Monday, May 12, 2008

WITH OBAMA, THE DLC WINS AGAIN

BRUCE DIXON, BLACK AGENDA REPORT Obama has chosen to “reach out” to white and Republican voters while challenging none of their assumptions about America, racism or empire, at the same time, counting on on a deaf and blind black nationalism to shield him from accountability to African Americans. Republicans (and Hillary Clinton) know all they need do to counter him is prove to whites that he is not as conservative as he seems. Obama will thus be forced scramble relentlessly rightward from here on, disowning, denouncing and dishonoring any and all stirrings of black or grassroots militancy to keep white support without telling white America anything it doesn't want to know.

Back in 2003, when Obama was a candidate for the US Senate in the Illinois Democratic primary this reporter and Glen Ford challenged him on his affiliation with the Democratic Leadership Council. The right-wing, corporate-funded Trojan Horse inside the Democratic party had fervently embraced his political career, naming him one of its “100 to Watch” for 2003.

DLC endorsement is the gold standard of political reliability for Wall Street, Big Energy, Big Pharma, insurance, the airlines and more. Though candidates normally undergo extensive questioning and interviews before DLC endorsement, Obama insisted the blessing of these corporate special interests had been bestowed on him without these formalities and without his advance knowledge, and formally disassociated himself from the DLC. But like Hillary Clinton, and every front running Democrat since Michale Dukakis in 1988, Barack Obama's campaign has adopted the classic right wing DLC strategy.

In the DLC playbook, the road to winning elections is appealing to Republican-leaning white voters – demographic groups which pollsters and consultants in previous elections called “suburban soccer moms”, NASCAR dads,” and before that “Reagan Democrats.” Candidates do this by decrying excessive partisanship, embracing “free trade” and “conservative” values, and displays of public piety. . .

By contrast, the 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns of Rev. Jesse Jackson won white support too, but embraced the burden of challenging white American assumptions about the essential goodness of America, about empire, and race and class. If you were organizing against police brutality or farm foreclosures, organizing a union or protesting the illegal war in Central America, the campaign in many cases came to you and augmented your local efforts. The Obama must campaign avoid this kind of activism like Dracula avoids crosses, because its candidate's appeal is based on challenging none of the fake history, none of the racism, injustice and unearned privilege at the heart of American life. . .

If there was an actual mass-based progressive movement in the US, operating on the ground and independent of political parties and campaigns, it might have a prayer of holding Barack Obama accountable. But there isn't.

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