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Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics
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And his Iraq War opposition? Street shows that Obama opposes the war not because it is a major crime against humanity but because it has been executed ineptly. He refuses to commit to an unconditional withdrawal of US troops. Street quotes Jeremy Scahill, among others, to the effect that the noises Obama has made about the withdrawal of all U.S. "combat" troops from Iraq are misleading. In reality only half of all US troops in Iraq are classified as "combat." Moreover Obama voted against a bill designed to ban the use of private security firms like Blackwater. This raises the possibility that Obama might expand the use of these private mercenaries in Iraq as he draws combat troops down. Street shows how Obama has foreign policy views that are well within the parameters of traditional American imperialism. Since becoming a US Senator he has unconditionally supported all of Israel's aggression and state terrorism. After Jeremiah Wright first took national stage, one of Obama's statements was to the effect that he abhorred any utterance (such as those of Wright's) that denigrated the great and holy United States.. Street notes the irony of this denunciation by Obama. After all, in 1967, Martin Luther King, Obama's supposed idol, called the United States the greatest force for violence in the world. King charged the US with being the ally of rich landowners and corporations against poor peasants throughout the world.
Street notes that Obama ignores the role of institutional racism in American life. Obama has nothing on his agenda for black neighborhoods besides mild Bill Cosby like lectures. He gives no indication that he will not repeat Bill Clinton's performance and reinforce the harshest and most racist aspects of our criminal justice system. Many black folk are excited that a black man is possibly going to be elected president of a society that has denigrated them for so long, but Obama gives no evidence that he will bring living wage jobs, or decent health care and education to black neighborhoods. Street expresses fear about the evidence that white people, including Obama supporters, believe that because so many white people are willing to vote a black guy into the White House, then this proves that racism is no longer a significant factor in American life.
I've enjoyed reading Dr. Street's commentaries on Z Communications on Obama and other issues from a genuinely radical perspective. Some leftist folks like Bill Fletcher Jr. and Barbara Ehrenreich have become horribly entranced by Obama while talk radio demagogues, Jerome Corsi, and other paranoid frauds portray Obama as an extreme socialist. It is only from Dr. Street, the Black Agenda Report and a few others that really penetrating, intelligent critiques have been produced. Dr. Street attacks Obama but admits that he has the potential to do some progressive things. But he notes that the Obama "movement" has to hold the Senator's feet to the fire if he gets elected. If they can't move beyond being entranced by his personal charisma, the Senator will feel free to adopt everything big business demands of him.
On a negative side, the prose in this book is often a bit stiff and the discussion at times lacks concision. I would have appreciated more and clearer detail in some places, for instances in discussion of Obama's quite bad non-single payer health care plan.
I was pleased that Street outlines a progressive agenda that a genuinely populist candidate could use to facilitate serious citizen involvement in our bourgeois democracy.
However, in the last analysis he fails to draw the conclusion all his data points toward: that radical and progressive voters should break decisively with the two-party system and support the strongest possible left challenge. Rather than advocate a vote for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney, he revives the lesser-evilist analysis that the Republicans are just too horrible not to vote for the democrat.
This is surprising, given the overall message of the book that change will not fundamentally come through electoral politics. Still, I highly recommend reading this for anyone capable of taking this excellent data and drawing their own conclusions.
These writers came to the table liking Obama, as Democrats and seasoned Reporters. What I don't understand is how the Democratic Pary could run someone so green, so untested and clearly so radical for President. Both books showed many examples that Obama is too thin skinned, cannot take critism and is not open to other ideas.
The one thing that kept coming out is his undeveloped emotional maturity and his inability to listen to different views. There are numerous examples of why Obama should not even be a Senator but a President............NO Way.
He is a dangerous man.