Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Salazar and Obama: Two Dismal Debuts

Amidst the shambles of the 2004 elections, there were two spots of hope for the Senate Democrats — the seats they had wrested in Illinois and Colorado.

At first blush, it would appear that both blossoms have merely flattered to deceive.

Both Barack Obama (D-Ill) and Ken Salazar (D-Co) had excellent opportunities this week to strike a blow for America. They appear, instead, to have limited themselves to a narrow view of their roles. At a crucial time, both failed to stand up and be counted — one sparklingly, and the other bumbling.

The lone black member of the current senate could not bring himself to vote against Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State. Obama, who took only a minute to take apart Condi Rice’s high rhetoric conflating tyranny and terror, stopped short of ascribing mendacity, and even if he thought doing so was discourteous, there was no compulsion to end up voting for her confirmation anyway. This was sad enough. But any allegation that he let Ms. Rice’s color influence him is probably untrue. For he exploded this canard, stopping at the perimeter of political risk, or as Clinton famously called it, “maintaining viability within the system”. We didn’t, after all, see Obama stand with Barbara Boxer to challenge the Ohio vote and a decry an election where thousands of black people were effectively denied the vote.

As to the ponderous Salazar, who reminds one of nothing so much as the unlamented Phil Gramm, he discovered himself more Hispanic than Democratic at a crucial juncture; where was the need to chaperone Alberto “What Geneva Conventions?” Gonzales to the latter’s Senate hearing? But Salazar showed that his obsequious behavior is not based on race. All the President’s men (and women), regardless of either ineptitude or wilful malfeasance, can expect to receive the same elaborate courtesy from the newest “can’t we all just get along” Democrat, whose feared propensity to become the next Nighthorse-Campbell assumed greater momentum the moment he opened his mouth during the Rice Confirmation debate in the Senate. Salazar intoned the usual platitudes to exalt Rice’s ‘unique’ qualifications: “Highly qualified, inspiring life-story, long experience, high intelligence…”.

Perhaps so, Senator Salazar. But there are many who would fit that description. On the other hand, how many can boast of these other qualifications: “…lied to the Senate, cheated the American people, took us to an needless war, failed to defend us on 9-11…”

Is it not insulting, as Barbara Boxer said, that someone should not be held to full account because he happens to be from a minority? Someone should tell these guys they weren’t sent to the Senate to be railroaded and behave as rubberstamps.

But you can hardly blame the newest Democratic senators when those far senior compromise on such vital matters. Lieberman — no surprise — declared his strong support for Rice and urged other senators to do so. As soon as Gonzales was mentioned for Attorney General, Patrick Leahy gave an avuncular nod and a good word for the nominee. And after searching questions which elicited either unsatisfactory, evasive or untrue answers, senators like Biden, Dodd — and Sarbanes (et tu, Paul?) voted to support Rice’s confirmation.

So there you have it. Being caught lying to the American people is no a bar to being promoted to Secretary of State, no matter if the proof in cold print is there for all to see, held up on cardboard panels by Barbara Boxer. Failing in your job as National Security Adviser and permitting the largest terrorist act on American soil is no impediment either.

Instead of persuading Republicans that such nominees are an insult to the highest offices in the country, so many Democrats want to be epitomes of false propriety and phony political correctness, but in what a cause Ò and at what a cost?

Democrats don’t seem to realize that these are Orwellian times. Like the old story of boy who murders his parents and then seeks the courtÌs mercy because he is an orphan, the Bush Administration follows a well-honed tactic — threaten and cajole Democrats to vote for their measures, and then cite the very vote forever as an endorsement for their plans. Seems like the plan is working again. Was the Iraq war vote not enough? Have the likes of Lieberman, who worked overtime to get that resolution passed, learned nothing?

With this the Democratic attitude, no wonder Bush bears more than a passing resemblance to Alfred E.Newman. And well might he echo that icon, “What me Worry?”

NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN is a writer living on the West Coast. His writings can be found on http://www.indogram.com/gramsabha/articles. His blog is at http://njn-blogogram.blogspot.com. He can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

More articles by:

/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail