Progressives Still Love Obama
By Margaret Kimberley
December 9, 2009
Most Americans, regardless of political party affiliation, believe in the right of the state to control their lives and those of people around the globe. It is a sad commentary that such retrograde ways of thinking persist in the 21st century and it is especially sad when so-called progressives care as little about the rights of their fellow human beings as do conservatives. Those beliefs have been on truly terrifying display ever since President Barack Obama announced his plan to escalate war against the people of Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama appeared on national television a la George W. Bush, and mouthed Bushisms almost word for word. He claimed that America doesn’t want an empire when it keeps expanding the one it already has. He claimed that it is in the “vital interests” of the entire country to maintain the cycle of endless warfare. Before an audience of West Point cadets, a Bushesque backdrop par excellence, he told the world he planned to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and accelerate the killing.
Liberals and progressives responded to the president’s speech the same way they respond to every other Obama policy decision. Most went along or made excuses for him. They made no attempt to analyze in any serious way or to question the premises upon which American foreign policy decisions are made. They may have expressed some small misgiving about the number of troops or the timetable for the killing to last, but very few have said that this escalation is wrong or that Obama should be opposed.
Like their countrymen, liberals believe in the inherent goodness and superiority of their nation and its government, a belief with absolutely no basis in historical or current reality. No people on earth have ever benefited from American interventions and Afghans are no exception. They have been killed in drone attacks and by bombings. The heroin trade flourishes far more than it ever did before the American occupation. Just as with the equally unlucky Iraqis, Afghans would send the United States packing if they could.
Former Obama supporters such as Tom Hayden and Michael Moore have rightly condemned the president’s plan and been met with scorn and ridicule. Both men are in a peculiar situation. They should be commended for their opposition to occupation, but their specious reasoning for supporting Obama in the first place should not be forgotten, and their still strong support for a corrupted Democratic Party should not be ignored. Moore’s exhortation to Obama doesn’t deserve the withering criticism it has received because it was frankly rather sad. “When we elected you we didn’t expect miracles. We didn’t even expect much change. But we expected some.” Moore lowered his expectations and Obama met them.
While Black Agenda Report and others engaged in critical analysis of the Obama campaign and made the case for true movement politics, Moore and Hayden assisted Barack Obama in lying about his intentions and motives. They were not merely naïve, they chose to spread the noxious doctrines of empire and occupation openly espoused by Obama and became willing partners to the policies they now oppose.
Black Agenda Report explained it all while Obama was still a candidate:
“Is Obama a liar? Of course he is. As a gifted orator, a superb word-smith, Obama’s slickness is purposeful – he means to fool people! However, so did many of the progressives that supported Obama, knowing perfectly well that his carefully chosen words were designed to hide more than they revealed. Such progressives lent their reputations to discourage criticism of Obama from other Leftists, or from the ‘expectant’ rank and file. Therefore, they are guilty of offenses against truth.” – BAR, July 8, 2008.
Tom Hayden remains irrelevant even as he attempts to throw off some of his shackles. Hayden still maintains a belief in the inherent goodness of Barack Obama and his intentions despite the lack of any justification for such loyalty. “This is not like the previous conflict with Bush and Cheney, who were easy to ridicule. Now this orphan of a war has a persuasive advocate, a formidable debater who will be arguing for support from the liberal center–one who wants to win back his Democratic base.”
If an abhorrent policy is well articulated by Hayden’s standards then apparently it is not so abhorrent after all. Why does Hayden ridicule Bush and Cheney but not the man who continues their policies? Where on earth does he get the idea that Obama is in any way interested in the Democratic Party’s base of supporters? Hayden and his ilk are far too easily impressed and even in opposition mode prove themselves to be utterly useless. “To be clear: I’ll support Obama down the road against Sarah Palin, Lou Dobbs or any of the pitchfork carriers for the pre-Obama era.” After giving sound reasons for opposing the Afghanistan policy, Hayden then proceeds to say that he will support Obama if Republicans keep saying mean things about him. He would be a lot happier now if he had supported a true peace candidate like Cynthia McKinney in the 2008 election.
While some liberals managed faint praise because the president promised the war would not be open ended, his cabinet and the military have been contradicting what the Obamaites claim to have heard their dear leader say.
Gen. David Petraeus: “There’s no timeline, no ramp, nothing like that.”
National Security Adviser James Jones: “It is not a cliff. It is a glide slope. And so certainly, the president has also said we are not leaving Afghanistan.”
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “Well, first of all, I don’t consider this an exit strategy. And I try to avoid using that term. I think this is a transition.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “We’re not talking about an exit strategy or a drop dead deadline.”
Not that the words from the horses’ mouths will matter very much. Moore and Hayden will still sing the president’s praises and Afghans and Americans will keep dying. There are still Progressives for Obama, and the world is much worse off as a result.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.
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