Monday, August 04, 2008

Obama Responds*

Dear friends on the left,

Hobgoblins, small minds and stupid consistency go together, as Emerson reminded us, so I suppose it shouldn't have come as a surprise that a cast of "progressive leaders" has again assembled locust-like at the waning stages of the electoral cycle to "urge me to listen to the voice of the people" and not "to retreat from the stands that have been the signature of (my) campaign."

You then proceed to itemize some of "the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign" and which you seem to believe -- despite virtually all evidence to the contrary -- are shared by me.

The left has never been much for realism -- though here the rose colored perceptions have a strikingly hallucinogenic character.

For example, I am claimed to have professed a commitment to "universal health care." May I remind you that even in the primary debates, where one might have expected some attention to the grassroots base of the party, I explicitly and boldly rejected universal health care. The latter was associated with my opponent Mrs. Clinton and while neither of us has any intention of addressing the root of the health care crisis, namely the for-profit health care insurance industry which has funded both of our campaigns lavishly, my "solution" as Paul Krugman noted at the time was well to the right of that of the DLC's initial choice of candidate.

It does not escape my notice, incidentally, that your communiqué fails to even mention the health care delivery system which you, and most Americans for that matter, support, namely single payer. I take this as a validation of what is perhaps the primary function of my campaign: to extract from the realm of the possible and consign to the realm of the unthinkable and the unutterable what is for most of the civilized world economic common sense and common moral decency. I am happy to report that your letter is a strong indication of my success in having achieved this transformation, one which, as Adolph Reed has written, amounts to nothing less than the functional eradication of the left.

Thus, to take another indication, while you have yet to notice it, so too into the Orwellian memory hole has gone the hope that our nation will "shed its warlike stance around the globe and focus on diplomacy" as a means of resolving conflicts. Allow me to direct you to my website where I call for 92,000 new troops, the redeployment of those soldiers removed from Iraq to an intensified conflict in Afghanistan-and possibly Pakistan. Also included in most of my recent foreign policy addresses are calls for unilateral action against governments suspected of support for terrorism not to mention my repeated threats against Iran and Venezuela.

Also consigned to the realm of far-left fantasy is "an environmental policy that transforms the economy by shifting billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources". In his previous capacity as chief lobbyist for energy giant Exelon, my campaign manager David Axelrod has spoken eloquently of the need to ramp up the construction of nuclear power plants. That's what I mean by "alternative" and please rest assured that Mr. Axelrod will serve as a strong voice for this "alternative" in my administration. I will also invest in "alternative energy" through continuing subsidies to corn based ethanol insodoing securing payback to the farm behemoth Archer Daniels Midland for having bankrolled my campaign at the crucial initial stages. Another "alternative energy source" embraced by me is "clean coal" and the industry which helped me ascend to the first rungs of the political ladder in Illinois.

I suggest that you keep the just mentioned facts in mind in considering the likelihood of my "reform(ing) of the political process that reduces the influence of money and corporate lobbyists and amplifies the voices of ordinary people" as well as the likelihood of "an ongoing and constructive dialogue with (me) when (I am) elected President."

And then you wake up, as my wife likes to say.

And when you do wake up, you will realize that you are left with one option: "challenging" me. But please bear in mind that with the new surveillance capacities which I authorized as Senator and which will be available to me as President, challenging the executive branch is no longer the fun and games it was in the past. I have, of course, no intention of revealing sources and methods, but for the moment let's just say that I know what you had for breakfast this morning.

That said, you may rest assured it is quite unlikely that I will need to exercise these powers for any purposes beyond my own personal amusement.

For indeed I, and the corporate executives, white shoe law firms, big money lobbyists and their numerous apologists are in your debt for having led so many leftists into the abattoir which is my campaign. The movement which only a few years ago assembled millions in the streets of Manhattan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities is in shambles-unable to organize a gathering beyond a few old timers at a street corner, let alone the kind of action which might actually cause me and my base to take notice.

There is no need for a howitzer when the tiniest fly swatter will do quite nicely against the political force which you now represent.

And so in conclusion allow me to cite the deathless interrogatory of Clint Eastwood which applies not just to my campaign but which is routinely appealed to, consciously or not, by all politicians of any stripe:

"What are you going to do about it, Punk?"

Given that, for the past generation, you have repeatedly hoisted the white flag before the battle even began, the smart money is on your doing absolutely nothing.

Warmest Regards,

*John Halle, who teaches Music Theory at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, channels an honest response from Barack Obama to Change We Can Believe In: An Open Letter to Barack Obama published in the latest issue of The Nation.