Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When all the KoolAid is gone...

... and the Obasms are but a memory...

You there, on the left...

You look like you could use a stiff shot of reality. Adolph Reed serves it up over at Black Agenda Report. And it isn't pretty.
The point is that we need to approach this presidential election stuff, and not just this time around, with no illusions about the trade-offs involved and recognize that it's not even as simple a matter as Obama being better than McCain in the here-and-now on a select menu of issues. I could understand the impulse to rally the troops to produce the outcome that's better on immediate tactical grounds, if we had some troops to rally. If we had such a base, it might even make sense to consider an organized boycott of the election, which may be the only way to keep from being treated like a 2 am booty-call for triangulating Dems.
Professor Reed's unvarnished examination of Obamaism and the state of party politics in the US should be mandatory reading for anyone "left." As usual, his analysis is relentless and dead on.

Excellent points made by mozella in comments to this piece at Black Agenda Report:
Correct me if I'm wrong
written by mozella , July 16, 2008

It seems to me that the biggest problem we face today is the myth of the two-party system.
As long as we all pretend that there is any difference whatsoever between the major political parties in this country, we will continue to be vulnerable to manipulation by those global corporate entities who are really in charge.

A wet-behind-the-ears, newly elected junior senator does not have the wherewithall to mount a successful, dragon-slaying campaign without some powerful mojo from outside interests.
Nearly one hundred million dollars on hand before he was barely introduced to the millions of small donors who supposedly funded his campaign?

A manipulative, Rovian primary strategy that gamed the process in a style mastered in a ridiculously short political career, one spent almost entirely running for office and winning not on merit, but on technicality?

This is not the campaign of a committed politician, this is a carefully orchestrated puppet show.

The man behind the podium is a self-admitted blank screen, a chameleon, a shape-shifter.
To black Americans, he is redemption, validation, the culmination of the struggle, fulfillment of the dream.

For white Americans he is vindication, exoneration, absolution.

To young America he is hope, the promise of the future, the sign of the times, the prospect of things to come.

He's a liberal, he's a conservative, he's a hawk, he's anti-war, he's progressive, he's right-wing, he's black, he's white.
You name it, he is it.
What could be better?
Yet that is who he is only because that is who he is scripted to be.

In reality he is none of those things.

He's a two-bit political hack who can't seem to form a coherent sentence without a TelePrompter, let alone formulate or even explain a comprehensive, complex position on any government policy.

He simply looks the part for which he was cast.
In the minds of the string pullers he's the preferred winner, his opponent an equally scripted and cast, acceptable alternative.

What's so sad for black people is that to be so emotionally invested in what amounts to little more than an elaborately produced made-for-tv-movie is a sure-fire prescription for heartbreak.
The tragedy of buying the hype is there is no return policy, no money back guarantee, no recourse whatsoever.

What happens after the heartbreak is what worries many of us older folks, can our people endure such large-scale disillusionment?

Because the bottom line is whether he succeeds or fails those who look to him to be the reality of a common destiny realized are bound to be devastated when they realize it ain't about you.

And it never was.


Angelle said...

Great post. Professor Reed's piece needs a study guide attached so it can be posted up on Facebook for all of the young liberal lotus eaters to see :)

Greg and I were talking about what Obama described as his ideal district (UofC in the heart of the Gold Coast) and we found it so funny that his most unflinching supporters are those outside the HP borders of 47th & 57th.
While these people place their hopes and dreams in Obama, they have no idea that they aren't even a genuine passing thought in his mind or master plan.

It indeed "ain't about you" and I've recently been guilty of forgetting that detail myself.

sam44 said...

I agree with Reed wholeheartedly, but who was exactly expecting Obama to behave in any way other than a standard-issue Democrat? It seems lots of energy is expended talking about how Obama will betray or is betraying us, but again, who didn't expect this. There is a long history of this in the party.

I look at it this way: Vote for him and then work to elect true lefties to local and state offices, at the very minimum. Vote for Obama, and then expect him to be, on the asshole scale of 1-10, a 7. (McCain will come in at a 9.)
Or better, vote for him and then expect the worst. Or, don't vote at all.

red rabbit said...

angelle, I understand there's a scarcity of Obama jokes and punchlines. Sounds like an opportunity, doesn't it?

sam44, um...people are expending energy talking about betrayal because they feel betrayed. I'd say the Kossacks and the huffpo regulars didn't expect this. Josh Marshall used to wet himself whenever Barack cleared his throat. He hasn't had to wear a diaper since early June.

Did you miss all the coverage of the new kind of progressive hope and change roadshow that promised to fix everything and everyone just as soon as you pulled that lever in the voting booth?

If you saw through the fairy dust, then bully for you. A lot of us have been beating back the starstruck Obamatons for over a year, but our number wasn't exactly legion.

I already know Barack is a 10 on the asshole scale, and McCain is an 11. How about we work to elect true lefties at all levels of government?

sam44 said...

The Democratic Party is an inherently moderating force in politics. Again, I see lots of fulminating here, but to what end? So, some saw Obama as a "progressive" force? So what. Did you yourself believe this? So, some see McCain as a "maverick" with an independent streak. Have you ever really believed this?

Again, lot of energy talking about "koolaid" and "Obasms," but what did he exactly betray? And if he didn't betray anything --and you knew this from the beginning-- why get worked up over this?

So, lots of naive guys and gals made assumptions about his "progressivism" based on rhetoric.
So what? That seems to happen every four years.

I do not understand the bile directed toward him, given that it has always been clear he is a standard-issue moderate Democrat, albeit one with an excellent campaign and slogan and brand (give him some credit on those).

Anonymous said...

As I see it, the vitriol has less to do with how Obama has behaved than with how the so-called left has jumped in his bed without even bothering to insist he first buy them a drink. Electing local lefty candidates is indeed a preferable alternative, but the real problem is the candidate-centered left politics we're mired in that ends up producing centrists at all levels because the real-politik at play in all but the safest districts dictates an election-year pragmatism that decides a real lefty won't garner enough support to win.

red rabbit said...


Excuse me for not giving Barack enough credit for being the featured product in David Axelrod's latest hoodwink.

Do you really think Tom Hayden and Katrina vanden Heuvel would embrace so completely a candidate who has always clearly been seen as "a standard-issue moderate Democrat?" And I mean to the point of redefining "progressive" for him?

"An excellent campaign and slogan and brand," oh my. If he were toilet paper, he wouldn't even be two-ply.

sam44 said...

Hayden and vanden Heuvel would praise a ham sandwich if it were the nominee. For good and for ill, they are attached to Democratic "reform" politics.

Acknowledging that Obama has run a good campaign with a catchy --if trite-- slogan is not the equivalent of an endorsement, my friend (as J. McCain would say). And, like it or not, it is silly to dismiss the idea of Obama as a seemingly new and improved brand. Why would you disagree with this? You seem to acknowledge this yourself in your criticisms,

Regina said...

Professor - actually, from reading this blog and from personal communication with Red Rabbit, the vitriol seems to have a lot to do with Obama himself, not just the left's response to him. I share sam44's lack of understanding of this "bile."