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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
stclair
Bringing Mexico to its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail