A big victory for Obama, a big loss for Clinton. But remember four years ago when Howard Dean won Iowa; and Kerry later surged and won while Dean sputtered out. I have to say though that Obama’s victory speech (video) played a whole lot better than Dean’s scream heard round the world.
But it ain’t over yet. It looks like the Democratic primary campaign could be a very long, hard slog with the victory going to the candidate prepared to go down into the political trenches. Despite her loss and the fact that I don’t support her, there is no doubt that she is steadfast, politically savvy, and has an iron will which will stand her in good stead in the coming months.
While I support Obama, he hasn’t yet been tested by the stress of the Swift Boating techniques sure to be used by Republicans in November. What I call the ‘Muslim card‘ has been played over the past few months and you’ll be hearing much more about it in coming months if it proves to have traction. This is only one of the possible memes that the right-wing dirty tricksters have in store for him.
The NY Times says that Obama is surging in New Hampshire and Clinton faltering. We’ll see.
On an entirely different note, I was just speculating about the weirdness of having a potential presidential race between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. Would that be the first time since Lincoln-Douglas in which candidates from the same state battled it out for president? If you add to that the likeliness of Michael Bloomberg entering the race, you have the entirely bizarre possibility of all three candidates hailing not just from the same state, but from the same city. Imagine what that will do for New York’s image in the rest of the country. I bet a significant number of people will look at the three of ’em and say: “Who cares.”
Let me be clear that I hope that neither of these candidates actually wins their party’s nomination. I’m just speculating.
Obama’s top advisers:
Obama’s top adviser is Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Another key Obama adviser, Dennis Ross.
Another key Obama adviser, Anthony Lake, he was the main force behind the US invasion of Haiti in the mid-Clinton years during which they brought back Aristide essentially in political chains, pledged to support a World Bank/IMF overhaul of the economy, which resulted in an increase in malnutrition deaths among Haitians and set the stage for the current ongoing political disaster in Haiti.
Another Obama adviser, Sarah Sewall, who heads a human rights center at Harvard and is a former Defense official, she wrote the introduction to General Petraeus’s Marine Corps/Army counterinsurgency handbook, the handbook that is now being used worldwide by US troops in various killing operations. That’s the Obama team.
if this sounds like change to you, then you have a different definition of change than I do.
William Burns says
Dean didn’t win Iowa.
Dan Sniderman says
Also Obama’s ties to Chicago Machine politics has been a concern – but a necessity for him to have risen in the ranks from the South Side of the city.
However – I would be curious to see who are on Clinton and Edwards foreign policy staff before considering it a strike against Obama, I wouldn’t be surprised if all three have similar pedegree’s…
Does that make you feel better about Obama? 🙂
ALLAN NAIRN: Well, I think one thing you could say about the advisers for all the candidates who have a chance is that the presence of these advisers makes it clear that these candidates aren’t serious about enforcing the murder laws and that they’re willing to kill civilians, foreign civilians, en masse in order to advance US policy. And they’re not serious about law and order. They’re soft on crime.
And start with Clinton. Madeleine Albright, she was the main force behind the Iraq sanctions that killed more than 400,000 Iraqi civilians. General Wesley Clark, he was the one who ran the bombing of Serbia in the former Yugoslavia, came out and publicly said that he was going after civilian targets, like electrical plants, like the TV station there. Richard Holbrooke, in the Carter administration he was the one who oversaw the shipment of weapons to the Indonesian military as they were invading—illegally invading East Timor and killing a third of the population there, and he was the one who kept the UN Security Council from enforcing its resolution against that invasion. Strobe Talbott, he was the one who, during the Clinton administration, oversaw Russia policy, a backing of Yeltsin, which resulted in turning over the national wealth to the oligarchs and a drop in life expectancy in much of Russia of about fifteen years—massive, massive death. And you have various backers of the Iraq invasion and occupation and the recent escalation, people like General Jack Keane, Michael O’Hanlon and others. That’s just Clinton.
Richard Silverstein says
William Burns: Thanks for the correction. My memory is playing tricks on me.
Obama’s Iowa victory speech was really powerful. I’m more of an Edwards man but I can get behind Obama. I think Obama is tapping into a deep yearning and desire of Americans for a real change in national direction. And I have the sense that if Obama veers a certain direction, it’ll be to the left and he can grow and blossom in office. In this regard, I think Krugman’s recent critiques of Obama were seriously misguided, though I get where K. is coming from on the health-care issue.
Hillary’s schtick about being ready on day one is sad, empty rhetoric. Both Edwards and Obama are intelligent, experienced men ready for the job. In the Dem debate tonight, I just loved it when Edwards explicitly stuck up for Obama after Hillary attacked him. It was a beautiful moment. And then whiny Bill Richardson had to pipe in about how mean Edwards and Obama were being. It’s not Edwards’ or Obama’s fault that Ms. Clinton is at heart a neo-con and a pathetic tool of the Establishment. That’s Hillary’s problem (and tragically all of ours if she’s nominated).
Obama on continued military aid to Israel:
“We must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs.”
“I think Obama is tapping into a deep yearning and desire of Americans for a real change in national direction.”
Yes he is and no one can deny he is a great orator, starting with his speech years ago to the DNC. He is a skillful manipulator of emotion.
If you are interested in knowing what he is about, and where he comes from I suggest the website: Black Agenda Report.
It astounds me that people can think that Obama is going to lead us in a liberal direction!! There is no evidence of this, and I am sorry that people want something so bad, that they delude themselves.
Look at the facts. Unless you think being a great orator is a criteria for being a president.
It is a criteria for being elected.
Feeling embarrassed to argue against this candidate.
Since he is fooling a lot of people, I would take a remark from Hillary, and develop it as follows:
===========Obama is our George Bush.=====
I would add:
Al Gore argued. Al Gore got angry. Al Gore lost.====
It is tough to hit a fuzzy target.====
This is the ideal Manchurian candidate.
Only Iran can profit from his politics.
Do we need another Chalabi or Sultan Bandar in Washington?
Richard Silverstein says
I don’t think Warren or I agree w. you, Ellen. You’re entitled to yr opinion, but I simply disagree.
As for the “Richardson moment,” I took that as a bit of nostalgia coming fr. a former Clinton cabinet member being loyal to the family that “brung ‘im.”
As for Steve, that comment is from so far out in left field I don’t know how to begin to reply. It’s utter nonsene & I utterly reject the racism inherent in the statement.
Steve, is that little ditty some kind of satire or spoof on your part.? I sure hope so. I find you utterly incoherent. So, right, Obama is some kind of agent of Iran OR Sultan Bandar? Come on… And, which is it, by the way? Putting Saudi Arabia and Iran in the same basket just shows your ignorance (actually, of the two, Saudi Arabia behaves more barbarically by far, at least domestically, yet it’s touted by our rulers as the “moderate regime”, go figure).
Ellen, I don’t doubt that Obama could have some shifty corporate support/skeletons in the closet and he has definitely said some unbalanced pro-right-wing-Israel things, like what you cite. The problem is, our system is so rigged that I think it is incredibly hard not to be somewhat sucked into the prevailing discourse in order to be successful, and Obama probably feels he has to navigate the system at some level. Yet of the three candidates who have the greatest likelihood of getting the nomination, Obama does seem the most genuinely independent when it comes to foreign policy. For instance, Hillary never would have had Brzezinski as an advisor at any point in her campaign, her pro-Israel radar, and certainly that of her closest neo-con cadres, is too keen and airtight and Zbig allegedly shows just a little too much independence on the Israel issue for the neo-cons to stomach.
And there are enough indicators that Obama really wants a different orientation. Would Obama initiate the radical, fundamental shifts in US foreign policy that I think are necessary, probably not, but I think he represents a step in the right direction. We need to avoid collapsing subtle but important distinctions here. He doesn’t have to be some pristine boy scout choir boy or whatever for me to support him. Am I a little pie-in-the-sky & rose-tinted glasses idealizing in my projections and wishes here concerning Obama?–perhaps. But in my appreciation of the possible and the viable given the incredible constraints imposed by our power structure, I think I’m a realist, too. (Again, I really tilt more toward Edwards but for different reasons, mainly regarding domestic policy).
I’m not posting my opinion of Obama. It is not “opinion” whether or not there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, at least not to most of us on this board I imagine. Some people used to think there were, some never thought there were. Some people recieved new information and changed their mind.
I post facts about Obama. People can interpret any facts as they will.
Richard and I agree there was a nakba which drove out of their homes some 750,000
Palestinians. We disagree about whether or not justice can be served without their right to return. People can disagree about opinions.
My view is that facts exist to be discovered. In the case of Israel Richard knows as I do how difficult it is, if not impossible, to come up with a set of facts that people on all sides of the issue agree on.
In the case of Obama, thankfully a much less complex issue than the I-P situation, it’s not hard. It takes a willingness to research and read.
Most important, it would take the willingness to entertain the notion that no one is going to save us. It comes down to one’s opinion about elections in general and the understandable desire of people to hope, to believe in something.
As I said earlier, Obama well understands this deep-seated yearning to believe in somebody. He has skillfully and (in my view) cynically tapped into the very real idealism of the people supporting him.
Why do most people not avail themselves of the opportunity to read articles about Obama which might threaten their perspective?
Because emotionally they need to believe.
So I cannot argue with that. Wish you well. Believe me, I’d rather be wrong than right. I’d like to be saved too. When I was 18 I was sure JFK was the man. Now, as the song says, I’m older and wiser. 🙂
Richard Silverstein says
Ellen: Warren stated my views precisely about Obama. He’s not perfect but no presidential candidate can ever be–at least not one that could win a nomination & presidential election.
I don’t know if you’ve read them but I’ve written a number of posts about Obama’s positions & history on the IP conflict. I’ve read what he’s written & said & done on the issue. I think you’v omitted some pretty positive statements as well that he’s made. Though no doubt things he said before AIPAC would make both our skins crawl. It’s a mixed bag. But all in all, I feel pretty OK with him for the reasons Warren enunciated.
As for the Right of Return, I’m in favor of acknowledging a Right of Return. But I would define the implementation of the Right differently than you.
Let’s agree to disagree. If Obama wins, I’d like to re-visit in 4 years and you can tell me all the things that have been done differently re I-P.
Richard Silverstein says
Ellen: It’s a deal. IF he wins (which is by no means guaranteed), he may disappoint me & you may turn out to be right. But then again there’s always the chance that Obama is the real deal. We’ll see.