"I'd Rather Be The Devil Than Be That Woman's Man"-Some Random Notes On The Obama Transition
As always when I use the headline above, courtesy of the legendary old time country blues singer Skip James (who apparently had been unhappy in love, among other personal problems), in order not to offend my feminist friends who attempted to do “great and grievous bodily harm” to me the first time I used it, in a commentary concerning former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. I have placed two versions of that thought below. Needless to say after reading some of the points listed below one will not have to guess which version is appropriate for this commentary.
“I’d Rather Be The Devil Than That Woman’s Man”- “Devil Got My Woman”, old time country blue singer Skip James’ version
“I’d Rather Be The Devil Than To Be A Woman To That Man”- “Devil Got My Woman”, modern feminist blues/folk singer-songwriter Rory Block’s version
For those who regularly read the commentaries in this space, as at least one reader has informed me, there has been a glaring lack of commentary from this blogger about the bourgeois election process now that the misbegotten 2008 American presidential campaign has run its course. Well, I confess, and do so willingly, that I have suffered from Post Election Deprivation Syndrome (PEDS). Although it is a curable disease with time the symptoms are a result of too closely following political events that is then followed by “ennui” that can only be described as “don’t give a damn”. That last phrase basically sums it up, however, since I am getting back on my feet and am going to need to sharpen my claws (as we all must) after this Obamian transition period is over let me offer a few random points for your perusal.
Obama And The Question Of Political Incest
Look, I was up late on the night of Tuesday November 4, 2008 just like every other political junkie in the known universe. Why? Well, to find out about the fate of some local referendum questions on the Massachusetts ballot, for one thing. However, after two years of following this bizarre American presidential campaign, from outside the process to be sure, I always have an interest, if only a sporting one as here, in such outcomes. Long gone are the days when I would sit up until the wee hours to see whether so-and-so won the 28th Congressional District in California to insure a Democratic majority in that body. But, damn Electoral College counting, that hoary old undemocratic beast which should be abolished posthaste, is still interesting.
So what did I learn from this experience? Well, the top thing immediately is that America will have its first black imperialist commander-in chief. As a veteran of the old civil rights movement and a keen observer of the racial atmosphere in this country for half a century that fact alone is significant. I, along with a myriad of others, if asked by you whether such an event would occur in America by the political year 2008 would have dismissed you out of hand and called for your immediate medical assistance.
In the long haul, given Obama’s publicly stated positions and based on my “feel” for his personal demeanor that means that we leftists will have a little more room to maneuver and can breath a little easier after eight hard Bush years of having had these Nazi manqués try to shove every thing that they could at us and expect us to like it. Moreover, from the “feel” of the Obama campaign and what it generated among the young the expectations of positive change are palpable. I commented in some earlier blogs posted this summer that a little fresh wind, like that of my youth around the campaign of John Kennedy in 1960, seemed to be blowing. In the final analysis, that experimental atmosphere cannot do anything but help us when the hard realities of capitalist politics get hammered down on them. While history does not repeat itself exactly and we, in any case, do not need (or want) a repeat of the 1960’s (if for no other reason than we lost that battle) the capitalist system itself will force the issues.
In the short haul, though, we leftists will be isolated, especially in the foreign affairs arena as Obama will be given at least here a very long “honeymoon” period both because of the utter destructive nature of the Bush years and because, frankly, he is black. Among the black population that “honeymoon” will, as should be expected, last a very much longer time. By analogy, in the old days those of us who grew up Irish Catholics always gave the Kennedys plenty of room and plenty of support, especially when the WASPs got on their cases.
Of course, this is all by way of preface to the “real” news of the transition period- the impending announcement that one New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Democratic presidential contender, and a woman whom I believe still has plenty of “fire in her belly” to be president is to be named Secretary of State. This is only the tip of the iceberg of Obama appointments of former Clinton (Bill, that is) Administration personnel. This “team of rivals” is going to be more like a cathouse by the time this thing is over.
I will finish this section with two points on this for now. First, in several blogs in 2007, well before this election cycle was in focus I mentioned that any country that could not come up with a better political combination than alternating the Clinton/Bush quinella deserves all the trouble that it gets. I will stand on that statement here. As for the second, I refer the reader back to that comment made at the start of this commentary about my motivation for the headline of this blog. Enough said (for now)
Iraq and Afghanistan and always Iraq and Afghanistan
On noon of January 20, 2009 one Barack Obama will be swore in as the 44th President of the American imperial state. Although this may be my ham-handed way of putting the description of that event it underscores the point that I want to make in this section. On that day we will start our opposition to the start of the Obama Administration’s responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Get use to the idea now because the news out of Washington, Chicago, Baghdad and Kabul does not promise any quick ending to our now seven year opposition to this madness. Here’s why.
Obviously, the selection of the unrepentant “hawk” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the next American Secretary of State does not portent well for withdrawal from Iraq. More ominous still are the recent “shotgun” negotiations between the Bush Administration and the Al-Maliki government in Iraq. Those negotiations posit a three year extension of American (and Allied, if there really is such a thing there now) troop presence. With that safety valve in place expect that an Obama first term will move very cautiously and despite all previous avowals to the contrary keep troops there to the bitter end under one pretext or another. The joker in the deck is Sadr and his Madhi Army who have been making some noise on the “Arab street” to get the Americans out now. Some of that is grandstanding for the home crowd but, to the extent that popular opinion in Iraq is moved by that slogan, we, of course, support THEIR efforts to get the American imperial army out.
More threatening though is the situation in Afghanistan. This IS Obama’s war and he may wind up staking his presidency on the issue. Obama is publicly and unequivocally committed to “beefing” up the American troop presence in Afghanistan. He never claimed to be a pacifist or some sappy “peace at any price” monger so we best take him at his word. In this regard we best take seriously his commitment to Afghanistan escalation, as exemplified by the rumored selection of ex-Marine Commandant James Jones as his national security advisor. General Jones has commanded troops in Afghanistan. General Jones is a ‘true believer’ that the situation in Afghanistan can be pacified by increased troop levels. The best thing that we can do now is get out the old banners, get out the old posters and write this on them for January 20, 2009- OBAMA- IMMEDIATE UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL OF ALL AMERICAN TROOPS FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN! That is the new political reality. Be ready