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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/10/09

Obama, Power And Politics

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Those for whom President Obama can do no right are vocal, angry, scared, uninformed and easily manipulated by so-called reasoned and enlightened voices leading the righteous charge against the president and his team. Gone is any pretense at civility and the tone of the public discourse has created national division along racial, political and party lines as never before. The climate is one of blaming the president for everything in a loud, screeching voice that demands people listen but not understand.

Still, while there is ample evidence of Obama-haters coming together because they share a common platform there is no evidence of any vast conspiracy. That, of course, does not prove that there is not one - only that there is no visible evidence now available to draw that conclusion. However, there is a growing body of animosity towards America's first Black president that certainly meets parts of the definition of conspiracy namely "evil, treacherous and surreptitious planning." All of these activities are aimed at undermining his presidency and ultimately the seizure of political power in 2010 and 2012.

So these actions speak to politics and nothing more since politics is all about power. Politics can be defined as: social relations involving intrigue to gain authority and/or power. Taken to its logical conclusion politics is about power and control and it is therefore not hard to see that the present behavior of those "not in power" as simply tactics and strategies to win back political power and control. The present level of national divisiveness is therefore part and parcel of the American political structure. To put it bluntly: American politics is about attacking your opponents, casting them in a negative light so as to drive a wedge in the minds of the public, create doubt and confusion that ultimately lead to a change in power relations.

This is not conspiracy though the methodologies are oftentimes planned and prepared in secret. To those who feign righteous indignation and outrage when politicians and political parties engage in these kinds of activities I say they are hypocrites. For starters, no political campaign is won by issues, merit and honesty. Rather they are won by superfluous style, buzz words and political panache. Attack TV ads, rhetoric, name-calling and snappy slogans draw in the unquestioning public and win votes. It is what the public wants - not boring details about laws, policies and promises.

President Obama's 2008 campaign proved all of the above. His campaign slogan "Yes We Can" was as vapid and devoid of any substance as they come. Yet delivered by a gifted orator and skillful political salesman it galvanized the American voter like never before. The 2008 Presidential Campaign was also infamous for its divisiveness, harsh rhetoric, and outright lies. It's the stuff that the American public salivates on and can't get enough of - people like nasty, dirty, bitchy, mud-slinging political throw-downs that create tons of interesting distractions and talking points for the vast masses of the uninformed unwashed. How to deal with the high costs of healthcare, reform our immigration laws, and help people stay in their homes are not the kinds of issues that engender great bar stool chit-chats.

But Obama "born outside of the USA," death panels, Obama taking America on the path to socialism and Obama is a Socialist/Communist are the kinds of things that make politics interesting - even though they are blatant lies and almost everyone knows it. But who cares? Packaged as "entertainment" these attacks soon draw millions of viewers and gawkers led by right-wing radio and TV pundits. Ratings hit the roof; more advertising money rolls in and everybody is happy. The politics of fear and stupidity rule supreme and the uninformed, intellectually lazy hordes don't care for truth as long as the lies sound good and demean the president. They feed at the trough of innuendo, lies and falsehoods.

It why the right -wing listen and look to Fox TV's Glen Back and radio talk show host Republican Rush Limbaugh for inspiration and marching orders. Beck has distinguished himself by calling President Barack Obama a racist, fascist communist and a socialist president, peddling these obvious lies over and over again to a gullible and easily manipulated audience of millions. He's repeated them in so many different versions that people are starting to actually believe them simply because "Glen Back said so." What monumental robotic ignorance!

Finally, the heated debate over President Obama's healthcare reform proposal has exposed another political truth - it is not only the divisions between political parties that matter but also those within those parties themselves. President Obama is getting a very hard time from a small faction within his own Democratic Party that is siding with the Republican Party that has been opposing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that the president does since he took office nine months ago. What we are also witnessing is a seismic shift of large sections of the upper middle class to the right that is now espousing reactionary right-wing views having rejected their left and left-of-center positions.

Witness the vitriol from some sections of the professional stratum, blue-collar workers, and middle managers of all industries to the president's policies. But this should hardly be surprising given the fact that the Presidential Campaign of 2008 highlighted in stark relief the way that internal party divisions play out based on ideology, class membership and social positions.

For example, President Barack Obama stated emphatically on national television that "former president Bill Clinton has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife [Hillary] to a level that I think is pretty troubling. He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts, whether it's my opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas. This has become a habit and we're going to directly confront Bill Clinton when he makes statements that are not factually accurate."

Stripping Obama's statement of its diplomatic language what he meant was that he was tired of Bill Clinton's constant lies and he was going to call him out and expose him every time he fibbed again in the future. Lying is as commonplace in politics as going to the bathroom. Yet Americans act surprised when a lie is exposed. Remember Bill Clinton's "I never had sexual relations what that woman?" O, how short the public's memory is! So in the end the brouhaha over President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, the banks and automobile industry bailouts and his trip to China will create opposition, criticisms and belly-griping from a section of the American public that simply wants political power. It's all about politics.


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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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