Tuesday, July 24, 2007


On February 19th I wrote a blog entitled “Obama’s breath of fresh air, Hillary’s draft from the past and Putin’s credo”.  A medical emergency had forced me away from my computer for a week, but I suggested the content would have long legs.
The people’s debate last night, (following on another leave for back surgery, about which I shall write in another blog), illustrates my February choice of words.

When asked whether they would meet with hostile foreign leaders during their first year in office (one of the more imaginative questions!), Hillary responded with dependable grandmotherly caution: she would meet with them if and when others had worked out what the consequences might be.  She wouldn’t want to be used.  You can just see the “responsible” following in the footsteps of Nixon when he went to China.

Barack Obama on he other hand responded with a Rooseveltian energetic “yes”!  The man in the wheel chair and the dashing black candidate share the same can-do, optimism.  What does it matter what political hay a foreign leader would make of a meeting if the result is an increase in understanding as to where the other guy is coming from?  Should our survival as a species rest on PR points?

And here is where the Putin’s credo part of my previous title comes in: unlike the thorough, methodical Clinton, who knows every detail  of every Senate bill, Obama understands the ESSENCE of our times.  I don’t think I can say it any better now than I did in February:      “Maybe you didn’t see Senator McCain and a republican colleague whose identity I have forgotten sitting in the front row of an international meeting on Iran as Vladimir Putin got up and declared the era of American supremacy over.  The camera shot couldn’t have been more eloquent.

Essentially Putin stated publicly what everyone knows: America is on a descending curve, and the rest of the world is collectively in the ascent.  It doesn’t mater whether they’re communists, ex-communists, moderate or less moderate Islamists, Latin Americans rallying round Chavez’ Bolivarian revolution (better late than never), doing business with the Chinese who are also doing business in Africa.

Ken Silverstein’s lead article in the new Harpers, plugs right into the world’s declaration of independence.  A dispassionate look at the Islamist bogeyman that the Los Angeles Times would have edited beyond recognition, we can hope its publication by Harpers will move the so-called liberal media a step closer to objectivity (a loaded word, I know, but our media is so far from it...).

With the complicity of that media, the Bush administration thinks it can still behave as if Iran were not, in classical geopolitical terms, the dominant power in the Middle East, asserting its position by sticking to its legal right to nuclear technology.  We were not privy to the rest of Putin’s speech, but Putin was implying that the U.S. can no longer come from across the seas to dictate relationships between Iran and its neighbors.  Any meddling by powers outside the Middle East is going to be done by those directly concerned, Russia and Europe, thank you very much.

The upward and downward trends in history are as inexorable for individuals as for nations. Whatever one may think of her, it’s painful to watch Senator Clinton’s forced cheer, as Obama continues what is likely to be a graceful yet powerful surge to the White House.  A surge made all the more imperative by Putin’s credo.”

If you think I was exaggerating, did you notice that every candidate who spoke about Darfur emphasized the need to “get China to put pressure on the Sudanese government”?

In my in-box this morning, the announcement that Cindy Sheehan has got back in the saddle and is leading an impeachment march from Georgia to DC and New York, stopping in Philly this pm.  I’ve been waiting for someone to revive the in your face language used by revolutionary Americans, and which died out somewhere between the Civil War and the McCarran Act.  To read that blog, go to thecampcaseypeaceinstitute,org.

While Im not usually in the business of making excuses for people, I can only assume that if Obama dismissed the idea of impeachment, it’s because he doesn’t think he should base his campaign on that. If you call for impeachment, everything else in your platform pales in comparison.  I doubt whether ANY of the Democratic candidates really believes Bush and Co should not be impeached, and that had the Democrats won the Congress in 2004, they would have done so.   That said, I do fault Pelosi for not putting it on the table, even with only two years left to the administration: she should have done that for two reasons: to show the outside world that the American people do not agree with their president, and to increase the chances for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Pelosi’s failure comes from the same ethos as Hillary’s suspicions: together they make Obama’s breath of fresh air all the more crucial for our asphyxiating democracy.

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