Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Stand By Your Man

I saw this last night:

So true! If Obama had embraced dictators ... no, wait, he did that. If he'd killed US citizens with predator drones... no, wait, he did that too.  If he'd joked about killing US citizens with predator drones... damn... If he'd supported coups against elected governments ... no, wait... If he'd cozied up to Wall Street... no ... If he'd, uh, packed his cabinet with corporatist neoliberals... if he'd deported record numbers of immigrants... if he'd given massive tax cuts to the rich when the economy was staggering after a major crash... if he'd sought to cut Social Security and other vital services in order to "lower the deficit" ... if he'd escalated and started wars of choice based on lies... if he'd suppressed whistleblowers... give me a minute...

Oh, I know, Rev. Dr. Barber isn't thinking of such trivia, nor are his followers on Twitter.  They're more interested in Trump's payoff to a porn star with whom he'd had an affair.  Which is not insignificant and I suppose it's true that if Barack Obama had done such things he'd have been attacked by the Right pretending to care about sexual morality even as they embraced Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and eventually Donald Trump.  But his fans would not have stumbled; they'd have stood by him, as Dem loyalists stood by Bill Clinton, and still idolize the serial adulterer John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Let's not forget Martin Luther King Jr., a major cockhound, or Jesse Jackson Sr.  White privilege should always be borne in mind, but I think it's a distraction here.

I think party loyalty and the personality cult that surrounds successful politicians are much more relevant.  In Obama's case, it's so effective that even George W. Bush gets to bask in his glory, his crimes forgotten and forgiven by centrist Democrats.  If we're going to talk about "Teflon," Obama's crimes and right-wing policies just don't exist for his devotees. They were largely ignored by the same elite political culture and corporate media that made Donald Trump a star. There is a double standard here, but it cuts both ways according to party affiliation or other commitments. And despite it, Trump has encountered much more effective principled opposition, in the streets and in Congress, than Obama did, even though the media especially are doing their best to accentuate the positive.  (I almost posted a link to the article there, but the title may have been changed.)  If Obama were a white Republican, I doubt William Barber would be as amnesiac about his record.

Barber expresses some good opinions elsewhere in his feed, including strong support for Representative Ilhan Omar, currently under attack by Democrats and Republicans alike for her criticism of the Israel lobby.  Obama, by contrast, was wholly subservient to AIPAC and cozy with Israeli strongman Benjamin Netanyahu.  (Netanyahu spurned him, though. Oh, the humanity!) It would be interesting if Obama were to defend Representative Omar, but it'll never happen; he prefers to boast (inaccurately, as it turns out) about his service to producers of fossil fuel.