Lipstick on a Politician
Obama’s rhetoric reminds me of a salesman who knows his product, but doesn’t really care about anything more than making a sale. His comments earlier this week are a treasure trove full of irony. For the choice quote of the night he stated;
“In one week, we can choose hope over fear, and unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo.”
It would be comforting to listen to a leader who speaks of “hope over fear” in post 9/11 America, if he was talking about the fear that our enemies have spread… but Obama is not talking about Al Qaeda or the Taliban. He is talking about his fellow Americans as he falseheartedly speaks of unity.
Obama claims to stand for unity while he accuses his opponents of using the politics of fear. He has no right to make such accusations. If Obama didn’t run for president he would still be attending services at his former hate filled church, Trinity United Church of Christ, while denying that it is controversial. He only gave up his church after months of pressure from his critics. So Obama wasn’t able to deliver his closing “unity” speech at his former church.
First Obama lied, issuing denials about what he knew was going on at Trinity:
“Had I heard those statements in the church, I would have told Reverend Wright that I profoundly disagree with them. What I have been hearing and had been hearing in church was talk about Jesus and talk about faith and values and serving the poor.”
Then he admitted the truth:
“Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.”
The disclosure of Rev. Wright’s hateful speeches forced Obama to condemn his pastor’s comments and it was only after this created a public feud between the two that Obama finally left his church. Yet Obama still refused to denounce the divisiveness of his church. As he left his church Obama stated:
“ I’m not denouncing the church and I’m not interested in people who want me to denounce the church.”
Obama refused to condemn his church’s outdated 20th Century Black Nationalism even as he distanced himself from it in the name of political expediency... Black Liberation Theology is the basis of the vision statement of Trinity United and the heart of its philosophy. It is a sick creed of reverse racism. James Cone is the leading advocate of this theology and has described its theories and his feelings towards whites in the following manner:
“Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy.”
“Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him.”
“What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.”
“What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world.”
“Whether the American system is beyond redemption we will have to wait and see. But we can be certain that black patience has run out, and unless white America responds positively to the theory and activity of Black Power, then a bloody, protracted civil war is inevitable.”
“All white men are responsible for white oppression. It is much too easy to say, “Racism is not my fault,” or “I am not responsible for the country’s inhumanity to the black man”...But insofar as white do-gooders tolerate and sponsor racism in their educational institutions, their political, economic and social structures, their churches, and in every other aspect of American life, they are directly responsible for racism...Racism is possible because whites are indifferent to suffering and patient with cruelty.”
Some of the quotes that Rev. Wright made infamous are included below:
“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America’? No, no, no, not God Bless America. God damn America — that’s in the Bible — for killing innocent people. God damn America, for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America, as long as she tries to act like she is God, and she is supreme.”
“The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.”
Obama claims to be a uniter, but the reality is that this election has forced him to distance himself from his divisive past. We are the ONES who have waited for him to catch up to the 21st Century. Not the other way around as he so falsely suggests.
Before Obama had focused on his ambition to be president, he wrote an autobiography in 1995 entitled “Dreams from My Father, A Story of Race and Inheritance”. This book honestly related his feelings on race and reveals the motivation that led Obama to join such a militant black church. Although his mother was white, he rejected his whiteness and sought to embrace his black heritage exclusively. This was despite the fact that in his teenage years he was raised in a loving white family and experienced no notable acts of racism from whites.
His book, “Dreams from My Father”, describes this transformation. In his own words he decided to “never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself.”
He completely rejected his “whiteness”. As he wrote, “I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.”
My aim isn’t to prove that Obama was (or is) a racist, it is to show that for much of his life his worldview was divisive. I used his own words to map out the ‘us against them attitude’ that drew him to Trinity United Church. Once again from his autobiography he wrote, “To admit our doubt and confusion to whites, to open up our psyches to general examination by those who had caused so much of the damage in the first place, seemed ludicrous, itself an expression of self-hatred.”
Obama contemplated Black Nationalism as a political tool overriding all other concerns. Again, in his own words, “I wondered whether, for now at least, Rafiq wasn’t also right in preferring that that anger be redirected; whether a black politics that suppressed rage towards whites generally, or one that failed to elevate race loyally above all else, was a politics inadequate to the task.” He settled this question by joining Trinity and adopting the anger of Black Nationalism as his identity. (Rafiq was a friend of Obama’s who was a member of the Nation of Islam, it is not believed to be his real name.)
I do not accuse Obama of being a Muslim. He was the member of a church that spread a message of hate. There are good Christians and there are bad Christians. Just as there are good Muslims and bad Muslims.
So on what basis does Obama champion the cause of unity? In 2007 the National Journal’s annual vote ratings gave him the most liberal voting record in the Senate. Its interesting that many times Obama uses the word “we” when he is really referring to himself. On Super Tuesday he gave one of the worst speeches that I have ever heard. At one point Obama said, “we are the ones that we have been waiting for”. He states these empty slogans as if they were biblical quotes. I don’t need Obama, McCain or any politician to change my life. Change is constant and my life doesn’t revolve around Obama. Its no accident that at Obama’s rallies his crowd chants “Obama, Obama, Obama”, but at McCain rallies his crowd chants “USA, USA, USA”. Obama’s cult of personality comes at the expense of everything else.
On the other hand McCain actually fulfils a requirement that unity demands. He is not afraid to cross the political aisle. McCain even worked closely with Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy on immigration reform. That is a good example of a Conservative (however moderate he may be) reaching out across party lines to someone widely regarded as an extreme liberal in American politics. McCain is also not afraid to buck his own political party, as he proved when he forced the Bush Administration to accede to the McCain Detainee Amendment. It was a measure to enhance the rights of detainees, which incurred the wrath of many Conservatives.
Obama has no similar credentials, but he still promotes himself as a uniter when all he represents is division. The politics of fear comes from the discharge of suicide bombs and hijacked airliners. They are the tools of our enemies. Obama would be better served by targeting these terrorists with his accusations and not his fellow Americans.
Storm Clouds on the Horizon
Cindy Sheehan is running for Congress against the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Ironically, Pelosi has been an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War and so has Sheehan. Conservative observers have been amused by the friction between the two leftwingers. According to Sheehan’s website:
“Nancy Pelosi is a politician. She declared opposition to the war in Iraq, but consistently votes to fund it. She has offered no analysis of the real reasons motivating the war in Iraq. She voted in favor of invasive wiretapping and immunity for corporations that engage in illegal wiretapping. She has initiated no legislation to fix our ailing schools, health care facilities, the housing crisis, etc. She has accepted money from the following corporations, to name a few of the many: Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Comcast Corp, and Wells Fargo Bank.”
Over the years Bay Area radicals have been expressing their discontent with Pelosi. The feeble Democratic-controlled Congress has been powerless to stop President Bush from escalating the Iraq war and winning a pivotal battle against the brutal insurgents. Obama took a stab at reducing the U.S. role in Iraq, but failed. He didn’t have much time to spend on his attempts to hijack the progress made by the Surge because much of his short career as a U.S. Senator has been consumed with his presidential campaign. He has only been a U.S. Senator since 2005 and has been campaigning for almost two years.
In any case, the same forces that Pelosi’s anti-Iraq policy helped unleash in her raw pursuit of power have boomeranged against her.
In March 2007 CodePink, the radical “antiwar” group, organized a protest they called ‘Camp Pelosi’. It was a round the clock vigil in front of Pelosi’s San Francisco home. The protestors demanded that Pelosi cut the funding of the Iraq war. It became a string of on-and-off protests that continued to dog Pelosi for a long time. Additionally, CodePink wasn’t satisfied with just harassing Pelosi at her home so they took to following her to political events and harassing her there. Since CodePink found that protesting President Bush has been ineffective they started to target Democrats like Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. Gael Murphy, a co-founder of the group, claims that their efforts targeting the Democratic Party have made a difference. During the primaries she said, “We’ve gotten to a place now where Hillary and Obama are falling all over each other to be the leading peace candidate”.
Another co-founder of CodePink, Jodie Evans, has become a bundler for the Obama campaign. She has pledged to raise between $50,000 to $100,000. CodePink’s most visible leader and close Sheehan ally, Medea Benjamin, bragged about the influence that their radical group has on Obama. She declared that, “we have the ability to push from the inside and the outside. And it is being right here in this kind of place and places like this around the country that are the antidote to the people who are pushing Barack Obama to be quote ‘centralist’, which means be a warmonger”.
While CodePink has aggressively attacked leaders of the Democratic Party such as Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, they have been relatively supportive of Obama. CodePink has set up two watchdog groups to attack Pelosi and Clinton, ‘Pelosi Watch’ and ‘Listen Hillary’. Even though CodePink’s grievances with Pelosi and Clinton also apply to Obama, they have been willing to overlook these similarities. Instead CodePink claims to be willing to work with Obama on the same issues that CodePink viciously attacks Pelosi and Clinton. This sentiment is shared with many leading leftwing radicals.
An open letter published in The Nation declares support for Obama and warns that the signatories of the letter will challenge him on issues that they don’t share. One of these issues is “the escalation of the US military presence in Afghanistan”. The letter is signed by prominent leftwingers like Phil Donahue, Juan Cole, Gore Vidal, Howard Zinn, Christopher Hayes (the editor of The Nation) and many others... especially JOURNALISTS.
So what will happen if Obama becomes president? CodePink is concerned that Obama is influenced by “centralists” who take a more favorable stance towards the use of military force. On the subject of Afghanistan they have cause for concern. Both presidential candidates favor increasing the U.S. troop presence in that country. The battle in Afghanistan is often referred to as the “Good War” and no frontrunner in any presidential election has opposed it.
Yet the “antiwar” lobby has been firmly against it. At the very first instance of U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan back in October of 2001, the “progressive” website Common Dreams declared the war a failure. In an editorial, Marion Winik (a commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered”) stated, “Whatever they say, I think we've already lost”. Common Dreams may be a radical publication, but look at the many mainstream writers and prominent Democratic Party loyalists that have graced its pages; Jesse Jackson, Adriana Huffington, Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, Ted Rall and many others.
During the 2008 Election the Left has united around Barack Obama. However, if he is elected president, Obama will have a great deal of difficulty maintaining this fractional alliance under his Afghan policy. After the 2004 election, when the Democratic Party stood stunned at its losses in the Congressional and Presidential elections, there was a burning reaction to get even. The same thing can happen to the Republicans in 2008. It is easy to be the opposition party, you merely have to be contrarian. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the partisan warfare during the Clinton Administration shows that the Republicans are just as good at this game.
Since the Republican Party is almost universally united behind the war in Afghanistan, Obama will miss out on a reliable support base on this issue. These bitter Republicans will be consumed with a desire for revenge and dreams of power, much like the Democratic Party has been for the last eight years. Meanwhile Obama’s supporters will be ideologically divided over the Afghanistan War.
I take no pleasure in this partisan bickering. During the Clinton Administration I supported the President against the partisan attacks that he suffered from. If Obama is elected president I will support him on his Afghanistan policy, if he follows it as he has already presented it. My overriding concern is victory over our fascist enemies. I would rather have a leader that I could be confident in, but if Obama wins the election he will have to do in the meantime.
There are two issues that will be of the utmost importance for our next president and Obama is problematic on both issues.
1) The War in Afghanistan
2) The Economy.
Obama’s weak ability to prosecute the Afghan War is scary enough, but he has also taken over $100,000 from Fannie May and Freddie Mac as they slid into a collapse that required a costly bailout. At the same time McCain warned against the problems of the GSEs. When Obama’s serious lack of experience is also taken into account you have to conclude that there is no HOPE for the prospect of an Obama Administration. It’s only an empty slogan...