The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Democratic primary campaign:
The politics of false hope

Jan 21, 2008

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the front runners for the Democratic nomination for president, claim they want to change things.

Obama’s autobiography is titled “The Audacity of Hope – Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”

Clinton says that she is for change, too, and has the experience necessary to make it happen.

But for changes that benefit working people, some of the wealth the big corporations and banks have been taking from working people is going to have to be taken back. The increasing robbery of the working class and the war in Iraq are the main reasons the situation of working people is worse and worse.

Neither Clinton nor Obama proposes to either stop the war or end the robbery.

Clinton says that on her first day as president she would begin the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq. However, she also says the withdrawal process won’t be completed until 2013. Then she says that tens of thousands of U.S. troops will have to remain in the country! Her plan for ending the war is not significantly different from Bush’s plan.

Obama says he voted against the resolution to invade Iraq. It’s true, he wasn’t in the Senate. But, ever since, he has voted repeatedly for the money used to pay for it. And he says the problem with the war is that it detracts from other wars the U.S. needs to expand – in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama is an admirer of the late Republican president Ronald Reagan: “I think he (Reagan) just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want... a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

But “dynamism and entrepreneurship” meant that Reagan attacked social programs for working people. He attacked workers who dared to strike to defend their jobs and working conditions. Reagan gave tax cuts and other subsidies to corporations.

Today, under the guise of more tax cuts and subsidies to the corporations so that they will create jobs, Obama proposes the same thing. Clinton does, too. Her platform calls for more tax breaks for corporate research, for telecommunications companies, the auto industry, electrical power companies and agribusinesses.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that both Clinton and Obama are backed to the hilt by big corporations, banks and super-wealthy people. Most big businesses and the wealthy have clearly decided that one or the other of these Democrats would best represent their interests. At the end of September (the last date that campaign finance figures were released), Clinton led the pack of all candidates in total contributions – almost 91 million dollars. Barack Obama was second with over 80 million dollars. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate with the largest war chest, had about 63 million dollars and a significant part of it was his own money!

Most of Clinton’s and Obama’s money is from big contributors. Obama had the largest number of contributions over $200, Clinton was second. Clinton got the most money from commercial banks; Obama was second; all the Republicans were far behind. Clinton got the most from securities and investment firms; Republican Rudy Giuliani and Obama were tied for second; all others were far behind. Clinton got the most from the drug and health products companies; Obama and Republican Mitt Romney were tied for second; all others were far behind. Obama got the most from computer and internet companies; Clinton was a close second; all others were far behind.

Whoever wins, we get a government dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of the big corporations, the banks and their owners. The policies of both Clinton and Obama would continue and deepen the attacks on working people. Their campaigns are designed to hide this and create false hopes for “change.”