Sunday, June 1, 2008

Yes We Can Pander! - Obama's Magical Flying Pony

Flashback to 2004. Obama is against the war. Obama is against this idiotic, counter-productive embargo of Cuba (ironically opposite of ever other geopolitical position we take on countries like Cuba). Obama is against a great many things that are entrenched, failed policies. And if you were at DailyKos at that time, it was St. Obama, St. Obama, St. Obama and a massive swelling of heads because Obama won due to their "efforts." (Totally forgetting it was his opponents withdrawal that gave him the seat pretty much uncontested) and Obama was going to save the world, cure cancer and single handedly take men to Mars.

Obama is now Pandering for President and has to deal with the "realpolitik" of the ground. Universal health-care is off the list. He still won't commit to an immediate end to the war. Surely St. Obama can maintain those high-mined ideals of "diplomacy" and "fair?:"

Obama's Overlooked Cuba Speech

Michael C. Moynihan May 30, 2008

If you doubt that the big broadcast and print media outlets are, for the most, in the tank for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), quickly skim the transcript of the Democratic frontrunner’s speech in Miami last Friday. Obama travelled to Little Havana to engage in some election-year genuflection, that ritualistic demonstration of fealty to Cuban exiles performed by almost every presidential candidate since Fidel Castro took possession of the island in 1959. Obama pandered, the media swooned—and a few interesting policy shifts were curiously ignored.

I know that many Obama supporters don't like to hear it, but Obama is getting the same useless and juvenile coverage the run up to the war got. The same pandering love-fest Bush and the Necons got, and most of us came to hate as we were pilloried by the press and the public for our anti-war stance. I can't watch MSNBC anymore as it's literally become the Good Obama vs the Evil Hillary network with out-right biased and taking-sides coverage from before New Hampshire.

And while the Obamobots obviously bask in the bubble, the bubble is there and it is obvious. Digby nails the phenomena at Hullaballo and I suggest reading the rather long post.

Continuing:
It was but one policy proposal—a good one, for sure—and the following day’s New York Times dispatch led with it: “Senator Barack Obama on Friday called for greater engagement with Cuba and Latin America, saying the long-standing policies of isolation have failed to advance the interests of the United States or help people who have suffered under oppressive governments.”

Dig deeper into the speech—and the Times account—and you'll find that there are significant limits to Obama’s policies of engagement. During his 2004 Senate campaign Obama declared that it was "time for us to end the embargo with Cuba.... It's time for us to acknowledge that that particular policy has failed." But Cubans don’t influence Illinois senate races like they do Florida presidential contests. And while another Times article declared that “Change Comes to Miami,” the real news is that Obama is merely interested in tinkering with America’s Cuba policy, not substantially changing it.

I will maintain the embargo,” he said to cheers from CANF members. “It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba—through strong, smart and principled diplomacy.”
The embargo hasn't done a damn thing since 1959. Just as wishing for magical flying ponies and unicorns has yet to bring one to any six-year-old girl in America. Further, our policy with just about everyone else (Russia, China) with a substantial market (ahhhhh....) to be exploited as, as we've all seen, been treated to an "open borders/free trade diplomacy.

Yet Obama's magical flying pony of diplomacy towards, Presidential Pandering Edition, Cuba means more of McSame:
And while accusing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of wanting to continue the current administration’s failed Cuba policy, Obama told the crowd that he could be counted on as supporting another failed policy—the drug war. “When I am President, we will continue the Andean Counter-Drug Program” with Colombia, though he recently opposed the passage of a free-trade agreement with the country. (Speaking of Obama’s skills as a soft-power diplomat, President Uribe responded to Obama’s opposition to the free trade agreement by saying that he “deplored” Obama’s position.)
A policy that really isn't that much different than his own.

Also noted is that Obama clearly lacks the wit, or perhaps spine, to get rid of this idiotic "war on drugs." A policy that doesn't work, hasn't worked for nearly 30-years, and has us incarcerating more people than China and Russia COMBINED.

So, "yes we can?" I don't see it. I see pandering and more of the same.

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