Monday, January 05, 2009


Time machine: snapshot of Obama, the candidate, in 2006

by Larry Geller

I noticed that some of my friends over at political science at UH who were fervent, even rabid, Obama supporters before the election are now rather silent, or maybe I should say subdued. What can they say now, as one after another lobbyist or Clintonite is appointed advisor or to his future cabinet? Did Hillary win after all? Is the halo tarnishing over their new idol?

There’s plenty of discussion about Obama’s advisors and appointments and what that might portend. The commercial media say they love that he is turning out to be a “moderate” or “conciliator,” though what they probably love is the likelihood that he will govern from the moderate right. The alternative press more often expresses displeasure. A recent buzz: With a growing crisis in Gaza, Obama remains on the sidelines. Maybe his chief of staff advised him to do that.

The Internet is the fertile hunting ground for these discussions, since our wayward press pretty much hew to the line of their own biases. That’s why we have alternatives, isn’t it.

In googling for an old Harper’s magazine article on pre-candidate Obama, I first found this, a discussion page on the wiki of Bill Lehrer’s WNYC program. It’s like a big snippet of other information. The page is a cleanup of comments misplaced on the wiki, which is a great experiment by WNYC in melding talk radio with the web.

Ok, but I did find the article, Barack Obama Inc.: The birth of a Washington machine, and a followup to it, A Bit More on Barack, both by Ken Silverstein, written ‘way back in 2006.

Maybe look at the second one first. The order doesn’t really matter. In that article is this, for example, from Obama’s run for his Senate seat:

Since announcing his candidacy for the Illinois Senate seat, Obama has raised the astonishing sum of nearly $21 million and has built close relationships with a number of traditional fat-cat donors. For example, one of Obama's leading career patrons is Skadden, Arps ($53,271, according to the most recent disclosure filings), a leading corporate law firm and one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party.

Several of the firm's lawyers donated money to Obama and also helped raise money for him as well. That includes Christina Tchen, a corporate litigator at Skadden who has represented major financial firms in consumer class-action suits.

What these people are dealing in is corruption, the payment of money for access or actions favorable to themselves. That was Obama’s Senate run, and pretty much the same funding helped buy earn him the presidency.

Obama seems to have espoused the myth of “clean coal” and may favor installing nuclear power plants. The article mentions (snipped from the middle of a paragraph discussing this):

Exelon, a leading nuclear-plant operator based in Illinois, is a big donor to Obama, and its executive and employees have given him more than $70,000 since 2004.

I’m still googling around for older background material, but in the meantime what I find makes me wonder if we actually elected Obama president, or was it that he just needed us to put him in office?

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"Exelon, a leading nuclear-plant operator based in Illinois, is a big donor to Obama, and its executive and employees have given him more than $70,000 since 2004."

I read somewhere, (before the primary) that Exelon had given him $200,000. That burst my bubble.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Larry, from the first link you provided:

"All of this has forged a political culture that is intrinsically hostile to reform. On condition of anonymity, one Washington lobbyist I spoke with was willing to point out the obvious: that big donors would not be helping out Obama if they didn’t see him as a “player.” The lobbyist added: 'What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?'"

Yeah, co-opting a 'starry-eyed' idealist with low self-confidence is even better than getting an ignorant over-confident Texan. The lobbyists and bankrupt military-industrial complex got something even better than W. That's assuming the people continue to support and believe in 'this fake.' I submit to you that if Obama continues on this path, within 1 to 2 years the people will not support him to the point of widespread conscientious objection to increased deployment to Afganistan and with regard to Obama's 'domestic security force.'

I am ashamed to say that I voted for Obama.

Larry, from the second link you provided:

"The bill was also heavily championed by high-tech firms. Shortly after the vote, dozens of big-donor executives affiliated with a PAC called TechNet came to Washington for an annual lobbying trip. The agenda was top-heavy with White House officials and congressional Republicans, but Obama was picked to address the PAC’s policy lunch, and a draft of the speech was posted on his website. 'None of us expect or want the government to lead the next technological revolution,' Obama told the assembled contributors, 'but I believe that we can provide the spark that fuels America’s innovation and competitiveness in the global economy. We can do better than burdening businesses with cases of class-action abuse...'"

Obama is a two-faced, opportunist at best.

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