From the Horse’s Mouth
by MELANIE PHILLIPS
December 8, 2008
Trevor Loudon has got hold of a fascinating analysis of Prez-elect Obama’s administrative appointments by Mark Rudd and Jeff Jones, two former Weather Underground terrorists (chums of Obama’s
old ally chance acquaintance, the unrepentant former WU terrorist William Ayers). The two of them are now on the board of Movement for a Democratic society, in turn the parent body of Progressives for Obama, the leading leftist lobby group behind Obama’s presidential campaign. And waddya know – just like me they believe Obama is practising stealth politics with a degree of sophistication and success with which ‘even Lenin would be impressed’. As they say, Obama knows that he must be subtle and reassure even the most conservative of his opponents if he is to achieve his radical goals. Mark Rudd writes:
Obama is a very strategic thinker. He knew precisely what it would take to get elected and didn't blow it...But he also knew that what he said had to basically play to the center to not be run over by the press, the Republicans, scare centrist and cross-over voters away...What he's doing now is moving on the most popular issues – the environment, health care, and the economy. He'll be progressive on the environment because that has broad popular support; health care will be extended to children, then made universal, but the medical, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations will stay in place...the economic agenda will stress stimulation from the bottom sometimes and handouts to the top at other times. It will be pragmatic...On foreign policy and the wars and the use of the military there will be no change at all. That's what keeping Gates at the Pentagon and Clinton at State and not prosecuting the torturers is saying. And never, never threaten the military budget. That will unite a huge majority of congress against him.
And I agree with this strategy. Anything else will court sure defeat. Move on the stuff you can to a small but significant extent, gain support and confidence. Leave the military alone because they're way too powerful. For now, until enough momentum is raised. By the second or third year of this recession, when stimulus is needed at the bottom, people may begin to discuss cutting the military budget if security is being increased through diplomacy and application of nascent international law.
* Obama plays basketball. I'm not much of an athlete, barely know the game, but one thing I do know is that you have to be able to look like you're doing one thing but do another. That's why all these conservative appointments are important: the strategy is feint to the right, move left. Any other strategy invites sure defeat. It would be stupid to do otherwise in this environment.
* Look to the second level appointments. There's a whole govt. in waiting that Podesta has at the Center for American Progress. They're mostly progressives, I'm told (except in military and foreign policy). Cheney was extremely effective at controlling policy by putting his people in at second-level positions.
* Read Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father. The second section is the story of his three years doing community organizing in Chicago. It's some of the best writing on organizing I've ever seen. That's all it's about, the core of the book. Obama learned many lessons of strategy and patience. Then read the first section, on his family and growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia. No other president has ever had such intimate experience with class and race.
The final section is about his trip to Kenya. No other president has ever had an understanding of not only race, but colonialism and neo-colonialism, even using the terms. It's the whole story he tells of his African family and especially his father, a victim of neo-colonialism. As was his stepfather in Indonesia.
This is no stupid guy...Had any of the stupid Republicans read his books, they never could have said, “We don't know who this guy is.” You know every thought he's ever had.
Jeff Jones agrees:
All of this leads me to the same conclusion reached by Mark Rudd: this guy is really SMART. He is setting Hillary Clinton up to be the public face of his effort to end the Iraq war. He is going to successfully extort green concessions from Detroit. He will convince Congress to pass a major stimulus package that will lay the foundation for the development of an alternative energy manufacturing industry. He will do something to help reduce housing foreclosures. He will let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire.
These various initiatives, which will collectively set the nation on a path towards energy independence, ending the war and redistributing financial resources downward, are presented as unconnected pieces of legislation but actually they are interlocking components of Obama's coherent multi-layered agenda. His centrist appointments are a smokescreen; they co-opt the moderate center, but he's still the commander in chief. Even Lenin would be impressed!
The key is the stupidity of so many of Obama’s opponents, amplified by the credulousness and prejudices of the media and the ignorance of the public. The shallow Republicans and their supporters in the media and blogosphere have in large measure fallen for Obama’s stealth politics hook, line and sinker. As a result of his “centrist” appointments which have got them absurdly cooing over people like Clinton and Holder, Gates and Jones (see my posts here, here and here), their guard is now totally lowered. They still don’t know the true nature of what has hit them – and at this rate will never know until they wake up one morning to a transformed America and a free world that has lost the war being fought against it.
And the more the Left shrieks ‘betrayal’, the more American conservatives will wrap themselves in denial. But characters like Rudd and Jones are the horse’s mouth. They know from the inside the manipulative and stealthy game that is being played here. Lenin would be impressed indeed.