Thursday, October 04, 2007


An explanation of Obama's polite behavior

P.M. Carpenter, a Buzzflash columnist, has proffered an explanation of Barack Obama's polite behavior whenever Hillary is involved. Since she long ago pulled ahead of him in the national polls and now has finally bested him in fundraising, many of his supporters think he should be a touch more aggressive.

Carpenter believes that Obama long ago conceded the nomination to Hillary and is in fact running for Vice President. And of course, to run for Vice President you only have one constituent—the Presidential nominee. Carpenter writes

Obama, more than anyone, has always believed in Hillary's inevitability. Obama has been running for the second slot. Obama has demurred, and will continue to demur, from irritating his potential boss and saying something irremediable that would nix his vice-presidential chances. Obama, simply put, has had his eyes nearly all along not on the Oval Office -- just that of the v.p.'s in the West Wing.

Well, really. How cynical can you get! Vice Presidents don't actually do anything, do they? Whatever he is, Barack Obama is no Dick Cheney—and whatever she is, Hillary Clinton is no George Bush. Should Obama get to be Vice President, I hope he's learned how to play computer solitaire.

I believe he may just as well be running for Secretary of State. Since most of the functional roles of the once-powerful State Department have been taken over by the Pentagon, "Secretary of State" is primarily an honorary title that can be safely relegated to "people of color," as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice have amply demonstrated. Being Secretary of State is just one step above being the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq where the ambassador will oversee the world's largest embassy, though the finer points of criminal business enterprise will still be left in the hands of the military. And if you work for the State Department in Iraq, even the U.S. military won't protect you. Now what does that say about the job?

Or maybe Obama could be appointed to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) where Michael Powell, son of Colin, has already poked some headroom in the brownish-colored ceiling. A black person there can really make a difference so long as the difference is what "the man" wants anyway—more consolidation of media ownership in the hands of the right-wing media moguls.

Of course there are other roles in government now for people of color. The only requirement of the applicant is that he or she feel constrained not to act up and make a difference. Anyone who might is usually caught during Senate confirmation hearings. But if the candidate manages to slip through, the person still serves "at the pleasure of the President," and Presidents seldom take much pleasure in appointees who go against corporate interests.

Yes, I can see Obama in some role in a Clinton administration. After all, the only qualification is that he remain polite.


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