Posted by: distributorcap | December 12, 2009

Next Stop, Potemkin Village

I was late to the Obama party, but when I joined I came in whole-hearted and actually felt that there was the possibility of real change in Washington.

Stupid me – I should have known better. There was a bridge for sale in lower Manhattan, I should have bought that instead of the bill of goods sold last November. Welcome to the Potemkin Village known as the Republic of the United States.

Yesterday President Obama was in Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. The fact that he won this prize so early in his term has brought the conservatives (and others) to a near state of apoplexy. I can actually understand the puzzlement, but I have no problem with Obama winning this prize, even if it is premature. He did not campaign for it, he did not ask for it, and it is still a true honor for any American to win such a prestigious prize (I love how the right is still grousing over the fact their patron saint, Ronald “we begin bombing in five minutes” Reagan did not get one for ending communism – which fittingly waited to collapsed under Bush 41).

Given the fact many feel the award was undeserved coupled with the reality that Obama is the commander of not one, but two concurrent wars – one with an announced expansion, all focus was on what the President was going to say.

As the brilliant orator he is, he did not disappoint. It was a terrific speech – soaring oratory, perfect cadence, incredible delivery without a blink, articulate, stirring and impeccably timed. Nobody does a speech like Obama. He is not only the greatest speaker of this generation, he might be one of the greatest speakers in history.

But that is where it ends for me.

Later on I read the speech – without the drama and passion of his delivery. Take away the performance and what you have left is a speech that basically serves as a justification for war – some wars, that war, any war, but especially this war. As several people have said – including KKKarl Rove – this was a speech that George W. Bush could have given (as inarticulate as it would have been). And I sadly agree. And to put more lighter fluid under the charcoal – both Newt Gingrich and the American Queen of Stupidity – Sarah Peron Palin – both approved and applauded the speech. Obama’s words turned war (which includes killing in case people have forgotten) into an instrument of “foreign policy” rather than a last resort for self defense.

Last time I checked, 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis, and 30,000 troops aren’t being sent there.

The irony of defending war while receiving a peace prize seemed to have fallen short on the pundits and talking heads. They couldn’t praise it enough. “It was the speech he should have given at West Point.” “He didn’t back down from his policies.” “He stood up for America.” “He was tough.” “He defended truth, justice and the American way.” The usual vomit from the usual suspects. The irony was not lost on me. For months, I have watched President Obama move more and more – not towards just “towards the center” – but away from one of the biggest “bases” (gawd do I hate that word) that not only elected him, but counted on him to be the one President who would do the right thing.

With this speech, it all kind of gelled for me. Those with any progressive, populist, leftist or actual human concerns have been sold another bill of goods stamped sucker. No wonder Palin liked it.

Where do I start? Gitmo stays open beyond the original date, don’t ask, don’t tell remains policy, too big to fail, watered down cap and trade, the constant courting of bipartisanship, the defense of DOMA, the failure to go after crimes committed the Bush administration, his lack of leadership over Congress, the failure to hold the banks accountable, hiring the very people who nearly destroyed the economy to actually run the economy, the coddling of insidious traitors to the American people like Joe Lieberman, the expansion of a war that simply cannot be won (because there is nothing to win) and finally Obama’s curious indifference towards bona fide health care reform – the cornerstone of his campaign.

Where’s the change we voted for? Dissolved in the lemon-flavored Kool Aid. The next SOP line from Washington (both Congress and the administration) will be – we can’t do anything because it is an election year. Take that line to Las Vegas, it is a guaranteed winner.

I really didn’t expect too much in the first 11 months of office – but I guess I didn’t expect so little as well. I also didn’t expect to see virtually no movement towards ideals and causes important to a large chunk of the Obama fan club.

In my warped mind, I just cannot figure out the justification for expanding the war in Afghanistan. Our enemy is not a state or nation – it is an ill-defined group of people basically united in their hate of America, Israel and the West. They are not set up with a detailed Powerpoint organization chart in some sort of logical hierarchy – the kind of structure armies are organized to defeat. Our enemies are guerrillas, they are not trained fighters with a general pushing battleships over a big map on a table. We really don’t know where they are, we really even don’t know who they are (though we have killed a lot of #3s). They don’t live in barracks or in caves as the media likes to pretend. They live among the innocent populations and sometimes even within the government structures we now rely on. We don’t know when they are going to fight, lie low or walk away. Unlike Americans, they have all the patience in the world. They could lie dormant for years. We really do not understand why they are doing what they do. All we know is they hate us.

You simply cannot beat this kind of enemy with battalions, drones, bunker busters and more troops. Israel has spent nearly 60 years fighting a version of this kind of enemy – and they are still in a state of war. These kind of enemies spent decades terrorizing Peru, the Philippines, Spain, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, African nations. You would have thought an 8-year (or some say 13 year) war that cost 50,000+ American lives would have taught us some lesson. Obviously it has not. We just love the movie way too much.

I can write the script being fed to (and by) Obama.

Act V, Scene IV (Finale) – John Wayne delivers the head of bin Laden to the President, the people are kissing in Times Square, and the cheers in bars are deafening. The dusty old Mission Accomplished sign from the Bush years is rolled out.

Roll credits. This war was brought you by [list sponsors].

Except unlike the John Wayne flick, this movie is never over.

NO defined enemy
NO defined goal
NO defined reason to even be in this war

In addition to loving the movie, we also love the speech. A speech to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee legitimizing war. You have to wonder if the committee believes their votes were counted by a Diebold machine in Florida.

I don’t want to like President Obama just because he isn’t George Bush. But every day that goes by it becomes more evident that Obama’s cornerstone – health care reform (because he will sign ANY bill) – will really end up being another fairy godmother for the insurance companies – I am finding that feeling becoming more entrenched.

I guess you have to destroy the village to save the village – even a Potemkin village.



  1. I share your disappointment and for the same reasons. I was never really gung ho for Obama, I won't lie about that, but once he won the Democratic nomination, I put my differences aside and went out campaigning, asking people to vote for him and doing whatever I could to help him get elected. During the inauguration I cried tears of disbelief, tears of joy, and tears of pride. I was so fucking happy that the asswipes Bush and Cheney were being pushed off the stage. My heart swelled with hope as I heard old Pete Seger sing "This Land Is Your Land", it felt so right and true. Now their is only despair as it becomes more apparent to me that Obama is not much different than Bush at all. I have to say I did vote for Clinton in the primary in Indiana. She probably would be doing the same thing Obama is doing right now, except she probably wouldn't have won a peace prize. We need a third party that REALLY represents us or we need revolution. Something has to change or we will slip into another dark ages and possibly kill all life on this Earth.

  2. Hi Cap;Excellent post. "into an instrument of "foreign policy" rather than a last resort for self defense.", very true.I had doubts before he was voted in as at least twice he turned back on his promises, but the steam roller glossed them over.The lesser of two evils, or was it?We will never know. All we know is business as usual, and it doesn't matter if a democrat or republican wins the game, the game remains the same.

  3. i'm really surprised that anyone is really surprised. obama never struck me as progressive. he was a moderate, and he still is. he makes pretty speeches, but he's still just a politician, and politicians don't stick their necks out any more than necessary. i was a hillary supporter, because i like her and because i didn't think obama was ready. like liberality, i supported obama after hillary dropped out. no matter what, he's still better than capt underpants and princess sarah would have been, even though i still don't think he's ready. a few more years in the senate to see how congress works would have been a good thing. oh well, too late.

  4. One of my longtime readers left the best reply to Obama receiving the Nobel Peace prize.He said Obama should sell the damned plaque on eBay and donate the proceeds to the Afghanistan Relief Organization.But alas, I'm sure the award will end up in Obama's presidential library in Chicago, IL.

  5. What gets me is the air of American exceptionalism inherent in the speech. While I do acknowledge that we through our military might saved the day in World War II and beyond, I don't think this country is particularly special for doing it.We have the biggest guns, of course, but I do not believe that this was something preordained by God. In saying this I don't love this country any less, but I also know that it was by pure chance and luck that we ended up this way.

  6. I'd have to say that these current wars aren't as exciting as the video game pizazz that was Bush the Smarter's Stormy Desert. C'mon, MIC, start televising more stuff bein' blown up!

  7. Like Liberality, I wanted Hillary to be president, but eventually I got behind Obama without rancor.See, Hillary is a bitch but she would have been our bitch.Funny thing, one year into this and I think she's doing her job better than Obama is doing his.I'd like to switch things around and put Hillary in the Oval Office and let Obama step down and move in with Bill Clinton. Michelle, Bo and the kids should get to stay in the White House with Hillary.

  8. I came late to his camp as well, DC making my decision for him just days before voting in the Oregon Primary. I have a hunch that he wants to keep a force in the region to attempt to intervene and seize Pakistan's nukes should that state fail. While the danger of that possibility is real, he chose the wrong solution, although I don't know the right one.Happy Hanukkah, my friend.

  9. Its all about the pipeline. Oil oil oil.No president would have acted any differently and don't expect any future one to do so either.

  10. You've spoken for me and millions of others, DC.L' chaim!SWith this speech, it all kind of gelled for me. Those with any progressive, populist, leftist or actual human concerns have been sold another bill of goods stamped sucker. No wonder Palin liked it.

  11. DCap,Did you hear? Houston, the largest city in the red state of Texas and the fourth-largest city in the U.S., has elected an openly gay woman mayor. City controller, Annise Parker, handily defeated challenger Gene Locke, a former city attorney, in a bitterly fought run-off race 53 percent to 47 percent.So much for the specious claim that tiny Austin, is the island of liberalism in a vast sea of red state loons.

  12. Heaven forbid that President Obama practice politics. ;o)

  13. A thought—It was Gorbachev who ended communism. It was Reagan who won an Oscar for the movie version.

  14. While I do acknowledge that we through our military might saved the day in World War IIFunny, I thought you folks sat out a good chunk of WWII (which started in 1939) and helped finance and supply the Nazis even long after you were making the rest of the world unhappy about it, and pretty much everyone else who was involved on the Allied side sunk way more blood and treasure per capita into the war effort than the US did — the Russians and us Canadians in particular lost a lot of our population. From the way it looks from out here, that is, not in the US, you folks didn't "save the day," you were just the last ones left standing after the dust cleared.Which was damned convenient for you, because then you were able to remake much of the world into your own image, and lie to yourselves about how it happened.Now that you own the world, you also seem to be hell-bent on taking the rest of us along with you on whatever twisted journey to the underworld you're currently making. How's that working out for you?

  15. What JAS said… *sigh*

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