By Paul Craig Roberts
January 23, 2008
If polls are reliable, Hillary will win the Democratic nomination. The Democratic groups that prefer Obama are not sufficiently numerous to give him the nomination.
Of course, anything can happen in a political campaign, but the latest Field Poll of likely California Democrats and independent voters gives Hillary a 39 to 27 percent lead over Obama. This is bad news for Obama, because California is a progressive state where race is less likely to be a handicap.
Obama is favored by those who rank the Iraq war and foreign policy as the most important issues, by blacks, college graduates, and those with higher incomes.
Hillary is favored two to one by women, two to one by lower income groups and three to one among Latinos. Hillary has a further advantage. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention approximately 50 percent of the delegates were women. As Democratic delegates are invariably feminists, they are not going to miss the chance of putting a woman in the presidency.
Are the Democrats choosing Hillary because she has the moral integrity to stop an unjust war and to hold war criminals responsible for leading America into war based on lies and deception? Are they choosing Hillary because she defends the US Constitution from usurpation by executive power? Are they choosing her because she is public-spirited instead of personally ambitious?
No. The Democrats are choosing Hillary because of gender and race. Despite all the efforts of Democratic activist groups, the majority of Democratic voters are more concerned with race and gender issues than with their country’s reputation and their civil liberties.
If elected president, Hillary will bring no more change than did the Democratic congressional majority elected in 2006.
Obama might not bring any change either. But he is the only candidate in the running who has expressed concern over Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians and who voted against the Iraq invasion. Clearly, he is a better bet for change than Hillary. However, Democrats are more attuned to race and gender issues than to war crimes and loss of civil liberties.
This is not to argue that Republicans are an improvement. Their likely nominee is McCain, who has recently said that he is OK with a hundred-year war in Iraq. McCain is as willing to attack Iran as Bush and Cheney, and he would not be adverse to conspiring with Israel and the neoconservatives to pull off an attack. Republicans don’t even have a “change” candidate in the running. They have worked to marginalize Ron Paul precisely because he would be an instrument of change.
Even if Obama were elected and was sincere about change, what could he do? Probably very little. The pool of candidates from which he could staff an administration is not that much different from that of any other candidate. He can pass over a neocon architect of the Iraq invasion and settle on an architect of President Clinton’s bombing of Serbia.
Moreover, Congress will still be controlled by the same interest groups. If Obama were to appoint people opposed by the military-security lobby, the Israel Lobby or the offshoring lobby, the Senate would be unlikely to confirm them. No president wants to nominate people who cannot be confirmed. Presidents have to staff their administrations according to who can get the approval of powerful interest groups.
This makes if difficult to change the status quo. It only takes one senator to put a hold on an appointment. Change in Washington requires breaking many iron grips.
In the presidential race, Hillary would defeat McCain, who without any doubt is the war candidate. Hillary will get the women’s vote, the minorities’ vote, and the anti-war vote. McCain will get the vote of angry macho white males.
What Hillary has to worry about is a major terrorist attack, whether real or orchestrated, that would revive the 9/11 fears and send voters scurrying to put the presidency into the hands of a war hero. As Hillary is not regarded as a threat to Israel’s territorial expansion or to the interests of the military-security complex, the only wild card is some terrorist action that would require the failure of US security in order to succeed.
Of course, all of this ignores the salient fact: No one knows how the Diebold electronic voting machines programmed by Republican operatives with proprietary software will count the votes.
If it hasn’t become a stolen affair, the American presidency has become a family affair, one that is passed from a Bush to a Clinton to a Bush and back to a Clinton. The interest groups are satisfied, and nothing of importance changes.
After Hillary will we have Jeb?
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Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.
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