Thursday, November 20, 2008

Antiwar groups fear Barack Obama may create hawkish Cabinet

From the Los Angeles Times courtesy of the Huffington Post news wire:

Antiwar groups and other liberal activists are increasingly concerned at signs that Barack Obama's national security team will be dominated by appointees who favored the Iraq invasion and hold hawkish views on other important foreign policy issues.

The activists are uneasy not only about signs that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet, but at reports suggesting that several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war.

"Obama ran his campaign around the idea the war was not legitimate, but it sends a very different message when you bring in people who supported the war from the beginning," said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of the 54-chapter Iraq Veterans Against the War.

The activists -- key members of the coalition that propelled Obama to the White House -- fear he is drifting from the antiwar moorings of his once-longshot presidential candidacy. Obama has eased the rigid timetable he had set for withdrawing troops from Iraq, and he appears to be leaning toward the center in his candidates to fill key national security posts.

More here.

So I continue to be hopeful about the incoming Obama administration.

You see, I am in no way surprised by all these conservative Clinton officials being pulled into Obama Land. Indeed, I halfway expected it. All along, it's been pretty clear to anybody not blinded by "Yes We Can" that the President Elect is no liberal, no dove. Yeah, conservatives and TV pundits call him "liberal," and sure, Obama's made all kinds of vague statements about getting out of Iraq and everything, but has been very clear every step of the way that he only means withdrawing "combat troops," whatever that means exactly. That is, Obama does not have, and has never had, any intention of pulling out of Iraq, which is one of the many reasons I did not vote for him.

He's just not a liberal, you know. But I've factored all that into my hope and optimism.

Iraq is a lost cause: we're never leaving, no matter what--as long as the global economy is oil based, a major US military troop presence in the middle of the Persian Gulf region is just too big a strategic prize for any establishment American politician to resist, Democrat and Republican alike. Of course, I continue to support an immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq, but just because we're not going to do that doesn't mean a great deal of good won't come from Obama's White House.

The very fact that he's not Bush or McCain is something fantastically marvelous in and of itself. And we may get universal health care, if the Congress pushes him in that direction. We may finally do something about global warming. That pending bill allowing workers to unionize much more easily might pass. Like I've said before, dire economic circumstances, coupled with the nation's mood, which I'm starting to believe has become downright progressive, has great potential to force our new President to be the liberal that he's currently not. That makes me optimistic.

But we can never forget that the whole "liberal Obama" thing is nothing but a facade, a political illusion that allows the President Elect to garner important support from the Democratic left, and allows Republicans to rail away against their favorite enemy. We must always remember exactly what Barack Obama is: an establishment insider who couldn't possibly have become President if he didn't support the establishment and its insiders. Let's not waste time bitching and moaning when Obama behaves according to his personal nature. Let's move straight to the attack.

He is open to influence, I think. If it's strong enough.