Friday, August 28, 2009


From a black Left perspective on what they call 'Obamaland', a poignant calling out of Obama's true position on different issues. Read the whole article if you have a chance. I have reluctantly come to share their position. Obama is corporate America's greatest ally. Question: why have the Republicans and Fox News reacted the way they have? That is my one remaining hesitation in this whole thing.

Somewhere there's a president who stands up for homeowners facing
bankruptcy and eviction. Somewhere there is a transformative leader who fights
to deliver hope, universal health care and equal rights for everybody, who will
bring the troops home from Iraq and other places and who is a relentless foe of
Wall Street's excesses. This president's very career is a repudiation of racism,
ancient injustice and unearned privilege. Of course, that guy is not the
president of the U.S. He's the president of an imaginary realm we call

Back in June of 2003, when Glen Ford and I introduced Barack Obama to
our audience at Black Commentator, he was a Democratic primary election
candidate for the US Senate in Illinois. Candidate Obama, we noted at the time,
seemed to be playing a double game. He offered progressive, black and antiwar
constituencies a hook just big enough to hang their hopes on, while through his
affiliation with the right-wing Democratic Leadership Council, Obama actively
courted the support of the full range of corporate America, from the energy,
insurance, military contractors and financial sectors to the airlines and Wall

Being named one of the DLC's “100 To Watch” as Obama was in 2003 signifies
that a candidate has been extensively vetted by a broad range of corporate
interests as completely trustworthy and utterly loyal to their agendas. Having
obtained the indelible seal of approval from Wall Street, insurance companies,
telecoms, military contractors, airlines and the like who sit on the DLC's
board, denying it all was the safe and sensible, if dishonest thing to do, and
Obama did just that. He claimed the DLC had conferred this distinction upon him
with no advance knowledge on his part, and that he would gladly renounce it, as
if such a repudiation could ever be taken seriously.

The fact that Obamaland has turned out to be a delusion is no surprise to
us, and to many others. It's a reality that dawns upon more and more of us as
time goes on.
“So the very best our popular president with whopping
majorities in both houses of congress can do is not single payer. It's not
universal health care at all, but “health insurance reform” as the president
calls it, a bailout for private insurers”

The Democratic
Leadership Council is almost irrelevant today, a victim of its own
success. It was established in the wake of Jesse Jackson's presidential
candidacies in the 1980s, when white, right wing Democrats felt themselves an
endangered species. Their goal was to enable Democrats to compete with
Republicans for corporate funding by promoting Democrats who were just as
pro-corporate as any Republican. By now corporate Democrats are the rule,
not the exception, and the career of Barack Obama is the crowning example of the
DLC's complete victory in freeing the Democratic party from the wishes of
Democratic voters, even if Obama denies the DLC brand itself.

The fight
for universal health care has blown away the illusions of many. Though months
behind schedule, the Democratic health care legislation appears to be where and
what our Democratic president wanted all along.

So the very best our popular president with whopping majorities
in both houses of congress can do is not single payer. It's not universal health
care at all, but “health insurance reform” as the president calls it, a bailout
for private insurers, under which millions will be forced to purchase junk
insurance, some with government subsidies funded by Medicare and Medicaid cuts.
The president is even open to taxing employer-furnished insurance benefits, a
position he ridiculed McCain for during the campaign. Drug prices will remain
high thanks to a deal cut with Big Pharma, and the public option, originally
conceived as a Medicare-scale government run insurance plan competing with
private insurers to drive their costs downward, was thoroughly gutted,
eviscerated and watered down before the White House declared it “not essential”
to its vision of national health care at all. What remains of a health
care bill is what Detroit Rep. John Conyers has
called "crappy."
But it's what the president wanted all along.

It is evident now that President Obama has simultaneously played both
the good cop and the bad cop on health care, using the excuses of Senate and
blue dog intransigence and Republican opposition in order to shed provisions of
the health care bill the White House did not favor. We all learned in sixth
grade civics class about “co-equal branches” of government, but like a lot of
things we learned in childhood, the reality is something else. Outside of
Obamaland, the president, any president, possesses levers of vast executive
power that can be utilized to bring any mere congressman or senator back onto
the reservation. The White House, according to California's Lynn Woosley,
routinely bares its fangs at junior members of congress who hint at voting
against the war budget, but never threatens to depose stubborn liars in the
Senate or call to heel the blue dogs of the House, whose careers are literally
the handiwork of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

It's morning in America again, and this time a hung over morning. The
left, and most of all the black left, is only beginning to rouse itself from the
Obamaland stupor and stumble out into daylight. The president after all, is not
necessarily an ally in the fight to deliver health care, or education, or halt
privatizations, bankruptcies, foreclosures or unjust wars, or most of the other
things that need delivering or need stopping. Now progressives and the wide
awake are beginning to leave Obamaland in droves, abandoning the automatic
stance that the president is an ally in the struggle for peace abroad and
justice at home.

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