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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Nothing is more comical than watching the disciples of the so-called American left chatter enthusiastically about how Barack Obama is going to reform the distribution of power in this country. I used to think The Nation was actually on the left, but it's not. Obama is about as mainstream as it gets, a neoliberal with one eye on power and the other on the status quo. He knows the reward of the latter is the former. No one who supports Obama is a genuine critic of the power structure; no one who supports Obama is authentically left. It's sad how a group's desperate desire to win clouds its vision and persuades it to embrace a mirage in the name of change. It's also pathetic.

Nando De Silva

Atlanta, GA

Jul 1 2008 - 8:23am

Web Letter

Change you can believe in, guys. Oh yeah. I know when I'm right and somehow everyone tells me I'm insane. All my friends in their 20s were every shade impressed by a slick talking attorney--and I don't mean Clinton. At least she stumbled a lot. I had her pegged. I had him pegged. I still maintain she was the lesser of two evils. You knew what you were getting. All you get with Obama is a big shiny political show. Like a gospel revival. "Change you can believe in."

The only change is the demographic shift that's going to take place in a few months. I have no faith this man will win the popular vote. His presidency will mirror Clinton's every intention. We should've stuck with the Hilldog.

This guy is going to get blasted. For everything from disavowing his church to turning his back on the working class. This guy did not represent change. He represented Obama. And that one lie is enough, when combined with the insurmountable odds of the rest of his roadblocks into the White House, to leave him chewed up and spit out by the Republican machine.

Clinton had Pennsylvania nailed in this election cycle. West Virginia almost certainly as well. Ohio hotly contested but almost certainly in her dossier. Obama divided the party when there was no difference or need to, there was no great distance between his intentions as Commander in Chief or HRC's.

He will continue to prove this. I stopped reading this paper for the entire duration of the primary season, I was so disgusted by it's wanton disregard for "free" press. The Obama bias was disgusting journalism and it helped pave the way for a much weaker candidate. A candidate that inspires the worst arguments and will inspire a rash of insipid, low, racist propaganda in a campaign that is already once again being sanguinely deepening its dark crimson hues into the electorate. Neocon red and insipid divisive tactics.

Obama is a far weaker candidate, even before the transparencies that are only know being acknowledged become fully in the public spotlight... before the last temptation of irrational ideology took hold, before tactical strategic thinking...

He is, as he has said, black and with a funny name. If he really were the golden child of change he insisted he is, he would've had a dogged and uphill battle for the general election. A far more dogged uphill battle than Clinton. But with Clinton you knew exactly who and what you were getting.

She wasn't a slick talking televangelist for change. She didn't fill up young and, I must insist, very confused voters heads up with preposterous and altogether empty promises of "change."

What change? What catalysts of change? You will find none. Obama wants to be President. And he doesn't want to wait to get there. He has no passion for labor, no passion for justice, no passion for anything, it seems, other than getting elected. He would make a much better President than McCain, and possibly, though I doubt it, a better statesmen than Clinton--but he has way less of a chance to win.

Ideology can be dangerous when it is wielded so recklessly. The hot air will soon escape back into the void. And we will, I assure you--I haven't been wrong in a single election yet--we will lose again. Because no leadership worth mentioning emerged to contest irrational trends in marketing. And that's what this campaign has become, as all the last presidential campaigns.

Marketability. The target audience. And it's a fickle audience...especially when the most avid supporters are, truly, naïve young and an anemic class of urban intelligentsia. Neither have ever proven a solid demographic to depend on even in the best of times.

I am not only sure he will lose this election, but I am so disgusted by his nomination that I won't vote. Which in my homestate of Pennsylvania, is indeed a vote for McCain. He lied, I respected HRC and in the end felt hers was the more honest campaign. I knew what sort of agenda she had.

Obama does not have any agenda. He will give up on healthcare without blinking. The majority of his college supporters and urban middle-class supporters do not care about this. He doesn't care about it either.

I think the Democrats are seriously retarded. They are so easily manipulated and so ready to be manipulated.And no one has the guts to really stand up to it, and so even the manipulators become puppets in an even bigger globalist agenda and marching towards oblivion we go.

McCain won. Mcdouchebag of Cain and Unable. And you unremarkable morons with your idealist agendas have not one solid foot on the ground of the America I live in.

Pittsburgh is astoundingly, demographically speaking, the middle ground of this country, so to speak. It is neither especially rich or poor, it has a pretty average demographic mix; it is deeply divided by the demographic divide. White black, Rich, poor. Obama will betray the poor, ignore that he's black, inspire racism from the worst whites--who by far outnumber the number of blacks in the country as a whole.

Demographically, he won't win Pittsburgh. That's as good of a window as you're gonna see into the future for the country in a battleground state at the precipice of going from halos of blue, to sanguine tendril reds.

The real America sucks in the very middle in a way that is uniquely Pittsburgh-esque. A conglomeration of villages and more old people than young. Old people talk. Villages are xenophobic. America is...

When will the Democrats wake up? Hopefully by 2012.

Matt Khoury

Pittsburgh, PA

Jun 21 2008 - 5:07pm

Web Letter

Where O where has our reformer gone? Will The Nation be awakening from its slumber too?

Obama was never more than a slicker politician than any we've seen before, masquerading as a naïve, inspirational reformer. Why have so many smart people been tricked?

Please see David Brooks's op-ed from 6/20, and this one.

Karen Wizevich

West Hartford, CT

Jun 21 2008 - 7:49am

Web Letter

These little things everyone picks apart--in the scheme of things these are little--drives me nuts. It's like the world wants to discredit the guy; I don't get it.

He is an intelligent, caring person. He seems to be trustworthy and honest. These traits have been few and far between in Washington on both sides of the fence.

I am sure he has to play the game in order to please as many people and to have them on his side when its time to take over, it is a huge mess left in Washington to clean up. You have a choice between an honest, educated, inspiring man or a veteran who has played the Washington game very well for a number of years.

You guys elected Bush for a second term, so I think Obama has to use every trick in the book to get elected, I don't blame him in the least.

Look what happened in 2000 & 2004. The GOP is very good at the game and plays for keeps, not caring what moral guidelines are stepped on and smashed in the dirt.Start picking apart the little vet and his voting history. His personal morals. Please do not be afraid because he is a war hero. Try not to make anymore war heroes: I think civilian heroes are better.

Preventing any more young men from a war for oil is imperative, the only right thing to do.

Kim Wismer

Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Jun 20 2008 - 12:16pm

Web Letter

One thing at a time, brothers and sisters. Remember how long it has taken for the Reagan economics (really the Bush Sr. economics) to "trickle down" and destroy our sovereignty and standing worldwide. It will be a long-term turnaround. The Bush people did not go so far as to manipulate oil markets with the first phony Gulf war--they only fired the first shot to destabilize the Middle East and nourish terrorism. Remember, they had much less corporate control of media and Congress in 1988, thus making it neccessary to utilize and compromise with known elements in the Democratic Party power structure.

If you could flip this over, wouldn't you agree that it will realistically take some dealmaking and compromise with entrenched power elites such as Lee Hamilton, that grim reaper of many coverups and dirty ops? It is the way Washington work gets done and the way you get to be President--watching your back around every corner. Go, Obama!

Richard Ray Harris

Desert Hot Springs, CA

Jun 19 2008 - 4:20pm

Web Letter

I understand the need to be "cautiously" optimistic about Barack Obama, but jumping on anything that "appears" centrist and castigating Obama for this is wrongheaded. In this article you point out two reasons for raising the "moving to the center" alarm bell: (1) Jim Johnson's ties to Countrywide, and (2) Jason Furman's writings on Wal-Mart. While I am certainly no fan of Countrywide or Wal-Mart, you really need to put these two individuals in context when discussing Barack Obama.

Jim Johnson was not consulted for advice on dealing with the subprime mortgage crises, and was sought out to do only what he has done for several Democratic nominees in the past: vet potential vice presidential nominees. "Vetting" does not include ensuring that a potential vice presidential candidate shares the "vetter's" views on subprime mortgages. The purpose of vetting is ensuring that (1) a potential candidate has nothing in their or their spouse's background that could hurt the nominee, (2) the candidate shares the values of the nominee, and (3) the candidate creates the prospect of helping the nominee with a key demographic group, state or region. Period.

Only item (1) is truly within the complete control of the vetter, while items (2) and (3) are ultimately determined by the nominee and his campaign advisers. This is an "interactive" process between the vetters and the nominee, so to suggest that Jim Johnson would somehow fool Barack and his advisers by putting someone on the short list that doesn't measure up on all three scores is preposterous.

With respect to Jason Furman, you simply right him off because of his writings on Wal-Mart and his "associations" with a centrist think tank. Have any of The Nation's editors looked at other writings by Furman? Furman recently wrote a article about healthcare affordability and presented a plan to cap healthcare expenses at 7.5% of income.

Furman also wrote an article about the general health of the economy and budget reforms. He argued that future costs such as interest on debt that we will be paying for war expenditures should be included in the budget. He also proposed "pay as you go" spending to make sure the deficit is not increased any further, and has figured out a way to do this without sacrificing universal healthcare.

The editors at The Nation are guilty of doing what most Democrats (and Republicans) have done in the past--demonize someone on everything because you disagree with them on one thing. This is the approach that has led to gridlock in Washington and perpetual partisan bickering. If we are to get past this, we need to heed the example of Barack Obama, which says it is OK to disagree with someone on one issue and unite with them on others where you agree. The only way this is possible is if you understand the imperative of not writing people off like Jim Johnson and Jason Furman, even if you are like me and dislike their positions on Countrywide and Wal-Mart.

Metteyya Brahmana

Santa Cruz, CA

Jun 19 2008 - 2:42pm

Web Letter

I'm not quite ready to leave the Obama Train, however, it does seem that the Senator has taken a sharp turn down Wall Street. How far is it from Wall Street to K Street? I trust Paul Krugman when he says, "Jason Furman is one of the good guys"--but not for very long.

How stupid are we that we let the media destroy John Edwards over a haircut? The man is proving to be absolutely dead on.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein. How about: "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."? That's John Maynard Keynes.

I'm not yet at the point of voting for Nader or Lou Dobbs, but the clock is running.

James Pinette

Caribou, ME

Jun 19 2008 - 2:30pm

Web Letter

Some of us tried to tell other's that Obama was just another politician. One only had to look at who his "advisers" were during the primary to see what his presidency will be like. Now that we are on to the general election, he is falling into the same pattern as other politicians.

Obama is not the progressive many of you think he is. He has been bought and paid for by the corporate world. His presidency will be much like Jimmy Carter and, for all his bad-mouthing Bill Clinton, many of his advisers are from Clinton's Administration.

I think many people will be disillusioned with Obama by the time November comes around.

Audrey Hannifin

Denver, CO

Jun 19 2008 - 1:41pm

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