It’s a Clinton-Obama Ticket in 2008

The Handwriting is On the Wall

With a full year to go before the 2008 presidential election the handwriting is already on the wall. The Democratic nominees and probable winners in 2008 will be Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

In US presidential politics, elections are often anticlimactic. For Democratic and Republican wings of America’s permanent ruling party, the all-important selection which precedes the election isn’t about poll numbers, votes or the citizens that cast them. It’s about winning the favor of military contractors, the banking and financial sectors and Big Oil. It’s about reassuring insurance and pharmaceutical companies, cozying up to agribusiness, the cable and telecom monopolies, allaying the fears of chambers of commerce, and wooing Hollywood.

Only those who jump through these hoops merit favorable coverage in the corporate media as so-called serious candidates. For example, at a recent Democratic presidential forum, when directly asked whether they, if elected, would have US troops out of Iraq by the end of their fist term in 2013, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Dodd and Biden all admitted their intent to continue the war at least that long.

Thus certified, these serious candidates, are deemed worthy of individual and bundled campaign donations from corporate board members, wealthy investors, CEOs, their family members, lobbyists, lawyers, employees, PACs, trade groups and so on. The worthiest are those that collect the most money from these sources, and are in turn celebrated in the corporate media as hardheaded, pragmatic and realistic presidential contenders, and rise in the opinion polls.

Failure on a candidate’s part to stick to the script is severely punished. Any lack of will to reassure the military contractors, Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Money in general results in a candidate being labeled “unelectable,” through boycotts by the big money donors and the imposition of kiss-of-death news blackouts on their campaigns. Four years ago ABC News exec Ted Koppel demanded Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley-Braun withdraw from the race and pulled ABC’s coverage from their campaigns the next day, as did NBC, CNN, and the other networks. This season’s antiwar and pro health care Democrats Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich are routinely disinvited to forums, excised from coverage, omitted from public opinion polls and surveys, and their images deleted from news photos of presidential forums.

When a boycott of big campaign contributors and media censorship alone is insufficient to kill a presidential campaign whose message is threatening to those in power, the media have been known to step in more directly. For a time in 2004, presidential candidate Howard Dean’s antiwar stance enabled him to raise buckets of cash in small donations from millions of Americans opposed to the war and lead the Democratic field in the public opinion polls. Corporate media launched a torrent of baseless ridicule over an arguably doctored “scream” that cut his popular support by half in the space of two weeks.

By contrast, this year’s Democratic front runners Clinton and Obama, having properly and repeatedly kissed the rings of military contractors, big insurance, Big Oil, agribusiness and the rest, are basking in a tide of favorable media coverage.’s October 29 article “The Invisible Primary” contains a wealth of detail contrasting the relative extent and favorability of media coverage garnered by both Republican and Democratic contenders. It indicates that Barack Obama alone receives as much favorable coverage as the entire Republican field, and that the volume of positive stories about Hillary Clinton is not far behind his, and closing fast.

The race among presidential candidates for corporate campaign contributions, aptly called “the wealth primary,” shows the same results. Thomas Edsall in the October 17 Huffington Post detailed how the CEOs, lawyers, lobbyists and bundlers who represent military contractors have abandoned their long-held alliance with Republicans, and placed their bets with Hillary Clinton. According to Edsall:

The strong support for Clinton indicates that a majority of defense industry executives currently believe Clinton is a favorite to win the Democratic nomination and, in November, 2008, the general election…

The same picture is visible across a wider swath of America’s moneyed elite at, a web site devoted to tracking influence of big money in politics.

*Lobbyists of all kinds have donated nearly as much to the Clinton campaign alone as to any two Republicans combined.

*Obama and Clinton, both proponents of supposed “universal” health care plans lead all Republicans in donations from the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

*Clinton and Obama together lead the pack in donations from the securities and investment industries, their combined total of $9.1 million well ahead of the $7.9 million garnered by the top two Republican contenders.

*Obama leads all contenders in donations from the computer and internet industries, closely followed by Clinton, with either of them leading Republican contenders in donations from this sector by a wide margin.

*Commercial banks too, are bestowing their largess upon Clinton and Obama far more generously than they do on any Republican candidate.

Whether the measure is favorable coverage in the corporate media, or bundles of checks from wealthy donors, the gap between Clinton-Obama and the rest of the Democratic field is breathtaking and decisive. Before a single primary vote has been cast, the handwriting of America’s elite is truly on the wall. Clinton and Obama are the favored choices of our corporate media and ruling circles, and thus will be the Democratic ticket in 2008. And the defection of big chunks of the elite consensus from the Republican camp, the havoc and disarray sown among Republicans by eight years of Bush-Cheney, and widespread popular disgust with the Bush regime make prospects of a 2008 Republican victory remote.

Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton will be at the top of this ticket. The talk in circles close to Senator Obama as far back as 1993 has been of a career trajectory toward the office of vice president. But the way one campaigns for that office nowadays is to run for the top spot, lose and graciously accept the invitation of the winner to serve. That is the scenario we expect to see in the coming months.

Barack Obama is an invaluable asset to a Democratic ticket, much too valuable to wait in line for 2012 or 2016. He enables Democrats to take advantage of the historic black tendency to uncritically close ranks around any prominent member of the club no matter how undeserving, a relic of the Jim Crow era. Though he famously declared that “there is no Black America” at the last Democratic convention, Obama’s mere presence on the ticket locks up the African American vote, which as usual will feel it has nowhere else to go.

Just as in 2004, antiwar voters will be forced to choose between Republicans who will not apologize for the war, and Democrats who will not end it. Bush and Cheney’s generation-long “war on terror” as the prism through which to view American foreign and domestic policy is fully accepted by the Democratic contenders. Single payer health care on the French and Canadian model remain off the table. The Bush Supreme Court, and a thoroughly right wing federal judiciary stacked with lifetime appointees remain firmly in place, as do laws immunizing torturers, indemnifying telecoms who spy on Americans, and much more. Millions of homeowners are losing their homes to foreclosure, and the wealthy players who bought those securitized loans will be demanding a bailout from the next administration.

The handwriting is on the wall. It says a new day is indeed coming. But not all that new. Get ready for it.

Bruce Dixon is the managing editor of the Black Agenda Report, where this article first appeared. Read other articles by Bruce, or visit Bruce's website.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Bethany said on November 1st, 2007 at 7:49am #

    Obama has said time and time again, he will not accept an offer by Clinton to be the VP, so why do you keep printing this rubbish?

  2. Chris Crass said on November 1st, 2007 at 10:49am #

    He’s a politician; he lies. If he said, “Sure, I’ll be vice-president!”, it would undercut his support.

  3. Hue Longer said on November 1st, 2007 at 11:51am #

    great article, it makes the point fast and doesn’t let go….don’t know if Obama will vp, but in the least he will be celebrated and willfully used.

  4. Mike McNiven said on November 1st, 2007 at 5:46pm #

    BOYCOTT is a very democratic option… ,and, it is as American as apple pie!

  5. Myles Hoenig said on November 2nd, 2007 at 5:15am #

    I agree that this piece is rubbish.
    He speaks as if he were a pundit on the Sunday morning talk shows.
    He’s smart. He knows the future. We’re dumb for needing him to tell us this.
    And, what a partisan hack, to boot.

    The Democrats don’t just ‘not end the war’ they keep it going with funding from the beginning.
    The SC and the right wing federal judges are there because the Democrats allowed them to be there.
    The shredding of the Constitution is happening with approval of the DP.
    (The truth is is that they want unitary power for themselves, because they are so moral they’ll use it wisely). sic

    So many of the evils of this Bush admin started under Clinton. Extraordinary rendition and torture a Republican tactic? Egypt was Clinton’s favorite place for that for his perceived ‘terrorist’ enemies.
    Patriot Act? Written in part by John Kerry.
    Global warming? Al Gore was sent to sabotage the Kyoto agreement by taking the US industrial polluting might out of the equation.
    Invasion of Iraq? Running for VP Gore was reaming Bush 41 a second asshole for being too soft on Saddam. He/they also pushed the regime change law that gave Bush 43 ‘justification’ for the invasion. And, with Clinton’s genocidal sanctions, half a million Iraqis have died (even before Bush the Imbecile invaded Iraq with the DP’s blessings).

    I do hope though that it is Clinton/Obama. The DP deserve to lose far more than the GOP deserve not to win.

    Myles H.
    (Green Party activist in Maryland)

  6. hp said on November 2nd, 2007 at 12:01pm #

    What a joke. No one gets elected President these days, they are appointed President.
    The next Presidential appointee will be, yes, Rudy.

  7. Hue Longer said on November 2nd, 2007 at 5:11pm #

    did you read a different piece, Myles?

  8. Lloyd Rowsey said on November 3rd, 2007 at 5:58am #

    I’m with you, Hue. The truth hurts. And if the knee-jerk posters take the time to think, and then look, I suspect very strongly they’ll not find one unresearched point in this article by Bruce Dixon.