FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Polemic Devoid of Politics

by WILLIAM KAUFMAN

Last week Michael Moore published an ardent declaration of support for Barack Obama. In case you missed it, you can read it here.

I was astonished at the political vacuity of this declaration–even knowing that Moore, since 2004, has proudly brandished the Air-America-Nation-magazine-Progressive-Democrats-of-America-DNC seal of approval. I sent Moore the following open letter. So far, it has elicited no response. Perhaps its appearance on the CounterPunch Web site will prompt him to explain his position more coherently than he did last week:

Mr. Moore:

I just read your long and impassioned plea of support for Barack Obama. I am open to hearing convincing reasons that voting for Obama–whether in the primaries or the general election–is the right thing to do. But I am troubled by several aspects of your letter:

1. First and foremost, it does not mention a single political issue. Not the war, not health care, not poverty, not the economy–nothing. (Okay–you make a couple of token references to the war, but only to shore up your perverse plea that antiwar activists should cast their votes for the Democratic enablers of the war!) So you do not seriously examine a single political issue. My conjecture on the reason for this omission is that once you begin to list the issues that are of greatest concern to you, you will be forced to acknowledge that Obama does not agree with you on even one of them. For example: you made a brilliant film about the need for a national, single-payer health-care plan in this country, yet there’s not a word about the lack of support for such a plan from any of the major candidates–much less about their continued support for the war in Iraq (Obama has voted for all the funding appropriations, as you somehow fail to note), their unwillingness to cut even one penny from the monstrous military budget to fund social needs, their willingness to sell themselves to all the big corporate interests at the trough of big-money donations, etc. Your failure to mention even one such issue means that your letter is essentially apolitical–devoid of a discussion of any of the dire political issues that confront the country–which is passing strange in a presidential election year for a man of your political acumen.

2. You do hint at a political point–you claim that there is a “movement” behind Obama. I wonder if you would be so kind as to specify the shape, form, and identity of this movement. As far as I can tell, there is an amorphous wave of support for Obama based on his personal charisma, but no clear sense of a mass movement based on any real political agenda. The only clearly identifiable “movement’ of this sort that I can discern in Obama’s camp is made up of the major corporate interests that have flooded his campaign with big bucks, and whose interests he faithfully promotes in his political program–right down to the private insurance companies who take center stage in his awful health-care plan–the very insurance companies your skewer so effectively in your film–but to whom you give a free pass in your support for their captive, Barack Obama.

3. You state that you just want to see any candidate of the Democratic Party installed in the White House. But we had eight years during Clinton time to weigh the “benefits” of this kind of Donkey-symbol regime for the nation, and what we got was welfare “reform,” rampant deregulation, WTO/NAFTA, 500,000 Iraqi children starved from sanctions, etc., etc.–an essentially Republican record so repugnant that you were impelled to disown it in your support for the Green Party and Ralph Nader in the 2000 election.

So–in your letter we have a polemic that is devoid of politics and heedless of history–really a personal love letter to Obama rather than a political analysis of any sort. Curiously enough, when you make a film, you slash away brilliantly at the issues; but when you talk about whom to vote for, you suddenly turn into an apolitical spinmeister for the sexiest Democrat du jour. The many admirers of your work and your history of progressive activism can and should expect better of you.

Sincerely,
Bill Kaufman

WILLIAM KAUFMAN can be reached at: kman484@earthlink.net

 

 

 

 

 

William Kaufman is a writer and editor who lives in New York City. He can be reached at kman484@earthlink.net.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail