US Elections: From the “Lesser to the Greater Evil”. The Demise of Critical Liberalism
2012-11-06 0:00

By Prof. James Petras |

There is ample evidence that the Obama Presidency has pulled the US political spectrum further to the Right. On most domestic and foreign policy issues Obama has embraced extremist positions surpassing his Republican predecessor and in the process devastating what remained of the peace and social movements of the past decade. Moreover, the Obama Presidency has laid the groundwork for the immediate future promising a further extension of regressive policies following the presidential elections: cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Incumbents and their opposition compete over hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funding from wealthy donors, which they will have to repay in the post-election period in billion dollar handouts, subsidies, tax abatements, anti-labor and environmental policies. Not a single positive proposal was put forth by the Obama campaign but numerous militarist and regressive social policies were articulated. The Obama campaign ran a fear campaign, playing off of the reactionary proposals of the Romney-Tea Party alliance: a cover for his own record of unprecedented military spending, sequential wars, immigrant expulsions, mortgage foreclosures and Wall Street bailouts.

In the process, critical liberals have crossed the line, surrendering their integrity by deflecting attention from Obama’s militarist-socially regressive policies to focus on “opposing Romney” as a “greater evil”: progressives and critical liberals have multiplied and magnified the duplicity of the Obama political apparatus. In the name of opposing the current ‘greater evil’ (Romney) they dare not enumerate and specify the wanton political crimes and monumental socio-economic in justice perpetrated by their “lesser evil” candidate (Obama). Will the “progressives” ever play honest and publicly state: we back Obama in “swing states” because he has “only” murdered 10,000 Afghans, 5,000 Iraqis, is starving 75 million Iranian’s via sanctions, gives $3 billion for Israeli displacement of millions of Palestinians, personally oversees the arbitrary executions of US citizens and promises an extended kill list … because Romney promises to be worse … Expecting honesty from the proponents of ‘lesser evils’ is as farfetched as taking serious their criticisms between elections.

The political damage incurred by the social movements and US working class under the Obama presidency is unprecedented and has laid the groundwork for further social regression and greater imperial bellicosity.

Political Consequences of the Obama Presidency: Past, Present and Future

The Obama Presidency and the run-up to his past and present electoral campaigns have had a devastating impact on popular social movements, engaged in issues of peace, labor, immigrant and constitutional rights and environmental regulation.

The peace movement virtually disappeared as its leaders urged its supporters to turn their activities to supporting Obama’s election. He rewarded them by escalating military spending, and engaging in sequential wars, directly or by proxy, in seven countries, wreaking havoc and destruction. He faced minimum opposition as ex-peace activists, in dismay, turned away or grabbed a post and apologized for war. By 2012 the follower- less peace leaders repeat the same mantra to support Obama; but dare not repeat the past lie (in the name of ‘peace’) rather they claim in order ‘to defeat Romney’.


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