The Obama Glow

The Nuclear Industry's Golden Child

Barack Obama, hoping to shore up major victories in the delegate rich states of Texas and Ohio early next month, is going after Hillary Clinton’s ever-dwindling base of working class voters. The Illinois senator is hoping to stimulate their passion for his campaign by proposing to stimulate the weak economy by spending $210 billion on new jobs. Obama says his government sponsored employment program would allocate $150 billion over 10 years to create 5 million jobs in environmental industries.

Sounds Keynesian enough. Obama would couple his lavish government spending with investments from the private sector to produce work for many of America’s underemployed. The number of jobs he seeks to create is significant to be sure, but the real question is in what “environmental” capacity would these so-called “green collar” jobs be created? Many critics argue that Obama’s plan doesn’t exactly create jobs, but only redistributes money from one part of the economy to another. Even so, there may be far more sinister tenets to Obama’s economic plan.

Unfortunately the Obama campaign is light on the details of his stimulus program, only referring to these government gigs as working to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources. At face value this may all sound like a noble venture — one greens and others concerned with the environment might consider getting behind. But given Obama’s track record, voters can’t be too certain his plan is all that “green”. In fact it may be just the opposite, for the senator’s ties to the nuclear industry are stronger than any other candidate in the hunt for the White House this year.

In 2006 Obama took up the cause of Illinois residents who were angry with Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant operator, for not having disclosed a leak at one of their nuclear plants in the state. Obama responded by quickly introducing a bill that would require nuclear facilities to immediately notify state and federal agencies of all leaks, large or small.

At first it seemed Obama was intent on making a change in the reporting protocol, even demonizing Exelon’s inaction in the press. But Obama could only go so far as Exelon executives, including Chairman John W. Rowe who serves as a key lobbyist for the Nuclear Energy Lobby, have long been campaign backers, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars dating back to Obama’s days in the Illinois State Legislature.

Despite his initial push to advance the legislation, Obama’s office eventually rewrote the bill, producing a version that was palatable to Exelon and the rest of the nuclear industry. “Senator Obama’s staff was sending us copies of the bill to review, we could see it weakening with each successive draft,” said Joe Cosgrove, a park district director in Will County, Illinois, where the nuclear leaks had polluted local ground water. “The teeth were just taken out of it.”

Inevitably the bill died a slow death in the Senate. And like an experienced political operative, Obama came out of the battle as a martyr for both sides of the cause. His constituents back in Illinois thought he fought a good fight while industry insiders knew the Obama machine was worth investing in.

Obama’s campaign wallet, while flush with millions from small online donations, is also bulging from $227,000 in contributions given by employees of Exelon. Two of Obama’s largest campaign fundraisers include Frank M. Clark and John W. Rogers Jr., both top Exelon officials. Even Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, has done consulting work for the company.

During a Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works hearing in 2005, Obama, who serves on the committee, asserted that since Congress was debating the negative impact of CO2 emissions “on the global ecosystem, it is reasonable — and realistic — for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration.”

Shortly thereafter, Nuclear Notes, the industry’s top trade publication, praised the senator. “Back during his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004, [Obama] said that he rejected both liberal and conservative labels in favor of ‘common sense solutions’. And when it comes to nuclear energy, it seems like the Senator is keeping an open mind.”

The rising star of the Democratic Party’s ties to the nuclear industry run deep indeed, but Obama may not only be loyal to Exelon and friends — the senator is also cozy with Big Coal.

Last year Obama pushed to get a FutureGen “clean coal” plant built in Illinois. The company is a public-private partnership that is intent on building “zero-emission” coal plants. FutureGen’s energy production is less than a zero-sum game, however, as the company doesn’t count the energy used prior to or after the coal is burned, not to mention tallying up the disastrous consequences of coal extraction.

In 2005 Obama also voted in favor of Bush’s Energy Plan which included many favors for Bush’s oil cartel connections. To top it off Obama even opposed a House bill that would have radically altered the disastrous 1872 Mining Law that continues to allow companies to mine our public lands while they skate the costs of cleaning up their environmental wreckage.

Barack Obama’s “job creation” plan may well be code for building taxpayer-sponsored nuclear and coal plants across the country. While Obama’s industry pals may profit from his shady deal, it is safe to say the environment won’t.

Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in June 2008. Check out the Red State Rebels site. Read other articles by Joshua.

20 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. COMarc said on February 22nd, 2008 at 9:09am #

    These Dems sure are slick liars. That’s a neat trick. Putting forward legislation you constituents want to try to put even a tiny little band-aid on an issue that effects their safety like only a leaking nuclear power plant can. Then slowly work to weaken the legislation. And probably all along he knew it was just going to die a slow death anyways.

    He scores a few brownie points with the constituents who see the initial announcements but then who don’t pay enough attention. And if he played it right, he wrung some more bribes\contributions from Exelon.

    I’m not sure why, but Obama causes a very bad feeling in me. I think its the combination where he sounds good, chanting ‘hope’ and ‘change’ in rythyms stolen from black preachers. Then you look a bit behind the curtain and see the corporate dollars that are flooding in to fund the show.

    But this sort of tale of what he did with this one issue of a leaking power plant has a real stench to it. It shows a manipulative, scheming politician who is quite willing to sell the health and safety of the people he’s supposed to represent down the river while all the while pretending to be their champion.

  2. Max Shields said on February 22nd, 2008 at 9:55am #

    COMarc ,
    “I’m not sure why, but Obama causes a very bad feeling in me. ”

    Maybe this will help clarify your uneasieness. Here’s a link to Samantha Powers “debate” with Jememy Schahill- Obama advisor at large – had to say on Democracy Now as she confronted Schahill.

    Ms Powers doesn’t think Bill Clinton’s interventionism and air-raids here and ther in Africa and the Middle East and in the Balkins went far enough. This is the nexus between Hillary/Obama/Neo-Cons/Bush/Cheney. She is an interventionist hawk who uses the killing of innocents (only need to look at who gets killed in today’s wars) as a simple means to her notion of humanitarian ends. Sick! And she’s been hand-picked to be Obama’s lead foreign affairs advisor. No light between Obama and Hillary.

    If we don’t get this, than we have learned absolutely nothing. The reason why Obama creates such angst among those who do get it is because he’s slicking his way with the American folks who think they want HOPE and CHANGE. There’s just no there there!

  3. COMarc said on February 22nd, 2008 at 2:20pm #

    I think its the fact that we don’t have a clue at all what we’re getting with Obama. Yeah, I can take a pretty good guess . But we just don’t know.

    But, he reminds me so much of George W. Bush and the campaign he ran in 2000. A different target audience, so a different set of images are projected. But I get exactly the same sense from Obama that I got from Bush.

    I used to listen to Bush’s speeches in 2000, and he’d talk and he’d talk and he’d talk. He throw out all sorts of pollster tested words. For his target audience, they were all about the flag and patriotism and America and freedom and so forth. But at the end of the speech, you sit and wonder ‘did the man say anything at all?’. I get exactly the same impression from Obama, except now all the pollster tested words are about hope and change.

    I’d guess we’d get a very mainline corporate Dem administration out of Obama. That carefully calculated line they walk where they are just slightly less evil than the Republicans, but still evil enough to suit their corporate backers for a few years until the Republicans can regroup and take power again. That’s what I’d guess we’ll get from Obama. But its scary that its a guess. We just don’t know.

  4. Max Shields said on February 22nd, 2008 at 2:29pm #

    I think you’re right; but I don’t know how long the ping pong (re-grouping) can go on. We’ve seen a whole lineage starting mostly with Reagan, Clinton and G.W. Bush (I think Hillary actually has the role of G. H. W. Bush after his first term) and now Obama. The narrative is a little different but it’s about a “brighter day” of one kind or another. It’s the only rhetoric the game allows (the game is of course rigged).

    The 3 Presidents I mentioned all had 2 terms to boot.

  5. COMarc said on February 22nd, 2008 at 2:36pm #

    Its Zig Brezinski that I see on Obama’s list of foreign policy advisors that scares the @#$%@# out of me.

    BTW, thanks to Joshua Frank and the others who’ve been writing about who’s advising Obama and who’s pumping money into that campaign. When you see they raised $32,000,000.00 in the 1st Qtr, its a pretty sure bet that’s not all $20 contributions from college kids. So thanks very much for all this excellent research and writing. Its the only reason I have even a little bit of a clue of what might be behind the Obama charade.

  6. COMarc said on February 22nd, 2008 at 2:53pm #

    I guess it goes on for as long as the American people keep buying it.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here (instead of causing trouble like I do on other sites 🙂 ), but what I see is two almost identical parties that every eight years provide a lot of talk about ‘change’. So far, the American people keep buying it. They buy the Clintons as change from the Reagan\Bush years, they buy Bush as change from the Clintons, and in 2006 and I think this year they’ll buy Obama and the Dems as change from Bush.

    For me, it was the Clinton years that opened my eyes. I saw the way all their populist talk in the ’92 campaign turned into NAFTA and WTO and Welfare Reform and Banking reform etc. Including the concept of ‘humanitarian war’ in Yugoslavia. I’d actually have bought into that at the very beginning of the Yugoslavian war, but watching that unfold I quickly decided that the people who teach that all war and all violence are just wrong were the ones who had it right.

    Maybe the Bush years opened some Republican eyes. Maybe this congress and the coming Obama years will open some more eyes. And I’ve got a really bad feeling we are in for some really tough times ahead as oil prices rise and we see the longterm effects of shipping our industry overseas. That always opens some eyes when people can’t just say that their family is doing ok, so why worry about the bigger picture. Its too bad I think a lot of people are going to get hurt bad along the way.

    You’d think sooner or later lots of people will realize that none of these politicians are on our side, no matter what the TV box says. Maybe that day is coming. I’d almost say it is here now, but the same people have not yet realized that the TV box won’t give them the answer. So there’s just confusion. And unfortunately, a willingness to latch on to the one bit of ‘hope’ for ‘change’ that’s offered by the TV box. Maybe Obama will be the last straw of disillusionment and they’ll realize that the answer really has to come from them creating their own politics outside of the corporate media.

    Or who knows, maybe Obama really is a secret left-wing revolutionary and maybe all the corporate Dems in Congress are going to have sudden conversions tohis cause and all will be wonderful after the next election just because the Dems got back into power. Yeah right.

  7. DavidG. said on February 22nd, 2008 at 2:59pm #

    We are watching a dangerous game going on here. The rolling of the dice may be fortunate, may be disastrous. As with Bush, we don’t know what we’re going to get.

    That’s why giving so much power to one person is so ridiculous. Bush proved it and yet, here are the America people going through the same circus again, again putting their trust in one human being.

    If a system is demonstrably broke then most sensible people fix it!

  8. rosemarie jackowski said on February 22nd, 2008 at 3:34pm #

    There is a lot of support for Obama because the average voter does not consider voting outside the dem/repub box. Comparing Obama to Hillary might make him look good by comparison.
    The dem/repub candidates need to be compared to Cynthia McKinney and Nader. McKinney was on C-span a few days ago. She was great. Nader will be on Meet the Press on Sunday, Feb 24.
    The voters have a choice, unfortunately most don’t know about it because the media has silenced information about candidates from alternative parties for a long time.

  9. Deadbeat said on February 22nd, 2008 at 6:01pm #

    Rosemarie is absolutely correct but I would not put the blame entirely on the American people. The left has to bear much of the responsibility. The left squandered a huge opportunity over the past eight years by failing to construct progressive/left institutions. Their ultimate collapse was in 2004 with the demobilization of the anti-war movement.

    Even this year while Cynthia McKinney is the future of the Greens, I fear that Nader’s run will overshadow her ability to have the Greens coalesce around her in order to build up the Green Party for the future.

    A driving force of the Obama campaign has been the blogosphere (re: Daily Kos) from where Dean emerged in 2004. Obama’s engagement with them help him to build an very effective Internet presence and help with funding his campaign. It has also permitted him to communicate with the youth and college crowd. You cannot blame the “media” when the many people active in the Obama campaign that do not depend on commercial TV and newspapers. Much of the media got it wrong while the bloggers got it right.

    I don’t see anyway possible in 2008 that the left can defeat or even persuade the “coalition” Obama has constructed. They will not even consider a left, third party, candidate. And why should they? The left hasn’t demonstrated that they can build the necessary institution and coalitions and remain consistent and steadfast on issues such as the War in Iraq.

    IMO, the Green Party, which is the most viable progressive/left force, must reconstruct themselves this year and while Ralph’s voice is needed I think if he mounts an independent campaign he’ll actually retard Cynthia McKinney’s efforts. Just take a look at the drubbing Cynthia McKinney got in the California recently.

  10. Don Hawkins said on February 22nd, 2008 at 6:47pm #

    Right now many people Worldwide are trying to keep there economy’s going and avoid a recession or worst. Today 14,000 more vehicles went on the road in China. Right now today 85 million barrels of oil is all the World can produce. Right now today the World still is using one third more resources than the Earth can reproduce. Now just for the heck of it say the economy’s avoid a recession. Believe me if that happens I don’t think it is going to work out well. Regardless recession or not we have waited to long and the World got lazy. Not imagination but just more more and as we can all see that is not working out to well now is it. To me there is only one way now to try and make it through this we must slow down until we can get it right. I think to slow down will have many side benefits. We may slow down anyway not because we are destroying the Planet but because let’s just say the free markets got a little to free or another way of putting it’s Ok to be nuts or greed is good or have and have more. Well the Earth doesn’t have more and unless we can use reason instead of instinct logic instead of this twisted form of thinking we all see now, Oh well that’s just the way it was done. There is still time but we have to go for it very very very soon. Obama do you read DV? Physicists thinkers,engineers, not policy makers or Washington insiders get the best people you can and hope like hell we get lucky.

  11. Shabnam said on February 22nd, 2008 at 10:35pm #

    I think people should be really careful about Zionist’s plan. Zionist’s plan is that to support McCain for Republican and Obama for Democrat. But in fact their real candidate is the warmonger McCain. Boston Glob is owned by NYT supports Obama for Democrats and McCain for Republicans. They think it is better to have Obama rather than Clinton against McCain since it is easier to defeat Obama. To take McCain to the white house, The New York Times has already invited William Kristol from “Commentary” who was involved in disinformation against Iraq to help the Zionist war and later war on Iran but it has not been successful for the second round of insult and that’s why they need their servant McCain to finish the job. McCain has shown interest by repeating words of Joseph Lieberman and Norman Podhoretz, to bomb Iran.
    George Bush in 2000 was elected on Muslim votes because Muslims, especially from the Middle East were fed up with 8 years of Zionist administration of Clinton. The building of illegal settlement was highest not during the Reagan or George Bush rather during the Clinton years, the most pro Zionist administration ever. Now Iranians and Arabs once again out of desperation are supporting Obama against McCain or Clinton, since there are ABSOLUTELY no options. They want to give Obama a chance, like many people including Amiri Baraka, and I say good luck because we DO NOT WANT THE ZIONIST CANDIDATE, McCain, IN THE WHITE HOUSE AT ANY PRICE.
    Any third party even Cynthia McKinney at this point is going to help the Zionist’s plan. Zionists love to have that.
    People from the Middle East and Central Asia are fed up with the American empire and the International establishment and it is necessary for them to organize and come together to build a strong force against the imperialist and Zionist to survive. They must know the dominant force, the west with the leadership of US, is there to colonize the region even further and steal their resources through partition, terrorism, wars to divide strong and big countries into small tribes such as Kosovo with 2 millions, Bloch, Kurd, Turk, Serb,….. to serve the colonial /imperial and Zionist interests and to establish more military bases in these tribes all over the world and install their war criminals as head of the states. The citizen of the Western countries do not give a damn about it because they benefit from it, otherwise they should have been alarmed by the degree of brutality and massacred of millions of people, especially Muslims, by now.

  12. Deadbeat said on February 22nd, 2008 at 11:30pm #

    I agree with Shabnam that both mainstream candidates have to bow to Zionism but so does the left. The left as we’ve seen here by several participants and authors has been promoting the “War for Oil” canard to deflect the core underlying reason for the War on Iraq. Left-wing Zionism led to the demobilization of the anti-war movement which in turn weaken any possibility to take advantage over these past eight years to build any strong party or institutional challenge to the mainstream party. 2004 was the year of the collapse.

    Now the left is in an extremely weakened position to critique Barack Obama who has energized not only the base of Democrats, especially Democrats but “independents”. Not only independents on the right but also independents on the left both groups who are against the Iraq War who see that Obama spoke out against the war in 2002.

    This year the left will appear as sour grapes, spoilers, “I told you so’s” and “out of touch” whenever they criticize Obama. I find level of angst on the left extremely ironic as the left fumbled its best opportunity to reach the American public but unfortunately couldn’t honestly confront Zionism and allowed it to split and weaken its ranks.

  13. Thomas Victor said on February 23rd, 2008 at 1:46am #

    Thanks guys, good information that helps dispel the confusion I feel about Obama. I dislike Hillary’s venality so much that

    There is very good article at Rense from Webster Tarpley regarding Obama really being a front for the Zbigniew Brzezinski faction, which hates Russia and will press on to destroy Russia even if that might cause a nuclear world war. Zbig was the brain behind the US plan to essentially CREATE the Taliban out of impoverished Pakistani youth and to infiltrate Afghanistan with them, led by Pakistani Army officers in order to destabilize the socialist Afghani government. This led, as planned, in luring the USSR into sending troops to that country. And of course now, after being the ‘withdraw from Iraq’ candidate, he startled everyone by saying he would invade Pakistan! Hmmm…

    This was about a month ago and I lost the URL though I’m sure it’s still there. Tarpley has been writing article after article attacking Obama , and now he has the most STARTLING interpretation of Obama’s plagiarism of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Tarpley’s take is that he is not stealing from Deval. No, both Deval and Barrack have been SUPPLIED WITH THE SAME PHRASES AND THEMES by the same Brzezinski faction!!

    Behind The Copied Speeches – Governor Deval Patrick Is Brzezinski’s Spare Obama By Webster G. Tarpley 02-19-2008

    Also I haven’t been following what he will do regardinf Iraq.

    Has Obama really promised to have US troops withdrawn from Iraq within a year?


  14. Thomas Victor said on February 23rd, 2008 at 1:50am #

    -completion of sentence from prior review. it should read

    “I dislike Hillary’s venality so much that I feel gleeful about her recent string of losses to Obama.”

  15. Don Hawkins said on February 23rd, 2008 at 8:06am #
    The word is getting out.

  16. Max Shields said on February 23rd, 2008 at 9:13am #

    Deadbeat, I agree with your generaly positive position on the Green Party. I also think Cynthia McKinney would be a great choice – because of the voice she gives to so many.

    I do however see things differently regarding left/right and the Green Party. The Green Party, I’m talking about its fundamental priniciples not personalities, is not a leftist party. That does not mean that people who think of themselves as progressives or socialists have not found much common ground; but the Party is formulated around communal governance and sustainable economics (not Marxism or Communist ideology). Sustainability is a broad and, like so many terms overused, and from time to time corrupted/coopted word. But it does have meaning which should not be lost in an understanding of the underpinnings of the Green Party.

    Sustainability is about economic and social justice, but it is firmly rooted in the interdependence of humans and all living things. The Green Party is about Community, not individuality; it is not about large national strategic world-view carve-ups. It is bottom up and non-linear unlike the two party – Dem/Repub – which are top-down (regardless of Obama rhetoric and others who have not made any effort to change their party before mouthing off) and linear. The Green Party is based on principles and values alien to the tenets that made the two existing parties what they are.

    This description is not about Cynthia or Ralph or Cobb, it is about a 21st Century world-view that is different than the notions of left/right, Repub/Dem. Until we are on the same page with that I really think talking about a leftist failure misses the point. Why? Because it begs the question: who are the leftist who are failing. Liberal, anti-war groups? USA Socialist Party? New SDS? New BP?

    For Cynthia, who I think is right on the mark with her positions and the strong voice she provides, it is important that the Green Party not viewed as a left wing party for disenchanted Dems. If we loose sight of what the Green Party is about, and human rights and justice is clearly part of that, and make it a voice for an ideology of yesteryear we will have lost a great opportunity to transform the empire.

    DB, I’m not sure where you’re coming from in terms of why all discussions turn on zionism . I agree with your general sentiments about zionism but to think that the world is ruled by it seems more about being a victim than empowering. Also, I like Cynthia not because she’s a woman, or because she is black or because she can be a “catalyst” for the Green Party (I really think that’s a real stretch as well). But, given your tepid treatment of Obama, I suspect (and I may be very wrong) that it is for those reasons that you see Cynthia as a leader of the Green Party. Suppose a white male Dem male, like Rocky Anderson who has a sterling record on human rights, the environment and peace had come over to the Green Party to run for Pres. Would you think he was ok, or would you just see him as a white guy trying to coopt the Green Party platform?

  17. dan e said on February 24th, 2008 at 5:34pm #

    May I quote you: “The Green Party… is not a leftist party”.

    Yes, correct. Which is why I don’t wholeheartedly support or join the GP. I am registered Green at the present time, mainly so could vote in GP primary for Cynthia McKinney, work in her campaign. But to me the Greens are Allies, not people with the same interests as myself and other poor or severely oppressed people, in US or elsewhere.

    “Left/Right”: to me these are not designations based on ideological differences. “Left” is supposed to mean “in favor of the exploited & oppressed Class Sans Property”, that is, “productive of income property”. “Right” means favoring the interests of the Property Owning Classes, first the Super Rich Big Bosses, the trillio-billionaire families; second the Millionaire minor capitalists, third the owners of just a tad of income producing property, a cpl rental units, a gas station, a pawnshop — or those who have Developed Human Capital, like PhD’s, MDs, lawyers — who have been the recipients of specialized training in various forms of Priestcraft which is itself a form of capital, a means of commanding the labor of others.

    Of course most of these soi-disant “socialist” parties only CLAIM to have the interests of the exploited & oppressed in mind. Most are really instruments of Capitalist Rule — which in the “current conjuncture” means tools of the Zionist Enterprise/ZPC.

    The Green Party, whatever its virtues, is not a party of the poor, of the racially oppressed, nor is it an Anti Zionist party. The “International Socialist Organization” (sic) sees to that.

    It did seem that there might be an opportunity to convert it, to transform it, into an Electoral Vehicle that could unite its present constituency with a constituency farther down the socio-economic ladder, that something could be created that could mobilize the millions who currently take the position “Don’t Vote: it only encourages the m-fers.”

    Alas, between Obamania & this newly upgraded stage presence Nader’s acquired (somebody give Amy Goodman contact info for that Communications coach!) the Cynthia for Pres 2008 seems to be running into some tough sledding. But I’m gonna keep on keepin on.

    Yes Nader did come off a lot better on Meet the Press today, fielding softballs from that flak Russert. Much less jerky in his delivery, less pauses in the wrong places, less blinking. So he’s hired a really good coach. But how is it that he’s on Meet The Press, & Kucinich can’t cover his airline bills? Looks supishus to me. Okay, “Assume Nada”, but I can’t help having my doubts. Looks fishy to me; am I just paranoid?

    Guess time will tell, Max. Okay, I stand ready to Coalition with you & your friends toward Strictly Defined and Mutually Agreed Objectives. I’m not going to con you that we’re bosom buddies or any of that Peace Love Whutchersine Mahatmagandy crap, but if you have an idea of sthg to do I’ll consider it, & if I say I’ll do sthg I’ll do it.



  18. Max Shields said on February 24th, 2008 at 7:39pm #


    You’re right I don’t think the GP is “in favor of the exploited & oppressed Class Sans Property”. I suspect neither do you.

    It sounds like you support Cynthia who is running for GP Presidential nomination, but you don’t think she’s chosen wisely regarding party affiliation. Are you saying that Cynthia is just using the Green Party and that she, like you, really thinks it doesn’t care squat about those who are exploited or, what I prefer to call, social and economic justice?

    I think your issue is with Cynthia.


  19. Deadbeat said on February 25th, 2008 at 12:57am #

    Nader never ceases to amaze. He was fantastic on Meet the Press and judging by the flurry of vitriolic articles has struck a nerve. He hit Obama on his two weakest issues: health care and Israel. Nader voice needs to be in the race to push single-payer and to push Palestinian rights. The liberal may be able to tolerate a push for single-payer but they are already getting bent out of shape on Nader position voicing Palestinian rights. He hit Obama hard in his shifting position on Palestinian rights.

    Nader masterfully found a space for himself in 2008. Kudos to Ralph!

  20. Doug Rogers said on March 19th, 2008 at 4:58pm #

    The criticisms of Obama seem perfectly correct. And yet I can’t help thinking that of the three candidates, one of whom will definitely be president next year, Obama offers the most opportunity for issue activists. As someone alluded to above breaking the conservative control of the Democratic party has got to be a good thing. Nothing will be more depressing than a Clinton/McCain race, which in my mind means McCain will be president.

    If we can generate enough heat around issues, i.e. single-payer health, real withdrawal, accountability for Bush/Cheney, then an Obama win cracks the door that we could push wide open. I have to think that Obama is a smarter politician than Clinton and is more likely to respond to the threat of losing the base. Also as he uses the generic idea of “change”, whether cynically or not, people are going to start to wonder what real change might be and we should be prepared to step up with concrete examples.

    Nader and McKinney should in no way be in competition with each other because the more voices agitating for solutions the better. We need a paradigm shift in this country for us to do our work (there’s certainly enough to do). Obama, judging by his words, is expecting to lead that shift. Our job is to apply pressure and he seems the most likely to respond to that pressure.

    Unless we’re just waiting for the system to collapse so that a new order can really take hold. But I don’t like that scenario because I think the collapse will be an environmental one from which there will be no recovery.