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Obama "Shift to the Center" and the Narrow Authoritarian Spectrum in U.S. Politics

By Paul Street  Posted by Kevin Gosztola (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 8 pages)   1 comment
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Published on July, 01 2008 to ZNet and reposted on with the permission of Paul Street, whose ZNet bio describes him as a, " veteran radical historian. Paul Street ( ) is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm), Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era (New York: Routledge, 2005); Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); and Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (forthcoming in summer of 2008)."


The pronounced rightward drift of the American "mainstream" political and ideological spectrum is on vivid display as we begin to approach the climax of the latest corporate-crafted quadrennial presidential election extravaganza.

Listen to the latest dominant media theme on the Barack Obama campaign. From the network news and talk shows to the pages of the leading U.S. newspapers, the corporate news and commentary authorities are abuzz with the story of Obama's move from "the left" to "the center."

As recently detailed by the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times [1], these are the leading facts indicating his alleged shift from the portside to the "middle" of the political spectrum:

* Obama's apparent embrace of the Supreme Court ruling invalidating a Washington D.C ban on personal handguns and claiming that the Second Constitutional Amendment pertains to private citizens not just organized state "militias."

* his declaration of his belief in the state's right to kill certain criminals, including child rapists.

* his decision to become the first major party presidential candidate to bypass the public presidential financing system and to reject accompanying spending limits. This violates his earlier pledge to work through the public system and accept those limits.

* His support for a refurbished spy bill that grants retroactive immunity to telephone corporations for collaborating with the White House in the practice of electronic surveillance against American citizens. This violates his earlier pledge to filibuster any surveillance legislation containing such immunity.

* His appointment of the corporate-friendly Wal-Mart apologist and Hamilton Project [2] economist Jason Furman as his economic policy director - something that stands in curious relation to his earlier bashing ("I won't shop there") of Wal-Mart's low-wage practices.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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