[Marxism] Obamagate, or John McCain may select Marxism List Moderator as running mate

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Mon Jun 30 14:00:50 MDT 2008


It never ceases to amaze me how otherwise intelligent people are
willing to believe something because a hack put it in a newspaper.

A  case in point is the Obama Gate article referred to this list by
Louis. People are off and running to discuss what the development
means without stopping to consider for three seconds whether or not it
is true.

It is quite obvious that there is a concerted campaign on the part of
certain Democrats to get Obama to water down his positions even more,
especially on Iraq. These are all the folks that supported the war
before opposing the war that they now once again support.

The point of the campaign is not MOSTLY to get Obama to water down his
positions, but mostly to get his supporters as demoralized as McCain's
are, by endlessly repeating the mantra that to win, Obama must show
he's McCain, or as close to as makes no difference, thereby throwing
to the election to McCain, like Kerry did to Bush in 2004. My
*impression* is that Obama is smarter than that. One tantalizing
possibility is that this is really a reverse-psychology operation to
get McCain to stick by his "100 years" position by getting him to
believe that even Obama's camp is now sold on the success of the
surge. But probably not. These ostensible Obama supporters probably
really are that stupid.

If you read the article, you will see that absolutely no evidence is
cited for the assertion that Obama is being pressed to consider Gates,
never mind that he is actually considering him, as the headline
suggests. The closest it comes are these two quotes:

*  *  *

Richard Danzig, an adviser to Obama on national security and a former navy
secretary, said: "My personal position is Gates is a very good secretary of
defence and would be an even better one in an Obama administration."

Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution in Washington, a foreign policy
adviser to Obama, said: "Robert Gates is one of the best defence secretaries
we have had in a long time and it makes a lot of sense to keep him."

*  *  *

Notice neither one says what the article claims -- that this view is
being pressed on Obama. If the reporter had it on the record from
either of these folks, she should have quoted that. If she had it on a
background basis, she should have reported that "campaign sources say
that Obama is being pressed" and so on. And if she had it on deep
background, she should have said campaign sources won't discuss it for
publication (or with reporters) but "it is believed that.Obama is
being pressed to..."

What we're presented with is awfully thin, and mostly an apologia for
Gates as a swell guy, who wanted nearly half the troops out of Iraq by
December of this year. That makes him different from the hated Bush
and Cheney, who wanted half the troops out of Iraq by September of
2003 so they could invade Iran. So it goes...

What we have here is an example of a certain British style of
journalism where the reporter's guesses or deductions (in this case,
entirely unintelligent ones) are presented as if they were facts.

It is, I suspect, testimony to the growing sense of inevitability of
an Obama presidency in some Washington circles, people have turned to
parlor guessing games about the next administration. Thus the article
asserts that "Speculation intensified this weekend that Obama may
offer Hillary Clinton the position of health secretary after he
appointed Neera Tanden, her senior policy director and a key architect
of her healthcare plan, to his campaign team."

How much truth is there to all this speculation? None whatsoever. The
way the game of politics is played in the United States, presidential
candidates MUST keep cabinet choices -- if they have any at this stage
-- completely secret, because you want and need the help of all the
other politicians who may be aspiring to head a given department. That
is most of all true of a half dozen or so key positions -- national
security adviser, secretary of state, secretary of defense, attorney
general, and fuhrer of fatherland security.

But it also happens to be true of the position of health secretary,
because there ain't no such. The Secretary is of HHS, Health and Human
Services, which is ALWAYS spelled out in so many big words so people
don't confuse that position with that of being head of the U.S. Public
Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Surgeon General (who should
really be called the Surgeon Lt General because it's a three-star
rank, but there you go). The Surgeon General is the official main
mouthpiece on public health of the U.S. Government, which is why in
most administrations no one knows who that is. And it also should not
be confused with the position of Assistant Secretary for Health, who
is the actual head of the Public Health Service, and even more of a
nobody than the Surgeon General. Especially in an administration like
this, since the Ass. Sec. for Health is the chief scientific advisor
to the secretary, and in the view of this administration, science is a
liberal plot.

Because of that, saying someone is being mooted for secretary of
health is fatally ambiguous. It may mean HHS, a fairly lucrative
position, or it may mean Surgeon General, which carries with it all
the fame and prestige of winning the national spelling bee
championship, (albeit without the opprobrium of being viewed as really
smart). Or it may mean Ass. Sec. for Health. Whatever. Anyone who
thinks Hillary "aspires" to be demoted from former first lady and
Senator to --at best-- number 17 or 18 in the Administration pecking
order doesn't known their Clintons.

But this is all silly. SERIOUS discussions among a LAYER of advisers
on those positions will START after the election is decided MONTHS
FROM NOW. And unless you're an ultra-powerful Washington figure, the
surest way to wind up out of the wining candidate's circle of real
advisers is to try to sandbag him in the press by mounting a pressure
campaign for your preferred candidate, as the Times of London pretends
is going on.

The hack who wrote the piece, Sarah Baxter, is a British Blair and
Bush supporter who holds dual (UK and US) citizenship thanks to an
American mother. She's a frequent guest on Fox News and an occasional
one on CNN, where she tries to explain the quaint viewpoints of the
rest of the world to Americans, like that as far as the rest of the
world is concerned, McCain's a nobody, and not because he's a
philandering psychotic, but just because he's a nobody, an archetypal
American geezer shmoe, the kind you used to see a lot more of in
London when air fares were cheaper and Exchange Rates better.

Baxter is considered by some a Pentagon shill, one of her most recent
triumphs was revealing to readers of the Murdoch press that George W.
Bush has ordered an all-out effort to get Osama before he leaves
office. "'If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and
captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer
place,' said a US intelligence source."

WOW! What a reporter she must be to have gotten that out of some CIA
flunky -- anonymously!

As for the substance of the article in question, EVEN IF Obama were to
turn his back on his campaign promises, the idea that he would keep
Gates on is about as unlikely as the role I mooted for our esteemed
moderator in the subject line. For at least three or the following
four reasons:

a) IF Obama wants to keep the same Bush policy, he will undoubtedly
want to sell it as a different policy. It may be true that there are
60 or 70 Washington policy wonks who have convinced themselves that
the tide has turned in Iraq, but by coincidence, that is just about
the same number as the percentage of Americans who tell pollsters they
want the U.S. out. The same policy as a changed policy is a much
easier sell with different faces in high places. And, at any rate,
Obama's REAL decisions about Iraq policy won't come until AFTER the
elections, based on the situation then.

b) IN ADDITION to turning Iraq (and Afghanistan!) into an endless
quagmire, the Republicans have turned the Pentagon into a gravy train
for Republican companies. That will be brought to a screeching halt,
as there are undoubtedly deserving Democrat companies out there, or
just plain bourgeois companies that aren't all populated by former
officeholder in Bush administrations.

c) More generally, a President will want a Pentagon chief loyal to and
beholden to him, and ditto for the top layer of the officer corps. It
is quite clear that, at the top, the armed forces are now led by
Republicans and their toadies. Expect a purge, beginning with the
chief toady.

d) And MOST generally of all, it is an iron-clad rule of U.S. politics
that there is one and only one political story between now and Labor
Day: the veep choice of the presumptive nominees. An exception may be
made for things like health or a good sex scandal, but otherwise, no
attention whatsoever should be paid to anything anyone in the media
writes or says about the campaigns -- especially anyone in Washington.
WE in the media keep writing these stories, but pay no attention to
them, we sure don't: they are strictly filler in between the movie
previews.

Joaquin




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