I'm pretty sure that I've never watched a Presidential candidate's concession speech, and definitely not from Canada where I deliberately scheduled my book tour to wander during this election time. Here I am sobbing while listening to John McCain, who knew?
I'm sobbing because so many people have such high hopes for an Obama presidency and I can see him shredding those hopes one by one until we're left with nothing but the shredder. It's tempting to say that an Obama presidency has to be dramatically better than a McCain presidency, but then I remember the last Democrat to replace a Bush, the charming saxophone player who succeeded in Reaganite dreams of dismantling welfare, expanding the security state, and grandiose "free trade" agreements like NAFTA that further trashed environmental standards, job security and standards of living.
We don't have to look far to see the ways in which Obama will betray us.
After all, it's only been days since Obama shepherded the trillion-dollar Wall Street giveaway by actively campaigning for its passage and securing enough Democrats in favor to override free-market Republicans who were staunchly opposed. In fact, the only demographic more visibly against this hideous misdirection of resources to the millionaires and billionaires actually causing the financial crisis was the US public as a whole, who jammed Congressional phone lines to such an extent that the powers-that-be decided to briefly shut those lines of communication off. These callers, letter writers, bloggers, campaigners, and voters were overwhelmingly against this corporate-cozy charade.
So, in strict terms, then, this certainly wouldn't be a move that would pull Obama ahead -- why, then, go against what the US public wanted at a critical election moment? Because, of course, Obama is not beholden to the US public as much as he is to his corporate underwriters. Any rhetoric about change strikes me as a joke when juxtaposed against the Wall Street giveaway, which we will certainly feel for decades as social programs get axed and spending for basic needs dwindles.
This is only where Obama's hypocrisy starts. When he talks about keeping on some of George Bush's cronies, including Iran-Contra war criminal (and current Secretary of Defense) Robert Gates, we should ready ourselves for more covert and overt wars around the globe. Starting with a dramatic buildup in Afghanistan, which he has already outlined. And Obama even scandalized his Democratic cohort Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House representing one of the most antiwar districts in the country yet ensuring the continuation of the US war on Iraq, when he voted in favor of offshore oil drilling while at the same time talking about a change in energy policy. We can only expect more corporate-cozy shenanigans in the future.
On the positive side, at least Obama isn't talking about nuking Iran. Yet.