy regardless of his political persuasion. I gladly voted for Nader in 2000 and I’d do it again. Remember, Al Lieberman was Mr. Gore’s running mate.
In the spring of 2008 Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were running neck and neck and, while I did understand that Hillary was a different person than her husband, I felt she would bring back all the good ol’ boys like Larry Summers and Robert Rubin. On the other side John McCain was emerging as the Republican nominee. Of course, he was (and is) a stark-raving lunatic bent on the nuclear destruction of the human race.
Obama seemed to be different–fresh–so I donated to his campaign.
In August 2008, I got a call from the Obama campaign to re-up. The earnest young man on the phone explained that the campaign was going to be tough and that Barack needed my support.
“Look,” I said, “I donated to Obama’s campaign because I thought he was almost as liberal as Richard Nixon, now I’m not so sure.” The kid started to cackle. “Mr. Batty, wait a minute, I want you to say that again. I’m going to put you on speaker.”
I admit it, I’m a ham, so when the kid told me I was speaking to a room full of campaign workers, I repeated myself, “I donated to the Obama campaign because I thought he was almost as liberal as Richard Nixon.” The whole room went off like I was performing in a comedy club.
“You know, they’re both smokers with vague religious beliefs…hell, Nixon claimed to be a Quaker…Nixon signed the EPA into law and Obama sort of supports it…” More laughter. Were these guys drunk? “But in the other night’s interview with Rick Warren, your guy says, ‘When I find myself taking the wrong step, I think a lot of times it’s because I’m trying to protect myself instead of trying to do god’s work.’ God’s work?…Nixon would never have said that…What the fuck?” The room exploded again.
The kid took me off speaker and delivered the old saw the alternative future if McCain was elected, blah, blah, blah. I told him that I would probably vote for Obama but that I was reluctant to donate again. He didn’t press the issue and chuckled a little more as he hung up.
At the time, I thought that I detected some savvy among the Obama campaign staff that might keep him honest. Ha! It was more likely that I received the call from some Goldman Sachs-style boiler room, filled with weary pols, all too eager to receive some comic relief from one of the muppets.
I did vote for Obama in 2008, but I’ll never, ever, never vote for a Democrat in a national election ever again. (I may vote for a couple of local guys in San Francisco.)
Barack Obama, who raised more than $600 million to run for president, most of it from corporations, has served corporate interests as assiduously as his party. He has continued the looting of the US Treasury by corporations, refused to help millions of Americans who have lost their homes because of bank repossessions or foreclosures, and has failed to address the misery of our permanent class of unemployed…and…
Obama lies as cravenly, if not as crudely, as George W. Bush. He promised that the transfer of $12.8 trillion in taxpayer money to Wall Street would open up credit and lending to the average consumer following the financial crisis. It did not…As a senator, Obama promised he would filibuster amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which retroactively made legal, the wiretapping and monitoring of millions of American citizens without warrant; instead he supported passage of that legislation…He told us that he would withdraw American troops from Iraq, close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, end torture, restore civil liberties such as habeas corpus, pass a health care bill with a robust public option and create new jobs. Some troops have been withdrawn, slowly and piecemeal, from Iraq, but other than this too-little-too-late process almost none of his promises have been kept.
Mr. Hedges wrote this in 2010 and, if anything, Mr. Obama’s record is more abysmal now.
Democrats may say the war in Iraq is over, but it is not. Take a look at the War Clock in the lower left corner, it’s still spinning. Why? Because there is still a huge private military presence in Iraq paid for by your tax dollars. Spence Ackerman in “The Iraq War Ain’t Over, No Matter What Obama Says”:
So far, there are three big security firms with lucrative contracts to protect U.S. diplomats. Triple Canopy, a longtime State guard company, has a contract worth up to $1.53 billion to keep diplos safe as they travel throughout Iraq. Global Strategies Group will guard the consulate at Basra for up to $401 million. SOC Incorporated will protect the mega-embassy in Baghdad for up to $974 million. State has yet to award contracts to guard consulates in multi-ethnic flashpoint cities Mosul and Kirkuk, as well as the outpost in placid Irbil.
The Obama Justice Department has steadfastly refused to seek any criminal indictments for the Ponzi scheme now known as the Meltdown. Matt Taibbi:
Nobody goes to jail.This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth — and nobody went to jail.
The [individual mandate]requirement, together with the other provisions of this Act, will add millions of new consumers to the health insurance market, increasing the supply of, and demand for, health care services, and will increase the number and share of Americans who are insured.
As a candidate, Barack Obama pledged that his administration would not interfere in states’ medical marijuana policies. But recent raids in Southern Oregon, California, Montana and Colorado show that the deeply entrenched federal drug war bureaucracy is doing its utmost to eliminate states’ medical cannabis programs.
Not to mention the stunning attacks on civil liberties supported by Mr. Obama and the Democrats in the last few weeks: Killing American citizens without trial; Warrantless wiretapping; Record prosecutions under the Espionage Act; and Further erosion of the right of assembly with unanimous Democrat Party support for the Anti Occupy Law.
Finally, if killing bin Laden was anything more than symbolic, why does the administration continue to insist that withdrawing from Afghanistan now would open the floodgates to the Taliban and Al Qaeda?
All of these operations, wars, programs and bailouts are bankrupting the nation and its people. They have the insidious effect of transferring the wealth of the nation to a privileged few–defense contractors, security contractors, banks, insurance companies and landlords. Mr. Obama knows this and does nothing but promise change, because that is what his Wall Street contributors hired him to do.
Is this duplicity unique to Mr. Obama? Of course not. In our modern plutocracy all of our so-called elected representatives are guilty. They promise change and do nothing except overhaul the law to benefit their real constituents. Can one really expect a different outcome when all of our federal representatives are rich assholes?
Last week, Mr. Obama’s approval ratings slipped, but it was interesting to note that his approval among “independents” (a euphemism for Republicans) is up. Maybe he thinks a swing to the right is necessary to win. The cynicism is mind blowing, but he obviously believes he can count on his “base” (an idiotic concept promulgated by the news/entertainment industry like “news cycles” and red and blue states) to hold their noses and vote for him anyway. If that is the case the president is taking the wrong step, trying to protect himself instead of trying to do god’s work.
The president’s die-hard supporters still indulge in magical thinking. They still believe that it is somehow acceptable to pander to a given group to accomplish a greater good down the line. Nonsense. In order to buy that (despite its hypocrisy), one has to assume that Mr. Obama has some moral, core beliefs that will eventually inspire his leadership. Mr. Obama’s actions as president prove that he has no core beliefs. If I am wrong then Mr. Obama is a coward. If I am right, he is doing his masters’ bidding–like Richard Nixon, only with some style and charisma.
The Times also noted, “Younger voters also favored Mr. Obama, although whether they turn out to vote this cycle in the numbers that helped him win the White House in 2008 is an open question.” Why should they vote? Mr. Obama does not represent their interests nor does he represent mine. I am done, finished, through with holding my nose and voting for the, arguably, lesser of two evils. “If the gods had intended us to vote, they would have given us candidates.” –Howard Zinn
“Oooo, you’re not going to vote for the president? What about the alternative?” ask the Nattering Nabobs of Progressivism–the liberals, the Democrats–as they wring their hands, secretly secure in the knowledge that their stocks will do just fine. “You don’t want the Republicans to win, do you?” No, but if Mr. Obama does not want to find himself face down in a puddle of santorum, he better do something, and fast, about defectors like me. Note, I said “do”–not “talk.” Note too, in the last two lines, I slipped into magical thinking.