FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Usual Suspects Once Again

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

With the presidential race now effectively pared down to four candidates, thanks to the departure of John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani, we’re left with a really “B-grade” contest: a bomber (John McCain), a bummer (Hillary Clinton), a betrayer (Mitt Romney) and Obama (that’s Barack with a B).

McCain, the bomber, wants to “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” ensuring not just mayhem in Persia, but chaos, bloodshed and disaster across the Middle East and surely retaliation here at home for a generation to come. Here’s a guy who made his name by getting himself shot down while committing war crimes against the people of a backward nation in Southeast Asia, who glommed onto Sen. Russ Feingold’s clean government initiative after carting off wheelbarrows of cash from Charles Keating in the savings and loan scandal (McCain was one of the infamous Keating Five), and who claimed to be a renegade Republican and “straight talker” until he decided in 2004 to cling tightly to President Bush and become the mad Texan’s biggest apologist during his second benighted term. And, after months of pandering to the Christian right and the neocon loonies, he now wants us to believe he’s a maverick and “middle-of-the-roader.”

Hillary Clinton, the bummer, wants to bring her “experience”-that’s the eight years of her so-called “co-presidency” with hubby Bill-to the White House again. That “experience,” for the benefit of those suffering short-term memory loss, includes kicking off the first term by caving in to inappropriate criticism from the generals and backing down on a promise to end the ban on gays in the military, undermining habeas corpus with the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, gutting welfare benefits for the nation’s hard-pressed poor, locking up millions of black and Hispanic Americans on non-violent drug charges, allowing the clearcutting of original growth forests on national lands, giving away mineral rights to mining companies, establishing the precedent for unilaterally attacking other nations (Sudan and Afghanistan), expanding the military budget in peacetime, failing to defend abortion rights, appointing hacks to federal court posts, failing to stand by good appointments to those courts in the face of right-wing attacks, and of course, in Hillary’s own case specifically, throwing away for a generation a unique chance to establish a nationalized health care system in America. The very idea of re-“experiencing” any of that eight-year national disaster is my definition of a bummer.

Mitt Romney, the betrayer, spent his years in Massachusetts at least pretending to be a New England liberal. He introduced a kind of state-based health insurance plan that at least had the potential of making health insurance available to every person in the state, but has since been running away from it in practice, for fear of sounding too liberal. As governor he supported a woman’s right to control her own body, and to seek and obtain an abortion if she wanted one, but when it came time to run for president, he claimed to have undergone a miraculous conversion to the view of the hard right: that a woman is nothing but a vessel for growing and delivering babies. Claiming to care about the workingman, Romney, as a venture capitalist, actually betrayed workers, eliminating their jobs in the interest of his own and his partners’ personal profits.

And then there is Barack Obama, a man who is trying to gain the presidency on sheer sophistry. “Change” is his mantra, but change to what? He doesn’t really say. His whole campaign is a feel-good exercise in ducking the issues. The United States has been pillaged relentlessly since at least the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon paved the way, with his recognition of China, for the wholesale offshoring of American industry to Asia. Administrations since then, Democratic and Republican, have been competing with each hasten the hollowing out of the American economy. Will Obama “change” this? No. He has no plan to undo the North American Free Trade Act, or to demand changes in the World Trade Organization rules. American labor unions are dying. Does Obama plan to “change” that by undoing decades of one-sided laws and regulations making it easy for employers to crush unions? No. He hasn’t said a word about defending, much less expanding the rights of workers. Health care is in crisis. Does Obama have a solution? No. He is wedded to the same approach as Hillary Clinton, which leaves the blood-sucking insurance industry in charge of financing (and denying) care. The US is being bled to death by military expenditures, which in total account for more than half of the US budget when honestly accounted for in full. Does Obama plan to slash that spending, which is greater than all the military budgets of the rest of the world’s nations combined? No. He has not said a word about cutting military spending (nor is he committed to ending the Iraq occupation). The Constitution has been undermined, particularly over the last six years, to the point that it is unrecognizable, with the presidency now more appropriately called an elected dictator, and Congress now little more than a talk shop. Does Obama plan to “change” that by voluntarily restoring the presidency to what it is supposed to be: just on co-equal branch of a tripartite government? He hasn’t said a word about restoring checks and balances. Obama’s “change” rhetoric is as empty as was Ronald Reagan’s talk about America’s being a “shining city on a hill.”

In the choice between a bomber, a bummer, a betrayer and Obama, it hardly matters who comes out on top. My guess is whoever wins, we get more military spending, more war, fewer jobs and fewer rights.

Rep. Ron Paul, for all his flaws (and they are many, including a racist attitude on immigration, a sexist attitude on abortion, and a doctinaire view of primacy of the rights of property), is looking better and better. At least he would end the Iraq War, cut the military budget significantly, and restore the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Let’s hope he quits this B-rated presidential campaign and runs as an independent or Libertarian.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail