Jul 14, 2008
The Democratic primary was barely over, when the two nominees rushed to stake out a position on the right of the political spectrum.
John McCain started even before he won the Republican primary, junking the image he had cultivated as a “maverick,” the one who didn’t go along with George Bush.
McCain had once voted against Bush’s tax cuts for the rich – saying, “I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.”
Today, his adaptable conscience lets him support the continuation of those tax cuts. Having long opposed off-shore drilling for oil and natural gas, he now embraces these additional gifts to the monstrously wealthy oil giants. Having denounced the Air Force’s fuel-tanker contract as an unconscionable handout to Boeing, McCain turns out to have loaded his staff with lobbyists for Boeing’s competitors.
McCain once said that he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade because it would force innumerable women to go through “illegal and dangerous operations.” Today he supports “overturning” Roe v. Wade. Having once called right-wing Christian fundamentalist leaders “agents of intolerance,” and “corrupting influences on religion and politics,” today he embraces those “agents of intolerance.”
No one should be a bit surprised. Whatever “maverick” appearance McCain might once have sported, his actions show that he was never anything but a good old right-wing Bush Republican. In 2007, he voted for Bush’s proposals 95% of the time. In 2008, he came on even stronger, voting with Bush 100% of the time.
Obama’s move to the right was more spectacular, upsetting many of his staunchest supporters.
Within a month of the last primary, he had called in question what had seemed to be his absolute pledge about getting out of the Iraq war. He shifted support to Israel in its attacks on the Palestinians. He joined John McCain in denouncing Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, while he and McCain both praised the Colombian regime of Uribe, whose record includes the murder of many thousands of peasants and unionists.
On the economy, he could offer little more than another “stimulus” package, like Bush’s $600 rebate – although only $500. And just as with Bush’s plan, he indicated he would support further tax cuts for the corporations, under the preposterous claim that this would spur job growth – despite all evidence to the contrary.
On the political level, Obama not only voted for Bush’s proposal to legalize government spying on any person in the country, he helped rush through the vote, preventing opposition from being heard.
On the social level, he endorsed an extension of the death penalty – even as police chiefs around the country continue to oppose it and call for its abolition.
As for the black population – whose votes he assumes he has in his back pocket – Obama made the point of ignoring the real problems most ordinary black people face in a society still marked by racism. In a widely publicized sermon, he told them, just as any racist would, that they were the cause of their own difficulties.
Some people say Obama and McCain are moving to the “center” in order to win the election.
Nonsense! They are moving far to the right, and they are doing this to reassure the ruling class that they are its men.
The vast majority of people in this country are seriously fed up. They don’t want more wars. They don’t want this economy to go on in the same way. They don’t want politicians pushing the same policies.
What Obama and McCain are doing doesn’t win more votes. It reassures the ruling class that either of them will carry out policy in the interests of the big corporations, the big banks and the wealthy people who control them.