THE OBAMA DILEMMA

13 07 2008

The Green Party has convened in Chicago, and selected Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente as its Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees, the first Presidential ticket in US history composed of two women of color. As always, most people will say this  is a bad time to be supporting a third party candidate in the Presidential race.  The Supreme Court hangs in the balance. (as if the Dims did anything to stop Bush’s fascist nominees!) The ecology and the economy hang in the balance.  The country hangs in the balance,  The planet hangs in the balance.  How could I be so stuck on my principles as to allow the possibility of an alte kaker like John McSame getting into the Presidency and running the country four more years down the road to ruin?

It’s true that a certain parallel can be drawn between this election and the 1932 Hoover-Roosevelt contest, with Obama as Roosevelt.  People look back with nostalgia on Roosevelt and say he saved this country, but let’s be honest–what he did was save capitalism from itself.  If Hoover had somehow gotten re-elected (using the modern Republican style, and cheating his ass off), his hands-off attitude towards the economy and social services, coupled with his ham-fisted attitude towards the poor, could easily have led to complete social chaos, and fostered a radical rearrangement of the country that would put us in a whole different context than the one we are now dealing with.  Roosevelt, instead, set us up for the mess we are in now, by smoothing over the inequities and giving people….hope…..you know, Obama’s stock in trade.

The junior Senator from Illinois has further complicated matters lately by staking out a number of conservative positions , initially on questions like late-term abortion and the death penalty, but now on the equally serious FISA bill.  He has apparently voted to give the administration a pass on seriously illegal activities,  He’s said it wasn’t the bill he really wanted, and he’s also said that, as President, he will be reviewing “the constitutionality of all the laws and executive orders passed while Republican President George W. Bush has been in office.”

And, as Keith Olberman points out in an otherwise blistering attack on Obama, the FISA law that was passed provides civil immunity for the telecoms and the Bush junta operatives who violated the law and the Constitution, but not criminal immunity.  In other words, if Obama’s Attorney General wants to investigate this odious episode and arrest the wrongdoers, he will be able to do so.  For that matter, current Attorney General Michael Mukasey could, but don’t hold your breath.

So–is Obama, in a calculated political move, waiting to get elected before dropping that shoe? He’s said he’s against impeachment because of the turmoil it would create.  Is he setting the stage for post-Presidential prosecution?  If that’s his plan, he certainly wouldn’t tip his hand, would he?

It should be clear by now that I am not clear about how to regard Sen. Obama.  I see a lot of red flags, but I also see somebody who is not playing poitics by the old rules, even as, by necessity, he plays with those who do.  I will almost certainly vote for Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney in November, if only to keep hammering away at Democratic resistance to the Green Party–if you Democrats would get on board about instant runoff voting, we wouldn’t have such bipolar politics in this country, y’know?  And I’m not certain that Obama is willing to tell the American public the awful truth about how far out of line we are here in America, let alone what we are going to have to cut loose of in order to get back in line.  It may be better, in the long run, for the country to go down in flames under McCain than to take Obama’s blue pills of hope.  But maybe not.

My expectation is that Obama will win in November, no matter what the Republicans try to throw at him.  Gonna be interesting times, folks.  Stay loose!

music:  Will Kimbrough, Brand New Song

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