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On Obama

During the nomination  process I thought Obama rather vague, as if he was a blur. But he now reminds me of LBJ. I really disliked Bill Clinton because I thought NAFTA was a horrible treaty and also thought his welfare "reform" was a right-wing assault on women, and voted against Bill in 1996 and voted against Gore in 2000--both times I voted for Nader. So when the race for Demoratic nominee for president narrowed to Obama and Hillary, I lacked enthusiam for either choice. Both candidates seemed to be sort of against the Iraq War but rather vague about when they'd end it.

Then the Samantha Power scandal hit. Samantha Power was a Harvard professor, a leading advocate of armed intervention for humanitarian reasons (????) and  Obama foreign policy advisor who called Hillary Clinton "a monster."  Obama fired her. For a day or so pro-Obama blogs had dialogue about whether or not Powers was the human rights God for a previous book she wrote saying the U.S. should have intervened militarily in the Rwandan genocide. Lots of people spoke up for Powers of  whom I had never heard before. The idea of armed intervention for humanitarian reasons I find bizarre.

I read the interview online where Power called Clinton "a monster." In that same interview when asked when Obama's plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, Power said that his talk was just to get voters. She said that  after he was elected he would conslult with the generals and then decide really what to go. I was struck by Power's' comments on Obama just sounding anti-war to get votes and then changing his mind after he's elected.  Ummmm. I hate the Iraq War and think it a huge illegal immoral fiasco and have been marching against the war year after year. Obama also clearly announced he was dedicated to "winning" in Afghanistan, whatever that meant. Anyway, Power gets fired and Obama continues to make vague statements about Iraq.

Then come September 2008 with the bank crash and Obama as well as McCain rush to Washington to support Paulson's plan to give billions to the bank. I was surprised to learn by 8 to 1 the people of this country were against the bank bailout. Obama was for it.  He broke up campaigning to rush to Washington to support it.

Well, I voted for Obama anyway and really wanted to hope Obama would make changes from Bush's policy as he had spent a year promising. Perhaps I was in denial about what I knew--in economic and foreign policy he actually looked like he would carry on Bush's policies. Well, denial and hope go together. Silly of me to deny what I knew. After Obama's elected and in office, he does exactly what Power suggested regarding military policy--consult with the generals and then decided. A year after his election and not a soldier has been withdrawn from Iraq. Obama seems to like to give billions to banks and now to the insurance corporations--he's a corporatist Democrat.  Now no more denial. Obama is really carrying on much of Bush's policies. Very sad for my absurd hope. 

The more I see Obama, the more he reminds me of LBJ. LBJ also won by a landslide--supported by people who wanted an alternative to Goldwater. LBJ did push Congress--Obama doesn't--to pass important domestic legislation like the Civil Rights Act and the War on Poverty.  Then LBJ took us into Vietnam--opposed for three years mostly by angry teenagers and furious college students. Photos of LBJ in 64-65 he looks confident, genial. By early '68 there are photos of LBJ look confused, pensive, even hurt. He tried to do good things so why were all these teenagers yelling horrible things about him wherever he went? 

The photos of Obama are changing. For most of the past year the photos of Obama seemed to deify him--he's looking like LBJ brash, confident, striding into the future. Now photos from Copehnhagen--where he met massive opposition for the first time--show him looking plodding. Likewise I think Obama somewhere inside of him wants to do good but like LBJ is underestimating people's opposition to his socalled health care reform. Obama like LBJ surrounds himself with an echo chamber. For LBJ his echo chamber was people around him believed in the Vietnam War. For Obama his echo chamber believe that he shouldn't fight corporations. Neither LBJ nor Obama ever hear the other voices. The problem is that the majority of the country soon opposed LBJ's war and the majority of the country oppose the Senate healthcare bill.  I think sooner or later Obama will have the LBJ look--confused, pensive, even hurt--when the backlash against him starts.

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