sent to me by an anonymous peace activist
May 8, 2008
On a day when I read that not only does Obama agree with McCain on Hamas (even though they offered a ceasefire before the Likud and and still await a response from Ehud, et. a.) but he also reiterated his uncritical support for Israel I am at a loss for what to do politically. I obviously cannot stand John McCain as a person or a politician. This election looks like it will be a contest between two media darlings; whereas McCain enjoys a press corps enamored with the maverick image they helped one another create for himself, Obama enjoys a press who (except for Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman) is critical mainly of scandal and rarely of policy.
With so little criticism, John McCain has faired well under the twin storms of Hagee and Parsley that are brewing in the distance. Of course, Ralph Nader has no chance of success, as even he admits (however, he has been wiling to take some initiative toward more critical conversation about Israel-Palestine). And, with Ron Paul, the only GOP candidate with serious support still only getting minimal chance of the nomination, thanks to the winner-take-all primary structure of the Repubs, you’d think Obama is a shoe-in against someone who has such strong ties (77% voting record of support) to a President whose disapproval rating is at a record high.
However, it is not that simple. Obama’s nat’l avg. poll lead is not substantial. Naturally we can take some relief in the knowledge that these things are notoriously unreliable indicators of general election outcomes (esp if one party steals the presidency from the other). Nonetheless, it’s important that the Obama campaign consider some of the factors that might prevent him from critical victories in battleground states if it expects to beat the war-hungry McCain campaign.
Obviously the entire landscape of this quadrennial power struggle between two factions of US and international business interests will look very different in a few months. The GOP will undoubtedly release the most vicious sort of half-truths against Obama (expect to see much more of Rev. Wright) esp. if Karl Rove gets involved outside of punditry. Either way, we must see through the two-party system the framers would have rejected and wanted to prevent.
Even if Obama wins, I hope progressives remember that it will only be a victory because Obama is probably more malleable on issues like Iraq and Iran. Thomas Hayden asks a critical question in his book, Ending the War in Iraq:
Would a President Obama really continue the war if the Baghdad regime was ‘hostile to the interests of the US’? Or would he finess his way to accepting reality? It is an inherent risk of politics: getting caught between populist voter patterns and the contending counsel of unelected national security elites. On the brink of announcing his presidential campaign in early 2007, Senator Obama settled on a proposal popular with both voters and elites, the Baker-Hamilton goal of removing American combat troops by Mach 31, 2008. (p 165)
That victory (a presidential candidate who is both ‘electable’ and, at least, slightly anti-war) came only after mass demonstrations, disasters like Abu Ghraib and the Downing Street memos and the war looked so bad that even Baker decided it was time to change course. So far, Obama isn’t much better than John McCain when it comes to Iran.
So, at the end of the day, for me the decision is, whom would we rather push and protest? McCain will likely choose Cheney as secretary of war and, if you’ve paid much attention to the news over the last few years, you know he does not give a shit about what you think
So, I hope those of you dissatisfied with Paul’s conservatism, Nader’s unelectability and the Bush legacy will get together and push Obama after he gets elected. I think it’s the best for which we can realistically hope. Otherwise I hope you’re smart enough to get the fuck out of the country before McCain asks you to serve in a century-long, unwinnable war.