I hope Barack Obama sends a nice Christmas or Kwanzaa present to George W. Bush. Without the debacle of the Bush Administration Barack would not have had a shot at winning the White House. Widespread disgust over the war in Iraq, the collapse of the financial industry in September and October, and Barack’s massive campaign war chest created a perfect storm that helped Obama secure the win.
Riffing off of the Newsweek editors’ quesiness over the cult of personality surrounding Barack, let me just add that I too think the worshipful descriptions of Barack as a new kind of Messiah is creepy. Guys feeling a tingle up their leg when he talks, swooning women, and fawning reporters is not a healthy situation in a democracy. I was watching the BBC earlier today with the sound off. They played a clip of the former Korean dictator, Kim Il Sung, walking among his people, who cheered and wept at his very appearance. Now, I’m not saying Barack is a Korean dictator, but the mindless praise is eerily similar.
I am amused by the innocent, naive belief by many “Progressives” that their messiah has come and the new era of progressive politics is upon us. One of my Progressive friends sent me the following analysis from Think Progress claiming it is a myth that America is Center-Right:
My friend, who lives in California, was earnest and sincere in sending this along. I sent back a respons–“You have got to be shitting me?” Why? The first piece of evidence is Proposition 8. California, the so-called land of moderate progressives, passed Proposition 8 last Tuesday banning homosexual marriage. Now if that happens in California, what do you think would happen in Kentucky, Kansas or Iowa? At least on the matter of personal sexual conduct when it comes to homosexuality America is very, very conservative.
Personally, I don’t understand why conservatives want to have government regulating conduct between consenting adults. I guess I am a libertarian conservative. I believe that sexual relations between consenting adults is not the business of any government. Worrying about erecting barriers to prevent homosexual men and women from getting married is a silly distraction in a world where we have real problems before us. I am betting that Barack Obama and his team are not going to get out in front of this issue. They will follow the popular will. Rather than try to use the bully pulpit of the White House to make the case that homosexual adults are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual adults, I am betting team Obama will be silent. I think there is some more disillusion coming for the Gay/Lesbian community on this issue.
Looking for a quick withdrawal from Iraq? I don’t think that is going to happen either. In fact, look for team Obama to start making the case that the situation has changed on the ground and that the Iraqi government wants us as a partner to help rebuild their society and infrastructure. Truth is the actual substance of U.S. policy in Iraq is not likely to change. At the same time look for the boost in U.S. combat forces going to Afghanistan and continued covert cross-border raids into Pakistan.
As I noted in an earlier piece, Rahm Emanuel is no pacifist. To the contrary. He was an uber-hawk on Iraq. We are witnesses to a fascinating split in the American Jewish community. The Jewish community is no different than the Christian community. It really is not a community and represents diametrically opposed points of view. Barack Obama and Emanuel have both been backed financially by very wealthy Chicago jewish families–the Crowns and the Pritzkers. They are not in sync with the more conservative neo-cons embodied by the likes of William Kristol. They are pro-Israel but anti-likud. Prospects of war with Iran are probably reduced with this crowd.
Last year I participated in a war game looking at the future of the Middle East. The assembled experts agreed at the end of the game that the one policy move that could put Iran on the defensive would be an agreement between Syria and Israel over the Golan Heights. Up to now the Bush Administration has opposed such a move. If the Obama team goes in that direction they might get a breakthrough in the Middle East that has seemed so elusive. That would be good news and might help Obama calm the fears of his Palestinian supporters who see him stacking his Administration with prominent Jewish Americans who carry pro-Israel credentials.
What about ignoring FISA (i.e., the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act)? Now that this power is in the hands of Democrats will they relinquish it? I don’t think so. I would like to see a full restoration of FISA and a requirement that no serveillance is undertaken without having judicial review. Someone other than the Executive Branch needs to have a say in this matter.
Finally, there will be the economic policy front. Will Barack and company embark on a massive public employment program or seek to invest in the private sector and promote jobs thru some form of capitalism? If it is the former the Progressive will rejoice. But, if it is the later, Progressives will chalk up another example of a politician promising them one thing but delivering the opposite. It does look that Barack and his team recognize America is Center Right and are going to play to the element. For a guy who hung with Tony Rezko and dissed Hillary (bonehead moves in my book) Barack could establish himself as a very smart pol. We’ll see.