There were other unusual down-key notes in the speech. Obama is probably the first president of the United States to declare flatly that “we can’t simply afford to ignore the price of these wars…That’s why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended: because the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own.”
Contrast that to the budgetary bravado of President Kennedy proclaiming in his inaugural address in 1961 that “we shall pay any price, bear any burden…in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
In the wake of the speech – particularly after polls showing that it had failed to increase pro-war sentiment – the Democrats were glum, well aware that they will be saddled with an unpopular war through the 2010 midterm elections and that Obama will unhesitatingly turn to Republicans in Congress to get the necessary vote for the money to finance the widening war. From the left came pledges to revive the antiwar movement, dormant these past two years.
There are hurt cries from prominent pwogs such as Tom Hayden who now vows he will strip the Obama sticker off his car. Maybe so. Our sense here at CounterPunch is that Lady Macbeth would get those damned spots off her hands far quicker that American progressives will purge themselves of Obamaphilia.
At least the American political landscape is offering some pleasing spectacles. On Wednesday came tidings of a right-left alliance in Congress, challenging the reappointment of Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a slap in the face not only for Bernanke but for Obama.
In demanding a hold on Bernanke’s reappointment, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said, “The American people overwhelmingly voted last year for a change in our national priorities to put the interests of ordinary people ahead of the greed of Wall Street and the wealthy few. What the American people did not bargain for was another four years for one of the key architects of the Bush economy.”
The president could scarcely exult publicly at one piece of good news, since it comes at the expense of the lives of four police officers, in Tacoma, Washington, shot dead by Maurice Clemmons, an apparent madman who had a very lengthy prison sentence commuted nine years ago by Mike Huckabee when the latter was governor of Arkansas.
Huckabee’s pardons were estimable and prompted praise from CounterPunch’s editors last year as unique exhibitions of courage in the grotesque penal climate in America today. To his credit Huckabee is standing by his reason for pardoning Clemmons– that a ninety-plus year sentence had been a grotesque sentence to give a teenager. But the prospects of him winning the Republican nomination in 2012 have now shriveled, sparing Obama a witty and resourceful opponent.
Obama is no doubt more comfortable with the thought that his opponent might conceivably be Sarah Palin, the woman who is the progressives’ alibi for not having to focus on their pathetic illusions about Obama. He didn’t deceive them on the campaign trail, if they’d been ready to listen closely. He pledged a war in Afghanistan and now he’s cashing that promise. He didn’t fool them. They fooled themselves, a far more culpable offense. (Posted by Bulatlat)