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Thursday, September 01, 2011


I'm also one of those people. The allure was great but he made sure we regretted it. I'm done voting for capitalist, war profiteering, crooks, which basically means I'm done voting.

I guess i am glad when people admit they've been duped. I just wish they weren't so damn dupable. I mean, is it so fucking hard to just parse facts and confront them, even if they lead to unpleasant conclusions? The truth about Obama could not have been more clear. He even observed the phenomenon himself, referring to himself once as ' a blank slate on which people project their aspirations' or something like that.

Thing is, these people probably all voted for Kerry too, though without the same enthusiasm. They always have a good reason. Obama just provided them the additional benefit of pumping their white vanity, by being one more black man they couldn't individuate. But even the Schecters of the world haven't learned their lesson. Sure, they're disillusioned with Obama but it doesn't mean they'll write off the Democrats any time soon. They'll just wait for the next liberal savior.

In any event, I don't think the support of the obotic liberals is decisive. Obama's numbers are terrible and job growth is approaching zero. I don't relish the idea of a Republican president, but it's not likely to be markedly worse and it will energize the left. We'll see.

The bottom line is that the idea that someone other than a war-mongering corporate whore could capture the presidency at this point in our history (if ever) is ridiculous on its face. No wonder no one wants to admit they're wrong. It's a confession of utter cluelessness. Partisan politics is every bit as irrational as religion, though even more meaningless and destructive.

“Liberal angst” is coming rather late in the game if it surfacing just this year.-Paul Street

The latest terrific article from Paul Street,which touches on the topic and much more, can be found at the link below.-Tony


Yeah, what HillOfBeans said - why are you even talking about this, John? I mean, you're a decent, rational person with a healthy skepticism of politicians and power-seekers. This is obviously a system that is designed to promote control by a small ruling class and concentrate more and more power in the hands of private corporate and financial institutions. WHY are you giving its captain any attention at all? There seems to be an unstated implication in your writing that Obama was the wrong man for the job. This is incorrect: the job itself is wrong, and it is impossible for anyone to do it correctly. The helmsman of this stultifera navis is vocationally required to drive us onto the sharp rocks.

That is not cynicism speaking, either. The goal of this project is not to elect a good President, it is to dismantle the machinery of corporate power, and ultimately to destroy the ruling class (lo, the dream of the majority of human kind these past ten-thousand yearn). In order to find good solutions, you have to let go of the bad. Let go, Luke John.

Whatevs. We've had this dialog here before, and I side with JC.

Sure it's impossible now to get anyone who would do the job correctly into the office, but doing the job per se is not impossible. Personal power and responsibility exists. As much as Idealist-history academics deny it, a lot of suffering or the lack thereof throughout time comes down to people being in particular positions at particular times, however accidentally.

Me, I'm not always asking for the System to be dismantled. I'd be content to see some good old-fashioned Teddy R.-style trustbustin' or FDR-style public works: which the President could absolutely achieve IF HE WANTED TO.

I give you credit as well, fwoan. For what it's worth, I've got a Clinton vote in my past I wish I could have back.

HillOfBeans: Great comments.

saurabh: WHY are you giving its captain any attention at all?

I'm not; I'm giving attention to the people who are giving its captain any attention at all. There's a major difference. Coincidentally, I have a half-written posting that explains the distinction (which I've talked about more than a few times here and elsewhere, but it's worth repeating since it's often misunderstood).

energize the Left to what?

Man, people are still stuck on "black" president. Genetically, biracial is accurate. A friend of mine who is white & whose ex-wife is African-American (and who married in Mississippi a number of years ago - he's over 60... an extraordinary fellow, unreconstructed [no pun intended!] Marxist) with two biracial young adult kids was really upset in '08 that there was a guy this high-profile who was biracial too and everyone, liberals especially, insisted that he was "black." He just felt that augered poorly for his children, who is a world with some ethnic complexities were still going to get pigeonholed.

Socially of course Obama was raised in a white family in one of the least-black states in the union, and had the educational experience of an upper middle class white kid. I've often stated that a kid with an exotic name was going to get different treatment than an African-American kid named "John Smith" w/ two black parents. A lot of white America has a different category in their heads for Africans than native black folks too.

I'm supportive of affirmative action because of the real history behind generations of African-American families still having struggles stemming from segregation and, going back far enough, slavery. Of course Obama is 0% African-American either genetically (I mean his father is from the opposite side of the African continent than African-Americans' ancestors are) nor historically/culturally. We have yet to have an African-American president.

If people are going to vote via identity politics instead of issues is it too much to ask for the identity to be identified?

As far as having a minority working class wife... good lord, that makes Juan Peron a "hope and change" choice... right?


There aren't any "one drop" laws left, but that doesn't mean the culture has changed. Obama is black.

And that's perfect for corporate.

"Genetically," there's no such thing as race, let alone "African-American." And Michelle Obama comes from the black middle class, not the working class.

Duncan -

Well said on the "genetically" part, what I should have stated was that genetically Obama is half African. And I would disagree that "African-American" is completely not a genetic distinction. Obviously not all African-Americans are 100% of African descent, but none of them so far as I know are 0%.

"African-American" refers to people who share a certain set of ancestral experiences and no one on either side of Obama's family does share those. Perhaps if he did then he might not be such a general dick and write off people like Rev. Wright, who have a family history of discrimination and struggle.

Jack -

"Obama is black" as opposed to "Obama is biracial" is IMO actually a huge step backward from a (already terrible) world which had words such as "quadroon" in the vocabulary.


It seems rather a step in the direction of the "one drop" laws to suggest that a man raised by a white family in very white culture with one black parent (only effectively as a sperm donor) "is black" and leave it at that. If race is a cultural construct (the only possibility if we strike genetics from the equation), how does Obama of all people become "black"?

This connects to the Schechter piece for me because like most liberals he's patting himself on the back for voting for someone genetically not all white who was raised in a white family... apparently because the "genetically not all white" part is what counts to him.

How many supporters from this crowd would have voted for the same candidate (same positions) named John Jones with two black parents, from somewhere as exotic as let's say Cleveland? I bet he wouldn't have made it through the primaries if he were recognized as a garden variety African-American. Liberals get to have their cake and eat it too, by pretending that Obama plain ol' "is black"... just like the Tea Party ranters who seem to hate him only for that reason (given that he's not doing a damn thing different than Bush).

America has many millions of biracial kids (and will have many more) and I understand what my friend Dwight was saying - that he'd like there to be usage of that sort of description for his kids so that we aren't pretending that they don't exist or don't have a slightly more complex identity, rather than merely that they will always "be black" because that's what the worst elements of the society choose to see in them, with the intent of marginalizing them.

"Black" is a step back from "quadroon"?

I said it was a step in the direction of "one drop" laws.

If we're going to insist that race is a social construct then I don't see how a man raised almost completely in white society by a white family with one (absentee) black parent gets dropped into the same absolutist, broad category as people with two black parents raised in black culture. Obama was not raised in any black culture, neither American nor African.

At least in the "quadroon" era there was some recognition that people aren't in one of two neat, boolean categories and that *ANY* genetic material from the disadvantaged one tosses you automatically in the disadvantaged category. At least in the "quadroon" era there was tacit admission that all sorts of people breed. I would prefer calling "biracial" people "biracial" if one insists on noting that race is a reason to vote for Obama ... which is what Schechter and every other liberal does.

If we're going to insist on voting for people based in categorizing their racial profile, I again ask if it's too much to ask the categorizer to be accurate.

Barack Obama is "black" like Bob Marley was "white." (Marley had a white father and was obviously raised as a black Jamaican. Genetically the two are equally half-African.)

This connects to the Schechter piece for me because like most liberals he's patting himself on the back for voting for someone genetically not all white...

Yep--as HillOfBeans put it, "Obama just provided them the additional benefit of pumping their white vanity". The fact that race is the first thing Schechter mentions is an illustration of just how central this triviality was in the minds of so many Obama voters. As Adolph Reed observed (in 1996 no less), Obama taps into "the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance."

After Edwards viability as a candidate ebbed I gave the candidates a new look. I concluded that Hillary was incrementally better than Obama. As the real Obama started to emerge I was sickened by his Reagan love and thuggery in the primaries. Schecter came to a different conclusion:
"Hillary didn't appeal to me, not because she's a woman but because of her slavish affinity for the Israel lobby and middle of the road Democrats. (Yes, Obama, did his mea-culpa to AIPAC too!)

I was denounced as a super sexist by a few for not buying into her centrist Clintonista crusade.

She had gone from a student advocate to part of a ruling family; he went from bottom-up activism to top-down elitism.

When she joined his "team," you knew they were always in the same league."

This view makes the mistake of supporting Obama sound OK I guess- to Progressives who swallow Schecter's logic.

"She had gone from a student advocate to part of a ruling family..."

Eh? Your pal Hil was a Republican activist as a youth and worked on the Goldwater and '68 Mixon campaigns.

She was a lawyer and lobbyist for Walmart in which she helped them screw their employees. The Clintons were also buddies with other evil Arkansas corps like Tyson and Weyerhauser.

Anyone paying a modicum of attention knows that the Clintons and everyone else in the DLC are Pure Evil, with most of the rest of the party some combination of Somewhat Evil and Spineless Hapless Followers.

The mistake of supporting Obama is the mistake of supporting the Nazis, not the mistake of supporting the wrong Nazi.

Yes it just didn't matter who got the democratic nomination in '08 they were all DLC Nazis!
Wow, just wow…
Grate mines think I like.

Another demonstration that there's nothing so obviously metaphoric that someone on the Internet won't take it literally.

You're right about one thing: it didn't matter who got the Democratic nomination in 2008. And people who spend their time fretting about whether or not they just picked the wrong messiah are missing the point.

Sorry about your Nazi metaphor going right over my head. The Messiah thing is mire of a straw man isn't it?
Anyhoo, the dead horse I'm beating is showing no signs of life. But seriously for a moment John did you usta think there was a good Democrat? Obama being effectively a center-right Republican seems to leave room for one to to give some credence to my contention that things could have been different (better) with ANY other Dem name from '08 -say even a total Dick likeBill Richardson. ?
Liberal voters across the nation are wondering what this man, their elected President, could possibly be thinking, to cravenly scrap clean air guidelines and revert to laissez-faire pollution rules that make Bush look like an Al Gore warming cultist in comparison.

It is almost as if Obama does not really want a second term and has decided that if he has to go down, he will go passive-aggressively punching down the nation’s lung capacity right along with him.

Barack Obama no longer merely disappoints puzzles or angers regular working class Americans. He frightens them.


Apology appreciated. The messiah bit is hyperbole, though not by much (and it also contains a deeper truth). I'm actually plagiarizing myself with that since I've got another half-written posting on this very topic that'll be titled "The wrong messiah" if I ever finish it.

Obama being effectively a center-right Republican seems to leave room for one to to give some credence to my contention that things could have been different (better) with ANY other Dem name from '08...

Obama didn't look like a center-right Republican when he was campaigning--if anything he came across as the liberal alternative to Hillary's straight-line DLC centrism (remember him attacking her over health insurance mandates, or getting knocked by her and others for falsely claiming he'd meet with Castro/Chavez/Ahmadinejad, for example). I knew progressives who voted for Obama in the primary rather than Kucinich simply because they were terrified of the idea of letting a right-wing Democrat like Hillary get the nomination.

In any case, the question isn't whether there are better or worse Democrats--there are. The question is whether any of the ones who could win the party's presidential nomination are meaningfully different--i.e., whether or not they dissent from the Democratic Party's neoliberal consensus (in a nutshell, corporate service at home and unrestricted bombing abroad) in any significant way, and if so if they're committed enough to that dissent that electing them would actually stand a chance of leading to concrete changes. There wasn't a single major Democratic candidate in 2008 who came close to fitting that description and there's unlikely to be one in our lifetimes, given the trajectory of the party (and the country) as a whole and the filtering that helps to ensure that those kinds of people don't rise.

And speaking of Gore, he's a perfect example of the kinds of disconnects out there. You can check out what I wrote in this comment for details, but in short, the Al Gore of 2000 was a pure corporate creature, a devoted militarist, and--regardless of his reputation--had racked up an abysmal record on global warming in the Clinton administration. But people still think he'd have saved the world if he'd been elected, despite the fact that there's no indication that he'd have been anything but the DLC neoliberal on his own than he'd been under DLC neoliberal Bill Clinton.

As a simple working man my daddy who participated in the General strike of 1934 taught me to vote D. My first vote for prez was Bobby in the '68 CA primary. My first R vote was McCail in '08, hoping that an Obama defeat would discredit those in the party who stacked the deck for O. Yes I found value in the Democrats. Not anymore so I guess were now on the same page.

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