Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kudos for Hillary

Since he secured the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama has been surging to the right more or less continuously, though the pace did pick up slightly just before the Denver convention. [His vote on telecom immunity was something of a milestone, along with his increased enthusiasm for ratcheting up the Bush war in Afghanistan.] Between him and Hillary, it’s now a wash.

This is especially disconcerting as the economy tanks. So far, Obama has yet to say anything to indicate that he’s not on the same page as the Bush administration (and John McCain), when it comes down to a struggle between the speculators and the people whose debts – and lives – they used for fodder. If things get worse, if Obama inherits a depression, will he side with the victims at least to the extent that FDR sometimes reluctantly did? So far, there’s no sign of it; no reason to be hopeful.

It wouldn’t be any better with Hillary, of course, but I do have to say, reluctantly, that, since the convention, she’s shown some class. Supporting Obama in Denver and afterwards and getting her husband to go along is not that big a deal; the Clintons don’t have much choice if they want to remain “viable within the system.” But turning down an invitation to attend and speak at an anti-Iran rally at the United Nations on Monday does warrant kudos. That’s the day Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address the General Assembly. It’s the day that the most repellent shills of the Israeli Right have organized a protest. The ringleader is none other than that “first among equals,” Malcolm Hoenlein, President (for Life?) of the modestly named Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. That, by the way, is a very influential interest group which, along with others, advocates positions many, perhaps most, American Jews, not just me, adamantly reject. Among those positions: that the U.S. should go to war against Iran or at least, as Sarah Palin’s script reads, let Israel do whatever it wants in that (and all other) regard(s).

Clinton turned down the offer from the Israel lobby because Palin, the nothing from nowhere, is going to be there; not because she suddenly developed a backbone. But whatever the reason, she’s doing the right thing. That Hoenlein would invite Palin is no surprise; Right is Right. But that any mainstream Democrat would cross him is extraordinary. Hurray for Hillary! Would that Joe Biden or Obama had such cajones.

Who knows? An unintended consequence of Maverick McCain’s “from the gut” decision to choose an inexperienced, ignorant, Christian Taliban hockey mom for a running (and “soul”!!) mate just might be that other pusillanimous souls, not just Hillary, will see that they don’t have to tow the Israel lobby’s line – that the Emperor has no clothes. Hillary didn’t quite crash through the glass ceiling but, wittingly or not, she just might have made a crack, a structural one, in the Apartheid wall.

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