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Obama: Walking A Thin Line

By Timothy V. Gatto

29 June, 2008

I can’t remember a time when the political landscape has been as bleak and littered by crackpot ideas than it is now. The two representatives of the duopoly that share power in this nation have consistently changed positions and both have endorsed the use of force (including first-strike nuclear attacks) on nations that are opposed to U.S. foreign policy. These positions would have been anathema to a presidential race just a few years ago, but now statements supporting pre-emptive nuclear strikes are talked about with hardly any eyebrows being raised, or indignation expressed.

This presidential race has become a “gotcha” fest of the lowest moral caliber. Instead of portraying themselves as morally worthy of holding the highest office in the land, the two major party candidates have consistently raised the bar of what is considered acceptable to Americans. Time and time again, ideas and policy statements that would have been unthinkable in the 20th century are now commonplace rhetoric on a planet that has seemingly forgotten the horrors of nuclear warfare, and now has become inured to scenes of death and destruction of civilian populations in the name of bringing “democracy and freedom” to the corpses that litter the streets and back alleys of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American people are asked to accept pandering to the right by both candidates in the name of a “winning strategy” that will enable their candidate to win the election. Time and time again I hear the words “political expediency” when supporters of either candidate brings up the question of the use of force. We are consistently told that in order to win the presidency the candidates cannot seem to be soft on terrorism or soft on defense for that would show them as “spineless” and cost them dearly on Election Day. These types of arguments are given to the so-called liberal/progressives that make up a big part of the alternative media that is called “the blogosphere”. The reality of the situation is that both Obama and McCain both seem to have veered sharply to the right of their previous positions when they weren’t looking to win the White House.

One must wonder why, when some pollsters claim that over 70% of the American people want to withdraw from Iraq, they consistently pander to the 20-30% of Americans that support this war. It would seem that a winning strategy would to embrace the 70% of Americans that want an end to this protracted war that has cost this country almost a trillion dollars and over 4,000 dead American soldiers. That would make better political sense than aligning with the 30% that want to continue the war. Why aren’t both major candidates doing that in the name of political expedience?

One can only surmise the intentions of both Obama and McCain. Saber-rattling and posturing towards attacking Iran would seem to be counter-productive to reaching the 70% of the voters that cast their votes in November. If both candidates don’t care about alienating this 70% than there must be a good reason, the facts behind their behavior are fairly obvious, that is, if one simply follows the money.

Here is a sampling of donor information pulled from The Center for Responsive Government;

“Wall Street seems to have selected Barack Obama for its own major investment this election cycle. Traditionally an industry that gives to Republicans, securities and investment companies have been pouring money into the coffers of both the Illinois senator and former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, giving nearly $15 million combined to the two, according to Reuters, citing data from CRP.”

“Overall, 57 percent of this industry's contributions to the race (including all candidates who have run) have been to Democratic candidates. Since the start of 2007, Obama has received $7.9 million, with Clinton only about $800,000 behind. Should Obama continue to be this industry's financial favorite, it will become the first time since 1994 that the Democrats will have brought in more Wall Street donations than the Republicans. In the 2004 election cycle, President Bush collected nearly twice that of Democrat John Kerry from the securities and investment industry--$9.2 million compared to $4.8 million. This cycle, Republican candidate John McCain, who would likely be less tough on trade and regulation than Obama, still falls short with a mere $4.1 million.”

Could the practice of wooing the 30% of the population that supports the war in Iraq have anything to do with campaign financing? If you consider that even though the country is facing recession, the Dow still manages to post gains. When you consider that many trust and pension funds contain oil companies and defense contractors in their portfolios, it’s no wonder that the Obama Campaign supports the minority because that’s where the money is. In my opinion, to come out of the gate appearing hawkish is good for Obama’s bottom line. This can always be rectified later, after contributions by bundlers are collected. Once the money is in he can always shift his focus to the 70% that helped him win the nomination, in other words, practical politics.

While so many Americans cling to the promise that there can be “change” and chant “yes we can!”, maybe it’s time that the liberal/progressive faction of the Democratic Party stop choking up and also dry the tears of joy that mist their eyes. So far in this campaigning before the conventions we can see that practicality seems to overshadow ideals and conscience. It’s back to business as usual in this presidential campaign, another example that illustrates that money does indeed make the world go ‘round. I’m convinced that the only real change we’ll see in the Obama Campaign is that the sainted Democratic Senator from Illinois will not accept public campaign funds. Why should he when you consider that he is being funded from both ideological sides of the fence? Nice strategy…as long as it doesn’t backfire.


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