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Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama Explained: Don't Worry, Be Happy


(I am, for the most part, refraining from overly-strident criticism of the Democratic candidate for the time being, since I would like to see him win. This, though, was too interesting to pass up on sharing.)

Joe Bageant has posted an email from a professed "high powered," anonymous political consultant, who offers his/her take on the ascendancy of Barack Obama.

It rings true, and is thusly all the more disturbing. (All emphases, etc. are mine.)
Inside a Democratic Party primary there is no demographic or political reason that a male first term African American senator from Illinois with an unorthodox name should come any where close to beating a white female senator, who happens to be the wife of the last Democratic President whose approval ratings are still above 70% with Democratic voters and who also happened to earn the endorsements of the substantial parts of the Democratic Party establishment.

The conventional analysis...
[credits Obama] with running an innovative and inspiring campaign that excited primary voters and brought many new and especially younger voters into the electoral process.
While this is certainly true, the "consultant" recognizes this as just as much effect as cause.
There is some truth to this analysis, but as a whole it misses the underlying social change in society that had already laid the groundwork for a possible Obama victory.
[S]he goes on to describe some of this dynamic with a thesis which credibly cites the transformation of American citizen to American consumer, and the consequent impact on American politics - or "post" politics. Go read the whole thing - the accuracy of this cynical proposition deserves a look-see.
In the post political world the candidates who can best thrive in it have tremendous appeal to the economic elites; these candidates thrive in a system that does not dwell on issues and will never ask the question, "who has power and why", but simultaneously creates a social and media environment of stupefying distractions while destroying traditional social mores (under-credited as a source of much social solidarity). This can only benefit their continued rule of that society.
This goes a long way towards explaining why the normally irresistible Leviathan of corporate media might was so toothless against this "out-of-the-mainstream liberal" candidate.

(The deconstructionist in me is attracted to the parenthetical non sequitur that "social mores [are] under-credited as a source of much social solidarity." This anonymous political consultant does not indicate which political party with which he or she is currently aligned, but I'm going to guess at Democrat. It seems to me that it would be a liberal who would feel the nagging urge to reflexively defend "social mores" right out of the blue, as it were. I could take it further and, given the rather dark assessment of the source of Obama's fortunes, posit that this person worked for Hillary. But that would be pushing it... Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to.)

The hair-raising, say-it-ain't-so bit comes at the end, though:
At the precise moment that the intellectual underpinnings of conservative free market ideas that have dominated politics for the past 30 years are crumbling across the globe. Obama calls for a post ideological and partisan world.

At the time when the American military industrial complex is despised around the world, he is a front man out of central casting which will buy it more goodwill and new room to maneuver in the first 15 minutes after being sworn in that John McCain could in the next 100 years.

His very presence, the color of his skin, the very strangeness of his name is the best guarantee of his betrayal of the expectations of the constituencies that will vote to elect him. Barack Obama is in short order a far more reassuring prospect for the continued dominance of the financial elite than another four years of neo-conservative rule which in an almost historically unique combination of greed, ill will, incompetence and stupidity have brought the country to the edge of disaster.
Ouch, and ouch.

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