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Note to “the Left”: Obama Hates You

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No matter how fiercely Obama demonstrates his determination (consistent with his longstanding “deeply conservative” instincts) to govern from the center-right, a dedicated cadre of liberals and progressives will persevere with the line that it’s our own damn fault. This is a mistaken and dysfunctional narrative.

Paul Street, Z Communications

1968 Analogies

The 2008 Barack Obama campaign reminded some hopeful left and liberal observers of the fantastic, feel-good presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy (RFK). Like RFK in the turbulent summer of 1968, Obama swept up a considerable number of progressives in the illusion that big democratic transformation, peace and justice could be achieved by electing a different ruling class-sponsored candidate. In both cases, many on “the left”1 drank heavily and wistfully from the corporate-crafted pitcher of liberal, candidate-centered Kool Aid. It was a great and dreamy seduction.2

When it comes to 1968 analogies, however, there is reason to see Obama’s real relationship with progressives and “the left” as closer to that of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley of the year.  Think back to August ’68, more than four months after Daley had uttered his infamous “shoot to kill” order against black Chicagoans who rioted in the wake of the assassination/execution of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Democratic Convention was underway at the old International Amphitheater in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The “anti-[Vietnam] war” candidate RFK – the likely victor in the primary contest (despite his late entry) – had been killed the previous month, leaving the Democrats free to nominate the hawkish Hubert Humphrey for the presidency.

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