“Let’s be honest about what voting for Obama means.”
The Progressive Case Against Obama - Matt Stoller.
Finally. A brilliant criticism against Barack Obama and also a fine, much-needed rebuttal directed at the supporters of the US President that end up derailing legitimate and extremely significant objections against him by using the oft-repeated, easily-acceptable yet terribly flawed and dangerous “lesser evil” argument.
A look at a list of promises made by Barack Obama in 2008 that were broken and/or never fulfilled. Like Stoller said in his blog post: “Obama promised [voters] to distinguish himself from Bush and then went back on his word […]” Therefore, the problem with Obama isn’t just on the foreign policy front; It has a lot to do with his domestic (economic, specifically) policies as well. “Under Bush, economic inequality was bad, as 65 cents of every dollar of income growth went to the top 1 percent. Under Obama, however, that number is 93 cents out of every dollar.”
Let’s go through some points:
- “Many [Obama supporters] will claim that Obama was stymied by a Republican Congress. It is not that Obama was stymied by Congress, or was up against a system, or faced a massive crisis, which led to the shape of the economy we see today. Rather, Obama had a handshake deal to help the middle class offered to him by Hank Paulson, and Obama said no. He was not constrained by anything but his own policy instincts.”
- Obama’s history of personal use of illegal narcotics, combined with his escalation of the war on medical marijuana (despite declining support for the drug war in the Democratic caucus), shows both a personal hypocrisy and destructive cynicism that we should decry in anyone, let alone an important policymaker who helps keep a half a million people in jail for participating in a legitimate economy outlawed by the drug warrior industry.
- People who criticize Obama for his destructive, violent and hypocritical policies are often told to shut up because, according to them, Obama is a “safer” choice for the women in America compared to the terrible Mitt Romney. It’s an argument which, at first glance, seems rational and reasonable considering how messy gender politics can be in the USA. Advocate Emily Hauser insisted that choice will be safe under Obama. But, Stoller points out, “Falguni Sheth argued that this is a typical perspective from a privileged white woman, who ignores much of the impact that Barack Obama’s policies have on women, and specifically women of color. And even on the issue of choice, you could make a good case, as she does, that there’s less of a difference between Obama and Romney than meets the eye.” So I decided to read Sheth’s post and her arguments were powerful and persuasive but, above all, they pointed directly at the factual inaccuracies and hypocrisy of Hauser’s support. Wherein Sheth makes an excellent argument: “When American feminists tell me about the importance of protecting reproductive rights, do they believe that Black, Latino, undocumented, Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani women have reproductive rights, too? Or is that one of those areas where we just can’t expect the Democrats to protect “my fondest dreams”? Do we have obligations to hold the Dems accountable for active harms to women around the world?”
- Women’s rights are protected under Obama, right? Except they’re not. “Predatory lending and foreclosures disproportionately impact women. The drug war impacts women. Under Obama, 1.6 million more women are now in poverty. 1.2 million migrants have been deported by the Department of Homeland Security. The teacher layoffs from Obama’s stimulus being inadequate to the task disproportionately hit women’s economic opportunity. Oligarchies in general are just not good for women.”
- Under Obama, Americans have become more tolerant of torture, drones, war and authoritarianism in general.
And more thoroughly-studied points are raised by Stoller in his blog post. “This is just not an America that any of us should want to live in. It is a country whose economic basis is oligarchy, whose political system is authoritarianism, and whose political culture is murderous toward the rest of the world and suicidal in our aggressive lack of attention to climate change.”
Read the whole thing.