Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Struggle Sharply

t was a glorious moment when “the next first family of the United States” was introduced to tens of thousands in Grant Park. Obama’s speech to that enormous crowd, and to the nation and the world, was true to form. John McCain’s concession speech, delivered a few minutes earlier in Phoenix, was gracious too. But before we succumb to the celebratory mood of yesterday’s victories, and to all that civility, we need to remember that Obama’s intelligence, eloquence and competence do not change the fact that, on fundamental questions of foreign and domestic policy, he has yet to give a hint of differing even slightly from the Democratic (Clintonite)- Republican consensus.

Considering the alternative, don’t expect Obama’s supporters to feel buyers’ remorse any time soon. But do expect Obama to start giving cause right away. Rumor has it that Rahm Emanuel will be his chief of staff. It could be worse. But remember it was Emanuel who, taking charge of the Democrats’ congressional campaign in 2006, took pains to find Democratic candidates “moderate” enough not to end any of the Bush wars or even to impeach their perpetrators. He’s gotten no better since. The real problems will start to emerge when Obama announces his choices for key economic posts, including Secretary of the Treasury. Despite Chris Matthews’s inside-tipster assurances last night on MSNBC that Obama will not appoint “retreads” to govern with him, reports this morning indicate the Larry Summers and Paul Volker have the inside track. No retreads indeed! Wall Street will love it. For the rest of us, it will be a clear sign that Obama’s rightward surge is still on course. By the time he gets around to a National Security Advisor and a Secretary of State, there will be no doubt.

No more blather, therefore, about a new dawn! Much less has changed than appears. The hard struggle, not just against Bush and his would-be continuators but against the empire-friendly, militarist, and pro-corporate policies of the regime itself, must now go into full throttle.

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