Yeah, I know what a creep Romney is, and I know a lot of folks are fighting what they feel is the good fight against reactionary Republican horseshit, often in hostile family, school, neighborhood, and work environments. I certainly would like to support and not demoralize them. I also know our political and media universe is structured to make it seem that fighting that fight requires one to support Obama. Still, I am one of many who do not agree to be constrained within that narrow paradigm, and think it’s important to recognize that it steers us into a self-defeating race-to-the-bottom-right.
This is a matter of principles and policies not personalities, of consequences not quips, and everyone should own up to the fact that — certainly on "foreign policy" as we saw last night (but not only that, I insist) — there is very little to no difference in principles and policies between these two candidates, and that Obama is fully responsible for extending, and/or instituting, and certainly for normalizing, policies that are, from any "progressive" viewpoint, horrible. Not trivial policies but substantial life-changing and country-changing ones (war and peace and the like), and not “somewhat problematic” but horrible. Policies one cannot be content to ignore. And policies that are now essentially unrecoverable gifts to reactionary Republicans – gifts that will keep on giving, and that they could not have given themselves so easily.
The drone strike policy discussed in Glenn Greenwald’s post this morning, with its accompanying ethic, as cogently expressed by Joe Klein: "the bottom line is: 'whose 4-year-olds get killed?'" is, indeed, "a perfectly vivid expression of the Obama legacy." This is his policy; Bush may have tentatively put his toe in that water, but Obama has embraced, expanded, formalized, and normalized it in ways that make it his baby.
Of course, as Greenwald points out, and as most Obamican liberals are content to ignore: “Klein's justification – we have to kill their children in order to protect our children – is the exact mentality of every person deemed in US discourse to be a ‘terrorist’. Almost every single person arrested and prosecuted over the last decade on terrorism charges, when asked why they were willing to kill innocent Americans including children, offered some version of Joe Klein's mindset.”
But this policy, and this ethic, is Obama’s gift to all of us. Some, like Klein below, may like it, and will thus embrace it (although what then could it mean for them to identify as "progressive"?). And, please, then, let’s not hear them moralizing when bitch Karma comes to visit their 4-year old. (You can buy a passable "drone" right now at Radio Shack, for chrissake!) Others will, as I do, think it's horrible and dangerous. Even Joe Scarborough can recognize: "This is offensive to me….We don't detain people any more: we kill them, and we kill everyone around them. . . . I hate to sound like a Code Pink guy here. I'm telling you…. this is going to cause the US problems in the future."
Some of those, who are not content to ignore how horrible and dangerous this policy that Obama has established is, will let the depth of that sink in and temper their enthusiasm, if not end their support, for what some call the "lesser," and I and others the "more effective" (the one who got the "liberals" on board), evil.
Sorry. I did not make it so. I really do wish it weren't. But let's be at least as politically, intellectually, and ethically honest as Joe Scarborough.
“Joe Klein's sociopathic defense of drone killings of children,” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/23/klein-drones-morning-joe
Glen Ford, “Why Barack Obama is the More Effective Evil,” http://blackagendareport.com/print/content/why-barack-obama-more-effective-evil