Monday, March 17, 2008

The Clintons' Victims

We’ll never know the names of the million plus people whose deaths the Clintons caused in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere. [In fact, the actionable offenses were committed only by the husband, but since the wife’s claims for foreign policy “experience” come mainly from the time she was First Lady, it is fair to regard her as part of the team.] Back then, the Clintons’ victims were casualties of policies undertaken to keep the empire intact and to insure that European powers would remain subordinate to the United States. Now the Clintons’ enemy is only Barack Obama. But, for them, that’s no reason to be any less ruthless in the quest for victory (for themselves). Since our media have nothing better to do than report continuously on what CNN calls “the electoral bowl,” the names of the most recent victims of the Clinton attack machine are on everybody’s mind.

It is hard to feel anything but Schadenfreude for Samantha Power, the other woman’s other woman. Power was a journalist who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1999. Somehow she has already become Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy [whatever that means] at Harvard. Granted, it’s only the Kennedy School, not High Church Harvard, but the name “Harvard” is magic and the twenty-four hour cable services don’t know the difference. Power was a golden girl (and also a magnet for titillating gossip), according to The New York Times; therefore her fall from grace is a pity.

Not to me. I, for one, rejoice that this episode has brought yet more disrepute upon the World’s Greatest University. It deserves it always, but especially of late for whitewashing Alan Dershowitz’s latest shenanigans. However the main reason to rejoice is that Power is a prominent defender of the Clintonite wrinkle on imperialist politics – “humanitarian interventions.” She’s also a promoter of the Clintonite narrative on Yugoslavia, the test run for the Cheney-Bush narrative on Iraq: demonize the enemy, scare Americans by making up a devastating threat, then impose American dominance militarily. She didn’t invent that story line, but she has helped promote it. Therefore, if the Clintons want to knock her down a peg, I don’t mind. They have every right; she’s their girl (even if she has gone over to the other side). If Obama doesn’t want to stand by her for calling Hillary a “monster” – big deal! -- then so be it too. As the Meyer Lansky figure in The Godfather would put it: “this is the business..[she] chose.”

On the other hand, it is hard not to feel sympathy for Jeremiah Wright, not just because he’s been attacked for telling the truth, but also because he seems to have been, on the whole, a force for good. Even The New York Times, which usually favors frothy academic gossip over matters of relevance to African Americans, found that news fit to print.

Obama cut Wright loose; even the Clintons stood by Geraldine Ferraro longer! That doesn’t make him worse than them. But it should cause those who think that maybe he isn’t so bad after all to think again.

I still harbor the fantasy that Obama and Clinton will destroy each other and that a genuine progressive will emerge at the Denver convention, if not before, as a candidate of party unity. However the new and (much) improved Al Gore has taken himself out of the picture, and John Edwards, who only “suspended” his campaign and who would be far better than Gore in any case, has disappeared down the media’s memory hole. Even if he hadn’t, it won’t happen. Obama has too many clueless enthusiasts. Clinton has enthusiasts too. They are fewer in number, but when they don’t get their way “hell hath no fury….” In all likelihood, the “winner” will therefore be one or the other of them, no matter what the Clintons do.

Should their squabbles put John McCain (Bush 3) in the White House, who will the Democrats blame? Not the Clintons certainly; Clintons have every right to do whatever they want. But maybe, depending on how the vote totals go, the Democrats can blame Ralph Nader again.

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