Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The Cheney/Bush government announced that it has promised to provide Saudi Arabia with enriched uranium, thereby giving the prospect of nuclear proliferation a major boost. At the same time, it has stepped up its saber rattling towards Iran – targeting its (perfectly legal) uranium enrichment program. It bears mention that the semi-feudal, obscenely rich Saudi state rules over a land awash in terrorists of the kind the Cheney/Bush government ostensibly opposes – to the point of waging “war” against them (or their methods; that part has never been clear). Saudi Arabia was the birthplace of most of the 9/11 terrorists and, of course, Osama Bin Laden. Meanwhile, Iran has not initiated wars against its neighbors in centuries, and none of the 9/11 terrorists came from there. Moreover, there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear program under way; quite the contrary, there is good reason to think that it does not. The real question is why it doesn’t, since Iran’s need for a nuclear deterrent is genuine -- being surrounded by unfriendly and overtly hostile nuclear powers: India, Pakistan, Russia, Israel and, of course, the United States.

No awareness of this craziness registers in the public remarks of Barack Obama or, needless to say, Hillary Clinton. Clinton, especially, salivates at the thought of war with Iran, much like John McCain, her alter ego. But then what would one expect of a Democrat more than usually intent on winning the hearts --and wallets -- of the Israel lobby?

This is all the more reason why it is also crazy, at this point, for anyone not in the thrall of Obamaniac illusions, to applaud the nauseating niceness Obama and his supporters are lavishing upon the Clintons. The Obama campaign’s position is at least understandable. Recent primaries, especially those in West Virginia and Kentucky, show that racist attitudes are still virulent enough to spell trouble for their candidate in November, at least in some parts of the country. But why would anyone not militating for Obama also heap praise on that wretched family? No doubt, there are Hillary enthusiasts out there who can make trouble and must be appeased. But most of the pundits who shape what passes for public discourse in this country have never liked the Clintons very much. Why do they find Hillary’s unwillingness to throw in the towel so admirable? Here is a particularly ludicrous illustration from the May 20th Washington Post. To be sure, Richard Cohen is a silly man and a dreadfully inept “thinker.” But swooning over Hillary’s “toughness” is over the top, even for him. Hillary is not tough in any admirable sense of the term; she’s childishly obstinate. Perhaps she appeals most to the elderly, but her staying in the race at this point is infantile. A Freudian might well deem her behavior borderline narcissistic.

More serious pundits than Cohen – Tim Russert, for example, during the coverage of the election results from Kentucky and Oregon on MSNBC – claim that the Clintons are “positioning” Hillary for something, they know not what. It has even been suggested that she could be the next Ted Kennedy – a liberal “icon” in the Senate. That’s crazy too. Kennedys are glamorous and tragic figures; Clintons are sleazy. Kennedys, Ted anyway, genuinely are liberals; the Clintons, Hillary and Bill, are rank opportunists. The tragedy is that Bill Clinton will never be brought to justice for his actionable offenses – his crimes against the peace and against humanity in Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere – and that the Clinton family will never be made to pay for the political harms it has done. How much “credit” Hillary can take for completing the “Reagan Revolution” and preparing the way for George W. Bush is debatable, but it is beyond doubt that she set the cause of universal health care coverage back a generation, while permanently marginalizing the eminently sound idea of single payer, not for profit, health insurance.

Therefore, lets do what we can to quash the niceness. Lets do what we must to get the Clintons out of our public life. That would not nearly suffice to do Clintonism in, but it would be a start. Were it somehow to happen, the Clintons would no doubt spend the rest of their lives enriching themselves, rather than wallowing in the infamy they deserve. It’s a galling thought. But it would be a small price to pay for seeing the backs of them.

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