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November 25, 2008

The Dog That Didn't Bark In The Night

Cross-post by Nell of A Lovely Promise

As the disappointments with the new regime come thick and fast, it would be tedious to list them all. But one is worth mentioning, since as an offense of omission it might escape notice.

President-elect Obama just made public the choices for his administration's "economic team." What sort of signal does it send that a Secretary of Labor was not among them?

Capital seems more than adequately represented.

—Nell Lancaster

Posted at November 25, 2008 01:37 AM

Considering Elaine Chao’s record of screwing workers from reduced pay, longer working hours and no oversight on work safety that has resulted in the deaths of workers it may be no great loss that Obama has not named a Secretary of Labor or should I say Secretary of Business. You can read about her at this site.

It’s not very encouraging.

Posted by: Rob Payne at November 25, 2008 02:26 AM

You can only be disappointed in Obama if you had illusions about him to begin with. His actions (and failures to act, in some cases), voting record, selection of VP, statements in public speeches and on his website regarding specific issues, etc. made it quite clear from the outset that he was a triangulating, "centrist", prowar, corporate-backed, Israel lobby-owned, standard-issue American politician in the Clinton mold. And like all leading American politicians, a firm believer in the creed of American exceptionalism (hence no need for the US to abide by international law).

He is simply behaving as expected and in accordance with his stated values, or rather those of the wealthy and influential campaign backers whose interests he represents. The views of the so-called progressive netroots do not count, he simply played them for the suckers they are and does not consider that he owes them anything.

There is nothing surprising and hence nothing disappointing in any of this. It was entirely predictable.

Posted by: Jean at November 25, 2008 05:59 AM

You're quite right, Jean. Sadly, the "progressive netroots" community won't even notice the disparity between what he represents and what "they thought" he represented until Oprah cries about it and denounces "him" on her show.

Shortly thereafter, Oprah will be arrested for insider trading.

Posted by: Dan-in-PA at November 25, 2008 08:02 AM

While I agree completely with Jean on the nature of Obama and the predictability of what he is I would also say that when I listened to his campaign speeches they struck me as being purposefully vague allowing people to hear what they wanted to hear. Much of what he said was open to interpretation and after eight years of a smarmy loser like Bush with his permanent smirk it is understandable that people wanted to believe that Obama was something other than what he actually is. It seems to me that it wasn’t until he actually got the nomination that he was clearer about what he was, a firm believer in American Exceptionalism and imperialism. After all, early in his campaign he said he was against the Iraq War though it was really his belief that it was mishandled that bothered him not the moral issues. But there were many clues along the way. He never passed up a chance to insult Black Americans using racial stereotyping of the worst sort which made a lot of whites happy. Then there was his disgusting fawning before the Israeli lobby (AIPAC) ignoring that the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel was a very one sided affair and that Israel has been stealing more and more Palestinian lands. There were many cases where he said he was against something but when it came to voting for legislation he flip-flopped on issue after issue. The man is a con artist. But I really think Nell makes an excellent point about the absence of a Secretary of Labor though considering the past records of almost all previous Secretaries of Labor whoever he appoints is not likely to be wonderful. It was interesting to watch how his attitude toward Iran evolved. First it was he would be willing to sit down and talk to them unconditionally. Then finally he accused them of pursuing nuclear weapons despite the fact that every intelligence agency agreed that there was no proof that this is so. This makes Obama a liar. I suspect that what he considers a “talk” would consist of making demands of the Iranians that nobody could accept and then would use that as an excuse to do what he has said as in a bilateral military offense by building a multi-national coalition to go along with such a mad scheme. Also Obama said nothing is off the table when it comes to Iran which I take to mean the use of nuclear weapons. Also removing troops from Iraq to send them into Afghanistan is not exactly what a lot of people had in mind but that is what Obama now proposes to do. And now that the conflict in Afghanistan is spilling over into Pakistan, the sixth largest nation in the world, and one that actually has nuclear weapons, unlike Iran, I would say that a protracted war in Afghanistan will make the Iraq War seem like the good old days. Rather than what I have been hearing from some “Thank God Obama won” I would say God help us all.

Posted by: Rob Payne at November 25, 2008 09:11 AM

Ultimately, nothing starts until late January. Can I wait to be disappointed with his choice of Labor Secretary until when he makes one? Or are you suggesting that there won't be any?

At least in naming his economic team yesterday he gave lip service to working class people.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at November 25, 2008 09:29 AM

Ah, lip service, that's change I can believe in.

And if Bush is a "smarmy loser," it occurs to me that Obama is a smarmy winner. I shouldn't really leak that phrase until I've unveiled it in a blog post, but you know how the media are, they grab onto everything. No secrets around here.

Posted by: Duncan at November 25, 2008 09:49 AM

Eisenhower won in 1952, and his campaign slogan was "It's time for a change."
By gum and by golly, the Fifties brought us changes, the most important one of which was the growth and power of the military-industrial complex that even Ike was scared and pissed off by the time he gave his farewell address in January of 1961.
Now, that was change you could believe in.

Every candidate in every election since has promised some sort of change. And sure enough, things have gotten worse every time.

We get what we deserve for participating in this long-running farce.

Posted by: donescobar at November 25, 2008 10:59 AM

Its America. Obama IS American. WE raise 'em that way here, folks. That's ALL ya get, such as it is. If WE didn't want more of the same EVERY TIME, WE would already have a STRONG third, fourth, and even fifth parties. Majority rule--he's what MOST people want, 51% at least. OUR problems are within US and WE've grown strong enough that the rest of the world suffers because of it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 25, 2008 12:02 PM

Saw a story yesterday about a U Pick field down in Colorado, 40,000 people showed up. I live on a ranch and I don't know even 10 people that would go out and pick vegetables across the road let alone drive a ways to do it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 25, 2008 01:51 PM

"You can only be disappointed in Obama if you had illusions about him to begin with."

Jean, so very true, but one can still be angry, disgusted, eye-rolling, etc. Also, it seems to me that he could still be picking somewhat better people even if he is committed to centrist, triangulation, whatever. My god, what a bunch of losers.

I've loathed Lawrence Summers ever since he dumped on Cornel West; the idea of having to see his name regularly for the next few years nauseates me.

Posted by: catherine at November 25, 2008 04:46 PM

Every candidate in every election since has promised some sort of change. And sure enough, things have gotten worse every time.

Believing that things can only get worse is no different than believing that the housing market can only go up.

Every once in a while, just by sheer random chance, things should get better, doncha think?

Posted by: SteveB at November 25, 2008 06:07 PM

"At least in naming his economic team yesterday he gave lip service to working class people."

wait a minute, Bob in P. You're being sarcastic, right?

Posted by: Tiffa at November 25, 2008 08:55 PM

Actually, I wasn't being sarcastic. He hasn't done anything I haven't expected. I didn't believe any of the Republican propaganda about Obama. He's not a terrorist or a radical or a commie. He's a product of our political system and is better than Bush. Is that what I'd like? No, but the kind of candidate I'd like wouldn't be allowed to run. You think Kucinich was marginalized?

I think that the economic situation is bad enough that without some kind of readjustment that aids the working class that the military might as well start learning German. Therefore, like some Latin American military dictatorships, there will be some moves for the hoi polloi to undo some of the damage of the Bush years.

I am also not surprised that Gates will be back. My model of our government doesn't give the President control of the military-industrial complex. Sort of the opposite.

Every Republican President since JFK was murdered has had a business relationship with the CIA. Nixon was the Eisenhower Administration's guy over the Crusade For Freedom, a CIA front that did for Nazi and fascist war criminals what Operation Paperclip did Nazi rocket scientists (Hans von Spakovsky is the son of a Nazi couple brought in under this program). Ronnie Reagan was their spokesman. Not surprising that these guys showed up in Republican heritage groups. Bush I was CIA Director and probably recruited at Yale early on. His son was in the family, so to speak. As for Democrats, Johnson had too much dirt on him to oppose the military-industrial complex. Carter had conservative foreign policy people surrounding him but still managed to cross Big Oil, and needed to get out of the way for full-on reaction with Reagan and the Bushes. I suspect both Clintons had relationships with the Agency going back to their days at Yale too.

I also suspect that H. Clinton was the CIA's choice this year. She sure had a lot of Agency detritus (Larry Johnson, anyone?) doing the heavy lifting. In fact, Hillary used up all the smears against Obama before he had to go toe to toe with McCain.

Essentially, it's necessary for the military-industrial complex to control the executive branch. You don't have a coup and then just go back to your desks. At a certain point any politician who gets within reach of the White House either knows the score or is eliminated.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at November 25, 2008 09:28 PM