Gareth Porter: Will Obama be truly post-Cold War? [Transcript here.]
Historian and author Gareth Porter discusses with Pepe Escobar the positioning of Senator Barack Obama relative to the power of the national security establishment in the US; the legacy of JFK; the feasibility of the US refusing to occupy Muslim lands; and what it takes to be elected president of the United States.
BY TAYLOR MARSH Senator Hillary Clinton’s letter. Dear Friends, I am pleased to send greetings to each of you attending the 160th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention.[...]
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Good morning from Austin.
Should be another interesting day. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is participating in a question and answer session at 9:00 a.m. Central. That's just for starters. Stay tuned.
Also, I'm pretty sure that Netroots Nation is a lot more fun and productive than the much smaller right wing version being held across town. Even Texas isn't a safe haven for the GOP anymore. That's got to really suck for them.
We'll have updates through the day as events unfold.
So, thread the news, please.
I happen to agree with her reading of Bush's record, but the inability of the Democratic Congress to stand up to such a failure has been an eye opener.
"God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States ? a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject."
Some are coming to the conclusion that the religious right's hostility to John McCain notwithstanding, they are settling for the guy.
The Carpetbagger Report offers this:
I?ve been wondering what the Religious Right is going to do about John McCain. These groups are clearly not crazy about the guy. But I predicted months ago that the fear of a Democratic president would terrify them so much that they would come around. That?s what appears to be happening.
McCain will underperform, and Obama will overperform with the grassroots of the religious right, which is all that has to happen to destroy the GOP nominee.
As much as I disagree with the religious right?s grassroots on just about everything, from personal experience in speaking with some of these people (in Wisconsin), my conclusion is that commitment to ?community? matters and perception of authenticity matters.
That McCain does not have to a sufficient degree, though their campaign is working on it.
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Yeah, I know it sounds either like a neo-con version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Time Warp, or there has been a really big shoe drop with the PrezNitWit accepting even the notion of the word “time” to be associated in any way with his Iraq War final solution. Never fear my pretties. [...]
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When I look at the way the press jumped all over Obama's remarks that he would "continue to refine" his withdrawal plans for US forces in Iraq, which has essentially been his position all along:
On Iraq, he drew cheers when he said: "I opposed this war from the start" and "I have also consistently said that once we were in, we had to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in."I can't wait to see how those who accuse Obama of flip-flopping react to this 100% back flip:
President Bush and Iraq's prime minister have agreed to set a "general time horizon" for bringing more U.S. troops home from the war, a dramatic shift from the administration's once-ironclad unwillingness to talk about any kind of deadline or timetable.Isn't this the very thing that Bush pledged never, ever to give? A timetable for withdrawal?
The announcement Friday put Bush in the position of offering to talk with Iraqi leaders about a politically charged issue that he adamantly has refused to discuss with the Democratic-led Congress at home. It also could complicate the presidential campaign arguments of Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama who have staked out starkly opposite stands about the unpopular war.
The truth is, on both Iraq and on Iran, the White House have moved ever nearer to doing the very things that McCain berated as naivety when proposed by Obama.
As for the campaign to elect a new commander in chief, McCain firmly opposes any withdrawal timetable while Obama pledges to pull out combat troops within 16 months. By talking about a "time horizon," Bush appeared at odds with McCain and could make his own GOP administration a tougher target for Obama's anti-war barbs.
McCain issued a statement saying, "Progress between the United States and Iraq on a time horizon for American troop presence is further evidence that the surge has succeeded. ... If we had followed Sen. Obama's policy, Iraq would have descended into chaos, American casualties would be far higher, and the region would be destabilized."
However, Ben Rose, a senior adviser to Obama, said, "It's another indication that the administration is moving toward ... Sen. Obama's position on negotiating the removal of our forces as part of our ongoing discussions with the Iraqi government."
Friday's White House statement was intentionally vague and did not specify what kind of timelines were envisioned. That allows Iraqi officials, who are facing elections in the fall, to argue they are not beholden to Washington or willing to tolerate a permanent military presence in Iraq. For Bush, it points the way toward a legal framework for keeping American troops in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31.If the American presence in Iraq is what the civilian population wants, why would Iraqi politicians need to offer them such reassurances to have any hope of being elected?
I find it simply astonishing that the media are presenting Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe as a potential mind field where, if he makes one slip up, John McCain sits ready to pounce, showing that Obama is inexperienced in foreign affairs.
And yet that is the puppy they are trying to sell us here:
Apparently, the chancelleries of Europe are quaking in their boots, unaware of what Obama has in store for them. This would imply that members of the European Union and the Israelis don't have satellite television and can't even keep up with a broadsheet to find the stance of the Democratic candidate.
A single misstep, an off-the-cuff foreign policy initiative or even a mispronounced name will be pounced on by his Republican rival, John McCain, as evidence that he is a naïf in the one area over which a president has most say ? US foreign policy.
"I believe that either today or tomorrow ? and I'm not privy to his schedule ? Senator Obama will be landing in Iraq with some other senators," Mr McCain said yesterday, piercing the veil of security surrounding his rival's itinerary.
There are hazards aplenty as the Democratic candidate travels into the conflict zones of Iraq, Afghanistan and the West Bank, before he arrives in western Europe during the second half of the week.
He is the first black candidate with a shot at the presidency, and is likely to be met by an adoring public, but there is nevertheless anxiety in the chancelleries of Europe.
There will be a lot of eyes on him but, as long as he doesn't make any major slip ups, such as confusing Shia and al Qaeda, or thinking that Czechoslovakia still exists, then he'll be fine.
"If Obama says he represents a new politics, he's certainly smashing an old paradigm by going," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, of Rice university in Texas, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "And for 10 days, he'll own the media. It's gigantic for him."
The main purpose of the trip is to persuade the American public that he is ready to become the US commander in chief. A Washington Post/ABC news poll this week highlighted a need to close the gap with his Republican rival John McCain on foreign affairs. Almost three-quarters of respondents said McCain would be a good commander-in-chief, compared with fewer than half expressing similar sentiments about Obama.
On this trip, Obama has to look and sound the part of commander-in-chief, demonstrating detailed knowledge of foreign policy and appearing comfortable in the company of foreign leaders. Above all, he has to avoid making any slip that could be seen as reflecting inexperience.
"There will be a lot of eyes on him, and we know that," David Axelrod, his chief strategist, said.
Although the McCain lobbyist brigade put on a strong face and defended fellow lobbyist Phil Gramm, McCain's chief economic advisor-- and first choice for Treasury Secretary in an administration that will never be-- the handwriting was on the wall from the moment the public focused on what an ass he is. Giving a candid look at the thinking inside the Double Talk Express, the multimillionaire and elitist Gramm, who's gotten every cent he has by working the government for his own self interest while decrying the very concept of the government having any role in the common good, complained that Americans are a "nation of whiners." He claimed that there is no recession, and that the falling home prices, steadily growing unemployment numbers, bank failures, inflationary spiral are... no big deal and "just in people's minds."
And, indeed, among people like the Gramms, Bushes, Cheneys and McCains, who have profited so handsomely by sucking at the government teat, life is good. Life is very, very, very good. And they wouldn't change a thing-- except to bring on more of the same-- lots more.
This morning's NY Times makes it official: after trying to rehabilitate Gramm earlier in the day-- he's had his "time out," they said and was back on board-- McCain bowed to intense public pressure and finally jetisoned Gramm as his campaign's co-chairman, or at least says he did. McCain and his lobbyists and media allies keep calling Obama an elitist and an arugula eater. McCain has more corrupt multimillionaires on the Double Talk Express than even Bush had on his campaign, more, in fact, than any other candidate in history. There's another scandal every week and today's was all about a particularly sleazy operator and major McCain fundraiser, Juan Carlos Benitez, one of McCain's many connections to Jack Abramoff and the Republican Culture of Corruption that has ruined Washington during the Bush presidency.
But it was Gramm's inevitable "resignation" last night that got the most media attention.
Mr. Gramm, a multimillionaire banker, has been under fire since last week, when he dismissed concerns about the troubled economy by referring to ?a mental recession.? He also said the United States had become ?a nation of whiners,? a remark providing fodder for Democrats to portray Republicans as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans.
Since the start of his campaign, but particularly since the onset of the most recent economic turmoil, Mr. McCain has been struggling to convince voters of his ability to manage the economy, an area he has acknowledged in the past as a weakness. Mr. Gramm, in addition to being a close friend, helped design his economic program and, until last week?s gaffe, was being mentioned as a possible treasury secretary in a McCain administration.
Remember being called a whiner by Phil Gramm? That was us, a "nation of whiners", full of "mental recession".
Well, Phil, infamous penner of the McBush economic plan, proud porn producer, UBS lobbyist, has left the campaign:
"It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country."In case you missed HOW GOOD Gramm's economics are, remember that he spent $2.5 MILLION per delegate to win 8 delegates when he ran for President in 1996.