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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/29/09

Obama Didn't Betray the Left, the Left Betrayed the Left

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From Iraq to health care to the economy to torture to issues of transparency and accountability, it looks like a feeling that Obama has betrayed progressives or liberals is suddenly sweeping across the left political spectrum.

But, let’s be honest here---Obama didn’t betray the left. The left betrayed the left.

When liberals wed themselves to the Democratic Party and chose to ride the tidal wave of hope and change that has since crashed down and rolled back out to sea, they betrayed themselves by compromising their values and ideas for hope and change before the primary season was even close to over.

Liberal minded Americans who ordered a daily subscription to the Electability Gazette early in the election and went to work strategizing in their mind which Democrat could and could not get elected, what could and could not happen betrayed themselves. They helped the corporations, bureaucrats, career politicians, and military industrial-complex deliver the most important test administered in every election: the ruling class test.

With YouTube, blogs, email, forums, and much more at Democrats’ fingertips, Democratic voters betrayed themselves by falling for a narrative created by “the marketing, propaganda, imagery, and public relations wizardry” of the Obama Campaign---a story---the story of a half-white half-black man becoming the 47th President of the United States of America (which the media never questioned or thoroughly examined).

Democrats picked Obama because he gave a speech at a 2002 rally against the Iraq War. But, the text shows that he was not against war (and still isn’t). He is just against “dumb wars” and said nothing about being against smart wars like the ones he is waging in Afghanistan and Pakistan now (which rage on as he struggles to maintain the “dumb war” in Iraq).

Let me repeat --- At a time when a candidate with a record of organizing the House through an October 2002 analysis of the Bush arguments for going to war with Iraq was running for president, at a time when a candidate who gave a speech called “A Prayer for America” and had campaign swag which showed one zero in 2008 as a globe and the other a peace sign, at a time when Dennis Kucinich wasn’t just trying to pass legislation that would defund the war and get us out but would also hold accountable those who had lied America into an unjust and illegal war in the first place, Democrats chose the guy who gave a speech about peace over the one who had been for at least the past decade living his life for peace.

This wouldn’t be such a sticking point if it weren’t for the fact that this feeling of betrayal came from a public’s willingness to vote for politicians with a mindset that the rulers of this nation create in the minds of voters during each election cycle and if Kucinich wasn’t working vigorously to do for health care what liberals believe Obama hasn’t the guts to do--- establish a system that would remove the predatory health care industry from health care in this country.

Oh, I know the tired argument. If he had been nominated to run as the Democratic nominee, he would have been so liberal that he would have empowered the Republican nominee and the Republican nominee would have been able to handily beat Kucinich and Ralph Nader have further split the vote and spoiled the election because he gave us George W. Bush in 2000 and we would have had four years of McCain-Palin, which would have been worse than eight years of Bush and Cheney.

Sadly, this tired argument continues as many progressives and liberals refuse to "end the honeymoon." 

These same individuals who suggest Obama betrayed them are the same people who months ago during the election and during his first 100 days suggested we give Obama a chance. And, isn’t it great that we did?

In just 100 days, Obama has: pledged to close Guantanamo but possibly establish a system of indefinite detention for detainees in the U.S., promised to end the Iraq War but possibly keep troops there for another decade, allowed a good war in Afghanistan to merge with drone strikes in Pakistan and become the AfPak War, continue the Bush Administration’s policy of state secrecy instead of transparency, dismissed audaciously accountability for Bush Administration officials who violated the rule of law by committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Backtrack to quotes from the campaign trail and it’s no surprise this has happened. Liberals and progressives were willfully projecting their views and ideologies onto Barack Obama from the start.

Obama’s response to betrayal on the issue of Iraq has been this, “Well, what I would say that is that they maybe weren't paying attention to what I said during the campaign.” Might that be his answer to all liberals and progressives who are upset with him? 

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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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