Worse than McCain?

Posted on January 4, 2011 by

Many progressives are locking in on the idea that Obama is a fraud and we have to look elsewhere if we’re to save our nation from corporate fascism.

Here’s what Chris Hedges concludes in a recent piece based on a conversation with Ralph Nader: 

There is no major difference between a McCain administration, a Bush and an Obama administration.  Obama, in fact, is in many ways worse.  McCain, like Bush, exposes the naked face of corporate power.  Obama, who professes to support core liberal values while carrying out policies that mock these values, mutes and disempowers liberals, progressives and leftists…

I suppose there’s some truth to this analysis but I resist it.

Like many squishy liberals I go back and forth on Obama:  appalled by the tax cut deal, for example, but – a week later – delighted over the don’t ask, don’t tell repeal.

Maybe, like the president, I lack “core principles.”

Supposedly that explains why he’s so easily snookered by bankers, republicans and the generals (and why I’m still – sometimes – snookered by him).

His Afghanistan troop surge is certainly unpopular with his base.  But I’m all for an aggressive military campaign against Al-Qaeda and I’m probably less troubled than I should be by drone attacks.

In fact, I do take a leap of faith with this president on national security issues, trusting him with the “dirty business” of keeping Americans safe from terrorist attack.

So maybe I’m just a collaborator on the road to corporate fascism. 

And while I think about jumping ship, in the end I’ll probably just settle in as an Obama Democrat: 

Wistful about what could have been, but realistic – and terrified – by the prospect of the republicans running the whole show.

Comments (8)


  1. michael chesler says:

    Hedges is absurd. Check out the 2 recent supreme’s..would you really want a McCain appointee?.. Who knows what science would have brought us during the 8 years of prayerful zealots that wanted to give embryos a decent burial.
    America is a centrist country. Compromise is the order of the day.
    Voting for a Nader might satisfy your inner light, but it will only elect the opposition. THE OPPOSITION AIN’T OBAMA. NO MATTER WHAT.

  2. Phil Raider says:

    You were probably an Obama democrat when you voted for him…now your just settling. Don’t be so hard on yourself! It’s the American way.

  3. Nick Eldredge says:

    I agree with Michael C. ~ Hedges is absurd. Head-up-the-butt absurd. And Nader . . . Hell, he’s the guy who claimed, back in the summer of 2000, that there was no difference between Al Gore and George W.
    And then, to show us what a kidder he really is, he helped give the NeoCons a chance to demonstrate the difference.

    A “fundamentalist”, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Conservative or even Liberal/Progressive, has a hell of a time seeing the world in anything other than black and white.
    And it’s hard to find room for essential new ideas (or even to put anything more complicated than 2+2 together) in a head packed solid with black and white truth.

    Meanwhile, Lou, I hope you’re wrong about “many progressives locking in on the idea that Obama is a fraud”.
    That seems childish. Right up there with, “I know Dad’s out of work but if I don’t get a pony for Christmas, I’m running away from home. And setting the house on fire as I go”.

    I’m definitely heartened by your willingness to live with your disappointment and confusion without “jumping ship”.
    Like you, I’m disappointed by how easily the progressive base was confused and put into a coma by the seemingly obvious dis- and misinformation spewed 24/7 by the Republicans and their corporate/media cohorts. But I doubt the coma is going to last more than another six, maybe nine months.

    The people making the shrillest noise right now are mostly a pissed-off affluent minority, scared crapless they’re going to lose the privileges of the status quo.
    But there are a hell of a lot of citizens out there who are truly struggling financially, who haven’t been heard from since 2008. If they get even a little bit organized, 2011 could turn out to be a surprisingly good year.
    Here’s to hope, in all it’s dynamic audacity.

    • Ron Alcalay says:

      Thanks to all three of you for your cogent replies.

      After seeing *Inside Job*, I felt most disappointed by Obama’s appointments in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Core principles or not, how can we possibly have meaningful reform (or “change”) with the same people running the show?


  4. Fair, balanced, and eloquent assessment of Obama years, so far. We wanted FDR, and we got LBJ.

    Still, for progressives to work at cross-purposes, and carp away at all this administration isn’t doing, plays right into the hands, and fangs of the lunatics in the other party.

  5. Jeffrey Del Bosque says:

    No, hearing McCain’s voice more regularly would be worse. I can honestly say I don’t know enough to fully rate Obama’s presidency so far. Emotionally, however, I can say that as a progressive I do feel a sense of betrayal, mostly because I think Obama knows more about what’s needed to make positive change for the majority of Americans, than McCain or Bush II or Bush I or Clinton or Reagan, and does not seem to be acting fully on this knowledge. And I feel like emotion rather than reason really drives most humans. I too, though still cling to the hope that he has to be better than the alternative, that he made better court appointments, that he will fight if the new repubs do more to destroy Public television and radio and Planned Parenthood. I still remember how moved my wife and I were thinking about how his presidency will have such a lasting positive effect on the consciousness of all young people of color.
    Militarily, I’ve got to disagree, though. Dollar for dollar I think we would do more to reduce terrorism through well placed aid or diplomacy than through more military might. The terrorism we are facing seems to me to be more a product of reaction to our nation as an empire, an empire that has done much to favor capitol over the well-being of other countries citizens. And the drone attacks are just another example of the empire refusing to respect international law. I think if we are to prevail over terrorism, then we must address and make amends for the terror done in our country’s name. When the ends justify the means what law, what morality is really left?

  6. Bopb Reid says:

    All this taklk about dumping the President is BS. Yes he did some thngs we progressives did not lke but he is not worse than Bush or McCain.Take the long view. We have to deal with a GOP House and two years of obstruction. We need to focus on telling the democrats message and defending the health care program. Obama is the real deal and won’t disappoint us in the long run.

  7. Betty says:

    I agree with all of you about the first two years of the Obama administration. So much damage to repair after many long years of right wing leadership makes every issue a mountain of trouble to climb. Patience runs thin on the part of everyday working families just trying to keep their heads above water. American workers have been contributing more and getting less for so long they think this is normal. Debt taxes and war, where is the hope of a brighter day suppose to come from in this system of politics being treated as a sporting event where it’s all about my team winning. We did elect the right person to lead and we must stand our ground and continue to contact our legislators on a near daily basis to let them know where we stand. It isn’t enough to get someone elected; that is just a first step. So buck up everyone face the day and stay on script. One by one by one the body count can win out over the money if we stay focused. I am a liberal swimming in a pool of conservatives who don’t know they are voting against their own best interest but they are sticking with their team. Once in a while I see a crack in their message and plant a seed there. Health care is a good conversation piece they are starting to waiver on as they see the benefits in their own lives. Jobs is the target for the next two years or our job in 2012 will be monstrous. Workers for the most part feel powerless in the marketplace but don’t trust unions to help due to all the negative rhetoric in the media promoted by corporate control. So our job must be that of the good soldier and soldier on for our cause. Optimism must win the day and anything less is defeat. Our adversaries love it when they can bully us and see us hang our heads and walk off the playground. What do we think happens to all those childhood bullies. Yes, like us they grew up and are still bullies but there are more of us than there are of them they just fight harder because they are so insecure that they have no other choice. Fear is a powerful driving force. We are not afraid so we always look for compromise. The bully sees compromise as weakness in us. But we know better and remember there are more of us than there are of them so onward and upward soldiers.

Leave a Reply