With Barack Obama’s rise and election to the presidency, it’s the same old corporatist story once again! In the two plus months since Obama has been president, it would appear that the Democratic-Republican party has retained firm control over all three branches of ‘our’ government! Since Obama’s election he’s shown that he’s no friend of progressives, those who are for social justice and human rights, ending the stranglehold of the military industrial complex on U.S. foreign policy, and wide-ranging substantive change in national politics and policy. In just a small sampling of Obama’s more disreputable acts (since taking over the office of the president), he tried to eliminate the advocates for single payer from the health care policy debate (a policy Obama once championed as an Illinois state legislator), he appointed the anti-Iran Israel lackey Dennis Ross (and certainly no man of peace) as a special envoy to the Middle East, and he’s embarking upon an escalation of the war in Afghanistan (proving he’s not an anti-war candidate and indeed never was, as he’s really always been against one front of the failed war on terror while supporting another front of that disastrous conflict).
Not only has Obama committed these dishonorable transgressions, but it’s also been reported that he’s admitted, to some like-minded conservative Democratic colleagues, that like them he is a New Democrat (a term associated with corporatism, a militaristic foreign policy, and support for big insurance, big pharma, the energy companies, Monsanto, Wall Street, and many other ill-intentioned groups and individuals). I’ve written before of the hollow, vapid meaning of the Obamian change slogan, but as more and more evidence mounts of this (with each passing day), the point cannot be reinforced enough! Obama had no intention of implementing a profound and socially just, substantive change agenda; he was simply referring to the same ideation of ‘change’ that other corporate ‘New’ Democrats (like Hillary Clinton, who he has of course brought into his administration), advocated during their presidential campaigns.
Progressives, having overwhelming supported Obama, and his enablers (congressional Democrats), seemingly have very few places left to turn (save perhaps the streets or permanent expatriation) now that Obama has been installed into the presidency (with their blessing). Had progressives forced Obama to bargain with them for their support, then perhaps we could be looking forward to the implementation of such progressive policies as single payer health insurance, the Employee Free Choice Act (which it looks as if Obama has left to wither), meaningful campaign finance and lobbying reform, a draw down (rather than an escalation) of the conflict in Afghanistan; you name any number of things that progressives could have bargained for with the wriggly Obama. If progressives had simply had the foresight to support a third party progressive (such as McKinney or Nader), and forced Obama to bring substantive proposals to them in order for him to gain their backing; then perhaps meaningful change could have occurred. Instead progressives seemed to have been wooed, by stump speeches, two books of memoirs, and flowery campaign rhetoric in coming around to support Obama’s decidedly unprogressive agenda. An agenda brought to us by a man who is more of a wordsmith, and an autobiographer than seemingly much else of any substance (at least anything positive), that’s at all worth mentioning.