Why I Won’t Vote for Barack Obama

I would like to start by noting that although this will not be an essay about why one should vote for Ralph Nader, I am remarkably weary of liberals wagging their fingers at those unmoved by the Democratic Party and lecturing to us about who we should—nay, must—support. In typically self-righteous fashion, they want to limit our choices because they know what’s best for us (which just so happens to be better for them). These folks love to blame Nader for all the injustices that the Democrats have actively pursued or refused to prevent since 2000. They usually cite pragmatic rather than ethical factors to justify their support of the mendacious Democratic Party: electability, lesser-evilism, the necessary beginning of genuine progressivism, and so forth.

Nothing makes this class of politico so hysterical as somebody choosing to exercise the right to vote for a candidate who best represents his or her own positions. That hysteria exposes the carefully-unexamined assumption that the purpose of voting is to fortify institutional Democratic agendas. The use of pragmatism to justify this pandering is meant to suggest a political reasonableness, but it actually functions to reinforce complicity in the same centers of power these liberals claim to challenge.

These matters illustrate another reason why voting in the United States is mostly disport, a way for the unwitting enablers of imperial neoliberalism to feel like they are participating in a civic and economic system in which they are political surplus, useful only insofar as they spend and consume. Whether or not they vote, the system will continue to operate unabated, its managers welcoming voting because it convinces would-be agitators that they are actually effecting change.

Now that these qualifications are out of the way, let’s focus on what this essay will be about: why I won’t vote for Barack Obama. I hope others will likewise eschew Obama, but I welcome them to vote their conscience. Or, I welcome them to not vote at all. There are better ways to procure a right to complain.

I won’t vote for Obama because he once was promising but has morphed into an unusually charismatic but typically mediocre politician. A man once known for engaging the issue of Palestinian liberation in Chicago’s Arab American community now can be found sharing his message of Israel-love to anybody who will listen. This change of opinion intimates a lack of integrity. Obama’s supporters will argue that he is simply doing what allows him to become a viable contender for president, to which I would respond: if one wishes to keep his or her integrity intact, then that person shouldn’t seek national office as a Democrat. Obama is willingly forfeiting his integrity for his ambition. That is his choice and it isn’t my place to make the decision on his behalf. However, it is my place to decide not to vote for him based on that choice.

The primary but not exclusive impetus for my displeasure with Obama is his suddenly avid support of Israel. It is an issue that I and many of my peers in the Arab American community cannot dismiss, as do other progressive supporters of Obama. We may be accused of shortsightedness by rejecting Obama based largely on this issue, but nearly everybody privileges one or few concerns when entering into the American political arena: religion, abortion, a particular foreign policy, immigration, the economy. I cannot listen to the man smilingly discuss the continued dispossession of millions of people who have already suffered unspeakably and then endorse such treachery with a vote.

In any case, there is no need to apologize for or shy away from emphasizing Israel’s brutality. Far from being a marginal item in the life of the United States, American support for Israeli colonization has serious moral and geopolitical consequences. It, more than any other action, generates justifiable anger toward the United States in much of Europe and almost uniformly throughout the Southern Hemisphere. It extends the bloody tradition of settler colonization in the American polity and in its imagination, a state of mind that helps facilitate so many of today’s imperialist adventures. And it renders every politician who has ever lectured an Arab nation about human rights glaringly hypocritical.

Obama’s wasted potential as a candidate is exemplified by his already-legendary “Race in America” speech. Obama critiqued the topic of race in a way that would be considered tame in an Ethnic Studies department, but that was audacious by the standards of mainstream politicians. Unexamined in the chorus of praise, however, was the following statement, offered as a rebuke of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s beliefs, which Obama patronizingly dismissed as misguided despite his refusal to condemn their messenger:

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country—a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

The statement does lots of things at once. From a public image standpoint, it allowed Obama to further distance himself from accusations that he is secretly Muslim while simultaneously cozying up to his still-slightly-suspicious Zionist patrons. As rhetoric, it enabled Obama to fulfill the requisite demand that whites be made adequately comfortable, a demand that entails the condemnation of anything that might actually threaten their privilege. This injunction is de rigueur for people of color.

But I don’t want to highlight these stupid political games. I’m more interested in what the statement doesn’t do, which is to convey anything even incidentally truthful. Obama’s claim is a profound insult not only to the Palestinians who have courageously fought for their physical and cultural survival, but to anybody who values the use of evidence to express an informed opinion. In no framework other than Zionist extremism can the Israel-Palestine conflict be attributed to “radical Islam.” Even those who disagree vehemently about the history of Palestine concur that the conflict is fundamentally territorial.

The very construct of a “radical Islam,” in fact, means nothing of substance; it is a rhetorical ploy for the intellectually vacuous. Much of Palestine’s resistance, in the past and present, has been conducted by members of the Christian minority. Palestinians, far from being religious extremists, are noted for their progressive secular institutions. The first Palestinian suicide bombing, an act said to exemplify “radical Islam,” didn’t even occur until 1994. To Obama, this is apparently the point at which the Israel-Palestine conflict started.

It is utterly indecent for a person to deem himself a moral authority on tolerance while concurrently recycling an anti-Arab racism whose existence has been devastating for the Palestinians.

For these reasons, I won’t vote for Barack Obama. His liberal supporters claim that as a complete package Obama is superior to any other candidate, despite whatever flaws may exist in his platform (if flaws are even acknowledged). To me, though, his revivalist Zionism is a flaw that I cannot overlook and that liberal pragmatists should not ignore. Obama made a choice to court the AIPAC bloc, and we fail in our duty as citizens of a democracy if we do not hold him accountable for his immorality. We fail to strengthen the well-being of our own society, and we fail in our moral obligation to those who suffer the brute end of the imperialism our taxes bankroll. Obama should therefore be punished for his choice by those who stand against Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

When the liberal cognoscenti lecture Nader supporters for our obstinacy or naiveté, they are yet again performing the conceit of the privileged: they are telling us that they know our needs better than we do. (It happens right around the time they accuse Nader of egomania.) They are telling us that a commitment to Palestinians, whose dispossession the United States underwrites, is silly or unimportant. And they are telling us, without having to confront any of the consequences, to accept the permanence of Israel’s violence. We should know well enough that what they imagine to be virtuous or commonsensical is ultimately a projection of their own needs and interests.

So, consider voting for somebody other than Obama. Or consider not voting at all. It’s your choice, after all. Whatever you choose, though, just quit telling the Palestinians that their lives don’t matter.

74 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Bob said on March 27th, 2008 at 5:27am #

    We were warned over a century ago by none other than William Marcy (“Boss”) Tweed. He didn’t care who voted for whom as long as he got to do the nominating. That’s the value of your vote, anyway.

  2. Ryan said on March 27th, 2008 at 5:59am #

    Agreed. Obama’s ‘movement’ is nothing but a bad rip-off of Ralph Nader’s genuine movement in 2000. I find that the most insulting part of the whole Obama mania. In 2000, college students supporting Nader (like me) were ridiculed. Support Obama and it’s PRAISE! But we knew about issues. Ask us why we’re supporting Ralph and we didn’t say, “Oh, he brings us . . . HOPE!” We could talk about issues, reality and we were (and hopefully still are) a movement. The most disgusting thing may be seeing the likes of Amy Goodman throw away any journalism ethics to get on board the Obama train.

  3. Jon Appell said on March 27th, 2008 at 6:16am #

    Please get a grip and come to terms with the facts.
    Obama is clearly the best hope we have!
    Is he perfect, No, Is he God, No
    Is he at last a chance for some new ideas, for a glimer of hope in a otherwise dark reality that is the United States of America……
    Yes, Yes Yes, We CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please please please vote for Obama in 2008!

  4. Don Hawkins said on March 27th, 2008 at 7:18am #

    Yes it is probably true that any person in the White house can’t make that much difference. Also true is the House and Senate same thing the problem is living in a sort of fantasy land. These people don’t make hard choices in most cases they take the easy way out and why is that? In very simple terms is about money. In the business World same thing is true it is of course about money and hard choices no not so far. Someone yesterday said on TV that Europe is keeping interest rates higher because it does care about the quality of life. Then a person on the other side I guess said yes but they have to drive small cars and high taxes and what about the mob in those countries. Astounding statement don’t you think? It sure looks to me that in this country because no one seems to want to make those hard choices things are going to get a tad bit strange. 85 million barrels of oil a day that’s it well it could go to 90 million in a few years but China and India need that and what is being done in this country for this problem that is not something in the future but happening right now not much. It’s that hard choices thing. Then of course climate change that both policy makers and business would just like to go away. Well the problem with climate change is no second chance after a certain point. There is still time but again those hard choices get in the way and of course fantasy land has a little to do with it. Power and money can play funny tricks with the mind and it is an addiction probably right up there with heron. It can fool you into believing almost anything like not making hard choices to solve problems. I need some coffee.

  5. Jerry D. Rose said on March 27th, 2008 at 7:26am #

    I like very much the tone as well as the content of this article. Notice that the writer doesn’t say that you must or even that you should vote against Barak Obama, only that this is his personal intention. (It also happens to be own as well, and for reasons similar to the ones he cites.) One of the worst features of American presidential elections (in addition to the money domination thereof) is the tendency of people to “handicap” the race as if they were betting on a horse race (electability, viability, etc.) rather than using their sacred right to express their own consciences when they go into the poll booth and pull closed that curtain. We get quite enough, thank you, of buy this! screaming from our advertising media. Simple statements of why I will or won’t vote for a particular candidate or proposition really seem more effective forms of political rhetoric anyway, so let others with other political preferences make their “I will” or “I won’t” declarations and let us assess the strength/weakness of their supporting statements as we make up our individual minds. THIS is the kind of “campaigning” that would restore my faith in the electoral process.

  6. Robert said on March 27th, 2008 at 7:40am #

    2001 Beyond the visits to his Muslim relatives in Africa, Obama has little to say about Islam and Muslims until the events of 9/11. After that date, Obama begins to become more public in his support of Muslims and their cause.

    2001 Obama is protective of civil rights for Muslims in the U.S., saying, “In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging,” he laments. “I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

    2001 Obama sponsors Illinois Senate Bill 750 creating the “Halal Food Act,” providing for inspections by the Department of Agriculture to ensure that all food labeled Halal is prepared according to Islamic law. Islamization — here’s how it works and why Halal food plays a role.

    2003 Obama calls the Iraq war “a botched and ill-advised U.S. military incursion into a Muslim country.”

    2006 In August, Obama took a taxpayer-funded trip to Africa. While he was in Somalia, he was photographed in full Muslim regalia. The photo appears in the February 4th, 2008 edition of “The Examiner,” under the caption, “Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is dressed in Muslim attire while on a trip to Kenya.”

    Gateway Pundit has uncovered what is probably the original posting of the photograph at Han-Geeska Afrika Onlline.
    [Geeska Afrika caption:] U.S. Senator Barack Obama, right, is dressed as a Somali Elder by Sheikh Mahmed Hassan, left, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya, near the borders with Somalia and Ethiopia. The area is at the epicenter of a severe drought that has hit the Horn of Africa region, after erratic and insufficient rains during the April-June season.

    2007 On February 27th, Barack Hussein Obama said the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth.”

    In an interview with Nicholas Kristof, published in The New York Times, Obama recited the Muslim call to prayer, the Adhan, “with a first-class [Arabic] accent.”

    The opening lines of the Adhan (Azaan) is the Shahada:

    “Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
    Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
    I witness that there is no god but Allah
    I witness that there is no god but Allah
    I witness that Muhammad is his prophet… ”

    According to Islamic scholars, reciting the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, makes one a Muslim. This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim’s complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam.

    Obama knows this from his Quranic studies — and he knows the New York Times will publish this fact and it will be seen throughout the Islamic world. Regardless of Obama’s religion, what message is he sending the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims?

    2007 On April 8th, Obama shows his Muslim/Palestinian solidarity and sensitivity, by telling Muscatine, Illinois Democratic party activists that he supports relaxing restrictions on aid to the Palestinian people.

    He said they have suffered the most as a result of stalled peace efforts with Israel. “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.”
    2007 In an interview with the New York Times, published on April 30th, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama’s younger half sister, told the Times, “My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim. (Alternate link)

  7. hp said on March 27th, 2008 at 8:00am #

    “Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free then Christianity has made them good.”
    H. L. Mencken

  8. Myles Hoenig said on March 27th, 2008 at 8:23am #

    For all the reasons above, I would like to recommend a good look at the Green Party candidate, probably Cynthia McKinney. What we need in this country is a viable 3rd party, and more importantly, a real opposition party. Maybe this is the Greens last shot. If they don’t get 5% and matching funds for ’12 it’ll probably be all over for them.

    For all the good that Nader has done, he represents himself, a vision, and a face of opposition. But he has no party structure behind him to carry on the principles and values that he eschews.

    Until then, the left should try and consolidate its opposition to the war parties and to imperial America through an established political party.

  9. ashley said on March 27th, 2008 at 8:23am #

    Steven, thanks for yr article. Tangentially, I have tried off and on many times to get quotes of the speeches from which all these clips/extracts of Wright originate because I am on dial-up and cannot see the many U-tubes out there. I like to get to the source of various stories flying around. The only thing I could get on the ‘God Damn America’ speech was an mp3 file to which I am now am listening. So far it is a well-reasoned as well as impassioned anti-war speech under the rubric of ‘confusing god and government’.

    That said, I had missed that part of his speech – which I did read in full – because I discounted it in exactly the way you describe above, simply as something that someone has to do in order to get elected. Yes, this denotes lack of integrity but:

    However, if one has the view that there is more than a little ‘rotten in the state of ‘ our current States, that there is endemic systemic corruption etc. then it does beg the question: surely a national leader will have to come from within the body politic which itself is an expression of the body civic in which case we cannot expect an angel to emerge, without blemish, rather we will get, as we deserve collectively, one that combines a similar mix of angel and demon – or higher and lower realms if you prefer – as evidenced in society in general.

    I also have the feeling – bolstered by today’s report that General Peak, one of Obama’s insider advisers, has frequently voiced criticism of Israel vis a vis US foreign policy priorities – that he might actually function as President in a way that is less shamelessly ‘colonial’ and ‘militaristic’ along with reducing Israel’s influence in the US body politic.

    I do not know if this is true or not.

    Meanwhile, I am encouraged about Obama by listening to Wright’s speech. He is on a ‘governments lie’ rap: The G lied about Pearl Harbour, the G lied about Tomkin, the G lied about Iran Contra schemes and then pardoned all the perpetrators, the G lied about inventing the HIV virus against people of colour, the G lied about the connection with Al Q and Saddam Hussein, the G lied about WMD in Iraq being a threat to US peace, and if they don’t find them they’ll plant them… Governments LIE!!!!

    I don’t know about the HIV business but nothing would surprise me.

    Now if that man is Obama’s preacher, he can’t be all bad!

  10. Jerry D. Rose said on March 27th, 2008 at 8:45am #

    Myle Hoenig, like you I intend to give a good look at the Green Party nominee, especially if it’s Cynthia McKinney. She doesn’t need a bit of campaign massaging to make her an authentic populist, anti-war, anti-imperialism, anti-militarism. She’s those things already by her career and her character. “Good look, indeed.”

  11. Carl Davidson said on March 27th, 2008 at 8:55am #

    You don’t have to vote for him, Steven. Or even endorse him or most of his platform. I don’t, and I know where I stand in this battle, especially given the racist assaults on Obama. But if you go to the polls to vote for Nader or McKinney or whoever, which is fine, just practice some small ‘d’ democracy and bring scads of antiwar voters under the age of 40 with you. You can talk to them about their illusions along the way; they’ll still figure out what to do. Or if you want to engage the election as a nonpartisan not backing anyone, read my piece on our new blog, indicated here.

  12. reza fiyouzat said on March 27th, 2008 at 12:14pm #

    As both Paulo Freire and Frantz Fanon have explained (I’m paraphrasing), a slave who has not critiqued the slave-master relationship, will inevitably end up reproducing the same mentality as the master. Ergo, Obama.

    And before accusations of ‘racism’ are conjured by those who willfully refuse to get the point, here is the disclaimer: we the working stiff, those who are NOT capitalist owners of means of social production, are all slaves; wage slaves. Descendants of millions of abducted Africans, who were stolen from their societies and based on whose labor ALL western imperialists built their powerful empires (e.g., Spain, Britain and the U.S.), have the burden of critiquing a ‘double slavery’. So, since he has not even critiqued half of one type of slavery, beware of Obama’s opportunism!

  13. John Wilkinson said on March 27th, 2008 at 1:08pm #


    This is the 2nd Mencken quote from you that’s very poignant and true, thanks. I’m gonna find out more about this person.

  14. sdr said on March 27th, 2008 at 1:24pm #

    The idea that the US needs to move away from a two-party system is something I strongly agree with. However the way in which the writer of this article expressed his view and cited evidence regarding Obama’s views on Palestine is quite concerning. He somehow took Obama saying “conflicts in the middle east” (note the plural) to equate to precisely “the Israel/Palestine border dispute”. He ostensibly used this as the foundation of his entire case against Obama. No more of evidence was cited, apart from a vague reference that once Obama stood with Chicago’s Palestinian American community in support of Palestinian liberation. Saying that conflicts in the Middle East being fuelled by radical Islam is an issue that Wright should consider is supposed to negate his long-standing support for Palestine, to be some sort of pandering to mainstream voters in a zealous support of the Zionist state.

    The writer of this article would be far too short sighted to see that it’s possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. He could not possibly believe that the man he talks about unification of his home nation would also apply the same ideals to foreign policy involving the home land that he’s understandably very concerned about. But if anyone’s going to get away with calling Obama a hypocrite they’re going to have to cite a far better case for it that this man did.

  15. John Wilkinson said on March 27th, 2008 at 1:27pm #

    I agree with this article, too (except for the Ralph part, but at least the author is not telling me how to vote). Anyone who pledges allegiance to a foreign country — while being charged with protecting our interests, should not only lose their American citizenship but also be tried for treason. We are the ones who bear the brunt of the costs for this. This would include almost all members of Congress, and others in high places. And, BTW, losing citizenship has happened to quite a few Ameericans who have accidentally or deliberately worked for foreign governments, there are laws on the books — except when Israel was involved, then laws are ignored.

    Another point is, there’s no democracy when these people consider themselves so arrogantly above the rest of us. All 3 major candidates have day jobs, paid by us taxpayers, which they are giving short shrift (ignoring) for their ambition. The honorable thing to do would have been to resign their positions, and then run for president. Can you take off from your job for a year or more, while continuing to collect the salary and still have the job, while continuing to not do the assignments, not be present at the meetings and the like? And they vote their own salaries (paid for by us). Obviously, we have a modified monarchy here, not a democracy.

    Obviously, we are so far below them, we’re mere chattel while they are the aristocracy, busying themselves with the serious and weighty business of running the world. Us saying anything about these arrangements is like gnats landing on their heads. To be swatted away or ignored.

  16. John Wilkinson said on March 27th, 2008 at 1:31pm #

    not to say how running for president is a conflict of interest with their jobs as senators; they now vote in the Senate considering how it will look in the prez race.

  17. Deadbeat said on March 27th, 2008 at 1:40pm #

    Now this is the best article that I’ve seen making the argument against Obama. Primarily because it doesn’t lay blame for politicians having to cater to Zionism solely on Obama. It is clear that many of the critiques that I’ve read seem to do that. The argument presented by the author has to do with Obama’s conversion and betrayal of the Arab American community and constituents and the issue of his integrity.

    However ironically in order to articulate the primary reason for not supporting Obama means having an honest and unapologetically discussion about the role Zionism is playing within U.S. politics.

    The question to ask is why would an African American who attended a church preaching social justice would yield to the injustices of Zionism. Clearly it goes much deeper than what we’ve seen certain leftist writer claims it to be.

    Great article.

  18. Steven Salaita said on March 27th, 2008 at 2:00pm #

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I just wanted to drop in my two-cents and acknowledge that I indeed gave McKinney short shrift. She would make a wonderful alternative to Obama.

    I appreciate your bringing that omission to my attention–Steve

  19. Seal said on March 27th, 2008 at 2:13pm #

    All special interest groups wants their candidate to cater to them; when he/she doesn’t they become easily offended. Telling people to “Eschew” Obama b/c he doesn’t cater to your particular interest, is like the “Ditto Heads” crossing over and voting for Hillary: extreme reasoning. In the world of politics all is fair in love and war. You can either choose a “Sniper” ducking liar, or a “Neocon” who can’t tell a Sunni from a Shiite who thinks we should stay in Iraq for 100 years. Obama is the best choice out of the three. Choose your poison.

  20. Max Shields said on March 27th, 2008 at 2:17pm #

    DB, I think you’ve got a solid point. We hear a lot about the need for a national “dialog” (absurd to imagine 300 million humans dialoging) about racism a deep and troubling problem to be sure; but Zionism hasn’t even reached the level of consideration for such a “dialog”.

    Without doubt there is a stronger and stronger pull tightening between the American political agenda and Israel’s right-wing zionism; along with this nation’s imperialistic trajectory.

    Obama is simply part of that system. He went to Washington, was taken under Joe Lieberman’s wing, eagerly went about learning the ins and outs, the ropes. Connected with all sorts of lobbyists, got his share of military earmarks, has funding coming in from those sources as well as the AIPAC crowd.

    No real mystery. Which is why Steven’s article is right on the money!

  21. Don Hawkins said on March 27th, 2008 at 2:25pm #

    then it does beg the question: surely a national leader will have to come from within the body politic which itself is an expression of the body civic in which case we cannot expect an angel to emerge, without blemish, rather we will get, as we deserve collectively, one that combines a similar mix of angel and demon – or higher and lower realms if you prefer – as evidenced in society in general

    The higher or lower realms interesting concept. Say you are from a dirt poor family and you become a policy maker or a well to do family and become a policy maker I wonder how does that work in the long term. Well to do you have money and then get the power right there in fantasy land. Poor family you get the money and then the power and might fight the feeling for awhile but it is always stronger fantasy land takes hold and in most cases you don’t even know it happened. I could be wrong.

  22. Max Shields said on March 27th, 2008 at 2:38pm #

    Steve one other thing, what I really like is your use of the word “progressive”. This an important distinction, a term co-opted – as most everthing is, but which is represented by people like McKinney and Nader. In that sense, whatever Obama may have been – and he certainly learned about grass-roots organizing on the streets of Chicago, he’s long foresaken for the silver screen of POTUS. He’s moving closer to Ronnie Reagan than to Ernesto Cortes, let’s put it that way.

    But the old leftist idiom is passe. It has been dialuted by the neocons who covet themselves as Trotskyites, and who knows what quasi-Maxists anarchist, blah, blahs. We know a true progressive when we see one and the Dems don’t represent them – with the perhaps exception of Kucinich.

    Thanks again for the article.

  23. hp said on March 27th, 2008 at 3:31pm #

    John Wilkinson,
    I’m surprised you aren’t already a big fan of Mencken. Not to presume, but he’s right up your alley, judging by your posts. Be prepared to laugh. A lot.

  24. Miley said on March 27th, 2008 at 5:24pm #

    Cynthia McKinney will end the war. Ralph Nader will end the war. Barack Obama’s not ending anything and that speech about “race” was offensive to any Latino, Asian-America or especially Native American because America’s “orginial sin” was stealing the land from the Native Americans. Somehow no one’s called that out.
    It was a speech for all the reactionary White people in the country to say, “Oh, look, he’ll call out the African-Americans. He’ll stand up to them.” His remarks were offensive not inspirational.
    And anyone whose mouth didn’t drop open when he said “original sin” and didn’t go straight to the invasion and occupation that robbed Native Americans of their land isn’t much of a radical or leftist in my book.

  25. hp said on March 27th, 2008 at 5:40pm #

    The Sioux were every bit as much about expanding their ’empire’ as the Romans, the Mayans, the Incans and the Aztecs were. As the USA is. As the Chinese will be.
    The natives warred with each other and held slaves.
    Believe me, if the Crows had cluster bombs they surely would have dropped them on their mortal enemy, the Sioux.
    In fact the word Sioux is a old abbreviated Algonquin word meaning enemy.

  26. Don Hawkins said on March 27th, 2008 at 6:03pm #

    Expanding their ‘empire’ true always had the luxury of the Earth to provide good weather in most cases and resources to expand. I am very sure who wins this one unless we wise up.

  27. Jerry D. Rose said on March 27th, 2008 at 6:35pm #

    Steve (article author), thanks for the new “shrift” given to Cynthia McKinney. I’d like to request similar shrift for Mike Gravel, who is actually still running in the Democratic primary (but who would know it since he’s been “disappeared?”) and will be on the ballot in at least some of the remaining primaries. So there’s still time, albeit a short one, to support a non-imperialist Democrat before one of the two “centrists” is anointed.

  28. HR said on March 27th, 2008 at 6:49pm #

    Either McKinney or Nader is fine with me. Actually, I wish it was a McKinney-Nader pairing, with Cynthia at the top of the ticket. It’s too bad that McKinney’s Green Party has no real structure any longer, having disintegrated at the national level owing to poor management. It needs to be reorganized from the top down if it ever expects to be effective.

    I have no use whatever for either Democrat, don’t believe either, don’t hold out the least bit of hope that either will make a serious effort to implement progressive change. Both are corporatists at heart and will do their best to maintain the status quo in policy, domestic and foreign.

    I don’t buy into the scare tactics bandied about by the pseudo left as they try to convince us that this election is the most important ever, that the world will come to an end if we don’t vote for the Democrat. Seems I heard that fearmongering in 2004, and 2006. And, look what we got for a candidate in 2004: a rich-boy member of Skull and Bones who offered us another false choice, more false hope. In 2006, we gave Democrats an edge in the House, and they sold us down the river and continue to do so, as do far too many “good” Democrats in the Senate with their votes for cloture on repressive bills. And, now, once again, we hear that the world will end unless we put our X next to the name of the Democrat in November. Our response is to waste energy deciding which of the identical Democrats would be “best”, when, in fact, the future will be as bleak with either as it will be with McCain … who at least is slightly more honest about his warmongering imperialistic intentions. Save the fearmongering for others.

    I honestly would like to see the slightly-left-of-far-right Democratic wing of the corporatist party lose in November. It would be appropriate, if overdue, for the vile ghost of that “party” to pass from the scene, permanently, on the 40th anniversary its death. Then, we would have the potential to construct an honest-to-goodness two-party system, since two seems to be as far as USans can count when it comes to politics.

    A huge loss for Democrats in November does not have to mean a loss for us common folks, though. If you will discard the conventional wisdom which states (brainwashing) that independents and third parties can’t win – just throw that garbage in the trash where it belongs – and vote for your own self interest, you can help set this country on the right track, for the first time in its history. If not, well, you’ll only have yourselves to blame …

  29. dan e said on March 27th, 2008 at 7:31pm #

    But what ezackly is a “Maxist”? One of Dr Shields’ disciples?

  30. Max Shields said on March 27th, 2008 at 8:11pm #

    dan e what an incredible and sagacious catch there lad!

    What’s a dan e anyway? He be a think’n wo/man? hard to tell by what he say and how he say it. Cynthia must be sooooooooo pleased to know you behind her. But he soooooo well read he can’t remember half of it and that which he does, don’t much matter nun.

    How’s that daneeeeeeee boy. Oh daneeeeee boy, his Irish i is smiling….ooooo dan e boy…..

  31. Al said on March 27th, 2008 at 8:40pm #

    Obama is pro israel? So are Hillary & McCain.

    No American can become President without kissing the terrorist nation of israel’s ass.

    Blame the system, not the man.

    BTW, I am not an Obama supporter.

  32. Joseph C. Stockett said on March 27th, 2008 at 9:44pm #

    Since I registered as a Democrat and this is only a primary election I have no problem with voting for Barack Obama in spite of his recent endorsement of Israeli aggression. Israel’s refusal to negotiate in good faith doesn’t seem to be the issue with him that it is with me.

    Lets face it. Barack Obama is not going to hype up the malicious propaganda against Iran and Syria. That could buy us some time.. It only takes ten minutes to vote. That’s less time than you spend taking a shit. It would be better all the way around if it is Obama rather than AIPAC sucking Clinton.

  33. Bill said on March 28th, 2008 at 6:21am #

    Obama is a fraud.

    He is politics as usual.

    He will sell out his soul for his corporate, paramilitary handlers.

    He says he will get out of Iraq but promises to leave 60,000 troops behind to protect the embassy, military bases and contractors (contractors?) they he plans to leave behind.

    So as not to appear soft, he says he send troops into Pakistan (with or without their consent) to hunt for Osama. Hello war — perhaps of the nuclear kind.

    He originally opposed the death penalty but changed is mind when running for the United States Senate. Obviously a few people being killed is nothing compared to his political ambition.

    He panders to the insurance companies when designing a health care plan.

    He has deserted his minister throwing him to the wolves after Fox News telecast out of context remarks. The rest of the news media — and Obama — piled on. Even Hillary Clinton’s pastor says Rev. Wright is a good man and should not be judged by these out of context remarks.

    See for yourself. Here’s the Rev. Jeremiah Wright sermon right after September 11 when he talks about Malcolm X saying “America’s chickens are coming home to roast.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOdlnzkeoyQ

    Here’s the full context of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “God Damn America” comment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvMbeVQj6Lw

    Now the media is trying to further crucify Rev. Wright for saying the crisis in the Middle East is being driven by the Palestinian – Israel conflict. Unless it is resolved, there will be perpetual war. Our unilateral support of Israel’s fascist policies is the major cause of our being hated. Even most American Jews oppose such policies but anyone who speaks out is all anti-Jewish.

    Obama is a coward unfit to hold public office. McCain-Clinton-Obama aren’t worth considering. Voting for something you don’t believe in is throwing your vote away.

  34. Alex said on March 28th, 2008 at 7:00am #

    My 2 cents:

    HELP WANTED in Gaza: Grave diggers needed.

    The “Sharon Doctrine,” as its called, also reflected the views National Security Adviser, General Uzi Dayan, and Mossad head, Ephraim Halevy stated in December 2001. They called 9/11 a “Hannukkah miracle” because it gave Israel a chance to marginalize and confront its enemies. Henceforth, all “Islamic terror” elements could be grouped together as threats to the region’s rulers, thus conflating real security threats to Israel with non-existant security threats to the USA. Confronting it was crucial, so after Afghanistan Iraq, Iran and Syria were next “as soon as possible.” It was Dick Cheney’s vision of permanent “war that won’t end in our lifetimes.” Remember now, that war is historically the absolute most profitable business.

  35. George Chell said on March 28th, 2008 at 9:29am #

    John McCain will become President and hence whether you vote for Obama or not becomes a moot point. This country wont vote for a black or female President.

  36. Hatuxka said on March 28th, 2008 at 10:38am #

    That he ever tacitly countenanced any sympathy for the Palestinians (while never using his powerful communication skills for actively helping them) or for Islam and that he never rebuked Mr. Wright is basically seen as his best points by some and reason even for many here to vote for him. But since then hasn’t he gone out of his way to cater to the Zionist lobby? There is a hint of some past good will, but real evidence that his course will now permanently bend toward accommodation of Zionism. Obama represents most clearly the question of what good does it do to support liberal causes if you support a “war on terrorism” ( i.e. blank-check support for Israel) whereby any real progress will surely be undone or negated by the consequences of that endless war.

  37. Shabnam said on March 28th, 2008 at 12:33pm #

    Thank you Steve for this paper to show your frustration and anger, rightly, at Obama whom you had trusted when he said: “No one has suffered more than the Palestinians,” He and his wife attended an Arab community event in Chicago in May 1998 and sat at the same table with Late Edward Said and his wife. As far as I know, none of the other candidates ever said such a thing including Paul Ron and John Edwards. John Edwards who was supported by RALPH NADER as president, not only voted for the Iraq war but he also attended the AIPAC and gave speeches as flattery as Obama and Clinton if not more. He read AIPAC’s text word by word on the question of Palestinian and Iranian. He repeated AIPAC rubbish and said:
    “ISRAEL NOT A THREAT TO WORLD PEACE” against world’s opinion. He repeatedly threatens Iran with his nonsense:
    ” Edwards: Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons. For years, the US hasn’t done enough to deal with what I have seen as a threat from Iran…..To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL opti on the table. Let me reiterate — ALL options must remain on the table.”
    Edwards praised the butcher of the Palestinians, Ariel Sharon at the Herzliya Conference:
    “Edward’s continued to express great appreciation for Israeli people and the special bond between the two countries, saying it was “a bond that will never be broken.” Sure, Ariel Sharon is the greatest – he’ll always have a place in our hearts world’s opinion. He repeatedly threatens Iran with his nonsense:
    “Iran is serious about its threats,” former US Senator John Edwards has told an audience in Israel.”
    Yet, Edwards could not gain the trust of the corrupt system. A system which is thieved on killing, robbing, raping, torturing and use of terrors with the support of the majorities of its population either actively or passively by their silence, and a reservoir of weapon of mass
    destruction built with tax money to kill millions and millions of people around the world to expand its influence. Apparently, it is the citizens who are comfortable enough not even to shake their behind to engage in act of civil disobedience to stop the killing, because they have to watch American Idol or shopping at the mall or are doing breast augmentation to support the consumerism culture.
    What do you expect from this system whose population is inactive and the left has not done a damn thing to bring the system down. Where is the challenges of the people who are comfortable with the culture of violence, militarism and consumption. Barak Obama is the product of this culture that no one is willing to change. You, Mr. Salaita, have taken Obama’s Betrayal too seriously. This is not like older civilization which takes Betrayal seriously. This is American culture where EVERYTHING IS ON THE TABLE TO FUND HIS/HER AMBITION including morals.
    Obama at least has shown some sympathy for the brutalized Palestinian by the apartheid state of Israel and her supporters the US and the WEST. He has, at least, implied is willing to engage Iran and Syria. The system has hit so low that even some of the oppositions and progressive sites have viewed his speech on race, one step in the right direction:
    “Sen. Barak Obama has injected this critical discussion into the national discourse as a means of tackling the problems of inferior schools, health care, jobs and economic opportunities for all races.”
    The system which is supported by Americans is corrupt and the population is not willing to change the nature of the terrorist state of the United State because the rest of the population of the world is not united to stand firmly against this corrupt empire. Americans are either not willing or not able to say enough is enough because they BENEFIT FROM THE CORRUPTION.
    I think it is very important to defeat McCain, the war monger, and the Zionist candidate at any cost. There are no options. Neither Nader nor McKinney can secure enough votes to defeat McCain. It is only for 4 years. If you are serious you must start now and challenge the system by an active and regular participation in large numbers, millions and millions which requires leaving your comfortable chair and shaking your behind and demand the US get out of Iraq and the M.E. I have serious doubts. That’s why I think the people of the middle east and the central asia must be united and work together to be able to stand firmly against a corrupt empire and their supporters.

  38. Micah Pyre said on March 28th, 2008 at 12:48pm #

    The simple truth is that Barack Obama will not change anything. He is not the “best hope” for anything but a continuation of the Bush-Cheney Agenda.

    To those commenters who truly believe Obama will change things, I suggest you examine his financial backers, his voting record in the US Senate, and his advisors regarding foreign policy. When you examine those 3 things you will see that Mr Obama supports the Bush-Cheney Agenda.

    Some people believe that you must play along with Bush-Cheney in order to get access to the White House. These people are doing nothing but repeating what they’ve heard from others. Nobody who understands politics at the Federal level in America would believe that behaving as a Republican supporter of Bush-Cheney is the way to repair the damages wrought by Mr Bush and Mr Cheney. It is absurd to think that by doing exactly what Bush & Cheney want, we can fix the problems they have caused. It defies logic! It defies sensibility! And it defies the truth of human nature in the American political system.

    Voting for the lesser evil is never a good idea. Any way you slice it, you still vote for evil. Mr Obama is the agenda of Bush-Cheney, with the rhetoric and face of “change.” The type of “change” that Mr Obama will deliver is the same sort of “change” that is provided by the grifter in a short confidence scam. This is a short con Mr Obama and his supporters are working. Don’t be caught in the confidence scam. There is no bunko squad to help you out.

    Those who support Mr Obama, or make posts on his defense, because they are paid to do so, or are voluntary “blog police,” well — I do not expect them to take this post laying down. They will attack me with vituperation, or with obfuscation, or perhaps with both.

    Examine Mr Obama’s financial supporters.

    Examine Mr Obama’s advisors.

    Examine Mr Obama’s voting record in the US Senate.

  39. Diane Oraif said on March 28th, 2008 at 2:08pm #

    My comments are indented. I disagree with this article on several points made, and agree with a few, but I will comment on only the main ones.

    >>>>Whether or not they vote, the system will continue to operate unabated, its managers welcoming voting because it convinces would-be agitators that they are actually effecting change.<<<>>>A man once known for engaging the issue of Palestinian liberation in Chicago’s Arab American community now can be found sharing his message of Israel-love to anybody who will listen. This change of opinion intimates a lack of integrity. Obama’s supporters will argue that he is simply doing what allows him to become a viable contender for president, to which I would respond: if one wishes to keep his or her integrity intact, then that person shouldn’t seek national office as a Democrat. Obama is willingly forfeiting his integrity for his ambition. That is his choice and it isn’t my place to make the decision on his behalf. However, it is my place to decide not to vote for him based on that choice.<<<>>> So, consider voting for somebody other than Obama. Or consider not voting at all. It’s your choice, after all. Whatever you choose, though, just quit telling the Palestinians that their lives don’t matter.<<<
    A HILLARY SUPPORTER or a McCain supporter would be delighted at this comment. But be aware that if you cast your support for either of them, you will be getting Zionism on Steroids. There is a vast difference between Obama’s reluctant acceptance of Zionist money, and the wholehearted support from both Hillary & McCain. While Ms. Clinton was in Rose Law firm, two of her partners had ties to Israel: Jonathan Pollard was arrested and sentenced to life in 1986 for espionage; and Vince Foster was under CIA scrutiny for the exact same crime when he committed suicide in 1993. And if you have any doubt whether McCain is pro-Israel, condider would Obama even attend a rally of Christian Zionists, let alone be keynote speaker for Christians United for Isreal? http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/News/Speeches/df96a751-be4f-4275-8d28-2c38ad036983.htm

    A quote from Politico.com: “Obama is regularly rated the “worst for Israel” of leading American presidential candidates by a panel assembled by the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz.” Yes, it does upset me that Obama was one of the 90 sponsors gained by AIPAC’s intensive lobbying to sponsor the Palestinian Antiterrorism act of 2006. But Hillary Clinton’s and John McCain’s name are among the 90 on the list, also. But of the three, only Obama has seriously urged some compassion in the Middle East.

  40. joe in oklahoma said on March 28th, 2008 at 5:39pm #

    so, i guess those of you who will NOT vote for Obama if he is the nominee are prepared to live with a Supreme Court that will definitely take away abortion rights, privacy rights, and due process, because if McCain wins that is what will happen. that is what you will be voting FOR, whether you like it or not.

  41. hp said on March 28th, 2008 at 9:08pm #

    joe, two out of three of those are already gone.

  42. ashley said on March 28th, 2008 at 11:32pm #

    This last set of comments are very revealing and go back to what I mentioned earlier about having to deal with essentially tainted situations. That is why politicians are universally despised in nearly every culture throughout history!!

    Now, if you want a purist, clearly someone like Nader is the choice. I think he is a superlative human being and would make – in a different US – a superlative president.

    But he is also insincere, I think, because if he were truly interested in changing the situation he would spend more time after the election years building a viable third-party organization. He pops in for the election years to help influence things but he is not seriously running for President and his influence dies as soon as the election is over. So here we see that even a ‘pure’ person like Nader is in fact not pure at all because he is swimming in the scummy, fetid, turgid waters of the hyper-secular US political process.

    I appreciate many of the highly critical remarks about Obama on this thread and agree with many of them. However, I still think he might turn out to be about the best one could possibly hope for and then some. Yes, he is cunning, conniving, slippery, oily, two-faced and all the rest of it, but also yes he is charming, elegant, eloquent, intelligent and for me the kicker is that he taught constitutional law for several years. And precisely BECAUSE he is a conniving, cunning street-smart political S.O.B., that is why he MIGHT end up being far more progressive than some people here are giving him credit for. Because if he ran as a ‘pure’ progressive, he is smart enough to know that he wouldn’t get anywhere.

    To my astonishment, I am beginning to feel like he might be the real deal, or as real as can be expected today in practical terms.

    And regarding Israel: if he gets in, I expect to see a hugely different foreign policy approach especially in regards to a) dealing directly with Islamic regimes and populations (not the same) and b) maintaining a firmly Christian approach viz a viz Israel per se along the lines of : either you want peace or you are just blathering, which is it? If you want peace, I’ll deliver it. If you want endless occupation and genocide, this won’t be covered over any more, at least not by my administration. I’m not holding my breath, but it is a far more feasible possibility with this chap than with anyone else that has come along in decades.

  43. hp said on March 29th, 2008 at 8:44am #

    If Obama gets in and deviates from a 100% all Israel all the time policy, I can easily imagine him falling out of a window.

  44. AA said on March 29th, 2008 at 3:51pm #

    As an Arab-American, I’ve felt the same way about Obama. I remember when he was ridiculed for proclaiming that the US should be “neutral” in the peace process. Today, he has obviously tried to be as bias toward Israel as possible, and it truly has left me disappointed. At the same time, we must realize that he’s the best we’ve got to help resolve the conflict in the Middle East (unfortunately, Nader is not a viable competitor). If Obama has to lie to get elected so that he can help resolve the issue, then he’s definitely compromising his integrity for the time being, but that he also realizes it’s the only way he can achieve ultimate goal of peace. Thus, I will reserve judgment on him based on what he does once he is in office, and not what he says on the campaign trail. Look at the other options — we have McCain, who might be more pro-Israel than Bush, and we have Clinton who interrupted Obama during the debate to proclaim her dedication to Israel. I don’t want a President who is Pro-Palestinian just like others should not want a President who is Pro-Israel — what we need is a President who is neutral and fair to both sides. That’s the only way it’s going to work.

  45. Micah Pyre said on March 29th, 2008 at 7:24pm #

    ashley, with all due respect, you are naive. you think “lesser evil” and “compromise” are the way to effect change.

    You need to make a better argument than the one you offered at 11:32 PM yesterday. You’re basically asking people to vote for Obama because, well, at least he’s not John McCain.

    Ashley, he IS John McCain. That’s the point. That’s the point you choose to ignore, to pretend isn’t there.

    Barack Obama is different from John McCain ONLY in that he is a different human being. When it comes to choices that will change America from its present course, there is no meaningful difference between Barack Obama and John McCain.

    Have you ever considered the fact that our electoral system is a fraud? That your “vote” is irrelevant?

    It is, Ashley.

    You need to study the Electoral College system.

    And you need to research how the system of voting at levels below the electoral college is tainted almost irretrievably. Voters are harassed and intimidated at the polls. Real people’s votes are “lost” — and long-dead people are found to have voted. And campaigns turn on money — not on issues, not on factual debate, not on policy analysis — money, “personality” and empty rhetoric like that offered by Barack Obama.

    I really, truly wish people would try informing themselves more fully on what is going on in America. Anyone who believes Barack Obama can be helpful in any way — well, that person doesn’t know what is going on in America. That person is misinformed, or deluded, or simply not looking.

    It’s possible to fix things. But not through Obama. Not by staying within the Republican/Democrat false binary.

    Those who claim Obama is a good “first step” — I challenge each of you to explain how the “progress” unfolds from the “first step” of electing Obama as President. I doubt any of you can offer any sensible explanation on that point.

  46. Jerry D. Rose said on March 30th, 2008 at 9:41am #

    Micah Pyre, I totally agree with you on this one. I’m making it my own mission in this campaign season to do exactly what is recommended for assessing Obama: study his (a) financial supporters; (b) policy advisors; and (c) Senate voting record. And I plan to do the same for Hillary Clinton to see whether she is not, as MP just said, another John McCain in all respects save she is another human being. If the results are what I expect, I’d like this research to stand as powerful evidence that, if we believe in a 2 party system, we must put every bit of our energy and effort into developing a “second party” to contest the one party that I call the Corporacratic one that embraces both of the parties that others call Republican and Democratic.

  47. Rich Griffin said on March 30th, 2008 at 4:43pm #

    I have been puzzled by this love affair so many are having with Barack Obama. In addition to all of the many good points I’ve read in these posts I would also say how sad it is that many in the anti-war movement are embracing Obama’s candidacy for the reasons that have allready been noted in earlier posts; but also something else I have found in reading his words and listening to him: his lack of passion, his lack of excitement about much of anything at all. Perhaps there will be a brokered convention, but even then it’s unlikely the Democrats would choose one of their few progressives.

    I’m trying to decide between voting for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney – it’s interesting to have TWO terrific candidates to vote for this year!

  48. Wendy said on March 30th, 2008 at 6:29pm #

    I am glad there are some thinking people left in this country. I will NOT be voting for Obama OR Clinton. And this comes from a person that grew up in a family of self proclaimed “yellow dog democrats”. I have always voted dem straight ticket, but this year, I’ve had it. I’m voting for Nader.

  49. Micah Pyre said on March 30th, 2008 at 7:29pm #

    Jerry D Rose —

    Amen, brother. That is what I am asking — to see things independently, to investigate FOR ONE’S SELF what this Barack Obama character is all about.

    And when you investigate him — don’t just look at what the New York Times or Mother Jones or NPR or PBS has to say. Don’t just examine the Obama campaign rhetoric. Don’t just default to his accusers, either. Don’t blindly follow what John McCain or Hillary Clinton says about him.

    Find out his background ON YOUR OWN with your own standards of what is objective. But when you do so, really be objective. Recognize that Barack Obama has lots of rich people and businesses supporting him, and that these people and businesses will slant things to favor him.

    Recognize that John McCain and Hillary Clinton will exaggerate his bad points.

    But most of all — look at what Barack Obama is about.

    You will see that he is a Bush-Cheney Agenda supporter.

  50. James said on March 30th, 2008 at 8:29pm #

    Obama gave a great speech. You are wrong on that Steve. The philosophy and skill to inspire is important in a leader as well.

  51. Jerry D. Rose said on March 31st, 2008 at 2:25am #

    Micah, thanks for the marching orders! I’ll do my best (as I hope others will) using some investigative skills honed over many years of attempting just such “objective” research on the JFK assassination; another field that has been filled with “opinionated” people whose opinions were not always backed by dispassionate views of the facts.

  52. Micah Pyre said on March 31st, 2008 at 9:02am #

    James @ 3/30/08, 8:29 pm —

    Obama’s “great speeches” are nothing but political gamesmanship. “Great speeches” do not change things. Especially when they promise to follow the world of Poppy Bush and Ronald Reagan.

    Here’s Obama —

    “The truth is that my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional bipartisan realistic policy of George Bush’s father, of John F. Kennedy, of, in some ways, Ronald Reagan….”


    Yeah, he tosses JFK in there to try to get the deluded to see JFK’s policies as identical to Reagan’s or Poppy Bush’s policies. Any astute student of history knows that’s a lie — JFK was against interventionism, against militarism, and against every aspect of the types of policies used by Reagan and Poppy Bush.

    Back to the drawing board — Obama follows Zbigniew Brzezinski, who follows Dubya Bush and Dick Cheney.

    “Great speeches” that don’t result in changed policies aren’t leadership. They are continuation of the status quo ante. Leaders lead, they don’t make excuses for what amounts to doing nothing.

    Obama is a fraud, and nobody should be duped by his fraudulent behavior.

  53. marcela lopez said on March 31st, 2008 at 1:20pm #

    Democrats? Republicans? All they will continue USA imperialism and wars. The truth is none of those candidates will make substancial changes.
    USA is hopeless for now. Nobody worthy.
    The whole system has to be change, i dont know when will be, but i hope for a beginning one of these days.

  54. ashley said on April 1st, 2008 at 4:31pm #

    micah: I appreciate your lecture and I might very well be naive as you say, but your assumptions about what I know or suspect viz. the current US political scene are way off the mark.

    The thrust of my remarks was slanted to appreciating the unfortunate reality that, because the underlying system is corrupt, a ‘pure’ movement or candidacy doesn’t have a chance practically speaking. This was not a moral position rather a pragmatic observation.

    Obama keeps giving little hints that he operates from outside most normal assumptions. He also consistently delivers the message that he wants to change the conceptual paradigm.

    Yes, he is beholden to a certain extent to the military-industrial-congressional complex that has been essentially ruling the US national dynamic since the Civil War. But again, no candidate can even get to being taken seriously by the establishment – which controls so many of the behind-the-scenes levers – unless they become part of that establishment. He is not running as a revolutionary, rather a paradigm-shifter.

    I am encouraged by the tone of his speeches and moreover the tone of the content, which is reasonable and again, tends to leap above the immediate entanglements to suggest a broader vision to be applied.

    These are dynamics he can only hint at in general terms. On specifics, he is a central-left typical Democrat but now of the post-Clinton era. For example, he is pro private-sector health care. I, for example, think anything other than a single payer system which works great in most developed countries is a form of pandering to corporate interests and that’s exactly how I view both his and Hillary’s plans. Copouts, basically. On the other hand, nobody could get in to pass single payer health care so it’s irrelevant as an issue. Not going to happen.

    Anyway, I repeat what I said above, namely that I am beginning to think that he is just sneaky and devious enough to perhaps be far more progressive than people can right now envisage because he is in the thick of becoming more esconced within the establishment as part of winning a campaign.

    As far as checking, we all have our own methods. I prefer listening to first-hand sources, i.e. the candidate him or herself. In the case of the Reverend Wright flap, for example, I just listened to the man’s sermons – those I could find suitable for a dialup user. The one I heard about ‘god damn america’ was very good, even though I am no Christian and find the way they preach overly emotive and weird. But the points he made were solid. How many preachers have the guts to point out that Pearl Harbour was a phony pretext and suchlike. Although Obama is now denouncing him – which I think is a mistake – the fact that he was listening to someone like that is, I think, a very positive sign no matter how much furore is generated in the mainstream cultural gutter.

  55. Joseph C. Stockett said on April 1st, 2008 at 6:51pm #

    I have read the extensive comments in this thread and have appreciated each of them. The consensus seems to be that it is the entire political system that is fundamentally flawed, corrupted, and incapable of performing in a truly democratic method.
    That being said, it is now more difficult for me to vote for Obama because the weight of your comments has dissuaded me from casting my approval on a system that is so degenerate that it is an outrage against myself to vote.
    After being excited about voting for Obama (see previous comment) I am now thinking I will forget the whole process, get some good weed and stayed stoned on election day. Thanks everybody!

  56. ashley said on April 2nd, 2008 at 4:42pm #

    Joseph. For an interesting read on the Israel issue an article today holds out some hope that the next US Pres, and in particular Obama, might be able to help change things a little for the better.


  57. Lia said on April 4th, 2008 at 7:52am #

    So he’s playing the political game, what’s new? Obama has been playing and promising everyone left and right, but that doesn’t mean anything. He’s just playing the game to get elected. As to what Obama really believes or what he will do nobody knows. Lets elect him president and see what he does. What is the danger in that?

  58. Neil Tall-Eagle said on April 13th, 2008 at 2:58pm #

    …remarkably weary? …nay? I’ll not waste my time debating this person, since several previous comments have done excellent jobs of explaining his folly………

  59. Joseph C. Stockett said on April 16th, 2008 at 9:48pm #

    Whatever is damaging to Israel I support. Whoever will cut off funds for Israel I support. Policies that make the Jewish Racist Terror Hate State strong I oppose. Polices that discredit Israel I endorse. Proposals to deport American Jews to Kenya or Nigeria I support. Jewish property should be expropriated and given to new immigrants from Latin America.
    Jewish Synagogues should be closed and the property confiscated. Jewish religious practices should be banned, i.e. forbidden. Jews are the source of our problems with the Arab world. Make friends with the Arabs and get rid of the Jews. Then America will prosper. Elect Obama President. Why?..the Jews hate him because they know he will not take their racist Jewish drivel.

  60. John said on May 4th, 2008 at 8:08pm #

    The first four paragraphs of this are a textbook example of a strawman argument. Driving on.

  61. Susan M said on June 3rd, 2008 at 6:53pm #

    There has been an enormous amount of sexism in this campaign on the part of the media, including the mainstream media. We’ll leave present company excepted, because I think that’s true. But there have been major networks that have featured numerous outrageous comments that if the words were reversed and they were about race, the people would have been fired.

    So that’s a big issue. And there are a lot of women in this country who — there’s two issues here. One is one candidate is ahead and one is not. That happens all the time in primaries, and you get over that. What you don’t get over is deep wounds that have been inflicted on somebody because they happen to be a woman running for president of the United States.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Does Barack Obama get over it by choosing Sen. Clinton as a running mate?

    DEAN: We don’t know. But I do believe that the issue of sexism in this country has to be addressed.

  62. noracist said on June 11th, 2008 at 8:05am #

    Obama is promising us things he doesn’t have, or can’t control. He sounds so ridiculous talking, that many people are turning off the TV saying, “You got to be kidding”.
    Obama turned election campaign in a comedy. The day of voting I have two options.
    Vote for John McCain, or
    Go Fishing.

  63. SHAN said on June 14th, 2008 at 7:22pm #


  64. Leah said on June 16th, 2008 at 12:40pm #

    I will be out fishing on election day in November.

    I wont vote for Obama either. Too many promises – not enough substance.

    I am also no longer a Democrat -The DNC favoritism of Obama left me no choice but to leave the party.

  65. jane said on June 27th, 2008 at 9:36am #

    What you will like to see if Obama wins to be president. WATCH THE VIDEO.


  66. Tom Frome said on June 30th, 2008 at 12:52pm #

    A vote for Nader is a vote for a single man. If he doesn’t win (which he won’t), your vote will have been wasted.

    A vote for McKinney is a vote for the Green Party, the best chance this country has at a genuine third party. Even if McKinney doesn’t win (she won’t), your vote will have been well spent.

  67. Chris said on August 25th, 2008 at 10:51pm #

    Obama seems like a nice man. He dresses well and is a good speaker. None of which qualifies him to be our President. Suggest you try again in a few years, Senator.

    He’s Not Ready Yet – http://www.cafepress.com/obama2020

  68. william of tigersoft said on August 27th, 2008 at 4:05pm #

    Hey, I went on Freedom rides in the 1960s. I wanted Obama to
    fit my image of a principled progressive. He is not. He is an opportunist.

    I am so disappointed in Obama. He has moved back to the right
    without any need. He could have stood proud as a progressive.
    But he has chosen to get along with the dominant forces. His
    support of McCain and Bush’s position regarding Georgia shows he is
    both uninformed and colpletely tied in with the same military
    industrial complex that has brought us Iraq, nearly
    a trillion dollar/ year expenditure on the military and on intellegence
    agencies. WHat a waste! We’can’t afford to be spending 3/4 of what
    the whole world spends.

    Of course, Obama has caved into the Israel lobby. America will
    be sucked into more wars there, to support right wing racists
    who now drive Israel.

    As his knowledge of finance and economics is pathetic. He is
    so unsure of what he is saying, supporting the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The taxpayer will keep subsidizing the rich under

    His pick of the superficial and glib Biden is terrible. Biden voted for
    the Iraq war and has given Bush all he wanted. He is in the
    pocket of credit card companies. Health care is not a right to him.

    Obama will not bring universal health care to America.

    Sadly, things must get worse, before Americans wake up and stop voting for right wing Democrats.

    McCain is right about one thing. Obama seems ready to do anything to get elected. What disappointment.

    I write about these things on my blog. Google tigersoft” and “obama” or “McCain” or “Iraq war” or “homelessness”. I have a unique vantage point, because of my financial background. Worth looking at.

    No OBAMA BOUNCE. What a disappointment he is!

  69. Chris said on September 3rd, 2008 at 2:27pm #

    I do find it disappointing that Americans are so anti-Islam, even though most Americans probably don’t know who Gaza belongs to. I really wish that people would try to learn about what really happens in world and what had happened in the past, but if there is anything that I know it’s that 90 percent of the people in the world are idiots. I don’t mean that the people in underprivileged areas need better education; I mean that they would be stupid even if they had it, because of something called indifference. People just don’t care about other people or even about things that actually effect them, especially politics, because learning is difficult and people are lazy and dumb. I have little to no faith in humanity, but even at that I am an Obama supporter, because I believe Clinton got it right when she called him an elitist, I think he is a rarity among politicians who are also typically idiots, because he knows what is good for America. Don’t think I’m a hyped up Obama maniac, I’m from Indiana. Here Regan comes before God. I have no solid proof of that, but I’m sure it’s close. The truth is that Obama is imperfect, but is not indifferent, lazy, or incompetent.

  70. jeanie said on October 6th, 2008 at 1:39pm #

    Obama is not going to win this election. May I suggest that Hollywood line up on their various theorpy couches because they are going to need it.

    Polls in this particular election mean notning, just wait and see.

    Oh and Kerry, that’s another whose kidding who story – the switf boats was about a man who deserted his men, as only Kerry would do. As for changing his mind – first its nice to have a mind to change.

  71. Donna said on October 27th, 2008 at 2:52am #

    Barrack H. Obama is a consummate politician. And a lawyer. He will say ANYTHING to get elected. That is ALL he cares about. His ego is, well, over-inflated given his actual accomplishments to date. I mean, come on – “Obama One”? The fawning media and his rabid supporters have fanned his already healthy ego into such a bloated, ugly state, that he really does believe he is going to be “The One”. His behavior, as this campaign progresses, is making it increasingly obvious that he will stop at NOTHING to attain his goals. A reporter in FL asked Joe Biden some tough questions, and the station summarily received a harsh rebuke from the Obama campaign, cancelling a planned interview, calling the reporters behaviour unprofessional (which if you watch on YouTube, you will see is false), and advising the station that no further interviews with the campaign will be allowed. I would expect a candidate who wishes to have honest discussion about issues to welcome tough questions. And then there’s the specter of socialist or Marxist outcomes from some of Obama’s philosophies (“share the wealth”, nationalized health care, etc.). The one fact I note in this regard is that many of the nation’s wealthiest Americans are staunch Obama supporters. If they thought their wealth was going to be shared, I doubt they would campaign for their future pick-pocket. Instead, I expect that the only wealth that will be shared is from the middle class to the lower class, so that we can all live mediocre lives and bask in the glory and beauty of “Obama the Under-Qualified.” I cannot believe that somewhere between 46% and 50% of registered American voters have not opened their eyes to the lies, but then again, Obama is probably the best POLITICIAN this country has ever seen. After all, that’s what his whole life has prepared him to be. And, frankly, he’s good at it. Pin him down on an issue – impossible. Get him to say the same thing twice in a row – unlikely. Willing to pander to any audience that will listen – absolutely. And let’s take a look at his favorite audiences. IBD/TIPP Polls show that as of yesterday, 66% of declared Obama supporters do not display an American flag; 74% are not affiliated with any religious denomination; 64% are self-reported as “lower class”; and 56% make less than $30k / year. So, I guess it’s not too surprising that “share the wealth” and “I’m finally proud to be an American” are messages which resonate with these supporters. Hey – I’m not John McCain’s biggest fan, but I refuse to be counted among the guilable, which is why I won’t be voting for Senator Obama.

  72. bozhidar bob balkas said on October 27th, 2008 at 7:34am #

    enough ab obama and what he is. let’s dwell much more on what uncle sam did and what he’l do.
    all people lie, dissemble, deceive, cheat, etc.
    say it once or trice and then go on dwelling why is that so and what we can do to lessen such behavior. thnx

  73. claragh said on November 3rd, 2008 at 10:39am #

    ok this my true but obama is a good man and now i thinks its up to the usa to decide who they want to vote for john or obama. John does have a lot more experience than Obama. Obama will say anything to be elected. Anything

  74. madonna said on February 9th, 2009 at 6:13am #

    barack obama is our president now! yay. your vote obviously didn’t matter to society. lmao