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Think before you vote next time, Dr. West

So, I found the post by Chris Hedges regarding Cornel West’s disillusionment of Barack Obama.  Hedges drives me nuts with his constant bashing of “corporatism”. Some progressives seem to be obsessively fascinated with labeling and mental shortcuts.  I hate that kind of thought processing.  Hedges seems to forget that banks, corporations and the American middle class played amicably in the sand box after the changes to the banking system and the enforcement of labor protections during the Depression.  That golden age fell apart when Reagan came along.  But you will just have to take my word for it, Chris, some industries achieve an economy of scale and efficiency in a corporate setting that can’t be achieved in a smaller company setting.  Biopharmaceuticals is one of them.  Oh, but caring about big pharma is verboten, right, Chris?  If America suffers a brain drain of experienced R&D scientists because they can’t find jobs, well, that’s ok.  We “progressives” won’t worry our pretty little heads about them, right?  {{rolling eyes}}  But I digress.

Wait.  I do want to add one thing.  I’ve been listening to In the Garden of the Beast: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Eric Larson.  The book is about William Dodd, ambassador to Germany in 1933-34.  He witnessed Germany’s sharp turn toward corporatism and Hitler’s authoritarian rule.  It doesn’t take very many pages to realize that it never would have happened if the Germans hadn’t suspended the rules of operation in order to accommodate the right wing nutcases.  Every time observers thought that Hitler and his henchmen couldn’t possibly get away with the latest outrage, they were surprised to see how pliable and accepting the German public was.  Corporations are necessary business entities but the rules of fair play are absolutely necessary to keep them from taking advantage of the rest of us.  If you don’t like the way corporations are abusing the system, change the rulemakers.  It’s the only thing short of a war that will work.  You could start by insisting on fairness to the primary voters and enforcement of the rules of voting in the Democratic Party.  Maybe even get rid of caucuses, which were incredibly undemocratic back in 2008 but seemed to fly beneath progressives’ collective ethical radar in order to accommodate Obama’s capture of the nomination.  See how it works when you desperately want a predetermined outcome?  Nothing good comes from a bad seed.

Anyway, back to Cornel West.  I have a really hard time accepting the notion that a guy as smart, sophisticated and employable at a university like Princeton could be taken in by Barack Obama.  I’m going to attribute it to the fact that West is a brother, as he so often refers to other male members of his African-American cohort.  I am not a brother, unfortunately, and this has left me open to accusations of racism.  I try to forgive, Dr. West, but if the SOB’s try that $#%@ again in 2012, we’re going to be a lot less forgiving.

It also occurs to me that if he had been reading blogs like this one back in 2008 when we said over and over again that Obama was a corporate schmoozer, backed by a small evil group to which no one we know belongs, he wouldn’t have been as taken in as he professes he was.  Cornel confesses:

“I have to take some responsibility,” he admits of his support for Obama as we sit in his book-lined office. “I could have been reading into it more than was there.” [ya’ think?]

“I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor,” he says. “But it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’  [note to Cornel: Clinton passed on this bunch.  Weren’t you paying attention?]  And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites. I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitzand brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”

{{banging head on keyboard}}  For the record, we were wrong about Obama winning.  Who could have predicted that the bankers would pull the plug on the economy *before* the election?  I always thought they would wait until at least February 2009.

Cornel, why are you tearing your garments and gnashing your teeth now?  Didn’t you get what you wanted?  The operatives played a very clever game of identity politics.  They split the party down the middle pitting the older babyboomers still living in the 60’s, with all of the civil rights battles yet to be fought, against women, the poor and average working people who were interested in economic issues.  Guess which side lost.  Why are you so surprised that Obama hasn’t addressed the issues of the poor?

And then there’s this:

He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

Whoa, Cornel!  I could never have gotten away with saying something like that.  Neither could any Clintonista in 2008.  Remember what happened to Geraldine Ferraro?  {{shivver}}.  In any case, West is wrong.  Obama wasn’t the black mascot of the corporate plutocrats.  He was the black mascot of the progressives.  Some of us, Dr. West, would have been perfectly happy to vote for Obama in 2016.  But during the primary season, we were so worried about the mess that Bush was going to leave behind that we felt that a person who was more experienced and who understood the mechanisms of government would be a better candidate.

And then there’s the gratuitous swipe at the Big Dawg:

“It became very clear to me as the announcements were being made,” he says, “that this was going to be a newcomer, in many ways like Bill Clinton, who wanted to reassure the Establishment by bringing in persons they felt comfortable with and that we were really going to get someone who was using intermittent progressive populist language in order to justify a centrist, neoliberalist policy that we see in the opportunism of Bill Clinton. It was very much going to be a kind of black face of the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council].”

Ok, here’s where I start to doubt West’s sincerity.  Bill Clinton was never in with the Washington Establishment.  That’s why they persisted in going through his underwear drawer and relentllessly pursued and distracted him throughout his eight year term.  Did he make mistakes?  He sure did.  Larry Summers and Robert Rubin were not very good advisors in retrospect.  And yet it was Bill Clinton who appointed the last liberal justices to the Supreme Court.  It was Bill Clinton who raised taxes on the wealthy and reduced unemployment.  The country had a fricking surplus and prosperity under Clinton.  Nevertheless, whacking Clinton is required of anyone who wants to stay in the club.

Still, I feel for Dr. West.  Despite the fact that he might have willfully blinded himself about Obama’s political philosophy (as if he had one), he probably hoped for the best.  And now he says he’s hooking up with Tavis Smiley to see what can be done to repair the devastation the Great Recession has left on the African American community, to which I say, “Amen!”.  It’s about time that someone paid attention to African Americans and took their concerns seriously.  In fact, I think the last politician to have done so was, wait, let me think… oh, yeah- Hillary Clinton!  If I recall correctly, during the 2008 primary, she showed up at the Black State of the Union hosted by Tavis Smiley in New Orleans.  Damn her!  She was probably just trying to get votes because that’s the kind of calculating vixen she is.  If she had been Obama, she wouldn’t have had to go to so much trouble.

And where was Obama?  Beats me.  Ask Tavis.

Smiley has been vocal about his disapproval of Obama’s decision [to forgo the invitation to attend].

“I think it’s a missed opportunity on Mr. Obama’s part,” Smiley told CNN. “Now, I am not interested in demonizing him for his choice, but I do disagree with it.” Watch a report on the controversy

But Smiley’s criticism has also prompted many people to come to Obama’s defense. The talk show host told The Washington Post he has been inundated with angry e-mails and even death threats.

“I have family in Indianapolis. They are harassing my momma, harassing my brother. It’s getting to be crazy,” Smiley told the newspaper.

It sounds a little like the people harrassing Cornel West for not defending Obama’s creds as a “progressive”, as if repetition of the phrase, “Obama is a progressive” would be enough to make it true, even if it isn’t.  And he’s not.

I think that sob stories like West’s are for the benefit of the progressives who feel ashamed that, in the end, they turned out to be no less gullible and vulnerable to psychological manipulation than their right wing counterparts who they mock for their slavish devotion to the Republican message machine.  The progressives are always flattering themselves that they are smarter, more savvy, more politically astute than those stupid bubbas who are always voting against their own interests.  And if this is West’s way of giving them cover so they can rehabilitate their image in their own eyes, to forgive themselves for being so taken in by such a charlatan, then more power to him.  It doesn’t seem to be working with the hardcore Obama supporters but you have to give West credit for trying.

But if West himself was really that confused by Obama in 2008, then I advise the brother to come talk to me before he votes again.  I live only 10 miles away and my office hours are flexible.

53 Responses

  1. I wish I could convince myself that Hillary could run in a primary. I just don’t think she will though.

    I feel so helpless.

    • about the future.

      • Tolkien was a big believer in something called a eucatastrophe. It’s something good that comes out of something awful. But it’s unpredictable. You never know what might happen so trying to predict too far in the future based on what people are telling you now can sometimes be misleading and distracting. That’s especially true wrt to the political punditocracy. They are very good at spinning and making us feel like all is lost. But we’ve seen hakas before. They only work if you believe them.

        • I am completely in charge of my emotions and opinions …. My helpless is that I don’t have control over candidates … I just don’t see anyone willing to step up and RUN … and inspire candidates at other levels (ALL levels)….

          I’d run for something but, with all the stuff going on with our parents I couldn’t do it. But, someone’s gotta.

          A lot of someones.

          • You never know. At this time in 2007, did we know that Obama was going to be shoved down our throats so vigorously?

          • I suspected it… there were all these weird expectations after his “SPEECH” ….

            HA! Just re-read that … How could I suspect such a thing. I NEVER heard of a candidate winning all the big states and huge landslides up to the very last primaries …. who didn’t get the nomination.

            Who LOST super delegates ….

            No, I never expected that.

    • Psychologist Martin Seligman has done a lot of good research into “learned helplessness” and “learned optimism”. Not your usual self-help stuff. It might have some application in the political arena.

  2. “The operatives played a very clever game of identity politics. They split the party down the middle pitting the older babyboomers still living in the 60′s, with all of the civil rights battles yet to be fought, against women, the poor and average working people who were interested in economic issues.”

    As I recall it (and I was paying attention), they piled on against the baby boomers. O hated them. It was all about the young people saying, “Die, baby boomers, and get out of the way.” That was the first segmenting of the Dem coalition.

    • Are you kidding me? Babyboomers were big O supporters. That was especially true for the tenured types.

      • Yeah, almost all the boomers I know supported O. Their kids demanded it.

        • Ah, but those were the well-off baby boomers. The “Social Security? Medicare? What are those?” boomers, the ones supporting all those Obot college kids.

          It’s the other boomers, the ones who’ve worked all their lives and are still struggling that are supposed to get on those ice-floes and start paddling out to sea.

          • My snarky comment was directed at the rich ones we all knew about.

            But, I knew plenty of baby boomers who fell for Obama’s allure.

            And some who didn’t.

    • RD had me until the “older baby boomers” line.
      As I recall, we boomers were pretty solidly behind one of our own, the brilliant and accomplished Hillary Clinton.
      It was the college kids and the twenty and thirty something “progressives” who adored “the One.”
      Who do you think pushed Hillary over the top in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia? A hint: it wasn’t college students or wealthy careerists. It was Clinton’s generational cohorts like me, my husband and my sister.
      Please stop using your own family drama to rewrite history.

      • more than half the party was behind Hillary – IIRC there was only one group of the traditional democrats behind obama and that was African Americans.

        Then there were the so-called progressives who were really libertarians and are now super happy to see the corporate take over and still shilling.

        Not so much with the African Americans – obama is probably looking less like “one of them” all the time. I understand the blinders and they may be solid for him again in the next election.

        • One of the key moments in the campaign was when Obama falsely attacked Hillary for saying that the Civil Rights laws were passed due to the efforts of whites and blacks together. No LBJ, no laws.

          That according to Obama was RACIST. The whole thing passed entirely due to Martin Luther King and the blacks. Hillary’s life was turned around by going to see MLK in person three times. She switched overnight from a Goldwater Girl to an actual economic/civil rights/bread basket liberal (not the phoney kind). Obama’s share of the black vote went from a shaky 50/50 tie with Hillary to a stunning 90-95% overnight.

          Obama, of course wasn’t born for much of Martin’s career and was either 0-6 or out of the country for the rest. He and his group made up “history” for their own personal benefit turning King into a racist a la Stokely Carmichael. He did the same to both FDR and Lincoln and you can add in LBJ, JFKand others.

          The one group that does not get the blame it deserves are “the hicks.” That swath of “Democrats” from highly Republican states who went for Obama by huge margins: I’m including Iowa even though it was a swing state trending Democratic until it foisted Obama on us. The Iowa caucuses have chosen only three men who later became President: Carter (twice), W, and Obama. Oh, yeah, Hoover was born in Iowa.

          Look at the map. Obama cleaned up in places like Kansas, Nebraska. Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado (another swing state), Washington, and Oregon. He basically won everything in the northern quadrant from Illinois on west and the Black Belt of the south.

          Southern states with a lower black population often went for Hillary and the bots sneered at them as “Appalachia” Poor whites”, “hillbillies”, “Republicans, etc. Lunch bucket Democrats is more like it and they knew Obama would do nothing for them but add to their grief. They were right, the kids were wrong.

      • What family drama?
        Go back and look at how many babyboomers, particularly well-educated and academic types, supported Obama. And demographically, that makes sense to target them. The ones nearing retirement age are pretty set right now. It’s much easier to tap into their collective memories about the civil rights struggle and the Vietnam war. If you were born around 1960, your boomer experience is much different than theirs.

        • There were more than a few male boomers behind obama and I guess I’d just lumped them in with the so-called progressives.

          That would be the “I’d vote for a woman, just not THAT woman” (or that one, or that one…) contingent.

          • male boomers ( and many female) were/ are terrified of being called old…particularly cause they are..( .if your identity frame is teenage! ) that’s what all that was about in ’08 imo. They could not stand up for “old” Hillary” against “cool” Obama . They were easily gathered in

          • @paper doll: don’t forget the identification of Hillary with MOM.

      • I am a baby boomer and I went for Hillary, as did many I know. Others I know — who all happened to be men — went for Obama. Some regret that but most who went for him in the primary will vote for him again because they despise/fear Republicans — and some cannot admit that they were wrong.

        Those I know who went for Hillary are split. Some say they will stay home, others that they will vote 3d party or vote in the Republican primary for the least odious candidate. A few say that despite the Obama performance, they will vote for him because he will be running on the Democratic ticket. (I point out to them that he almost never calls himself a Democrat and I do not think he is one.)

        I would vote for any liberal with the guts to primary Obama, but I do not think there will be any.

        Excellent post on Dr. West, RD. But we should welcome him into the light with open arms, along with the “I told you so, but did you listen? No!” And I agree with you that it is not corporations that are the problem: it is crony capitalism and corruption. Regulation, audits and competitive bidding are keys to solving the problem, though a Constitutional Amendment barring corporate political donations would also help.


        • I happen to be smack in the middle of the baby boomer years and didn’t mean anything insulting by saying that a lot of us supported Obama. A lot did. And a lot didn’t. There was a lot of interest in the 2008 primaries.

      • I really don’t think it was generational so much as class based and race based.

  3. West is full of it. He’s simply making excuses for his poor judgement. The excuses only reinforces me view of him. He should admit that he is a fool, and that all that schooling didn’t help his idiocy.

    • poor judgement – the jumping off point for the Obot hackers in “progressive” disguise who shoved Clinton aside on that vote she cast (he wasn’t in the senate at the time) proving HIS superior judgement.

      • So how ironic that Hillary was raked over the coals for the Iraq vote given how Obama has proved more than happy to stay there all this time, escalate our presence in Afghanistan and get into Libya. The antiwar crowd has been strangely silent these last two long years. Hmm sounds like a fairy tale to me!

    • Right about West. One of my colleagues, years ago after a particularly stupid decision by management, noted, “That proves you can be educated beyond your intelligence.”

  4. West knew all along. He’s full of shit. In 2008, he wanted the satisfaction of seeing a “brother” welcomed to the club of oligarchs and plutocrats. All the rest was secondary!!!

    He heard what he wanted to hear and deliberately shut out the rest. He was so wrapped up in identity politics that he didn’t care if Obama was going to foresake the poor, the african american community, or anyone else, as long as a black man became president.

    Now the novalty has worn off, and he realizes that this black president has no interest in helping the poor or anyone else other than the plutocrats that put Obama where he is.

    It sound’s to me like West is feeling a little guilty for indulging in self gradification in 2008, rather than being honest about who Obama was and why he was there.

    • ironic that it was his white half, on the Banker Grandmother, who CONNECTED him with the financial community, not his Chicago Mob Brothers, not his Community Organized/Vote Harvesting Bros, not even his Trinity Church Brothers…It was his Trust Fund Baby Ticket the so-called progressives have so many issues with but gave a pass to the O Brat.

      • ….It was his Trust Fund Baby Ticket the so-called progressives have so many issues with but gave a pass to the O Brat.

        Because he’s one of them of course. But I’m waiting for West to say it’s Obama’s white half that’s the problem. I’m surprised he hasn’t already

    • West knew all along. He’s full of shit. In 2008, he wanted the satisfaction of seeing a “brother” welcomed to the club of oligarchs and plutocrats. All the rest was secondary!!!

      I’m afraid I agree…and now when he sees what he says means exactly nothing to his dreamboat and he’ was as used as the rubes…West is pissed off. To paraphrase Shakespeare “hell hath no fury like an academic scorned “

  5. Hines Ward brings the DWTS Mirror Ball Trophy to the Burgh! Nice Work, “Psycho” Ward:)

  6. I don’t get your problem with the label “corporatism”.

    Yes, “banks, corporations and the American middle class played amicably in the sand box after the changes to the banking system and the enforcement of labor protections during the Depression.”

    That was when the government was NOT run by and for corporations at the expense of everyone else – i.e., before corporatism.

    • Yes, that was when presidents like FDR and others still had a healthy scepticism of the banks and worked to limit their influence. Now, they are all in the tank for the banks, regardless of party.

  7. Another gem of a post.

    ” The progressives are always flattering themselves that they are smarter, more savvy, more politically astute than those stupid bubbas who are always voting against their own interests.”

    This is the thing that drives me absolutely nuts about LIbrul Dude Nation. They insist on being judged on their sterling intentions, not their words and deeds. If you call them out they act hurt and insist you misunderstand them. And such is their arrogance that they don’t even consider the possibility that they can be played like a piano. No, only those Republican voters are sheep. They don’t have class interests to defend or residual issues from their comfortable, desegregation-era 70s childhoods, oh no (do you, Keith Olbermann?)

  8. These academia types are just like Obama…they don’t live in the real world. They have their own little world,where they have the freedom to pontificate ad nauseum about all the great theologies…which, generally speaking, have nothing to do with how the world really functions. My boss is the same way, and he is generally considered a brilliant man. But, because I wasn’t buying what Obama and the DNC was selling in 2008, the only conclusion he could come to was I must be a racist.

    I read the West article and had myself a really fine chuckle…while I try to rise above the temptation of feeling vindictive and petty, sometimes you just have to smile with satisfaction and think, uh huh, you got exactly what you deserved.

    • I’m one of those academic types who doesn’t live in the real world of lost insurance, down sizing, harassment by management, threats from the public and private sector, and general disdain from the public at large. Yep. It’s a bowl of peaches. Our faculty was, at the beginning of the primary season– (based on a small poll) about 50% GOP, 25% Clinton, 20% O’Precious, and 5% Edwards.

      • Perhaps I should have been a bit more clear…Ivy League academia types. Technically, I work in academia as well. Plus, we are talking schools in the Northeast.

        Didn’t mean to insult anyone with my poor generalization.

  9. To add insult to injury, BeerO is no wwooing Hillary’s donors
    Obama Campaign Cultivates Clinton Donors

    President Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, met privately on Monday night with donors close to his erstwhile rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as the campaign sought to knit together and mobilize the Democratic fund-raising elite in advance of the 2012 election.

    About 30 people came to the meeting, according to one person who attended, many of them part of the tight-knit circle of female professionals who were among Mrs. Clinton’s most loyal backers when she ran for president in 2008.

    Mrs. Clinton’s campaign was known for its ardent cultivation of important donors, while Mr. Obama’s political operation has taken a more hands-off approach since he was elected, to the annoyance of some donors. And while the wounds of the bitter 2008 primary between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, now his secretary of state, have largely healed, Mr. Messina’s visit suggests that the Obama camp believes that it has more work to do to fully harness the Clinton donor network to its own formidable fund-raising machine.


  10. See, this is where I get confused, Either we boomers are old, old, old bitter knitters who clung to Hillary because we were blind to Obama’s brilliance or we are Obamabots who kicked Clinton to the curb in favor of the shiny new object.
    I don’t know which is true-and my silver haired head hurts just thinking about it–but I know it’s our fault, because we’re boomers!
    Did I mention that we’re old because I forget.

    • There IS a generational divide in the boomer cohort. The early boomers appeared to be much more concerned with civil rights while the later boomers pretty much grew up in an intergrated society. To me, the fact that Obama was African American wasn’t that special. I already figured he was capable. I just didn’t think he was ready.
      For early boomers, females had a disadvantage. Hillary just didn’t have enough exexcutive experience. Since Obama had zero executive experience, you’d think they’d be fairly evenly matched.
      Can we dispense with the young/old “I’m so insulted” crap? It’s distracting and I’m tired of holding the early boomers’ hands to tell them they’re still beautiful.
      Aging is better than the alternative. If obama’s younger cohort is going after early boomers now, welcome to the club. No clintonista, no matter the age or college degrees was considered young or smart in 2008.

      • When Boomers are to be praised, the earlier Boomers history is looked at and extolled . When it’s time for Boomers to be dissed, the later Boomer history is looked at as the sum total…
        that’s the divide.

  11. Blah, blah, blah. So, for whom in 2012, will Dr. West vote, and what is he doing to make his vote count?

  12. I wanted to express my confusion, because I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now and here and in other places you seem very divided against people that are actually expressing concern for things I hear you speaking against as well – like massive unemployment, the holllowing out of the “social compact.”

    I mean to be critical in the best sense, not to judge but to engage discussion and perhaps persuade. I read your take on Mr. Hedges to be that he doesn’t express himself in the right way and your take on Mr. West to be that he failed, in essence, to set aside a lifetime steeped in a civil rights world view and there’s no forgiveness for that because he’s too late to the party.

    Now, I think Mr. Hedges who expresses deep dismay at what he sees as institutional liberalism (universities, think tanks, newspapers, etc.) have divorced themselves from the unions and working (and increasingly middle) class concerns is legitimately interested in restoring that alliance.

    Mr. West, for all his quirks, certainly seems to be raising the seminal issues. And I think it’s reasonable to suggest that Mr. West means to move the aims of later MLK when his thinking on issues of justice were expanding well beyond the black/white divide and growing to include class, gender, world poverty, war and factors affecting vast social inequality.

    With respect, things enacted under President Clinton haven’t held up very well over time. NAFTA has hollowed out the blue-collar middle class jobs. It seems pretty well and uniformly acknowledged by non-Wall Street and non-“Chicago School” types that the financial disaster of 2008 can is directly attributable to the financial deregulation that Mr. Rubin and Mr. Summers got through Congress (and again respectfully, President Clinton didn’t just weigh their advice, he followed and promoted it, to the letter).

    But even if you and I (or Mr. Hedges or Mr. West) disagreed on President Clinton’s role, I guess I really wonder, who is it that you think will stand with and show up for you?

    Mr. Hedges has been willing to go to jail for his principles, many of which are expressed in exactly the same language you use. And Mr. West indicates a willingness to do so. That seems like a pretty good indicator that they possess the character to stand with you rather than “right behind ya until ya actually look back”

    Personally, I think a thoughtful conversation between you and Hedges about your commonalities and differences would be illuminating.

    What public figures (politicians, news reporters, academics, scientists, activists) do you admire?

    • Jake,
      I don’t think you’ve been following me long enough or you would know who I wanted for president.
      I am not criticizing West’s commitment to civil rights or anyone’s commitment to civil rights. My point is that the Democratic party’s most loyal supporters were stampeded to support Obama because if they didn’t, they were likely to be branded as racists. And the reason this worked with people who should have been more aware of the manipulation is because Democrats made commitment to civil rights as part of their psyche. Whoever rocketed Obama from a nobody in Illinois in 2004 to a president in 2008 had a very clear understanding of what makes Democrats tick.
      And West was OK with that, even if he saw through it. I have to believe that West saw through it. I don’t think Tavis Smiley was as accommodating but even he eventually caved.
      I’m genuinely distressed by West’s opportunism when it comes to Obama. Obama was never a civil rights leader in any sense of the imagination. Obama harnessed the civil rights movement to work for him. If people had actually looked at Obama’s accomplishments and voting record, he might still be in the senate right now.
      And there is the crux of the problem. We do not look at accomplishments and voting records. We look at people who fit the ideal of what we aspire to be. A lot of Democrats wanted to be a swave and deboner Harvard educated lawyer with a cool, detached demeanor. No one wants to be a post menopausal woman. Go back and look at the way the candidate’s were presented in the press and how the supporters of those candidates were characterized. If you were an Obama supporter, you looked like Anne Hathaway; if you were a Clinton supporter, you looked like Roseanne Barr. If you say you weren’t aware of this, you aren’t being honest.
      As for Clinton, I think NAFTA is much less important than some Democrats make it out to be. Mexico and Canada are our neighbors. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to have a trade agreement with them since we do a lot of business with them everyday. And it wasn’t Clinton that negotiated away our labor protections with NAFTA. Congress did that.
      The bigger threat, even back in the 90’s, was Asia. But I don’t hear Obama supporters getting their knickers in a twist over Asia. There seems to be an unhealthy fixation about NAFTA that seems to ignore primary pieces of the puzzle. Same with welfare reform. Clinton gets slammed for that but I actually had family members who were temporarily on welfare at one point or another in their lives and believe me, no one likes welfare. They just don’t. No one wants to be given a measley check to keep them poverty when they would rather be working. I’m just really confused by some progressives who think Clinton let people down on welfare reform while, once again, they ignore the fact that a Republican Congress imposed some harsh conditions for receiving welfare, conditions that Clinton opposed but had to wait to fight another day.
      Yes, I am bothered by Clinton’s advisors at Treasury and the Fed. I am troubled by the fact that Brooksley Born was ignored. Given Summers’ attitudes about women, we shouldn’t be surprised. Clinton should have been more aware. However, I also remember that it was Phil Gramm who put together the bill that rescinded the Glass-Steagal act and he did it by threatening to start redlining poor neighborhoods again. I don’t know where Clinton’s head was when it came to finance. I don’t think it was wrong for him to court business as long as the rules of fair play were always forefront.
      I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. For the record, I saw eight of the candidates at the YearlyKos forum in Chicago. I went in as an Edwards supporter and came out committed to Clinton. The only way I can explain it is that she was just better prepared, realistic about having to include all parties when working on a problem and she understood government and the executive branch in a way that the other candidates did not. She appears to make decisions and policy based on principle. She “presents” better. If you have ever worked in the R&D industry you would understand this concept. When a person makes a presentation and has not actually done very much work on the subject they’re presenting, it shows. There are noticeable gaps in the narrative and as the presentation progresses, more questions that need to be answered. A presenter that is unprepared is hesitant, the words don’t flow or they are couched in so much verbal construction that it appears like they don’t know what they’re talking about. Hillary Clinton is exactly the opposite. In person, she can answer any question you throw at her with a very well constructed answer that flows from objective to premises to conclusions. She thinks well on her feet. And she can do that because she understands her subject very, very well. Obama does not nor has he ever come close to her command of policy. Progressives either willfully blinded themselves to that or they’re not as smart as I (or they) thought.
      I carefully examined her voting record and found that she wasn’t afraid to stand her ground in matters that were important to me. The only exception was the Iraq War Resolution and even there, her vote was guided by principle: Bush and Cheney were going to go to war no matter what. By agreeing to the resolution, they were forced to get the Senate’s approval. There were other ways to limit the scope of the war, like withholding money. But the ‘advise and consent’ thing was what the Bushies desperately wanted to get around. They had catapulted the propaganda, they would not be denied.
      Anyway, I saw them all together, I went to break out sessions. John Edwards struck me as a phony. Barack Obama sat on the stage looking bored. Clinton was engaged and seemed to be thinking things through. Call it a Malcolm Gladwell “blink!” moment. She was the one.
      When she was endorsed by the Des Moines Register in December 2007, they wrote the perfect reason why she should win. Given that the Bushies were leaving behind an economic and foreign policy disaster, it was not the time to elect a young, aspirational candidate like Obama. Clinton was ready and was a more responsible choice.
      2008 was all about responsibility. Some of us took that charge more seriously than others.
      No, I don’t care for Hedges’ constant bashing of corporations. I worked for big pharma for more than 20 years. I know what ails big pharma in a way that Hedges can not hope to understand. There is a lot of mismanagement, no doubt about that. But you are never going to lower drug prices by hammering on the industry indiscriminently without a true understanding of how it works. I will tell you this though. Big pharma was never afraid of Obama in the same way it feared Hillary Clinton. Obama was going to be an end run around having to buckle down and really work things out. He was the “I’ll think about that tomorrow” candidate. Hillary would have been far tougher on them but better for the industry in the long term. Pharma didn’t want that. It wanted an enabler and Hillary was rehab.
      So, in general, progressives were wrong about 2008. If they don’t crack down on the party NOW, they will be responsible for what happens to all of us in 2012. But more than that, progressives really need to examine their consciences about their attitudes towards women because what they allowed happen to Hillary in 2008 was disgusting and shameful and very unfair to the 18,000,000 voters whose voices and votes were suppressed by the DNC leadership, Obama and his campaign. Some of us will never trust the party again.
      You would have known all of that if you had been a regular follower of this blog from the beginning. There’s nothing you can say or do to erase the 2008 primary season and convention from our minds.
      As for having a thoughtful conversation with Hedges, set it up. Get us on Virtually Speaking and let us be heard for a change.
      Yeah, right, never going to happen.

      • Lol, deboner.

        It’s a lot of work, I know, to recount a short history as you just did. Thank you for the effort.

        As to NAFTA, let’s not forget the Ohio Debate, wherein Obama agreed with everything HRC proposed to remodel NAFTA. What has happened since?

        Again, she was prepared and had a plan. Obama said whatever he needed to get elected.

        • Thats swave (long a) and deboner.

          • Let’s also not forget both the caucus fraud and anonymous donor fraud that benefitted the One. Both were ignored by the media with the old “Step aside. Nothing to see here.”

  13. I’ve been thinking a lot about big pharma. If the researchers are laid off then new drugs are not going to come to market as thick and heavy as in the past. Then more Social Security payments will not have to be made. More drug benefits will not get used. More older people will not linger. It seems like win-win for them. eh? I know I am so cynical.

    I am also seeing the gas pump increase as of benefit to them. More people will experience confinement, the new terror on the post post-modernists horizon. It is possible to deny that you are confined to your screens, etc when you can drive places. But when you don’t drive, or cut down drastically on it, then you begin to experience confinement. People can be herded into it silently, unknowingly. And it is effective.

  14. Cosmopolis by DeLillo is a wake-up call.

  15. Seems like just yesterday, and no, I will not vote for a democrat until that dip shit Howard Dean and Donna publically beg our forgiveness for destroying the Dem party.

    does anyone remember Carville warning that dean would destroy the Dem party if they made him head of the DNC?

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