Matt Gonzalez, one of Counterpunch's Marat-like scribes, offers an interesting analysis of Obama's political record. We here at Contingences do not always agree with Counterpunch's rather marxist leanings (though libertarian and greenish articles appear on Comrade Cockburn's site once in a while). Gonzalez, however, at least points out Reverend Obama's inconsistencies and, one is tempted to say, hypocrisy (hip-hopcracy). While many in the online sanitoriums of la gauche consider BO to be a great progressive (one with a powerful message of....Hope and Change), the facts show otherwise.
As Gonzalez points out, BO has hardly been consistent on the Iraqi War Effort. Regardless if one agrees or disagrees with the IWE, Obama's waffling should be noted:
"""""Since taking office in January 2005 he has voted to approve every war appropriation the Republicans have put forward, totaling over $300 billion. He also voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State despite her complicity in the Bush Administration's various false justifications for going to war in Iraq. Why would he vote to make one of the architects of "Operation Iraqi Liberation" the head of US foreign policy? Curiously, he lacked the courage of 13 of his colleagues who voted against her confirmation.
And though he often cites his background as a civil rights lawyer, Obama voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act in July 2005, easily the worse attack on civil liberties in the last half-century. It allows for wholesale eavesdropping on American citizens under the guise of anti-terrorism efforts.
And in March 2006, Obama went out of his way to travel to Connecticut to campaign for Senator Joseph Lieberman who faced a tough challenge by anti-war candidate Ned Lamont. At a Democratic Party dinner attended by Lamont, Obama called Lieberman "his mentor" and urged those in attendance to vote and give financial contributions to him. This is the same Lieberman who Alexander Cockburn called "Bush's closest Democratic ally on the Iraq War." Why would Obama have done that if he was truly against the war?""""
Barack hanging wit' Lieberman, one of the most reviled figures in the sanitorium.coms? Not-so-kosher. The Kossacks and their ilk have for years featured Lieber-dem in his tutu, or performing various acts for his GOP-Warlord masters (Contingencies is of course a family-oriented site, so we can only link). That BO-JL connection has not really been pointed out on the leftist blogs, now that the O-train has, with the assistance of Chair-Homie Oprah and others, assumed a sort of quasi-revival meeting energy. Unfortunately, Gonzalez and the Counterpunchers do not really devote sufficient time to the irrational aspects of the BO campaign, really (the herd-mind may be the nature of democratic politics, but the Obama phenomena rates higher on the hysteria-meter than any recent demo campaigning).
Gonzalez does address Obama's not-quite-green energy policies:
""""On energy policy, it turns out Obama is a big supporter of corn-based ethanol which is well known for being an energy-intensive crop to grow. It is estimated that seven barrels of oil are required to produce eight barrels of corn ethanol, according to research by the Cato Institute. Ethanol's impact on climate change is nominal and isn't "green" according to Alisa Gravitz, Co-op America executive director. "It simply isn't a major improvement over gasoline when it comes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions." A 2006 University of Minnesota study by Jason Hill and David Tilman, and an earlier study published in BioScience in 2005, concur. (There's even concern that a reliance on corn-based ethanol would lead to higher food prices.)
So why would Obama be touting this as a solution to our oil dependency? Could it have something to do with the fact that the first presidential primary is located in Iowa, corn capital of the country? In legislative terms this means Obama voted in favor of $8 billion worth of corn subsidies in 2006 alone, when most of that money should have been committed to alternative energy sources such as solar, tidal and wind."""""
Ethanol might appear to be a promising solution to fuel-problems at first, but in terms of logistics (like cornfields, the eth. refineries, etc.) it is hardly any more cost-effective than petroleum is (though, admittedly, the status of ethanol as alternative to oil has not yet been completely resolved).
Gonzalez also calls attention to BO's NAFTA-bashing (HRC does this as well):
Regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement, Obama recently boasted, "I don't think NAFTA has been good for Americans, and I never have." Yet, Calvin Woodward reviewed Obama's record on NAFTA in a February 26, 2008 Associated Press article and found that comment to be misleading: "In his 2004 Senate campaign, Obama said the US should pursue more deals such as NAFTA, and argued more broadly that his opponent's call for tariffs would spark a trade war. AP reported then that the Illinois senator had spoken of enormous benefits having accrued to his state from NAFTA, while adding that he also called for more aggressive trade protections for US workers."
Most armchair economists (or politicians, for that matter) are not quite qualified to offer an objective assessment of the effects of NAFTA . As with his positions on the IWE and energy, however, Obama has not been entirely consistent on NAFTA. BO and Hillary generally do not address NAFTA when in Texas or out west, where some have benefitted from it--and it's probably led to more illegal immigration (which dems do little about); when in the land of SUV-factories, NAFTA's enemy #1. The union
NAFTA jacks with the entire Dem. program: it's actually a progressive act, at least in principle (removing tariffs and other trade restrictions, for one). Keynes would probably have approved of NAFTA: it's an example of government intervention in the private sector resulting in increasing benes (hopefully) for workers (including workers across borders), as well as the consumer (more choices, lower prices etc.). Some mexican citizens and southwest people approve of it, even "liberals", as do canadians. But that doesn't fly around Motor city, where the automotive army insists on a rather nationalistic, if not mafia-like control of production.
Who pulls Obama's strings? We humbly suggest it's the mobster-execs of Chevrolet, Ford, GM, and Dodge, mostly, with help from the unions who work for 'em.