Tuesday, October 21, 2008



I think Sam goes way overboard in claiming that Obama has gotten this far because of the "race card." While I have been highly critical of Obama's equivocating -- especially on the outsourcing of jobs as witnessed by my articles in ZNet, Foreign Policy in Focus, Extra!, and Z -- he has achieved the nomination and a commanding lead without resorting to racial appeals. Unlike Jesse Jackson's 1988 campaign which tapped into the angry populism of white workers and farmers from Wisconsin to West Virginia, Obama has had to use a much more restrained approach which has emphatically neutralized the racial issue as much as possible. much to the Right's frustration.

In other words, both Sam and I are frustrated that Barack Obama is listening too much to neo-liberal Wall Streeters like Robert Rubin. We would both rather seem Obama preparing to unveil an updated version of the New Deal that radically re-wrote the $700 billion bank bailout.

But the charge that Obama has played the "race card" -- an accusation much more properly addressed to Hillary Clinton and her very ugly comments about "hard-working white people" -- has no basis in reality.

Finally, a few words on Saul Alinsky are called for. As the son of democratic socialists and unionists, I grew up idealizing Saul Alinsky and read everything he wrote and attended every Alinsky speech I could.

But the more I studied and reflected on Alinsky's "rules for radicals," the more I concluded that his focus was entirely tactical and pragmatic. For all his immense achievements and all the people he inspired, he underestimated, even disparaged, the role of moral values in activating people and was consistently unwilling to outline his strategy for structural change or his concept of a new America based on economic and social democracy.

Yes, the inimitable Saul Alinsky still has much to teach us, but we must also be aware of the limits of his vision as well. - Roger Bybee, Milwaukee.

What I said was that "He is today your run of the mill liberal politician who doesn't want anybody mad at him and wouldn't even be a card in the race if he didn't hold the race card." The perhaps too subtle difference was between playing and holding. The people who played the race card - just as they play the gender, age, war veteran and other cards - were the party leaders who picked Obama out of the state legislative crowd to be their new icon. If he had been a white state senator we would have never heard about him. That's not his fault; just a fact. - Sam


The Medicare for all bill already exists and has been stuck in committee for 2 years. HR676 needs to be passed.


"It looks like America will be sending this fake maverick [McCain] to the feed lot."

Is it your intention to contaminate the food supply with mad cow disease?


"There's not a lot we can do about this, but we have to remember that progressives also have presumptions and that it is also easy for us to cling to old concepts when times dramatically change.This is a rare moment. If progressives just play by rote, then this moment will pass them by, too. They have to start thinking right now about what's changed and how they're going to deal with it in a changed way."

What progressives need to understand is that both socialism and capitalism have taken for granted an abundance of the earth's resources. This is no longer the case. I'm in healthcare and have held for some time that our energy and other ecological problems will force us to either nationalize healthcare or see it sold to the extremely wealthy.


Barack Obama has repeatedly minimized the effect of fraudulent voter registration by maintaining the position that a "registration" is not a "vote" implying of course that it has no "real" impact on the election. So why do voter registration numbers matter? It turns out pollsters report their findings based on the number of registered voters. Historically, there have been more registered Democrats than Republicans and so historically, pollsters have weighted their polls based on a 39% Dems to 36% Repubs to 26% Indies split.

In this election, because of the surge in registered Dems, some polls have been weighted to favor Dems by as much as 50%. Obviously, the psychological damage caused by these skewed poll findings is enormous. The upside is that they do not capture an accurate picture, and this should give us some hope in what looks like a dire situation.There can be no doubt that Barack Obama knows this because, as we all know, his real experience - and indeed the only thing you might say he is actually an expert at - is voting law and how to manipulate it to his ends. This is obviously one more time when Obama has no problem "misleading" the American people on an issue of grave national importance. - Democrat for McCain/Palin


McCain's tacit claim of superiority over Bill Ayers should be subjected to closer scrutiny. An itemized accounting of damage to government property, whether caused negligently or intentionally, might show McCain's culpability to be the greater of the two. Further, the targeting of civilian areas in Vietnam compares unfavorably to Ayers' concern to destroy property in a manner that was mindful of the risk of personal injury to others.


You are opposed to the "War on Drugs," as are most liberals. I am not considered a liberal, but on that issue, I agree 100%, as do many others that are not liberals.

So where does that leave us? Your group meets . . . but you could have many like me to help, but in your group I am not invited, nor am I welcome.

So, my suggestion is, do not form a group of liberals - form a group of activists, whatever their political persuasions. Then have the meetings with only one main agenda item, like "The War on Drugs" and an open agenda, where people can bring up any issue, regardless of where it is considered to be, liberal, conservative, middle of the road, whatever. The only mission statement would be that the group only deal with issues, and not where they fall on the position of politics.

It just seems to me that your approach is illustrated by the Senate or House of Representative. Whatever bill comes up, it is generally supported by one party or the other, and whichever party supports it, the other party must oppose it. Wouldn't it be much better if the Senator or Congressman supported or apposed it, based on whether they support or oppose the issue? Wouldn't your suggested group be better with twice as many supporters, no matter, their politics? - Wayne Mann, Arroyo Grande, CA


At October 21, 2008 3:29 AM, Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Obama's reliance on Bob Rubin doesn't really serve as that much of a contrast to the New Deal. What FDR proposed was essentially European-style corporatism (the NIRA allowed industrial cartels to restrict output and set prices to guarantee prices on a cost-plus markup), and Gerard Swope of GE played the same role under FDR as Rubin did under Clinton.


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