Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Deal, Colin Powell

It should go without saying that the first order of business, for anyone to the left of George Will, is to defeat McCain-Palin. With that in mind, vote for Obama if you live in an “unsafe” state (if there still are any in two weeks time). I would say the same for people living in “safe” Republican states because voting for Democrats in those benighted regions is probably the best way to make a point and also to lay down foundations for a (marginally) better future. Since I live in a “safe” Democratic state, I will probably vote for either Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney on the grounds that doing so is a better use of my vote than adding it on to an Obama majority. I’d feel less conflicted about that, though, if there were a serious project underway to build a progressive alternative to the Democratic Party. There was, or at least there seemed to be, back in 2000, but Nader has backed away from the effort and the Greens are hopeless. So, unless I succumb to fear and/or bad judgment (as I well might), I’ll be reduced to casting a protest vote. Such is “democracy in America.”

But however that may be, to make oneself able to vote for Obama, or even just to hope that he wins, it is necessary to think McCain (or, worse, Palin) thoughts and to pay no attention to what Obama says or does. The Colin Powell endorsement is a case in point. Like McCain (and unlike Bill Ayers!), Powell fought for the wrong side in Vietnam. Then, thanks to bureaucratic finagling and judicious ass kissing, he rose up the Pentagon hierarchy, engineering Poppy Doc Bush’s Iraq War One and the beginnings of the Bush-Clinton sanction regime. Most notoriously, though, he went on to serve Baby Doc Bush by doing his best to legitimate the most loathsome of Cheney’s and Bush’s machinations – up to and including lying about weapons of mass destruction at the United Nations. Perhaps, now he is repentant. That would make him the Robert McNamara of his generation. But it hardly makes him a towering figure or even a barely estimable one. Yet, Obama is not just pleased but profoundly “humbled” by his endorsement and inclined, it is reported, to make the man a trusted, senior advisor.

How god-awful! But, as I said, since the first order of business is to defeat McCain, we must keep our eye on the prize – and, above all, off the “prize” we’ll soon be saddling ourselves with.

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