Monday, December 1, 2008

Barack Obama's Cabinet: DLC-Bill Clinton Part II

For all of those bitter rural and suburban types who spent the last weeks on the campaign trail, turning up at McCain-Palin hate rallies, bursting their arteries at the thought that candidate Obama was going to institute a socialist regime (in between turning us all into slaves for Allah), rest assured: Bombing non-white countries and keeping capital flows uninterrupted is not going away.

Just how disappointing is Barack Obama's cabinet picks? His proposed Secretary of State, our lead diplomat, is a person who, by her own admission, was actually dumb (or cynical) enough to allow the likes of George Bush to convince her that Saddam Hussein was moments away from bringing the fourth horseman of the nuclear and biological warfare apocalypse. Our incoming Attorney General is best known for facilitating Marc Rich's financial donation as payment for a pardon from Bill Clinton in the eleventh hour of his presidency. The economic advisers and new Secretary of Treasury are all free trade, deregulated market fundamentalists (in the case of troglodyte number one, Lawrence Summers, an open advocate of poisoning third world countries with our trash). Rubin, Summers, et al., supported the recension of the Glass-Stegall Act under President Clinton (he of the era of big government is over), the New Deal-era regulations which, had they been maintained, would have prevented much of the corporate malfeasance that led to our lending institutions' collapse this last year.

I have little illusions about what is coming next. Of course, he will give us our "stimulus" package, replete with a new round of checks, subsidies to the automobile industry, a jobs bill to build new roads and bridges (this is probably the best that will be coming in the next four to eight years). Nothing, however, will be done about health care, which has never been a priority for Barack Obama as a candidate. Nothing will be done about the de-manufacturization of our economy, since candidate Obama was as supportive of free trade as the last Democratic President who signed the legislation that has precipitated the destruction of our automobile and steel industries.

Nothing will be done about the underlying problems of our lending institutions, because that would mean re-instituting the Glass-Steagall Act, which is something you will never see (when the incoming administration's economic policy setters were all instrumental in its elimination). Could anyone imagine the likes of Lawrence Summers advocating a reversal of NAFTA, GATT, any protections for our economy, or the re-regulation of his beloved private sector? You are more likely to see Barbara Bush take up residence in the ninth ward of New Orleans.

The national security team is going to be even a greater disaster. Robert Gates, a personal friend of the Bush family, who as ex-Director of the CIA admitted participating in deceiving Congress and the American people by purposely overstating the Soviet Union's military and economic capacities during the Cold War, will continue to be our Secretary of Defense. Worse, Obama's National Security Adviser will be Marine Corps General James Jones. This is the same General Jones who was the Commandant of the Marine Corps in the run up to the Iraq War, and who refused to publicly criticize in any way the war planning of his bungling civilian commanders (I often wonder how ex-Commandant General Al Gray would have handled a Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz). Making General Jones our NSA will almost certainly backfire when it comes for this unimaginative opportunist to begin scenario building for diplomatic-military responses to an attack or military endeavor. About the only discernible difference between the strategic vision of General James Jones and Donald Rumsfeld was that the latter gave no pretenses of even caring about strategy. One is stuck in the mentality of those civilian bombardiers who played too many games of Risk in grad school. The other cannot fathom openly critiquing someone about to irresponsibly put his men into harm's way for fear of damaging his career (the true priority of James Jones).

For those liberals and progressives who think we are leaving Iraq, you are going to be sorely disappointed. We will be there by 2011 (when the Iraq government expects us to leave). We will be there in 2012 and beyond, at least in some way (at least one or two military bases). For any Obama voter or hater who thought November 4's results meant that we were leaving Iraq, I am willing to bet (and any challenger can negotiate the price if I am wrong) that we will have troops in Iraq well past Barack Obama's presidency. And of course we are going to increase our military presence in Afghanistan, a country whose government is even in less control of its territory than Iraq's. Sound crazy? Remember when then-Pesident Jimmy Carter wanted to pull all of our troops from South Korea? They are still there, even though South Korea has more than sufficient military capabilities to deal with the DPRK. We still have troops in Bosnia and Kosovo (and they are no longer war zones).

Hey, progressives, do any of you recall the days when we ran the Democratic Party? Those days are long gone. The election of Barack Obama changed nothing, except the name on the face of the anti-union, pro-free trade, "centrist" policies of the Democratic Leadership Council. Here is to hoping that I am wrong. Do not count on it, except all of my colleagues rolling over in 2012 and telling us that we have no choice but to remain on our backs for the stockholders and executives. It is a shame that the employees do not have a political party.

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