Archive for March 2008
I just finished reading Matt Gonzalez’s well-written piece The Obama Craze: Count Me Out. I knew of Matt from back in law school — his class graduated one year ahead of mine. Also, back in 2003, I closely followed his run for San Francisco mayor — I was disappointed he lost.
I have little argument with his piece on Obama. However, as Matt probably is aware, one could start with the same issues addressed in his piece, yet write an article reaching the opposite conclusion — i.e. one showing Obama to be progressive. If both views are true, this would suggest Obama is rather “flexible” in his positions. Indeed, near the end of his article, Matt suggests that Obama ought to “stop pandering to win votes”.
This means Matt doesn’t see Obama as a Manchurian candidate sent by the Right wing, the corporations, or the money interests. Instead, he sees Obama as a garden-variety pandering politician — albeit one with a golden tongue.
So Matt is taking a guess as to Obama’s underlying motivations. I disagree with Matt’s guess. Yes, I can see that Obama’s political behavior looks a lot like pandering, at best, and, at worst, corruption. But even though Obama’s behavior looks like that, I’ll suggest that his underlying motivations are quite different.
Basically, I suspect Obama’s underlying motivations are informed by his belief he is the messiah. And I see messianic impulses as quite different from corrupt/pandering ones, even though some of the outward behavior might look similar.
This difference starts with the observation that the panderer sees himself as a human, and sees the panderee as a comparable human. Same with corruption. This is corruption: “You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours”. But you see, this aphorism assumes that my back is a human one, prone to periodic itchiness — as opposed to being the back of a god which knows no such discomfort.
So I come to my belief about Obama’s seemingly pandering and corrupt behavior. I believe Obama thinks he truly is the messiah. As the messiah, he is worthy of love and reverence from all of his subjects. So it would be bad form for him to behave in a way that would disappoint any of his subjects, whether his subjects are AIPAC, Wall Street, or the military-industrial complex, or the Palestinians, the working class, or anti-war progressives. We are all his subjects. He is the One.
Digression: At our residence, we still get mail for the long-deceased wife of the fellow from whom we bought our property. That mail comes from, of all entities, Scientology. It’s comical stuff. Last one had a colorful flyer offering a unique program for $3,148.56. I kid you not. In many of the photos in the flyer, on the wall behind the depicted cult member, is a framed picture of the Great Man himself (L Ron Hubbard). You watch: Five years from now, pictures of Obama will be hanging on walls in every corner of this nation.]
I know what you’re thinking: “Nice hairline distinction, Peter. What’s the possible relevance?”
The relevance is that these are not normal times we’re living in. America is on the verge of an epochal collapse. As I predicted back in late 2004, crude oil has surpassed $100/barrel, and gold yesterday reached $990/ounce before retreating (I predicted > $1000/ounce). These numbers are mere symptoms of a systemically diseased nation.
By the time Obama takes office next January, the collapse will either be well engaged or imminent. So President Obama will be faced with a collapsed nation of suffering people. Faced with that, I believe he will do what any messiah would do. He’ll do whatever it takes to raise us little people up. That means he’s going to whack the corporations, and stick it to the rich. Just like FDR did before him.
When he does that, he’s not going to spend much time worrying that he’s “betraying” these former constituents of his. He won’t think he “owes” anything to them. He doesn’t owe anything to anybody. He is, after all, the messiah.
But the rest of us are humans. And when some of us humans turn out to be the ones that President Obama has turned against, he’s going to have pissed off the very sorts of folks that Matt writes about in his piece. Those folks are going to say: “We bought that boy. He’s paid for. We own him. Now he’s turning on us?”
As so, this is why I fear that, just as the “betrayed” folks did to FDR before him, and as the “betrayed” folks did to Lincoln before FDR, Obama’s “betrayed” folks are going to take a shot at the President.
Digression #2. FDR actually survived two separate attempts against him. The second was a failed coup engineered by certain among the “betrayed” Wall Street crowd. The earlier, one, interestingly enough, came from the opposite end of the political spectrum. In other words, the first would-be assassin of FDR was an anarchist. Evidently, some among the extremist progressives saw FDR, early on, as being not nearly progressive enough. Yet another Obama parallel.
I hope the historically scheduled future attempts on President Obama fail. And I really hope that even if such an attempt does succeed, it comes late enough to have allowed Obama to have united this fractured, bleeding nation before he leaves the stage.
So I’m glad Matt is on the national stage saying what he’s saying. Nader obviously suffers from his own messianic impulses. But Matt’s not like that at all. He was just asked along for the ride.
What would you say if a national figure asked you to ride shotgun on the adventure of a lifetime? I’d say: “Hell, yeah! Count me in!” I wouldn’t care that Nader is a dick-head. Running on a Presidential ticket (even a shabby one) would give me the opportunity of expanding the audience for the views I’ve been expressing on this site for the past four years. And I would learn what the nation thinks of these views. How fun would that be?
So even if you think Nader is an asshole, look closer at Matt. He’s a different animal.
And look closer at Obama. He really drinks his own Koolaid. We fat Americans need a guy like that.