All along I’ve been amused by the Barack Obama spectacle. The very idea of a half-white Hawai’i multi-millionaire passing himself off as a black man from Chicago seems more sitcom than Senate plot. The all-Celebrity/all-the-time press swooning over the rookie senator’s announcement that he is in the presidential running has seemed to me to be just the latest flavor-of-the-month distraction, merely using Obama’s considerable vanity to keep restless Democrats on the Reservation; with Obama to be swiftly benched once the starting team is anointed. Oh, I guarantee the stated reason will be his “lack of foreign policy experience,” though that was obviously never an issue with Bubba, Shrub or any of the other non-Senators who have won every presidential election since JFK.
But, since Obama is now riding high, I’ve been looking into various progressive analyses of him. As usual, Counterpunchers lead the pack. Alexander Cockburn’s “Senator Slither” insights have been prescient and will be proven so on a large scale (pun intended) soon enough. David Sirota has flat-out de-pantsed Obama in more than one missive. Joshua Frank recently noted that while Barack may not have much foreign policy experience, he certainly is adept at parroting the pro-Israel/anti-Iran Middle East line as he marches in lock-step with the neo-cons. And Ken Silverstein, writing for Harper’s, exposed the unseemly coalition of corporate interests that have already funneled an astonishing $21 million into Obama’s campaign coffers.
Meanwhile, Republican pollster and Ross Perot confidante Frank Luntz fawningly calls Obama, “the definition of the American Dream.” Luntz notes that conservatives like him because he is clean-cut and businesslike; moderates like him because he is seen as a problem solver; and liberals like him because he is multicultural. Anti-Imperialist radicals? Well, we know better.
Plus ca change…
Obama repeatedly throws out the convenient line, “I think there is a great hunger for change in the country – and not just policy change.”
What that actually means to the portentous senator is, “What I also think they are looking for is change in tone and a return to the notion of the common good and some sense of cooperation. I’m the stand-in for that right now.”
Despite the meaningless change rhetoric, I could have just watched, detached, as the Obama surge waxes and wanes. I could have given him a pass. I’m pleased even that he admits he inhaled. Hell he even admits to cocaine use!
But, he finally got me riled up. Not with any devastating critiques of Imperial folly. Conversely, not because of his vote confirming Condi Rice as Secretary of State. Not with his vote for the usurious bankruptcy bill. Not even because of his anti-Iran/pro-Israel rhetoric. Nor, even his appalling interjection of his religious beliefs into the political arena – a slimy tactic poll-tested to perfection by Hillary Clinton, as well.
Talkin’ ’bout My Generation
No. I’m outraged with Obama’s empty-suit attack on my generation. In his feeble bestseller, The Audacity of Hope, Barack, though 45 and technically a boomer himself, unleashed this divisive barrage against the Baby Boomers;
“The politics of today suffers from a case of arrested development. In the back and forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I felt sometimes as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation – a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago – and played out on the national stage.”
Obama, channeling Pat “culture wars” Buchanan, is beyond merely insulting to millions of Americans. It’s preposterous. Hell, even I am tired of baby boomer politicians and the false hipster vs. frat boy dichotomy they all adhere to. How could one not be after enduring a political landscape dominated by the Clintons, Gore, the boy emperor, Newt, Quayle, et al.? But, no matter what Obama thinks, no matter how many articles about “baby boomer fatigue” are penned; baby boomers will dominate the electoral scene for another ten years.
In making the case for his own ascendancy, Barack somewhat disjointedly told Meet the Press:
“I think, I think the categories we’ve been using were forged in the ‘60s. You know, I think the arguments about big government vs. small government, the arguments about, you know, the sexual revolution, military vs. nonmilitary solutions to problems. I think, in each and every instance, a lot of what we think about is shaped by the ’60s, and partly, you know, the baby boomers is—are a big demographic… Our politics isn’t that different, and my suggestion is that—take the example of big government vs. small government.
“My instinct is that the current generation is more interested in smart government. Let’s have enough government to get the job done. If, if we’re looking at problems, if the market solution works, let’s go with the market solution. If a solution requires government intervention, let’s do that. But let’s look at what are the practical outcomes. And I think that kind of politics is what the country’s hungry for right now.”
Well, my instinct is that Americans are certainly tired of such demonstrably hollow arguments while jobs are exported; both parties support disastrous, illegal wars; no talk rules are enforced regarding Palestine; constitutional rights are diminished and social safety nets are obliterated.
Not one of these is a generational issue per se. Who cares if it’s a World War Two politico, a boomer or a GenXer who loots the Treasury and your pension or oversees endless Imperial wars? One thing ALL baby boomers and those who came after have in common is continual wars our entire lifetimes. The age or skin color of the wearer of the boot on one’s neck matters not a damn. Unable to move beyond empty, whiny, self-serving rhetoric and address this, the most important issue of our times; Sen. Obama makes the rest of the feeble pack look positively presidential.
MICHAEL DONNELLY is seriously considering registering as a Republican, so he can actually vote for a Peace Candidate, (Sen. Chuck Hagel?) in a party Primary. He can be reached at email@example.com