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14 Apr, 2020 23:00

No Surprise: Obama endorses fellow corporate Democrat Joe Biden

No Surprise: Obama endorses fellow corporate Democrat Joe Biden

There is rich historical irony in the Democrats’ hope that Obama’s endorsement of the right-wing neoliberal Democrat and warmonger Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy will rally young and progressive voters to Biden’s cause.

Beneath the expertly crafted fake-progressive imagery and branding, Obama rose to power in Washington with remarkable, record-setting financial backing from Wall Street and K Street election investors.

His record in office was richly consistent with that backing. Three months into Obama’s presidency, amidst the depths of the Great Recession, popular rage at Wall Street was intense and the leading financial institutions were weak and on the defensive. The nation’s financial elite had driven the nation and world’s economy into an epic meltdown – and millions knew it. 

Having ridden into office partly on a wave of popular anger at the economic elite’s staggering malfeasance, Obama told the nation’s top thirteen financial executives thatI want to help…I’m not here to go after you. I’m protecting you…I’m going to shield you from congressional and public anger.” 

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The massive taxpayer bailout of the super fat cats that started under George W. Bush would continue and expand along with numerous other forms of corporate welfare for the super-rich under the silver-tongued neoliberal Obama.

This state-capitalist largesse was unaccompanied by any serious effort to regulate the financial elite’s conduct, or by any remotely comparable bailout for the millions evicted from their homes and jobs by the not-so invisible hand of the marketplace. No wonder 95 percent of national US income gains went to the top 1 percent during Obama’s first term.

With Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and an angry, “pitchfork”-wielding populace at the gates, an actually progressive President Obama could have rallied the populace to push back against the nation’s concentrated wealth and power structures with a number of policies: a stimulus with major public works jobs programs; a real (single-payer) health insurance reform; the serious disciplining and even break-up or nationalization of the leading financial institutions; massive federal housing assistance and mortgage relief; and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have re-legalized union organizing in the US.

Instead, Obama chose to do the bidding of concentrated wealth, giving the US populace what William Greider memorably calleda blunt lesson about power, who has it and who doesn’t.” 

Americans “watched Washington rush to rescue the very financial interests that caused the catastrophe. They learned that government has plenty of money to spend when the right people want it. ‘Where’s my bailout,’ became the rueful punch line at lunch counters and construction sites nationwide.

Americans also watched as Obama moved on to pass a health insurance reform (the so-called Affordable Care Act) that only the big insurance and drug companies could love, kicking the popular alternative (single payer “Medicare for All”) to the curb. Obama would also offer the Republicans bigger cuts in Social Security and Medicare than they asked for as part of his “Grand Bargain” offered during the elite-manufactured debt-ceiling crisis.

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Along the way, Obama deported a record-setting 3 million – mostly Mexican and Central American – immigrants, undermined efforts at globally binding limits on carbon emissions, green-lighted a massive increase in domestic US oil drilling, doubled down on the American Empire’s disastrous war in Afghanistan, devastated Libya, approved and oversaw hundreds of targeted assassinations, refused to prosecute Bush administration officials for torture, attacked Syria, personally approved dozens of criminal targeted assassinations, sponsored a right-wing coup in Ukraine, and spent much of his second term pushing the arch-globalist Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a classically neoliberal so-called free trade agreement that has been under secret construction by multinational corporate lawyers and corporatist government officials for at least a decade. 

Sadly, African-Americans gained nothing beyond a symbolic victory from Obama’s presidency, which oversaw the most dramatic decline in Black American net worth in history.

Since leaving the White House, the pretend-progressive Obama has become a multi-millionaire while likely working behind the scenes to undermine the progressive and social-democratic presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders.

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If there’s anything remarkable about Obama’s endorsement of Biden, it is how late in the game it comes. Biden has never been a successful candidate on the national stage and Obama and his advisers have certainly noticed the 77-year-old Biden’s pronounced cognitive decline (well understood by establishment Democrats) in recent years.  Obama would likely have preferred for the Democrats to have nominated a more eloquent, articulate, intelligent, telegenic, and perhaps nonwhite neoliberal corporate Democrat – such as Kamala Harris, Deval Patrick, or Cory Booker.

Obama certainly knows that Sanders would fare better against Donald Trump than “Sleepy Joe” Biden. For Obama as for other establishment Democrats, however, beating Trump is not the top priority. The first goal is to serve elite corporate and financial sponsors.

If Biden manages to defeat Trump, Obama will be there to advise him on how to continue and expand the bailout of big money fat cats in the wake of a great economic downturn that started near the end of a Republican presidency.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.