The Third Clinton Term
By Ralph Nader
While the liberal intelligentsia was
swooning over Barack Obama during his presidential campaign, I counseled
“prepare to be disappointed.” His record as an Illinois
state and U.S.
senator, together with the many progressive and long overdue courses of action
he opposed during his campaign, rendered such a prediction unfortunate but
Now this same intelligentsia is beginning to
howl over Obama’s transition team and early choices to run his Administration.
Having defeated Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries, he now is
busily installing Bill Clinton’s old guard. Thirty one out of forty seven
people that he has named so far for transition or appointments have ties to the
Clinton Administration, according to Politico. One Clintonite is quoted in the
Washington Post as saying – “This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time.”
Obama’s “foreign policy team is now
dominated by the Hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990,” writes Jeremy
Scahill. Obama’s transition team reviewing intelligence agencies and
recommending appointments is headed by John Brennan and Jami Miscik, who worked
under George Tenet when the CIA was involved in politicizing intelligence for,
among other officials, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s erroneous address
before the United Nations calling for war against Iraq.
Mr. Brennan, as a government official,
supported warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition to torturing
countries. National Public Radio reported that Obama’s reversal when he voted
for the revised FISA this year relied on John Brennan’s advise.
For more detail on these two advisers and
others recruited by Obama from the dark old days, see Democracy Now, November
17, 2008 and Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet, Nov. 20, 2008 “This is Change? 20 Hawks,
Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House.”
The top choice as White House chief of staff
is Rahm Emanuel—the ultimate hard-nosed corporate Democrat, military-foreign
policy hawk and Clinton White House promoter of corporate globalization, as in
NAFTA and the World Trade Organization.
Now, recall Obama’s words during the bucolic
“hope and change” campaign months: “The American people…understand the real
gamble is having the same old folks doing things over and over and over again
and somehow expecting a different result.” Thunderous applause followed these
“This is more ‘Groundhog Day’ then a fresh
start,” asserted Peter Wehner, a former Bush adviser who is now at the Ethics
and Public Policy Center.
The signs are amassing that Barack Obama put
a political con job over on the American people. He is now daily buying into
the entrenched military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned
Americans about in his farewell address.
With Robert Rubin on his side during his
first photo opportunity after the election, he signaled to Wall Street that his
vote for the $750 billion bailout of those speculators and crooks was no fluke
(Rubin was Clinton’s financial deregulation architect in 1999 as Secretary of
the Treasury before he became one of the hugely paid co-directors tanking
Obama’s apologists say that his picks show
he wants to get things done, so he wants people who know their way around Washington. Moreover,
they say, the change comes only from the president who sets the priorities and
the courses of action, not from his subordinates. This explanation assumes that
a president’s appointments are not mirror images of the boss’s expected
directions but only functionaries to carry out the Obama changes.
If you are inclined to believe this
improbable scenario, perhaps you may wish to review Obama’s record compiled by
Matt Gonzalez at Counterpunch.
Ralph Nader is a respected citizen activist and former presidential candidate.
This article appeared in a
recent issue of Counterpunch.
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