The real Barack Obama

A lot of us knew not to believe him. I always said the biggest tipoff to his ultimate agenda was that he was getting so much early money from Wall Street. Yes, Hillary Clinton did, too — but she was the presumptive nominee. The fact that Wall Street was so eager to back this unknown long-shot candidate – and that this candidate was so willing to embrace the Hamilton Project – tells you everything you need to know.

As David Sirota pointed out back in 2006

Here’s a big shocker – the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party today announced it would be beginning its new war in earnest on the grassroots elements of the party that are demanding serious public policy changes. As the Financial Times reports, Citigroup Chairman Bob Rubin held a press conference at the Brookings Institution to announce the formation of the so-called “Hamilton Project.” After paying lip service to various economic problems afflicting the country, Rubin and his former Treasury colleague Roger Altman quickly let it be known exactly what they are up to.

Here’s the key excerpt:

“At a time when Democrats have become more aggressive in voicing concerns about the foreign ownership of US assets, Roger Altman, former deputy Treasury secretary under Mr Clinton, added that more inclusive economic growth could also ‘blunt the political demands for protectionism’…[The group] said it was willing to take on entrenched Democratic interests, such as teaching unions. Policy papers unveiled on Wednesday proposed vouchers for summer schools…”

There it all is. First there’s the dishonest name-calling aimed at those courageous Democrats who are challenging the free trade orthodoxy that is destroying the lives of millions of American and foreign workers. Then there is the promise of an ensuing attack on the labor movement – a reflexive move, of course, for a bunch of corporate executives. And finally, the nod to efforts to defund public education through “vouchers.”

None of this is surprising, of course. As head of Citigroup, Rubin has a financial interest in the agenda he’s pushing. And he’s made no apologies for the brazenness with which he pushes his corporatism. Remember, it was Rubin during the debate over the Central American Free Trade Agreement who demanded that congressional Democrats back off their efforts to include labor, human rights and environmental protections in the pact. He and his pals are the same people who rammed trade deals like NAFTA, WTO and China PNTR down the throats of Americans, and then left government service for the high life of the corporate boardroom. There, they reaped the rich financial rewards of the very sell-out policies they used public office to push, while millions of Americans saw their jobs outsourced, their wages frozen and their benefits slashed.

Oh sure, the group claims it is going to look at critical issues like income inequality – but you can be sure they will look at that issue without looking at issues like “free” trade that are fueling that inequality. Because make no mistake about it – this move today is nothing more than the beginning of a frontal attack by Corporate America on the progressive movement, using the Democratic Party as an all-too-transparent cloak of legitimacy.

12 thoughts on “The real Barack Obama

  1. Here’s the deal. There was a huge block of Democratic voters (the Left) who disliked Hillary. That group would rather stay home than vote for her. Why? She was wrong on the war in Iraq. The “frontal attack by Corporate America on the progressive movement” was what Bill Clinton’s presidency was all about. Another reason the Left would never vote for Hillary. The 1% knew that the Left would never vote for Hillary and they hated John McCain so they shoved Obama onto the stage. The Left voted for Obama to franchise the Black voting block. (Which is the exact same reason that Progressive—not Leftist—women supported Hillary. To franchise the women’s vote.) For no other reason. Anyway in this country all of the action is in the House and Senate. The President doesn’t do much more than talk alot.

  2. Yes, it was clear from late in 2007 that there was something seriously strange about the Obama campaign. It was hauling in obscene gobs of cash from Wall Street while Wall Street and other well connected Democratic donors were abandoning Hillary Clinton. This for a “celebrity” politician with virtually no experience in politics who had no obvious cohort of allies that he had earned through the legislative process. Indeed, he didn’t really have a voting record and, therefore, no paper trail. Then, his campaign went about the business of separating the party on racial and gender lines, pitting one side against the other and creating an aura of invincibility and glowing generalizations around Obama while making the rest of us feel like we were Roseanne Barr singing off key and grabbing our crotches at a baseball game.
    The question is, why did the left go along with it? Because the left still has the power to fix this thing if it just had some self-awareness.
    It was played, just like the right is played, by skillful technicians who studied it and shaped its worldview. That is why it is sooooo important to avoid using the buzz words of our own side. Dogma is the way we short circuit the ability to critically evaluate when someone is being honest with us or when we are being played. Lefties have a gut reaction to the words “corporate”, “Iraq War Resolution”, “lobbyists”, “nuclear”, in the same way that righties have a gut reaction to the words “communism”, “socialism”, “fascist” and “nazi”. When we hear those words, we have to stop and ask ourselves if the speaker really means what he says or whether he is throwing those words around to create an association that he can play on later.
    The left didn’t and it screwed up. Royally.

  3. I like what I’m hearing here and hope that we can count on your support next year. Maybe not, but please continue to talk down Obama…it’s a great substitute for not voting conservatively, so to speak.


  4. Michael Moore has suggested the reason why the Republican establishment has tolerated the gathering of unelectable loonies competing for the Republican nomination. They already have a very viable, tried and true Republican candidate in the race: Barak Obama.

  5. There was a huge block of Democratic voters (the Left) who disliked Hillary. That group would rather stay home than vote for her.

    I’m not going to open old wounds much, but I’m pretty sure I’m in “the left,” and I was not happy about voting for Obama. Somehow I managed to suck it up for the good of the Country, and I would think those who were against Clinton’s campaign would have been able to do so. So I think maybe it’s time to come up with a different way of saying that.

  6. k, for the good of the country the Left would have stayed home had Hillary been the nominee. Why? Because she is a right wing warmonger. Had McCain been elected, which the 1% would never have allowed, the ‘revolution’ would have begun almost immediately after his swearing in. How would you define a “leftist?”

  7. riverdaughter, the Left didn’t screw up. It wasn’t the least bit fooled by what Obama was/is. Rest assured that the Left’s worldview is shaped by history and not by some simpleminded technician sitting in an ivory tower at some university somewhere, say Harvard. We, on the Left, are only midway through the second act of a three act play so stay alert.

  8. You said you were “pretty sure I’m in the left.” How do you define the ‘left’ you’re pretty sure you’re in? Honestly, it’s not a trick question. It’s just interesting to understand how different people define the ‘left’. For example was Karl Marx a man of the left? How about the Christ?

  9. Defined you out of the Left? Because you voted for Hillary? The question at hand is what you define the Left to be? Was Marx a man of the Left? How about the Christ? It’s what ‘you’ think the definition is, that’s important.

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