I read an analysis by Bert Wolfe about Barack Obama. It made me sad to read it, even though it was perfectly true.
“Barack Obama was a smart, cool, personable, suave, smooth talking, neoliberal corporatist grifter who will be noted in American history for really sucking the American people in with his BS promises of that which the American people most wanted: “hope and change.” After the eight years of Obama, America has seen little change and has clean run out of hope. But what I think history will be most savagely critical about was his cynical manipulation of the American people’s and the world’s longing for peace, REAL PEACE, a peace that will let people breathe easier knowing that their life and that of their loved ones won’t be snuffed out in a instant by a drone attack or a full scale strategic nuclear exchange. Barack Obama early in his presidency went to Prague where he misused his considerable powers of moving oratory to speak sweetly and hopefully about peace in the world. He really sucked in the Nobel Peace Prize Committee (I’m sure much to their later regret), who responded by awarding Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama then went on to betray the Nobel Peace Prize Committee and the world’s high hopes for a new, more peaceful age by beginning to use unmanned, heavily armed, killer drones to unleash a vicious, bloody assault on the people of the Islamic world. The “official” targets were “terrorists”, the definition of which seems to have become broader and more all-encompassing over time until it basically covered anyone in the Muslim countries who didn’t like America, which meant just about everyone. In short, a lot of innocent civilians were killed or wounded, making America millions of new enemies, and no doubt, thousands of new anti-American “terrorists”. The sad, but awful truth about Barack Obama the Peacemaker is that he came into office with America involved in military operations in two Muslim countries and left office with America involved in military operations in SEVEN Muslim countries. And in his bloody wake Obama left a long line of innocent victims, killed or wounded. Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has soaked his hands in innocent blood right up to his shoulders. Obama even bragged about how good he was at killing people. The fact that so many of them were innocent of any offense against the United States, or were women and children, didn’t seem to faze him. In addition, and while the number is small the dangerous precedent looms large — Barack Obama, the former professor of constitutional law, ordered the drone strike assassination of four AMERICAN CITIZENS without even a hint of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law. This chilling reality should give all Americans pause. And instead of working diligently for real nuclear disarmament with Russia, Obama committed America to a 30 year, $1 trillion “modernization” of America’s nuclear arsenal. The upshot of this blunder may be to ignite another nuclear arms race with the Russians. If nothing else in the 73 years since the very first nuclear explosion at Trinity Flats, New Mexico, it is plainly apparent that both we and the Russians know all too well how to reliably make these horrific weapons go BANG! The real work now is to back away from the nuclear precipice and start dismantling and eliminating these extinction level weapons. This was Barack Obama’s golden opportunity to earn that Nobel Peace Prize and he let it slip through his fingers. And while this golden opportunity to reduce nuclear tensions in the world was missed, Barack Obama signed off on a major escalation of conventional military tension with Russia by placing American and NATO troops on Russia’s western border, and ABM missiles in Poland and Romania with the intention of gaining nuclear “first strike” capability over Russia’s land based ICBMs. In short, President Barack Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, will be remembered by history as a WARMONGER of the first rank! Hope and change? Unfortunately, no. Barack Obama was a liar and fraud!”
Thanks, Bert. What you wrote summarizes my own thinking. I remember how glad I was when Obama won in 2008. I remember how I wondered how he got the Nobel Peace Prize, but I realized that the Nobel Committee was trying desperately to encourage him along the path towards peace. But it didn’t happen.
Here is what the Committee wrote:
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”
But the Committee later regretted its decision.
“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama in 2009 failed to achieve what the committee hoped it would, its ex-secretary has said.
Geir Lundestad told the AP news agency that the committee hoped the award would strengthen Mr Obama.
Instead, the decision was met with criticism in the US. Many argued he had not had any impact worthy of the award.
Mr Lundestad, writing in his memoir, Secretary of Peace, said even Mr Obama himself had been surprised.
“No Nobel Peace Prize ever elicited more attention than the 2009 prize to Barack Obama,” Mr Lundestad writes.
“Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake,” he says. “In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for”. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34277960
Then in 2016, Bernie Sanders stepped up and challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination to replace Obama, who was at the end of his term. The Republican Party was then in turmoil, with 17 candidates running at the start. (Very similar, in some respects, to what is happening in the Democratic Party in 2019). The initial expectation was that Clinton would be an easy winner. But the Democratic primary voters were very much opposed to Clinton, who had served as Obama’s Secretary of State, and was linked to Bill Clinton, President between 1993 and 2000. They remembered the tortured years with her husband as President, including his impeachment. They didn’t want more of that. So Bernie Sanders was able to muster support that almost overcame Hillary’s advantages. It later was shown that her victory over Sanders resulted from the rigging of the primary system. “First, Donna Brazile, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, published excerpts of a forthcoming book in which she says that after she took over the Democratic National Committee, she investigated “whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process” through the DNC, and discovered evidence that they did. “I had found my proof and it broke my heart,” she wrote.
In the aftermath of Brazile’s bombshell, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was asked if she “agree[d] with the notion that it was rigged?” “Yes,” she replied.” https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/14/16640082/donna-brazile-warren-bernie-sanders-democratic-primary-rigged
Later, Brazile and Warren backed away from their conclusions, but it has become self evident since then that the primaries were rigged. Wikileaks had stated even the year before that the primaries were rigged. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/bernie-sanders-us-election-president-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-democrats-primary-results-a7408451.html
As a result, the general election pitted Donald Trump, a candidate with no real political record, against Hillary Clinton, a candidate with a despicable record in so many ways.
“Donald Trump did not even merit consideration. Not for a moment. His incompetence and racist appeal to nativism were clear from the beginning. Further, it was entirely obvious he was preying upon those suffering from the economic deprivation of neoliberal capitalism, promising populist measures to “make America great again.” It didn’t matter to Trump that they were false promises. For Trump, “winning” was all that mattered.
Without public service beforehand, Trump had no political track record to judge. Although there is no way to be sure of this, we can presume that Trump cleverly realized that in our American political culture, there is no penalty for lying. Especially since there is no recall or snap-election method for unseating a President. So he lied repeatedly to make himself look better or his competition look worse. Further, while the mainstream news media reported on obvious lies from time to time, they rarely challenged him directly. Instead, they soaked up his reality-star ratings.”
“In comparison, Clinton had obvious drawbacks. Clearly, she lacked charisma for a wide segment of the voter population. Her supporters were fervent, but a majority of people were unenthusiastic to say the least. She had glaring faults, such as illegally using a private email server for government business; refusing to reveal what she said at private speaking engagements, later having it revealed that she said “you need both a public and a private position;” questionably selling access to the Secretary of State office for donations to her campaign and the Clinton Foundation; and Bill Clinton’s $66 million in corrupt contracts in anticipation of Hillary’s win. Essentially, she was the quintessential corrupt politician in a year of raging anti-establishment feelings.” https://www.mintpressnews.com/political-hell-created-rigged-primaries-horrible-establishment-candidates-not-protest-votes/245656/
As a result, many Democrats did not vote at all, or voted for a third party candidate, while Republicans voted for Trump. But there were Democrats who voted for Trump as well.
“Among Donald Trump’s supporters, the real estate mogul’s victory was akin to a revolution, a mandate delivered en masse by working class voters sidelined in the modern economy.
“On Election Night, I couldn’t believe it was happening. I was up late watching every state go Trump and I was baffled,” said Sue Stavish-O’Boyle, a long-time Democrat from Forty Fort, Pennsylvania who voted enthusiastically for Trump. “I thought, wow, I can’t believe it! The little people have a voice!”
There was a lot of that. Trump’s victory was no less shocking to the 65.3 million who voted for Hillary Clinton. And the problem was not only that pollsters and pundits failed to foresee that former Democrats like Stavish-O’Boyle in the Rust Belt would flip to Trump. It was that many Clinton supporters simply didn’t know anyone personally voted for the man. And vice versa. The country is not only divided, it is separated. For decades, researchers pointed out that shifting demographics—including the tendency among those with advanced degrees to move away from where they grew up—our communities have grown more ideologically homogenous. More and more, we live among people who vote like we do. According to the most recent election data, nearly half of us—48%—reside in what’s known as “landslide county,” where 60% or more of the population votes for the same candidate. In 1976, that number was 27%, according to Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing, the authors of the 2008 book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.
This kind of ideological segregation gives rise to the kind of comedic, if perhaps apocryphal, remark by New Yorker writer Pauline Kael after the 1972 election: “I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.” You heard the same from Londoners after the Brexit vote, which was carried by the countryside. The self-sorting makes common ground harder to find — Clinton dismissing Trump’s base as a “basket of deplorables,” for instance — and caricature and tribalism to creep into a pluralistic republic. The risk is seeing fellow Americans as The Other.”
(We shouldn’t forget, of course, that despite all of the foregoing, Clinton won a majority of the voters. But the Electoral College made Trump a winner. This was one of the many oddities about the American system that gave him victory. Those factors favor the Republicans and will continue to do so into at least the near future).
Let’s go back to where we began. Obama won in 2008, convincing a broad swath of Democrats, particularly those on the progressive side, that he was going to promote change. Only he did not. In 2012 the Party was in financial straits. “The party organization was still deeply in debt from the 2012 campaign, owing millions to banks and vendors, burning through what little cash it had at a stunning rate of some $3 million to $4 million per month. By August 2015, the DNC was becoming unable to make payroll and approaching the equivalent of bankruptcy . . . .
And so the DNC, to save itself, sold everything to the only bidder. The Clinton campaign bailed out the DNC and, in exchange, effectively took it over, according to Donna Brazile, who served as the organization’s acting chairperson from July 2016 to February 2017.
“The agreement . . . specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff,” Brazile wrote in an explosive excerpt of her book . . .. “The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”
All that is fodder for a good flamewar, but walking away rather unscathed is the man who set the blaze in the first place: former President Barack Obama. “Nobody wanted to out the fact that Obama had let it get so bad,” said [a] DNC official.
It didn’t have to be this way. Obama’s campaign operation, Obama for America, took small-dollar giving to never-before-seen heights and opened up the possibility of a transformation of politics. But he quickly decided to marginalize his group after the 2008 election. He renamed it Organizing for America, but ordered it to do very little organizing, worried that if grassroots activists attacked Blue Dog Democrats, they would bolt from the president and lose in 2010.
Obama was re-elected [in 2012], but the party itself went on a historic losing spree, ultimately shedding nearly 1,000 seats across the country. Even after Democrats lost the Senate in 2014, and the DNC continued spending money on consultants at an eye-popping rate, Obama decided not to make a leadership change. Instead, he left it saddled with debt — debt the Clinton campaign would later agree to pay off in exchange for control. https://theintercept.com/2017/11/03/dnc-donna-brazile-hillary-clinton-barack-obama/
Once Clinton seized control of the DNC, the progressives became disgusted and would not vote for her; they could not see change (or hope) emanating from her. They rallied behind Bernie Sanders, and when he lost through the manipulation of the DNC, many of them bowed out. They didn’t vote, or they voted for third parties. Meanwhile, others in the Democratic Party saw the Democratic Party for what it had become, and they were led by Trump’s oratory to vote for him. And the conservative Republicans voted for Trump even though he was not actually doing what he said he would do.
Obama, therefore, caused Trump’s win because of the grave disappointment he caused in many in the Democratic Party. He supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders and allowed the DNC to rig the election. No one should doubt that he had the power to make the 2016 primaries fair. But he was, in fact, beholden to the corporatist side of the Party and did not act even though he could have done so.