Black Agenda

Freedom Rider: So Long Suckers

By BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Obama campaign has lied to its most fervent supporters.

The Obama campaign slogan ought to be “Never give a sucker an even break.” The Democratic nominee-to-be has made “chumps” out of progressives at every turn, yet they still fawn over Obama as if he is one of their own. But do these “hapless”supporters deserve pity—or condemnation. Regarding the group, Progressives for Obama, they are accomplices to the candidate’s “wrong doing.” Something is clearly wrong in the “progressive” American political culture. “Because progressives never fought the good fight amongst themselves, they still don’t know what their agenda ought to be, or worse yet, they don’t even know they should have one.”—The author

The yearlong joke that was the Democratic primary battle is now over. It is official. Barack Obama offers absolutely nothing new except well-executed political strategy. The grand political rallies/come to Jesus meetings were nothing more than political theater and viral marketing on and off the charts scale. It is true that thousands of people became involved in politics through the Obama campaign, only to be told now that he represents the same old same old and that they had better accept it and shut up.

The Obama campaign slogan ought to be “Never give a sucker an even break.” It isn’t clear which sight is more painful to watch, the progressives who fell for the hype and are now heart broken or the cynics who knew the game all along and now applaud the campaign’s increasingly rightward shift.

The fact that Barack Obama will opt out of public campaign financing proves that he is the ultimate corporate candidate, confident that he can continue to be a fund raising machine. His cash-collecting prowess is a result of corporate fealty and nothing else. The story of small campaign contributions propelling him to victory is just one of many bogus tales spun in order to fool idealistic voters.

The supposedly mysterious flip-flop on FISA legislation [The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] is anything but. The same man who promised to support a filibuster of legislation that gave law breaking telecoms immunity now tells us to just forget we heard him say those words. Just follow the money and the mystery is solved. Is his decision to contradict himself a result of not wanting to cross ATT, Verizon, Comcast, Sprint and all their corporate buddies? Unless two plus two no longer equals four, the answer is a definite yes.

It is time for Obama supporters to be called to account for their complicity in the charade

The old song remains the same, Democrats must move to the “center” which is actually to the right, or else the Republicans will win. Democrats have to prostrate themselves before corporate interests. After months of hearing about change and a new paradigm and citizen organizing, we have nothing but the tired, pathetic, corporately controlled Democratic Party up to its old tricks of peddling a losing strategy.

Not a single Democratic incumbent lost in the November 2006 elections while Republicans were sent packing. Voter disgust about the continued Iraq quagmire was the key to victory and disproves the corporate media and Democratic leadership propaganda that only Republican talking points can win the day.

It is easy to berate Obama and the rest of the Democratic leadership for their craven behavior, but it’s time for Obama supporters to also be called to account for their complicity in the charade. A group calling themselves Progressives for Obama announced their formation on March 24, 2008. While campaigning in the Pennsylvania primary on March 28, 2008, Senator Obama announced that he would have a foreign policy akin to the first President Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Progressives for Obama were made to look like chumps in less than one week. Although that assessment assumes they ever cared in the first place. Only they know the answer to that question, but they certainly failed in the integrity department. If they had any at all, they would have immediately disbanded and done so publicly. They didn’t. They are still around and still peddling Obamaism. A perusal of their web site shows that they have nothing to say about Obama’s reversal on FISA, or his threats to attack Iran or his rejection of public financing or his support of Supreme Court rulings on the death penalty and gun control. They are silent on any issue that reveals the extent to which the Obama campaign has lied to its most fervent supporters. Are they hapless chumps, or evil hustlers? It doesn’t really matter. They are accomplices to Obama’s wrong doing.

Progressives still don’t know what
their agenda should be

Progressives for Obama are not alone. As has happened throughout the campaign season, his supporters either say nothing or succumbed to torturous mental gymnastics to defend him. Maybe he has a secret plan to undo the FISA legislation. Maybe his Attorney General will take care of it. Maybe he is counting on other senators like Christopher Dodd and Russ Feingold will do the heavy lifting. Maybe pigs will fly.

The endless claims of change were phony and almost everyone knew it. It was never a matter of sounding the alarm to unsuspecting Obamaites, it was a matter of exposing political hucksters who found a new source of unsuspecting marks.

If there were any true political organizing in American politics, the Obama sham would be seen for what it is. Instead corrupt Democratic leaders sell snake oil, and the rank and file go along in confusion or succumb to paralysis out of fear of electing John McCain. Because progressives never fought the good fight amongst themselves, they still don’t know what their agenda ought to be, or worse yet, they don’t even know they should have one. Falling for high-flown rhetoric became a substitute for hard headed political decision making.

So we now have the Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns all over again, albeit with more charisma and a better campaign. The fact that Obama has a better campaign means that he is more likely to win. The fact that he is just another bought-off Democrat with a constituency who refuse to make demands means that his term will be like that of the last Democrat. In January 2009 we will have an even slicker Willie in the White House.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgandaReport.Com. Ms. Kimberley maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at  More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda Report archive page.

—Black Agenda Report, July 2, 2008