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tearing the rag off the bush again
The Agora: End Obama?s Honeymoon Now! PDF E-mail

The Obama victory in particular brings a dangerous honeymoon, because the euphoria of his victory is so powerful.
A political honeymoon is that sweet time after a hard fought election in which the victor enjoys a large mandate and feels free to coast and party for a while.  It’s sweet for the victor, anyway. For the population, including the majority that voted for the victor, the honeymoon can entail an ill-advised hiatus in scrutiny of the government.

The Obama victory in particular brings a dangerous honeymoon, because the euphoria of his victory is so powerful.  And why shouldn’t it be?  He’s the first black president, defeating in a landslide a seasoned, popular, white politician.  There does not seem to be any way to ask people to calm down.  From my vantage as a high school teacher, I have to be pleased at the intense and ubiquitous engagement of students in this election and their interest in the outcome, quite an anomaly in modern times.  “It’s all good,” as the kids say.

But is it all good?  If you don’t follow the news closely, and most people don’t, then you’re probably missing a few things.  Here’s a short list.

1.  We have been bombing civilians along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan for many weeks. The ferocity of the raids intensified as election day drew near.  On November 5, with expansive Obama victory coverage dominating almost every page, area papers allotted a corner of their back pages, an area usually reserved for stories about restaurant fines, to a brief account of a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan that killed 38 people at a wedding party.  Of course, the rationale for these strikes is 9/11, which left us with an institutional memory of a connection between people who want to destroy us and the population in western Pakistan.  Thus there is no outcry whatsoever from the general population, liberal or otherwise, against these raids, but if you walk up to a random American on the street and ask, “How many of the 38 people killed by the American attack on the Pakistani wedding party were al Qaeda operatives?  Was it five?  Two?  None?” you will get a blank stare.  No one outside the inner circles of some inner circles of government has a clue why we bombed the wedding party, or whom we killed.  What’s wrong with this situation?  Well, does it matter that we are generating an ocean of hatred towards the U.S.?  Let’s be specific here: It’s not an ocean of hatred against “Freedom,” or “Our way of life;” it’s an ocean of hatred against a global power that blows up women and children without a peep out of anyone at home, including our President Elect.  Obama’s honeymoon is, as I write, laying the groundwork for future terrorist attacks.  Keep in mind that his nod to the war industry during the campaign was his statement that the focus of war should be Afghanistan and western Pakistan.  What a clever finesse of the balancing act between liberal lip service to peace and the war lobby that every president must serve. The only difference between the “War on Terror” under Bush and the same war under Obama will be that Bush appeared culpable and imperialistic because of Iraq.  Obama will be able to eloquently proclaim, “Hey, someone attacked us for no reason!  We need to blanket bomb them!”   Obama’s honeymoon is the perfect cover for his silence now.  To prove me wrong, he needs to shout from the rafters, “We should not blow up civilians in pursuit of terrorists!”  In other words, make someone uncomfortable; end the honeymoon (with the defense industry) a bit early.
2.  Regarding the economy, it’s a tribute to Obama’s charisma and sway that none of his supporters who struggled against the $700 billion bailout held it against him that he voted for it.  Nor did anyone flinch when Obama, along with McCain, read from a newly issued script describing the “bailout” as a “rescue.”  Now, basking in the honeymoon, Obama is entirely silent on the thus far futile effort to identify the beneficiaries of the “rescue.”   How magnanimous of the government to set aside $400 billion for mortgage relief (or at least to say it’s doing that).  That leaves only a few billion for…whom?  Considering that the Democratic convention that launched Obama was entirely financed by corporate money, Obama is probably in debt himself to the same people who brought us deregulation and derivatives.  Don’t hold your breath for a clarion call for accountability, especially during the honeymoon.

We’ve learned from the New Yorker Magazine and others that the essence of the Obama campaign was to run him as the “Not Bush.”  Fair enough, but those of us who remember that the Democratic peace-lover Lyndon Johnson ran as the Not Republican War-Monger Goldwater, then bombed North Vietnam into the stone-age for three pointless years, wonder how deep this “Not Bush” runs.  Let’s hope he’s not still Bush, just better at it.

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