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  • Friday, October 24, 2008


    Floodgates Open on Obama Endorsements So Why am I Unhappy?

    For some reason I was surprised when the New York Times (NYT) endorsed Barack Obama in the Presidential race. This is, to me, both encouraging and dismaying.

    In recent days, a number of people and groups have endorsed Obama: Colin Powell, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, Scott McClellan as well as a large majority of newspapers.

    Now why would I find this dismaying? Endorsements like these certainly won't hurt Obama's chances. The NYT's endorsement in particular emphasizes McCain's responses to the current economic problems as out of touch and lacking in forward vision. Yet it also shows the establishment/elite comfortableness with Obama. In other words, Obama will find solutions within limits acceptable to the political and financial establishment. This doesn't mean the solutions might not be painful for them but they are willing to accept the probable parameters and limits of the actions.

    If you read about these opinions in the newspaper or see it on the TV, you will be looking at elite opinion, not the opinions of working-class people. Studies have shown that the views aired in these forums are from an incredibly narrow political and social spectrum.

    I don't mean to belittle Obama's accomplishments or his ability to inspire. Yet despite all that, my expectations for substantive change after his election remains low and muted.

    Part of me wonders if this is some unconscious racism on my part seeking justification but I think not. It's my cynicism about the US political process over the last 45 years. The process is intended to winnow out candidates unacceptable to the established order, not to provide change. Slogans are not change.

    Perhaps my attitude is a result of a lo-o-o-oong string of disappointments in the elective arena over decades of experience. I no longer get my hopes up. Then I'm pleasantly surprised when the elected official even minutely exceeds an exceptionally low bar.

    I wish Obama the best. I want him to win. I just don't expect to be remotely satisfied by his actions after taking office. He will not be free to take radical action. This is the reality of Presidential politics: There will be political debts to be paid. No one reaches the White House without being bound by these debts.

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