From choosing liberal hawk Joe Biden to be his running mate, to the selection of pro-war creep Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, Barack Obama -- despite his often repeated calls for some sort of vague "change" -- has sided with the Washington foreign policy establishment ever since he first arrived in the U.S. Senate, as evidenced by his repeated votes in favor of funding the occupation of Iraq.
Yet, in a stubborn refusal to accept reality over rhetoric, liberal Democrats continue to feign disappointment at the alleged "peace" candidate's continual snubbing of his anti-war base -- and like other victims of abuse, many continue to hold out hope that Obama, deep down inside, really does oppose things like preemptive war and warrantless spying -- honest, he does -- but acts counter to his instincts because of "politics" or some other rationalizing nonsense.
Now, as Politico reports, Obama appears set to offer the position of secretary of state to the same woman, Hillary Clinton, he once criticized (back in the primaries) as representing the tired, old Washington establishment -- to the dismay of those in "Obamaland":
Barack Obama's serious flirtation with his one-time rival, Hillary Clinton, over the post of secretary of State has been welcomed by everyone from Henry Kissinger to Bill Clinton as an effective, grand gesture by the president-elect.
It's not playing quite as well, however, in some precincts of Obamaland. From his supporters on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, to campaign aides of the soon-to-be commander-in-chief, there's a sense of ambivalence about giving a top political plum to a woman they spent 18 months hammering as the compromised standard-bearer of an era that deserves to be forgotten.
"The specific policy area at issue seems to be one in which the two of them aren't all that well-aligned," wrote the liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias.Call me crazy, but perhaps -- just perhaps -- Obama and Clinton really are "well-aligned" on foreign policy, but that in order to win the primary, Obama positioned himself better to capitalize on the widespread anti-war sentiment of the Democratic base? Maybe?
For instance, consider the fact that during the primaries Obama's campaign lambasted Clinton for voting for the provocative Kyl-Lieberman resolution, which as I noted in a piece for Connecticut public radio station WSHU last year, called for Iran's Revolutionary Guard to be labelled a "terrorist organization" -- which many senators considered tantamount to calling for another war. However, as soon as Obama secured his party's nomination, he was quick to tell the crowd at the far-right American Israeli Public Affair Committee's (AIPAC) annual meeting that the Revolutionary Guard had "rightly been labeled a terrorist organization."
Writing last June regarding Obama's seeming about-face at AIPAC, in a piece entitled "Barack Obama: Change you probably shouldn't believe in...", I noted that the move:I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton is, as far as politicians go, intelligent. It would be nice, though, if she weren't also a militaristic corporatist who wholeheartedly supported -- until it became politically inopportune -- the disastrous and murderous war crime that was the invasion (and current military occupation) of Iraq.
. . . certainly highlights how little Obama in fact deviates from the mainstream, imperial consensus on foreign policy, despite the claims of Democratic partisans that he somehow represents some sort of fundamental "change". It also highlights the dishonesty of his campaign (surprise! politicians lie!) in playing up his (belated) opposition to the Kyl-Lieberman bill while conveniently downplaying the fact that, well, you know, he agreed with the main thrust of it.
Predictably -- as foreshadowed by their quick acceptance of the militaristic drug warrior Biden -- self-proclaimed progressives, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (who, for all his claims to be an "independent," radical socialist, has endorsed every Democratic presidential candidate since at least 1992), appears more than willing to accept the business-as-usual nature of the coming Obama administration:
"Sen. Clinton is one of the brightest people in Congress and she would be an excellent choice," Vermont's independent senator, Bernie Sanders, told Politico through a spokesman.
Then again, I'm not a well-respected foreign policy figure like a Henry Kissinger or a Colin Powell, so what do I know?