Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Obama appears to be damaged goods, and may be done. You could probably stick a fork in him at this point. Or does he have enough miracles left to overcome the nations attempt to swiftboat his campaign? And yes…this has now become more of a national effort. Everyone seems to be getting in on the act.
That's one of the many reasons why I lost interest in this circus filled election season.
Hillary's race baiting campaign has done serious damage to Obama and his hopes for the nomination, especially in the context of the General Election. Even if Obama somehow stops the bleeding enough to win the nomination, the General (s)election will be a different story. Obama will have to garner a broader range of support in the General Election as compared to the Democratic nomination contest...and it's going to be a steeper hill for him to climb in the General to accomplish that mission.
Clinton has taken race, Rev. Wright, etc...& has tied it around Obama's neck with a ball & chain. It is going to weigh on him not only for the remainder of his campaign...but for the rest of his political career. Obama was naive to think that his attempts to run a race neutral campaign would somehow stop Whites from attacking him using race, ethnicity, and religion as weapons. They simply couldn’t resist. Obama was essentially put in a situation where he had to apologize for being Black. And people wonder why I hate being a Black man? I don’t know of any other ethnic group in this Country that has to apologize to the wider society for their race…..or has to apologize for comments made by other members of their ethnic group, the way that Obama had to. These developments have been breathtaking, although not surprising to me considering we live in one of the most racist Countries in the World. But this is why I had to step back from politics…the madness was becoming too absurd to tolerate.
I never thought that either Clinton or Obama were very electable from the beginning.... and now they are even more unelectable... That is especially the case for Obama.
Everything that I had predicted earlier on seems to be materializing. The media has duped Democrats (by steering voters like sheep) into nominating two marginal candidates....and by playing up issues of race, etc. And it has been all about ratings for the networks the whole time (from the time that the Obama/Clinton matchup was first introduced and played up as a possibility 2 & 1/2 to 3 years ago until today).
An example of the damage done to Obama can be seen in polling data...and it is showing in a big way. Whether it holds or not remains to be seen...but the negative results seem to be holding a month after the Rev. Wright nonsense. Obama had been leading by wide margins in Indiana on a consistent basis over several weeks. But after the negative racist gutter politics of Clinton.... the poll in Indiana has flipped the opposite way...with Clinton now enjoying a nice lead; although Obama has been able to improve his standing in Indiana in the last few days. There was an initial swing of about 15-20 points from Obama to Clinton within the span of two weeks. As if that’s not bad enough, new polling from Puerto Rico shows that Clinton enjoys a healthy double digit lead there as well. I was a little surprised by the Puerto Rico poll considering the rocky relationship between the Clinton administration and the island in the late 1990’s.
But Hillary’s support among blue collar White voters in Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania says a lot about the impact of playing on the fears of White Americans, xenophobic Whites in particular. Hillary always had race as a built-in advantage.
At the end of the day... I don't believe that Obama is electable in a General Election....and he probably won't win. He may not even win the Democratic nomination now that Florida and Michigan are probably out of the picture (at least for now). This will leave the decision to the so-called Superdelegates. Losing the nomination may be an act of mercy for Obama and his followers. Some polling is beginning to show that voters would support McCain over Obama...and Clinton over McCain in key matchups (again...Hillary Clinton’s dirty racist campaign has started to pay off). Clinton is likely to finish strong in the remaining contests on the back of her race baiting & scorched earth campaign...and this may make the Supercrooks... or the "Superdelegates" doubt Obama's chances.
To put it plainly....America is too sick to elect a Black candidate to the Presidency of the United States. Sick meaning- too racist, xenophobic, ignorant about politics & basic civics, ignorant about Democracy, nationalistic, controlled by fear, manipulated by the media, uninformed about other cultures & the experiences of others within the borders of this Country...let alone in Countries thousands of miles away, blind about religion.... Etc. And this is essentially why I am noticing that the vultures are starting to gather for Barack Obama…waiting for a nice meal from the political remains of a man who started out with grand hopes but was soon consumed by the disease that is American Politics….a disease fed by a twisted social culture. In some ways, America is as sick today as it was 40 and 50 years ago. And Hope was never going to change that in my opinion. This is why I always said that Obama needed more than Hope to win the nomination and a General Election… I knew that he would face this racist onslaught. He needed a kick ass, cut throat campaign staff that wouldn’t take any bull……but this is something that Obama doesn’t seem to have unfortunately. To say that David Axelrod has been a wimp may be an understatement.
In the end, race & how comfortable voters personally would feel having a beer or having dinner with a particular candidate may prove more important than the candidates positions on actual issues. In American elections... this personal "feel good" test tends to carry the day over all else. This is what American elections have come down to....and it has been this way for quite some time. Whites will always be more comfortable with candidates who look like them, despite the fact that they may actually have more in common as Americans with the minority candidate (the guy who is barely a millionaire…and a fairly new member of that group). This phenomenon is part of the reason why George W. Bush still won re-election despite losing 3 straight debates to the cosmopolitan guy from the Northeast. Rural White Americans preferred George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan because of how well these men wore their boots and their cowboy hats...more than any plan they offered or policy that they supported. We are seeing a similar situation with Obama, and his ethnicity highlights this phenomenon that much more.
Americans consistently vote against their own best interests, even in election years when they claim to want change. If you recall….2004 was a “change” election year…but when it came down to voting, Americans chose the same cast of characters….largely out of fear and because of the impulse to choose the familiar. The same thing is happening in this election cycle. Americans will likely choose what is familiar and “safe”. Choosing something different requires voters to put in more work….requires them to think more…requires them to have a grasp of the issues. But for many voters, this is too hard, and they look for any excuse to pull back and retreat to their old patterns of choosing the most familiar. This is how issues like Gay marriage, guns (I am pro-gun by the way), religion, immigration, war, race and class, often trump more pressing everyday issues that all voters should be concerned with. This is partly what Obama was getting at when he made the comments about small town America. But he wasn’t blunt enough with his comments. If he could have gotten away with it, what he should have mentioned was the fact that race and racial prejudice are working against him in many parts of rural America, and rural Pennsylvania and Indiana especially. That’s what he wanted to say but couldn’t. Xenophobia and racism are huge issues in this campaign. And the fear mongering from Clinton and McCain are a testament to that fact. If these were not big issues, then Clinton & the Conservatives would not be working so hard to highlight and exploit racial & social differences for political advantage.
It is amazing how the media has been able to twist Obama’s comments around to have a completely different meaning or connotation than what was intended. Hillary Clinton is allowed to tell one bold faced lie after another with very few lasting consequences, yet Obama is vilified repeatedly for telling the truth. Obama is attacked relentlessly for comments that he didn’t even make regarding his former Pastor, or for comments made by the obscure Louis Farrakhan (support that Obama never sought & comments that he probably didn’t know about ahead of time) yet the media does nothing to hold John McCain accountable for actually seeking and accepting the endorsement of a known bigot and religious hate monger John Hagee. This is why I get the urge to strangle those who say there is no media bias in favor of these rich white candidates. Clinton in particular has had the media advantage from the beginning, long before she even declared her candidacy.
The media tries to create its own reality in order to boost ratings. They desperately want the Obama comments to be overblown into a huge new controversy. Even though a CNN Poll out today showed that 76% of viewers did not find Obama’s comments offensive at all. A majority were actually in agreement with Sen. Obama. Yet the corporate media continues to twist his words and then overplay those twisted words, hoping to influence voters in Pennsylvania, Indiana and elsewhere who may not keep up with the daily news and who would therefore be ripe candidates for this kind of manipulation. Meanwhile, while this manufactured news is being promoted, the media seems to ignore actual confirmed news surrounding Clinton’s chief strategist Mark Penn, and his support of a Columbian Trade deal, while she is in Pennsylvania slamming such deals. It’s the same kind of disingenuous behavior that we saw from Clinton in Ohio and that we have seen throughout her campaign.
What really bothers me is the assertion by Clinton and McCain that Obama is some sort of elitist and is out of touch. This is coming from a woman who reported making over $100 million dollars, and has been the biggest recipient of corporate lobbying money out of all of the candidates. This is also the same woman who has been in the White House, in Governors mansions and in corporate board rooms for upwards of 35 years straight. This is the same woman who defended corporations against consumers and even defended a wife beater in a brutal domestic violence case when she was a hotshot attorney, as a way to promote her career. And now she claims to be a feminist. Give us a break Hillary! And John McCain is not far behind. His entire campaign is virtually run by lobbyists. But Obama is the elitist? A man who started out in a job that paid about $15,000 a year and wasn’t born into wealth. A man raised by a single mother. A man who lived on Food Stamps as a kid and doesn’t know what it feels like to have $100 million.
If that’s not bad enough, Hillary is now claiming to be Annie Oakley…a pro-gun politician. Unfortunately Americans have a very short memory and will fall for that unmitigated foolishness. Those of us who have been paying attention know about the war on guns that the Clintons waged in the 1990’s. Now she wants gullible voters to believe that she is actually pro-gun. It’s another chameleon act by Clinton…. changing her colors to fit the current environment. We saw the same nonsense with NAFTA. And there have been similar embellishments in terms of her foreign policy (3am crisis) experience….which all turned out to be a very large bucket of Bull.
The media circus of the past 2 months has taken both Democratic Party candidates off of more meaningful topics, such as what they plan to do to save social security, what they plan to do about healthcare, what they plan to do about climate change and the environment, what they plan to do about energy independence & getting gas prices under control, what they plan to do to create jobs and to make the U.S. more competitive in the new global economy, what they plan to do about the cost of living and stagnant wages, what they plan to do about corruption in Washington D.C., what they plan to do to repair U.S. relations with the rest of the World, what they plan to do about the growing racial and social class rift (the new emerging caste system in this Country), what they plan to do about the cost of higher education and out of control student loan burdens, and the list goes on & on. I have not heard anything over the past several weeks about substantive policies and plans of the respective candidates. I have only been bombarded with replay after replay of the latest trivial comments from one of the 3 Senators.
We have entered an era where we can now count on good people to be swift boated, no matter how good their message might be. The new tradition calls for election seasons that are turned into pure entertainment. Americans, fed by the corporate media machine, sit around to see who has made the latest gaffe, rather than seeking meaningful substantive information. This is why the American electorate tends to be less informed than voters in other Democracies. We are becoming a "gaffe" and 10 second soundbite culture. This, in part, is what will decide elections from here on out. Meanwhile, the same cast of characters will win elections over and over again, and nothing will change for ordinary Americans. The Well of American politics is now permanently contaminated. If JFK were to run for the office of President today, even he would be swift boated. So we as a nation are in this perpetual funk, and I don’t see how the cycle will be broken. As long as the nation has a corrupt Two- Party system that is controlled by big money, a largely disengaged uninformed public, and a corporate media that controls & shapes almost all public opinion, then nothing significant will change in the lives of ordinary Americans. Fear, ignorance, racism and xenophobia will continue to rule the day. Only a reformed, regulated political system with a real multi-party Democracy (more than 2 major Parties) will be able to change the status quo. Americans make up one of the most ill-informed and manipulated electorates of any modern nation on the planet, which is why we will be dealing with this kind of nonsense for the foreseeable future.
The Obama experiment, so far, is proving that despite all of the Senators attempts to run a race neutral campaign and to represent a new generation of minority politicians who want to transcend skin color, White America still could not resist using race as a weapon against him. Thus America is once again failing to move beyond its racist past. This will insure that America will remain one of the Neanderthals in the community of nations. Technologically and economically strong…sure. But socially, it is still too sick to move ahead…still stuck 2-3 generations behind.
I'm quickly moving towards a "shelter in place" bunker mentality.... more of a survivalist mode... gathering everything that I need for "SHTF Day" (whenever that day comes)...when the House burns down. That includes clinging to my guns, just like Whites in small town America. I am realizing that I can do nothing to stop the inevitable demise of this country.... that an Empire descending from grace is just a natural thing...and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. I can do nothing to impact (not in a meaningful or significant way) the politics of this Country... especially in a Country where there is no real Democracy to speak of. Yes, my cynicism has returned….in fact, it never went anywhere. I have always been cynical and skeptical. This Country has not given me any reason to be otherwise. And it’s not a blind cynicism….it is a justified cynicism.
One positive that could come out of a Democratic defeat in November….sort of a silver lining to the dark storm cloud of a McCain victory… is that such a Democratic defeat may be what the Country needs. It wouldn’t be a completely negative experience. Perhaps this would be the spark that the Democratic Party would need to finally implode, which would be a good thing, forcing the Party to clean house from top to bottom, starting with Howard Dean. Perhaps this would cause the Party to refocus its vision, mission, and strategy for the future. The current cast of characters give me nothing to be excited about.
But those changes would only be superficial. What we really need is a complete fundamental overhaul of the entire political system in this Country. I know… not likely, but that’s the only way to restore public confidence in politics. There has to be a change in the way that the nation chooses Presidents and other elected officials. Public financing of campaigns, where all candidates are on a level playing field, and enjoy a truly impartial media, is the only fair framework for future elections. Maybe a Democratic loss could convince enough people (fed up Democrats and independents) to form a separate political Party. And I would love to see Conservatives and Moderates do the same. Both Parties should split into 2 or 3 different groups in my opinion. A true multi-party Democracy (more than two or three major Parties) is the only way that all Americans can feel that their interests are being represented. You need more than two corrupt political Parties to represent the needs and interests of a diverse group of 300 million people. No other major industrialized Democracy has that kind of Party ratio in terms of political representation. You only see that kind of ratio in dictatorships and communist Countries. Voters need choice when they go to the polls… they have had to choose between the Demon and the Devil for too long. Until there are fundamental changes to this Countries political landscape…. nothing will fundamentally change in the lives of Americans.