“Barack Obama cares about his own ambition, and nothing more.”
How many years has Barack Obama been sucking up to rich, powerful people? It is clear that the Cinderella story of the neophyte who suddenly struck political pay dirt is just one of many well marketed lies. While it is accurate to say that few Americans had heard of Obama before the 2004 Democratic convention, it is not true that his political ambitions began that year when he ran for the United States Senate.
Barack Obama has spent years avoiding being “pegged” or “tagged” as a man of the Left. People should accept the fact – he’s no progressive. And no Black militant, by any stretch of the imagination. “He has to slander all black men. He has to threaten war with Iran. He can’t end the occupation of Iraq.” Obama’s full of compulsions, and phobias, too. “He has to tell lies and claim he was against warrantless surveillance and then vote in favor of it.” Mostly, Obama has to do whatever is required to service his mega-million campaign apparatus, “a well oiled marketing machine that convinces gullible people to believe he is who they want him to be.”
Obama first secured buy-in from wealthy, politically connected white people when he was still a state senator in Illinois, and then he began his not so surprising rise to power. He has worked very hard over a long period of time to position himself as an ambitious but “safe” black man who had no intention of rocking the political boat or letting anyone else do so either.
The trail is easy to follow. Obama’s willingness to absolve criminality, politically sanctioned racism, and other evil doing has a long history. On January 17, 2001, then state senator Barack Obama gave his blessing to new Bush administration cabinet appointees, including Donald Rumsfeld, and declared that they were all “in the mainstream”:
” ‘The proof in the pudding is looking at the treatment of the other Bush nominees,’ Obama said. ‘I mean for the most part, I for example do not agree with a missile defense system, but I don’t think that soon-to-be-Secretary Rumsfeld is in any way out of the mainstream of American political life. And I would argue that the same would be true for the vast majority of the Bush nominees, and I give him credit for that.’ ”
Translation: “Calm down check bundlers, I’m your guy. When I run for president you’ll have nothing to fret about. I will never give the military industrial complex or the rest of corporate America any cause for alarm.”
Obama did not just give the thumbs up to Rumsfeld, the man who in 2001 had already spent years advocating for the occupation of Iraq. He also signaled his willingness to put civil rights on the back burner:
“‘So I don’t want to be pegged as being far left simply because I find certain aspects in John Ashcroft’s record to be divisive or offensive,’ Obama continued. ‘I think it’s legitimate for me to raise that. As I said before, if he brought before us a nominee who didn’t agree with me on affirmative action and yet said that, you know, I do think that and showed a history for showing regard and concern for racial justice, if he came before us and said I oppose a woman’s right to choose, or I oppose abortion, I find it religiously offensive, and yet I do respect, for example, the notion that we shouldn’t be solving these things with violence, historically, if that had been what was said, then I don’t think I would object. And I think that’s a fair position to take.’ ”
Translation: “I won’t do anything for black people. I’ll never advocate for them and in fact, I’ll help you shut up them up. Ditto for women. They are expendable too.”
“Obama has worked very hard to position himself as an ambitious but ‘safe’ black man.”
According to Obama, opponents of affirmative action who say nice things to black people should still be confirmed into cabinet level appointments and be allowed to interpret and enforce civil rights laws. Likewise, opponents of a woman’s right to choose abortion will also get a pass as long as they don’t bomb clinics. His standards for acceptability are abysmally low, but more importantly they give sanction to those who want a return to the good old days when only white men had any standing in American society.
Obama’s words in 2001 explain a great deal about his actions in 2008. We have been told that he has to move to the right in order to win this November. He has to tell lies and claim he was against warrantless surveillance and then vote in favor of it. He has to smear Moveon, a group that cooked its own books in order to endorse him. He has to turn his back on public campaign financing. He has to slander all black men. He has to threaten war with Iran. He can’t end the occupation of Iraq.
The wishful thinkers assure us that he will be different and begin to undo the Bush regime apparatus. Only after he puts his hand on the bible will he be able to speak up for the millions of people who voted for him in hopes of seeing true political change.
“The former law professor will find reasons not to defend our constitutionally protected civil liberties.”
Anyone who believes that tale deserves to be fooled because his pattern is so clear. He will govern just as he has campaigned ever since he first held public office. The former law professor will find reasons not to defend our constitutionally protected civil liberties. The new president will find more reasons to single out black men for criticism. He will always have a reason to continue the Iraq occupation, the time to leave will never be right. His nominees will not enforce civil rights laws, but they will do so with soft words and smiling faces.
The hand writing has been on the wall for a long time. Barack Obama cares about his own ambition, and nothing more. His campaign is a well oiled marketing machine that convinces gullible people to believe he is who they want him to be. Those of us who aren’t fooled have an obligation to speak up and point out the sleights of hand that go back many years. We should not be surprised when it continues to show itself after January 2009.
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. Ms. Kimberley maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com. More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.