Bye Bye Barry

The final results are in on this historic November day. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars he raised, Barack Obama has lost the 2008 presidential election. American voters have boldly spoken truth to arrogance. Turned out that all those pre-election opinion polls that showed Obama’s inability to get over 50 percent support were prescient. Much of the public was never comfortable with Obama, though he clearly was so comfortable acting like he already was president.

Hillary and Bill Clinton are probably drinking champagne and having the sweetest time since Bill won his first presidential election. Hillary must now bite her lip repeatedly and resist saying publicly that “I told you so!” Hillary in 2012 will reveal that she learned her lessons well.

All that Obama audacity of arrogance from the smiling, glib politician finally died the death it so richly deserved. Too many pundits will blame his loss on his blackness and racist voters. But the larger truth is that sufficient voters saw through the many lies and deceptions. Obama always had a hard time giving a simple, short straight answer to tough questions. He was always mentally calculating exactly how to game his answers so that he would achieve all the benefits he had his eyes on. He was simply too damn presumptuous and too smart for his own good. In the end, Americans do not want the smartest person in the presidency or endless nuancing. They want someone they can easily understand and trust, despite their skepticism. There were many reasons not to trust the calculating Obama to do anything he promised to do or, for some people, to fear he might.

And now the bloviating pundits will also blame third party presidential candidates for siphoning votes from Obama, as if Americans have no right to exercise their political freedom and vote for someone they honestly think has the best policy positions and would most help restore American democracy.

Jon Stewart and other late-night comics will feast on these election results, as they should. I can’t wait to hear jokes about Obama’s wife becoming a more vocal and militant critic of the good old USA, now that she has proof positive that so many Americans are stupid white racists.

Of course, now the nation must suffer through the ineptness, confusion and dementia-like dullness of the living-in-the-past John McCain, tough-talking but brain dead. Will the McCain presidency look like an extension of the incredible terrible George W. Bush White House? Of course.

Still living off a once-true characterization as a maverick, McCain must now surround himself with people who actually are smart and knowledgeable about myriad issues. Should be no problem finding enough lobbyists. Pundits will start speculating that McCain will be lucky just to stay alive for four years, but thankfully his vice-president seems more capable. One thing for sure: the power plutocracy that really runs the country will have little trouble pulling the strings behind the scenes and keep the puppet McCain dancing to tunes written by corporate interests.

Ralph Nader summed up this way: “A large fraction of Americans know that we need a Jeffersonian political revolution to fix our corrupt system. They were not fooled by the Obama rhetoric about change, not from someone that has been a product of and servant for the two-party plutocracy. Yes, all the votes for me and the other third-party presidential candidates spelled the difference between Obama winning and losing. Our voters correctly protested against the corrupt two-party system. They did not elect McCain. Only those who voted for McCain elected him, and that is something they must live with as they watch a McCain administration continue dismantling American democracy and budget-busting global warmongering.”

Cynthia McKinney wisely noted that “It is time to stop saying God bless America, and begin repeating God save America. The good news is that we will build even greater public support for a true political revolution during the McCain presidency. All too often things must get much worse before they can get better. They will get worse.”

As to Obama, half-jokingly he said: “I may come back as a third-party candidate.” Or did that reflect a calculation that Democrats had learned their lesson? As to all the screaming from the left that the Republicans stole this election also, Obama immediately said: “John won it fair and square.” Thanks Barry, exactly what I expected from a phony change agent.

Joel S. Hirschhorn was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he has authored five nonfiction books, including Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. Read other articles by Joel.

35 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. jay said on August 20th, 2008 at 8:41am #

    The only thing I take exception to is the “stupid” label given to white racists. Most of the intellectual professional whites I know are racist.Whether they,like the black racists, admit it or not is a different story. Blacks are inferior and everyone knows it. People in general are all just afraid of the truth.

  2. David said on August 20th, 2008 at 8:48am #

    Interesting piece, Joel.

    Remember though, it’s very risky predicting the behavior of a nation of eighth-graders. In the end, those raging hormones so firmly ensconced in the early years of adolescence and that never seem to leave us will be the decision makers in this election as they are in so many complex decisions.


  3. Deadbeat said on August 20th, 2008 at 9:25am #

    Machiavelli lives and this Machiavellian strategy by the Left won’t “save ‘America’. This unfortunately is the Left’s pipe dream. Rather than the Left really build solidarity and outreach, the Left pins its hopes on a McCain presidency.

    Hirschhorn also contradicts himself. On the one hand he infers that the American public is too “anti-intellectual” to comprehend “Barry’s” nuanced and erudite responses to issues while on the other hand displays considerable contempt to this same public who will blame the Left for Barry’s loss.

    However for the

    Perhaps the blame is well placed because the American public will see through the Left Machiavellian agenda of a McCain victory.

    This is not to say that Hirschhorn piece is unimportant. He’s right that Barry could blow this thing. On the other hand Barry’s ground game, which the Left has rejected and even ridicule seems to quite strong despite the Left’s aping the mainstream media pundits line regarding Obama’s weakness with the white electorate.

    What Barry is doing and which Hirschhorn and many Left wing writers ignore, is to fill the void created by the Left especially in the wake of the Left diffusing the anti-war movement especially to obscure homegrown Zionism and the failure to build in 2004 to expand the institutional framework upon abandonment the 2004 Presidential candidacy of Ralph Nader.

    Also because Obama is African American, should Obama lose, the blame game will be especially hard on the Left because it will be used as a wedge to keep Blacks in the Democratic Party tent. This is why the Left was pulling for a Hillary Clinton victory. They were hoping that the very demographic that has been the base of Obama support would have no choice but to look Left. The same is true with a McCain win. My point is that I don’t think that will happen and the backlash against the Left may be worst than that Nader faced after the 2000 election.

    There is clearly a change going on among the masses however the change that is occurring seems to be happening without the Left as evidenced by Hirshhorn’s piece.

  4. Max Shields said on August 20th, 2008 at 9:38am #

    This nation is run by what made George W. Bush what he is. He didn’t come into office the warmongering president. He was an empty vessel and the power elite (a mix of evangelicals, militarists, necons all blended from the Reagan era (and before)) called the shots.

    Not to realize that is beyond naive. If Obama is elected, he’ll be weaker than even Clinton in holding back the neocon et al agenda.

    Sure McCain is brain dead and will offer much of the same.

    The system DOESN’T work if you think this is about CHANGE. The system is what it is and the candidates (the official 2 party candidates) are merely the product of that system.

    I’ll probably vote for Nader for the reason you’ve given – a shaking of my fist in the name of FREE WILL!!

  5. Jay Andrew Allen said on August 20th, 2008 at 9:56am #

    This future-tense schadenfreude is interesting, but useless. It’s too early to call the Obama campaign dead. The parties haven’t even had their conventions yet. What IS dead are any hopes among young leftists that Obama can bring any substantive “change” working within the current system.

  6. Eric Patton said on August 20th, 2008 at 10:57am #

    “a once-true characterization as a maverick”

    Not really, but the rest of the article’s cute.

  7. Rich Griffin said on August 20th, 2008 at 11:08am #

    It makes no difference to me whether this will come true. Either way we all lose, unless of course people grow up and step outside of the Democratic party and vote for Nader or McKinney. Now if only we could figure out a way to get more independent progressives elected to all levels of public office, so that the future can actually be different a few decades from now…

  8. Socialist-Marxist said on August 20th, 2008 at 1:00pm #

    Fuck the US voters for being so racists !!

    This is pure racism !!

    We are doomed !!

    God damned USA !!

  9. Socialist-Marxist said on August 20th, 2008 at 1:07pm #

    i hate Republican Party, they will continue to escalate the food-prices. I depend on food a lot coz i lift weights, and thanks to republican brown shirts all the shit i take is a lot more fucking expensive than when Clinton was in power, fuck the US voters for being so biased against Democrats. Republican Party is guilty of my own economic woes and problems, of all my protein supplements and vitamins being more expensive, i don’t care about other americans since they don’t care about me, i only worry about my own self. And i hate republicans because they are *very guilty* of my buying power being a lot lower than when Clinton was ruling (Clinton left gas at 1.40 and thanks to the KKK Republicans gas is 4 dollars), i don’t know what the HELL is wrong with Mccain’s supporters? don’t they eat food? don’t they drive cars or something?

  10. Socialist-Marxist said on August 20th, 2008 at 1:10pm #

    it’s not only a racist-fascism that Republican party have, but economic-fascism, the kind of economics that kill poor people, elderly and joes and janes, it’s the neoliberal model that destroyed argentina and turned argentina which was a sort of European nation into a third world country)

  11. cg said on August 20th, 2008 at 1:45pm #

    Obama hasn’t been nominated yet.

  12. Bo said on August 20th, 2008 at 1:59pm #

    This is a shitty article but deadbeat, dont you think you should give up accusing the Left of strategies that it doesn’t adhere to and get back to jew-baiting?

  13. Socialist-Marxist said on August 20th, 2008 at 2:35pm #

    maybe USA is not a food-oriented nation, maybe american population doesn’t cook at home and relys on take out, delivery meals or something like that. There must be *something* out there related to american voters lack of concern for food-prices

  14. MrSynec3 said on August 20th, 2008 at 4:27pm #

    In my humble opinion, Obama will lose not because he is black and
    and Americans are racists. Yes, many of them are but he will lose because he is a phony prentender. He is just another war-monger and
    corporate whore . He will lose because many of his supporters are
    disappointed and frustrated by his latest moves from voting for FAISA
    to his support for off-shore drilling and calling for attacks on Pakistan
    and Iran and expanding the war in Afghanstan etc etc.
    He received more money from Wall St. than what McCain received.
    Vote for the Greens or Nader. Yes, it is just the beginning for a long journey toward a viable third party. It will take some time.

  15. Jerry D. Rose said on August 21st, 2008 at 4:27am #

    Maybe it’s just because Fay is about to arrive at my town, but I’m in a rather foul mood today about the impending election of Obama. Joe Biden returns from a meeting with Georgia’s President, and the “speculation” that BO will name him as his VP choice is all over the press. What better “assurance” could Obama give the war-hawks to whom he is pandering than to highlight the “statemanship” of one who has made that trip to Georgia with, no doubt, the intention of helping Obama to rattle the same saber against Russia that McCain, Rice and Bush are all rattling? Then Nation magazine has another entry in its fatuous “Progressive for Obama” campaign in which the editors assert, against all evidence and certainly against the evidence if Obama chooses Biden as his running mate, that the PFOs can somehow pressure their hero to be more progressive than he’s shown anywhere in his campaign. Please, PFOs, name one single area in which your “pressure” has produced the slightest movement of BO in your ideological position. Oh I forgot, AFTER he’s elected, he shows his true progressive colors. Right! Maybe Obama will ultimately lose not because he’s black or because of Ralph Nader, but because people finally wake up and realize they are being used for Obama’s ambitions; and most of all blacks are being so used to their disadvantage. How long can the con game go on after his “marks” have lost “confidence” in him?

  16. Harry said on August 21st, 2008 at 5:25am #

    No Obama will lose because he is black. Sure he’s nothing like what he pretended to be for progressives, but that voting demographic is small and isn’t what he’s been having trouble with. It’s the standard brainless American who has no idea what’s going on and doesn’t care to because they think things will be taken care of for them.

    The age difference in voting patters is incredibly stark this time around and you can actually chart where the results will go compared to exit polling based on the percentage of African Americans in the population and the location of the state. The Democrats would easily win this election with a white candidate in the same way the Democrats are way ahead in Congressional elections. If anything McCain is a handicap on Republicans by destroying that special little conservative enthusiasm they used to have at the polls.

    You should ask yourselves a few questions here.

    First is Obama a fake? Yes

    Does that matter for 90% of the population? No

    Will Obama lose because of his race? Absolutely

    Would Obama be as bad as McCain? No not unless Clinton was as bad as Bush. Let’s face it after 8 years of Bush with an economy on the brink of collapse McStupid might just tip us over the edge to where it doesn’t matter how much progressives organize or Americans figure it out. You’re all just hoping for Obama to lose because of a personal vendetta on his betrayal by his rightist jump, but you can’t let that anger allow you to screw over the country you claim to care about.

  17. tpayne said on August 21st, 2008 at 7:31am #

    I love the phony myth that Obama is better than McCain. This is always stated as a bald assertion. Its never backed up by facts. Its always just asserted as a given by Democrats that Obama is better than McCain.

    The problem is, that it would be increasingly hard to state facts that would back this up. Obama has at this point basically said that he supports the same broad economic policy as McCain\Bush\Clinton\Bush\Reagan. The same ‘globalization’ and ‘free trade’ policies that have been going on for some time now are fully supported by Obama.

    And he is also now in total alignment on foreign policy with McCain\Bush\Clinton\Bush\Reagan. Heck, the negotiations in Baghdad on a US-Iraq agreement might lead to a US withdrawal plan that’s faster than what Obama is proposing. During his trip to Israel, Obama promised that he’d ‘negotiate’ just like Bush (ie, issue an ultimatum, then start bombing) and essentially he told the Israelis that if Bush doesn’t attack Iran, they can count on Obama to continue the policy. Obama is fully supportive of the current policy of increasing attacks inside Pakistan, and he’s been right there with Bush and McCain during the ‘Ossetia’ crisis.

    So, when you hear the Democrats just assert that Obama is better than McCain, notice carefully that they never give solid reasons for this statement. And think to yourself that the reason they don’t is that they can’t.

  18. bozhidar balkas said on August 21st, 2008 at 9:45am #

    obama may be better than mccain. but the uncle, the funni uncle, remains the same. he’s the only and the same uncle when it comes to basic US structure of governance.
    please study it. forget about kennedy, nixon, clinton, bush. in addition, mns of amers probably don’t remember what O or Mc said yesterday let alone yesterweak….
    and how many mns don’t read or hear what O, B, Mc say.
    and even if you remember what O said a minute ago, you still won’t know what he meant.
    structure! study it. strucure is the only content of knoweldge, said a wise man/woman. thank u

  19. Arch Stanton said on August 21st, 2008 at 11:30am #

    Dear moderator/administrator,

    Why is the following piece of wretched racist effluent still on this board?

    jay said on August 20th, 2008 at 8:41 am #

    “The only thing I take exception to is the “stupid” label given to white racists. Most of the intellectual professional whites I know are racist.Whether they,like the black racists, admit it or not is a different story. Blacks are inferior and everyone knows it. People in general are all just afraid of the truth.”

    Keep lowering the bar, DV–that’s a GOOD IDEA.


    Arch Stanton

  20. Giorgio said on August 21st, 2008 at 11:51am #

    Obama or McCain
    ENTER (2012):
    Ron Paul,the Saviour medical doctor who has delivered over 4000 babies and may he now deliver us, America and the World, from Evil…
    P.S. Should he fail, thru the mere stupidity of the American people,
    we DOOMED!
    Bill Maher asked in an interview “Why is America so dumb?….If America was a smarter country wouldn’t you (Ron Paul) be leading in the polls?”
    Of course, the principled Ron Paul was much more generous to the American people in his reply….

  21. vanderleun said on August 21st, 2008 at 6:19pm #

    You know, one of the few bright spots in the last few months has been that one very seldom sees the words, “Ron Paul.”

  22. MrSynec3 said on August 21st, 2008 at 7:18pm #


    Ron Paul call for less government and more freedom from regulations is nothing but a clever mask for the corporations to run amock exploiting workers , consumers and ruining the environment. When there are no regulations and gevernment agencies to enforce them , then the powerful and super rich will have their way against the regular hapless unorganised Joes/Janes. Guess who will win??!!

  23. Harry said on August 21st, 2008 at 8:10pm #

    I’m sick of all these Ron Paul loving idiots. Here’s a newsflash. Ron Paul is delusional. Sure he’s honest about things, but he’s under the notion that we can apply early 19th century policies to today’s world and expect success. He wants to do things like eliminate minimum wage and remove government oversight on food. Unless you want to get paid a nice, pretty penny for a day’s work and then eat rat hot dogs then Ron Paul is just as bad as Obama or even McCain. People are just in love with him because he opposes the war and wants a balanced budget, but there’s more to it than that.

  24. Beverly said on August 21st, 2008 at 9:19pm #

    A side comment not related to the aritcle:

    Hirschhorn mentioned in his article Jon Stewart et al feasting on election results. Has anyone else observed how Stewart and Colbert are not the “cynic/radical/oh so hip bullshit detectors” everyone thinks they are?

    Yes, they expose the hypocrisy and idiocy of politicians and the media but there is a line they will not cross. The sarcastic microphones/pens go silent on criticism of Israel. Stewart had Jimmy Carter on to plug his latest noncontroversial book – not the previous tome about apartheid in the Holy Land. The Misenheimer book about the Israeli lobby never saw the light of day on Stewart’s or Colbert’s show.

    Latin America? Stewart toes the U.S. line with regards to denigrating Chavez. Same with Putin and Russia.

    Nader? Stewart spouts the usual liberal bile. McKinney? She may as well not exist? For a supposedly “hip” show, shouldn’t these “outsiders/rebels” get equal airtime?

    Kucinich? He was butt of jokes 100% of time during primaries – made one appearance on Daily Show. No skewering though of powers that be who kept him out of several debates.

    Obama? Stewart and Colbert are so far up the his butt they can’t see daylight. Their razzing of him is tepid and “careful.” The hypocrisies of Obama could fill a week’s worth of shows but he gets the kid glove treatment from fake news hosts just like he does with real news ones (allegedly real news, that is).

    Guests pundits or authors are the usual suspects, 1) “safe” liberals who won’t go over the line in any criticism of Democratic aiding and abetting of Republican misdeeds; and 2) Republicans who are willing to criticize the war. Pundits and journalists from this website, Counterpunch, and Black Agenda Report are conspiciously absent from a show which aims to expose the bullshit going on.

    I know Stewart and Colbert shows are comedy but their “fake news” is the only info a lot of people get daily, especially in the younger demographic. It would be nice if they got the cajones to step beyond the govt/company line more often. Doing so would also give them more material to work with. If their pet fave Obama wins in November, who will they mock nightly with the Dems in control of Congress and the White House, especially if Stewart and Colbert are too coward to stick it to the Dems like they do Bush and Co.?

  25. Giorgio said on August 21st, 2008 at 10:05pm #


    “Ron Paul call for less government and more freedom from regulations is nothing but a clever mask for the corporations to run amock exploiting workers , consumers and ruining the environment.”

    Clever mask? Well that’s not my read of Ron Paul and I don’t think he is being devious or dishonest. …nor do I think he’s big business/corporations lackey either…like Obama and McCain.

    I’m baffled by the Left’s shunning him like a leper…Joshua Frank wrote a piece sometime ago urging the left to endorse Paul. Then Frank and notably Paul were mercilessly shot down in flames by the likes of Sherry Wolf in the article “Freedom to Starve”.
    Had I read her article before I knew anything about Ron Paul’s core message I would most certainly run away from this guy like the plague.
    Wolf is no doubt a very skilled writer who must have scored highly in debating societies in her school days. But reading her after knowing something about Ron Paul, frankly, I’m not much impressed by her verbose rant. She rants about Paul’s racism, anti-abortion and immigration policies which, I feel, are contrived exaggerations. Obviouly, he’s not perfect. Is she?
    In sum, I’ll rather stick to FREEDOM for deep down I know that’s what will keep me away from STARVATION!

  26. MrSynec3 said on August 22nd, 2008 at 4:03am #

    To Giorgio,

    You did not answer my main objection to Ron Paul’s main idea of freedom of regulations and a call for dismanteling all government programs.
    As I said, this is an ivitation for big corpoations to run amock without and restraint. Look at what is happening in our banking and
    financial system right now as a result of dismantling of the New Deal
    banking regulations!!
    Also most of us might need unemployment compensations and the
    majority of retirees are depending on Social Security and Medicare.
    Widows and abondened women with children need help too.

  27. MrSynec3 said on August 22nd, 2008 at 4:07am #


    I agree with you 100%.

  28. michael said on August 22nd, 2008 at 5:19am #

    You know what folks? I’ll eat rat dogs if it balances the budget, stops war and eliminates the IRS. If you haven’t read Ron Paul’s new book, Manifesto then don’t speak as if you know all about him. He uses straight forward logic in the book and I am sure even you doubters would be hard pressed to argue against what he says in that book. Read before you denegrate. Is he perfect? NO! Is he better than what we are being fed while the powers that be make a sham of our Constitution and original premises for this country? YES! M

  29. michael said on August 22nd, 2008 at 5:29am #

    To Beverly. Absolutely right Beverly. They could NEVER tell the whole truth because their “producers” (read zionists) would have them removed and there would go their millions. They are collared and controlled just like the other news dogs. I started really noticing it on all TV during the first Gulf war when the news from the front was neatly packaged and homogenized. Not like the Vietnam era where the blood and guts spilled from the TV right onto our supper table. We all saw what they did to Dan Rather for acknowledging the death count of US soldiers each night on CBS in this new war/debacle. Remember the little burned vietnamese girl running naked up the road while smoke billowed behind her? None of that in today’s broadcasts although HBO shows documentaries or armless Iraqi babies. You faild to mention that sellout Bill Mahr who actually stated that losing American Soldiers for Israel is perfectly alright and him without his uniform.I guess short wave radio is our last hope and that’s being monitored now as well. Thankfully at least Stewart and Colbert can alert their youthful audiences to the fact that politicians in general are frigging liars at best. Their soundbyte segments send an indisputable message that politicians must be watched. M

  30. michael said on August 22nd, 2008 at 5:32am #


  31. Deadbeat said on August 22nd, 2008 at 3:41pm #

    What a difference a day makes. It seems like McCain’s housing crisis has put Obama back on track.

  32. Deadbeat said on August 22nd, 2008 at 3:47pm #

    I agree with Beverly 100%. She is right about Stewart and Colbert. Stewart was extremely tepid in informing his viewers about the fact that Georgia instigated the provocation. The network news completely quashed any role the Israeli played in the crisis. DemocracyNow did make some mention but they were pushing the “War for Oil” canard.

  33. Deadbeat said on August 22nd, 2008 at 4:05pm #

    What matter more than Obama himself is that the nation is moving in a progressive direction. This is evident by the young people and people of color that has been attracted and involved for many the first time by the Obama campaign.

    What is ironic is that the Left deliberately cut themselves off from this energy by diffusing the anti-war movement and sabotaging the Nader campaign four years ago. The Left left themselves with no institutional foundations or structures to position themselves to lead that energy forward and is being left behind this year.

    Thus the height of irony is that the people are IN FRONT OF the Left and the embittered Left only offers harsh criticism of Obama who leaped in to fill the void opened by the Left. But worst of all is the criticism and castigation of his supporters who are making the “least worst” of a bad situation. There is virtually no analysis or discussion (except for Dr. Petras) by the Left about the Left and the outreach needed to attract the people choosing to support Obama.

    What I detect however is an undercurrent of “hope” for an Obama fuck-up or loss rather than engagement of those supporters looking for substantive change. Chaos as a political strategy will be IMO to the detriment of the Left.

  34. MXS said on August 29th, 2008 at 8:32am #

    I just don’t understand why “you people” are so willing to give in to a socialist state? Where is it written anywhere in our history that it is the gov’t’s right to hand out money to the so called “poor” that the left keeps talking about. Where is it written that taking from the “rich” and giving to the “poor” is a function of a democracy. Why is the left catering to this fallacy of a tax cut for the poor? Doesn’t everyone realize the poor pay NO taxes! Why are they lying about this….because they know the voting public is stupid and it sounds good with no bases for fact!

  35. Jason Netek said on August 29th, 2008 at 12:51pm #

    –“I just don’t understand why “you people” are so willing to give in to a socialist state”–

    Well, I’m a socialist.

    –“Where is it written that taking from the “rich” and giving to the “poor” is a function of a democracy?”–

    In a lot of socialist books, articles, speeches…
    In all seriousness though, it’s not a function of a capitalist state whether there are elections or not. Hence the opposition to capitalism that answers your first question.
    There’s more to it than that of course. It’s about workers power, workers control. It’s about unleashing the capabilities of mankind and doing away with unnecessary, parasitic robber barons who contribute nothing and take everything.

    –“Doesn’t everyone realize the poor pay NO taxes?”–

    I pay taxes, I’m poor. It’s simple.
    I suppose that depends on how you define poor. If poor means homeless, then you’re right, they don’t pay taxes. If poor means working class, under constant financial strain ect…then you’re dead wrong because we all pay taxes while the obscenely wealthy people we work for get tax cuts with no questions asked.