I never thought that I would see a politician slicker than ex-president, Bill “Slick-Willie” Clinton.
Well, you might ask, “How slick was Bill Clinton?”
“Slick-Willie” was so slick that he sweet-talked black folks into calling him the first black president.
Up until his white privilege meltdown during the South Carolina Democratic Party primary, it was not unusual for black people – from pulpits to barbershops – to refer to the ex-president as “Fam (short for family for some of my un-hip readers).”
Who is slicker than my “Fam?” The answer is Barack “Silky” Obama.
Like Clinton, “Silky” is one hell-of-an orator.
And, like “Slick Willie,” Senator Obama is as much a politician as the rest.
The warning signs are all over the place. Take, for instance, his steady march to the right. Uhhhhhhhh, I mean the middle.
There are, of course, the flip flops: he opposed NAFTA, now he is not against NAFTA; he would take public financing, now he won’t take public financing; he would end the embargo against Cuba, now he won’t end the embargo against Cuba; he opposed a crackdown on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, now he supports a crackdown; he supported eliminating penalties for marijuana, now he opposes decriminalization, and so on.
Then, off course, there are the conservative red meat issues: although he does not think that capital punishment is a deterrent to crime, he favors executing child rapists; he supports the right of individuals to own guns over efforts to protect the public from gun violence in big cities like Washington, DC; he blasted MoveOn.org for labeling Gen. David Petraeus “General Betray Us;” tossed the Palestinian people under the bus by expressing strong support for a united Jerusalem under Israeli rule and; he capitulated on FISA, and so on.
The reason for his shift is obvious. “Silky,” and his inner-circle (the usual crew of political pollsters, Washington insiders, lobbyists, neoliberal economic advisors), believes very strongly that there is no reason to play the game if you don’t plan on winning – well, at any cost.
To win, the experts believe that the Senator needs to do what all presumptive Democratic presidential nominees seem to do after appealing to the Party’s liberal base (disproportionately people of color and whites with college degrees, and this year, idealistic youth) during the nomination process, which is, move rightward to the so-called middle (undecided swing voters made up of hard-working whites, white evangelical Christians, white suburban moms, white suburban dads, white seniors on a fixed income, whites who prefer to drive rather than fly, whites, whites, whites…).
Can he get any silkier?
The Latest: Senator Obama proposes a $500 million boost to George W. Bush failed Faith-Based Initiative Program.
“I’m not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular nonprofits, and I’m not saying that they’re somehow better at lifting people up,” said Senator Obama after touring the Eastside Community Ministry. “What I’m saying is that we all have to work together – Christian and Jew, Hindu and Mulism believer and non-believer alike – to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Damn, was that “Silky Smooth” or what?
This is the same faith-based initiative program that has been controversial from day on. One director quit in disgust at the administration’s politicizing of the program. A second previous director wrote a tell-all book describing how the program was used to advance Republican political objectives. Some faith-based groups receiving money rejected federal anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation.
So, why does Senator Obama wants to support this failed program?
The answer is simple. He wants to win the support of some conservative white evangelical Christians and some “prosperity gospel” teaching black preachers already on the faith-based initiative gravy train. If you would like to learn more on this point, read Max Blumenthal’s excellent piece in The Nation about a secret meeting between Obama and some of the nation most well-known moral crusaders, “Preaching to the Choir.”
Bill Clinton campaigned from the left and governed to the right of center on a number of issues important to people of color during the 1990s (welfare reform, federal drug laws, NAFTA). Like Senator Obama today, the signs of Clinton’s shift occurred once he got the nomination.
All of this leaves me with one question: “Will a President Barack Obama also govern from the right of the Party’s base like his Democratic predecessor in the White House?”