On the eve of the US elections

Original article, a perspective from Patrick Martin, via World Socialist Web Site:

In the run-up to Election Day, with polls pointing to a lopsided victory by the Democratic Party, both Barack Obama and leading congressional Democrats are making it clear in advance that a popular repudiation of the Bush administration will not determine the policies of an Obama White House or Democratic Congress.

Obama’s a neoliberal.  We shouldn’t expect anything different from him.  The sad point is, if he should take such a course, all of those new fresh-faced voters will have reasons to turn cynical.

Having capitalized on popular hatred for President George Bush and mobilized working and young people on the basis of calls for “change” and “new politics” and invocations of the “fierce urgency of now,” Obama and the Democratic leadership are taking pains to reassure the ruling elite that if they win the election, they will carry out a thoroughly conventional and conservative agenda that upholds the interests of the financial aristocracy.

The Democratic Party, for the most part, is in the pockets of the bosses.  We’ve seen the failures of the current Congress to challenge W’s amazingly weak lame duck situation.  It should come as no surprise if the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ Obama’s been pitching is that it would be him running the bosses show.  The proof, of course, will be in the pudding.

The disavowal of any political mandate in Tuesday’s voting was spelled out by the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, in an appearance as an Obama surrogate on the NBC Sunday interview program “Meet the Press.” Program host Tom Brokaw asked Kerry about statements from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat, that Obama should move rapidly on tax cuts for middle-income and low-income families, health care reform and a substantive program to promote alternative energy.

Martin points out that Rangel says he’ll go to the same place that Paulson went for the bailout.  Needless to say, ‘saner’ heads realize that there’s no money for society as a whole, just money for the banksters.  It’s the same ol’ same ol’ from the Dems:

Brokaw asked Kerry, “Is that responsible fiscal policy?” The senator responded, “I don’t agree with all of that and nor does Barack Obama. Barack Obama is the person running for president and he’s made it very clear we’re going to have to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington.”

Keep in mind that such a restoration includes an increase in the armed forces of 100,000 service members, a continuation of the occupation in Iraq, and an increased number of troops (possibly from Iraq) in Afghanistan.  As for the rest of the budget, think draconian cuts.  Also, don’t expect a middle class tax cut, and remember that Bubba kept promising the same thing.

The anti-democratic character of this stance was underscored as Kerry voiced his agreement with comments by former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey, who declared recently: “By my lights, the primary threat to the success of a President Obama will come from some Democrats… emboldened by the size of their congressional majority… Obama will need to communicate the following to Congress, in no uncertain terms: The Democrats have not won a mandate for all their policies. Rather, the American people have resoundingly registered their frustration with a failed status quo, and the next president must chart a new, less partisan course.”

Blech.  With majorities that will dwarf anything the Republicans had during their reign of error (assuming the polls are right), the Dems should change the course of the country.  If the two K’s are right, the spineless Democratic leadership is going to give up the instant the elections are over.

The Democrats responded with alacrity to the danger of a meltdown in the financial markets, turning over trillions in public funds to bail out the banks and speculators. The same political figures will turn to working people after the election and tell them that there is no money to provide health care, jobs, education and other social benefits, especially given the need to spend even more for wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

If Obama follows such a course, he’ll be the best friend that the Republican party ever had.  A continuation of failed policies will lead to failure.  Keep this in mind tomorrow as you go to the voting booth:  There are alternatives available.

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  1. Obama has run his campaign promising to be a centrist neoliberal.  If Americans vote for him, they will be voting for exactly what Martin is decrying as anti-democratic, because that is what Obama told them he would do.

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