Since the people running Barack Obama’s campaign must be pretty smart, I assume that the replies that I would put into his mouth have been considered and rejected for lacking resonance among the undecided.
For example, what’s all this talk about the ‘success’ of the troop surge in Iraq? The most dangerous country on earth, cities that are hollowed-out shells, 4 million destitute refugees too terrified to come home, ethnically cleansed neighborhoods where death squads roam the streets, three hours of electricity per day, unemployment at 60 percent and stacks of cash disappearing from every government ministry? We should be proud of this record? John McCain is, but he never has to explain why.
Instead, Obama weakly concedes that the surge has ‘worked’ because fewer American troops are getting blown up. What a pathetically racist commentary on the mindset of our countrymen that hundreds of Iraqis can die invisibly and their country destroyed, but the peace of the cemetery that we bring them is dubbed ‘success.’
On domestic affairs McCain sounded like Ralph Nader in describing his long fight against the party in power to the point that you had to remind yourself that he belongs to it. Why did Obama let him get away with that again and again? I didn’t hear a single reference to the Republican Party as the culprit for our economic ills whereas we’ve all heard the Democrats characterized as the ‘tax and spend’ party so long that we have permanent grooves in our brain.
You also heard nothing about McCain’s sorry record of complicity and chumminess with the most corrupt figures in the savings and loan scandal even though we’re living through the repeat of that episode multiplied by a gazillion. The Obama campaign must have decided not to attack his record on that for a reason—one which escapes me just now.
Over and over we witness the Democrats on the defensive about trying to make government work for us and provide for our crucial needs. In the old days candidates had to run as far possible from public services because, um, black people used them, and looking like you defended that population was a guaranteed election-loser. Are we still there despite the vicious dismantling of the state by these highway robbers? If so, it’s a sorry reflection of the backwardness of our shared assumptions and the underlying racism that continues to infect our society and its discourse.