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Commentary :: Politics
Wake-up Boston: Obama's the stealth corporado!
04 Jan 2008
Modified: 07:53:58 AM
Hey Boston Dems! Going to NH to campaign for Obama? Check this out:
"... Obama's a cold-blooded, Chicago-based and Daley-schooled corporate opportunist who does not believe much of his own campaign drivel and imagery. He is receiving many millions of election dollars from the real “special interests” that most significantly control U.S. society, culture, politics, and policy: leading global investment firms and other powerful corporate interests
A reader recently wrote to ask me why I have spent so much energy penning Left criticisms of the pseudo-progressive Barack Obama phenomenon (1). What, the reader wanted to know, about the other leading mainstream Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards? Don’t they deserve the same critical scrutiny and radical dissection I have given to Obama over the last year? “When,” my correspondent wanted to know, “will you put Clinton II and Edwards – both of whom voted to authorize George W. Bush’s illegal Iraq invasion – in your crosshairs too?”

A different reader has contacted me to suggest that I “must be a racist” for daring to repeatedly criticize the potential “first black president.” He could see no other reason than racial bias for my critical reflections on The Great White Hope Barack Obama.

Here (below) is a seven-point response and explanation.


Anything is possible, I suppose, but it is not likely that my critical focus on Obama is about anti-black racism. I’ve published a large number of articles, numerous project studies, and two books dedicated to exposing and opposing the persistent hold of institutional racism in the United States (2). One of my repeated and central criticisms of Obama is precisely that he is too cautious about acknowledging and challenging racial oppression (3). I argue that the white-pleasing “Obama effect” builds on and expands its mass-cultural kissing cousin the “Oprah effect” in deepening the illusion of racism’s disappearance by elevating the public profile of selected bourgeois blacks who make sure not to spark white anxieties with honest discussion of the continuing powerful role of white supremacy in American life (4).

It is a childish parody of identity politics to tell someone they are “racist” because they dare to criticize a public personality who happens to be black. Is a white author racist if she condemns Clarence Thomas or Condoleeza Rice or Oprah Winfrey or Bill Cosby for advancing or defending objectively racist policies and structures? What if that author agrees with the Left black intellectual W.E.B. DuBois’ position that black conservative Booker T. Washington was too accommodating toward the white power structure?


I do not overlook the other big three Democratic candidates. I have written a number of pieces offering sharp Left criticisms of Hillary, Edwards, and the Democratic Party as a whole. While I have given special attention to Obama (for reasons to be explained below), the other top Democratic presidential candidates have walked into my “crosshairs” on numerous occasions. Here are some of the more relevant examples:

“Looking for Bill Clinton in Columbus Junction,” ZNet (December 15 2007), available online at

“Imperial Temptations: John Edwards, Barack Obama, and the Myth of Post-World War II United States Benevolence,” ZNet Magazine (May 28, 2007), read at

“A Very Narrow Spectrum: Even John Edwards is Too Far Left for the U.S. Plutocracy,” ZNet Sustainer Commentary (August 29, 2007), read at

“ ‘We’ve Done a Lot More Than Talk,’” ZNet Magazine (January 19, 2007), read at

“Who Does Hillary Clinton Think She’s Kidding?” ZNet Magazine (February 14, 2007), read at

“Hillary’s War and the Next 9/11,” ZNet Magazine (July 5, 2007), available online at

“Establishment Politics in ‘Rebel’s Clothing’: Corporate Power, Populist Pandering, and the Ironies of Identity in the Democratic Presidential Race,” ZNet Magazine (November 18, 2007),

“Corporate Money on the Democrats: The Bad News,” Z Magazine (December 2007 – on newsstands right now)

For other examples, having more to do with the Democrats as a whole (not just specific presidential candidates), please see the articles listed below in this article’s fifth endnote [5]).


After having repeatedly demonstrated Obama’s mendacious war-mongering, I hereby order Obamanist “progressives” to repeat after me: “Obama is NOT an anti-war candidate...Obama is NOT an antiwar candidate…Obama is NOT...(continue until re-programmed). Again, I’m not going to replicates here arguments I’ve made many times by now (not that rational debate has the slightest influence on the countless privileged white Obama cultists I’ve talked to in recent weeks). For overwhelming evidence in support of the elementary observation that Obama is an imperial war Democrat, see one of the articles listed above (Street, “Establishment Politics in ‘Rebel’s Clothing’”) or either of the following:

“What Would Obama Have Done? Voted for the War and Lied About It – Just Like Hillary,” Black Agenda Report (November 1, 2007), read online at

“Running Dog Obama,” ZNet (July 29, 2007), available online at

It’s all there.


Running to the Right of Hillary

The main reason I haven’t criticized Hillary as much as Obama is simple. My audience at Z-Net and other outlets (Z Magazine, Black Agenda Report, Dissident Voice among other outlets) is disproportionately Left and left-liberal (more left than liberal in my case) and that readership is not particularly beholden to progressive illusions about Mrs. Clinton. My basic perspective on Hillary – that she represents the corporate and imperial wing of the Democratic Party (so does Obama) – is already widely shared by the people who read the outlets in which my work appears. I don’t have a lot of “anti-Hillary” work to do in the circles my essays tend to inhabit. And I don’t run into a lot of liberal-lefties who think (absurdly) that Hillary Clinton is one of them. For what it’s worth, Hillary signs are relatively sparse in my particularly “progressive” Iowa City precinct.

Things are different with Obama, whose signs (“HOPE – Obama ’08”) are highly visible in my supposedly left-leaning neighborhood. For whatever reasons – and race is part of the equation (6) - the corporate “player” Barack Obama (7) has been able to convince a large number of leftish sorts that he’s on their side.

This is sadly ironic since Obama is now running closer to the G.O.P. than Hillary. You don’t see Hillary inveighing against the supposed menace of “partisanship” or taking up right-wing talking points on Social Security by joining Barack in claiming that the system is in “crisis” and therefore in need of drastic reform (8). You don’t see her reaching out to the evangelical right and making fundraising appearances with gay-bashing fundamentalist preachers like Obama’s good campaign friend Donnie McClurkin (9).

Recently we have witnessed the sorry spectacle of “progressive” Obama sounding like Rudy Guliani in denouncing Hillary and Edwards’ health care plans for imposing the terrible “government mandate” of actually universal coverage. Obama’s plan would let young adults who feel strong and healthy stay outside the risk pool until they require significant medical attention (10).

He Who Pays the Player

And now Obama has sharpened the starboard tack of his campaign by criticizing Edwards for getting support from independent labor groups. According to Barack, (whose message of non-partisan harmony and getting things done with Republicans and corporations does not sit very well with union workers), this support shows that Edwards is beholden to the kind of “special interests” that “have too much influence in Washington” (11). Never mind that unions’ fading power rests upon the small contributions of working-class individuals with relatively little wealth and influence compared to that of the truly rich and powerful investor class that exercises the lion’s share of “special interest” control over U.S. government and politics. According to liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Obama has moved to Clinton’s right on domestic policy (something hard to do and still call oneself a “Democrat”)at least (12).

Krugman has done his readers and the progressive community a great service by documenting and critically analyzing Obama’s rightward drift but I think he is too kind to Obama when he chalks the BaRockstar’s reactionary tilt up to the senator’s “naïve” desire to seem nonpartisan. There’s nothing naïve about Obama: he’s a cold-blooded, Chicago-based and Daley-schooled corporate opportunist who does not believe much of his own campaign drivel and imagery. He is receiving many millions of election dollars from the real “special interests” that most significantly control U.S. society, culture, politics, and policy: leading global investment firms and other powerful corporate interests like Exelon (the secret to his pro-nuclear stance). Those who pay the piper call the tune (13).

“The Last Time Anybody Got a Build-Up Like This...”

Dominant U.S. media has enabled Obama’s core project of wrapping establishment corporate politics in progressive rebel’s clothing. Reflecting dominant media’s “distaste for populism” and its deep approval of Obama’s “message of reconciliation,” Krugman notes, “Mr. Obama’s [news] coverage has been far more favorable than that of any other candidate”(14). Krugman could have added that Obama has been piling up the lion’s share of newspaper endorsements so far.

Obama’s media advantage goes deeper. As the Chicago political wit Paul Green noted last year, “the last time anybody got a build up like this he had 12 apostles” (15). The truly remarkable corporate media love that the Obama phenomenon – itself largely a media creation (and itself a mass cultural spectacle in its own right) – has received has made it all too easy for the BaRockstar to recurrently pose as something he is not: a peace and justice candidate

Dominant media refuses to subject his ridiculously false claims of progressive commitment to remotely serious critical scrutiny outside unusual “mainstream” places like Krugman’s carefully phrased columns.

To get the real and full story on Obama, you have to go to samizdat Internet outlets like Black Agenda Report, ZNet, and Dissident Voice, places that would be key public reference points if we had a more democratic and participatory political culture.


I’m left of Kucinich. You may be too, dear reader, if you support and/or regularly consult ZNet. Good for us. But here’s my two cents from the candidate-saturated campaign ground in Iowa (I’m in a heavily over-educated the thus highly indoctrinated and relatively Obamanized precinct in Iowa City): the highly imperfect (from a Left perspective) John Edwards (16) is better than Obama in ways that matter (and yes, dear fellow Chomsky reader, the differences are mainly about domestic and not foreign policy). The unabashedly partisan, pro-labor, anti-poverty, and “populist” Edwards is running to the centrist Obama’s “populist” and democratic left.

Two Different Concepts of How America is Divided and What to Do About It

It’s a bigger contrast than many progressives know or let on (17). Obama intones endlessly about “hope” and finding “common ground” and “consensus” with Republicans, evangelicals, and big business. He decries the nation’s supposedly horrid legacy of factional and ideological conflict – an allegedly frightening heritage he pins on the purportedly scary (late) 1960s – and claims to represent a new generational politics seeking to “get things done” above nasty old divisions. He claims to represent the glories of an America where hard work is rewarded and anyone can rise from the bottom (where he supposedly originated) to the top. He tells Wall Street’s global investor class of his purported beliefs that “you are as open and willing to listen as anyone else in America” and that “your work [is] be a part of building a stronger, more vibrant, and more just America. I think,” Obama absurdly adds, “the problem is that no one has asked you to play a part in the project of American renewal” (18). Sounding like a droning academic on many occasions, he has been known to put more than a few of his audience members to sleep.

Meanwhile, Edwards has been delivering a steady diet of red-hot orations against business rule. Deploying the best stump speech in the campaign, he refers repeatedly to the labor movement as “the greatest anti-poverty program in American history.” He is willing to lose corporate sponsorship and media fancy in his determination to make “ending poverty” and fighting economic inequality and “corporate domination” of American politics and policy the rhetorical cornerstones of his campaign.

In the place of Obama’s tiresome feel-good homilies to togetherness and shared American values and empathy, Edwards declares that his mission as president would be to give privileged corporate and business elites “Hell.” He promises to battle and defeat big business to make policy in democratic accord with a popular consensus that already exists for things like universal health care and fair trade. He says it’s a “lie” that “any Democrat is better than any Republican,” arguing that replacing big money “corporate Republicans” with big money “corporate Democrats” is just a game of musical chairs. He (rightly in my opinion) mocks Obama’s great healing narrative as singing “Kumbaya” and makes no bones about disliking the Republican right.

His generational narrative is that the next generation of Americans is about to be the first in U.S. history to be worse off than its immediate predecessor. Passive Democrats who refuse to fight “corporate greed” to “reclaim our democracy” should look their children in the eyes, Edwards says, and "admit that they did nothing to stop the decline of opportunity and the growing inequality of wealth and power.”

Edwards’ autobiographical narrative skips the Horatio Alger claims of heroic upward mobility. It simply states that he’s running for president on behalf of the working-class people he grew up with in rural North Carolina. Their hard work was not rewarded, he says, when their local textile mill closed so that its corporate owners could exploit cheaper labor abroad (19).

Edwards rejects the notion that any but a small minority of Americans can to rise from poverty to riches under current economic and political arrangements. He takes little personal credit for his own ascendancy to wealth (20).

His campaign’s concept of the division that plagues America is different from Obama’s. Obama has hitched his quest for power on a pledge to save the virtuous (Alexander) Hamiltonian Republic by reaching out across the supposed great divide between “red state” (white-patriarchal and more rural, evangelical and militarist) Republicans and “blue state” (more multi-colored, feminist, gay-friendly and urban-cosmopolitan) Democrats. By sharp and relevant (for actual progressives) contrast, Edwards speaks in more (Thomas) Jeffersonian terms about the more real and fundamental fissure in the U.S: the split between the public and the country’s corporate-based power centers. He advocates “fighting and beating” those power centers on behalf of working people and the cause of popular governance.

He’s even better on race than Obama. As Obama’s fellow black Chicago South Sider Jesse Jackson, Sr. noted in the Chicago Sun Times last November: “The Democratic candidates – with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign – have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country” (21).

Grassroots progressives are less naïve and ignorant about Edwards’ more well-known limits and career. At the same time, any illusions they do and might have about Edwards - whose populist rhetoric outruns his policy agenda and (especially) his Senate record (1998-2004) and who would face strong pressure to dilute his rhetoric and agenda if he were ever to get the nomination (not to mention the presidency)[22] – are closer to the truth in his case. For whatever reasons, Edwards is noticeably less willing than the notoriously power-hungry Obama – South Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush once observed that Obama would “run for the king of the world if he had the chance” – sell his soul (unlike Hillary, Obama may still have one to sell) for the presidency. It’s not for nothing that Edwards is relying on public financing (and is therefore subject to spending limits) while Obama “works the phones like a dog” to match Hillary in raising campaign dollars from corporate election investors” (23).

“Who’s Going to Fight for You?”

It’s not for nothing that volunteers from the Service Employers International Union (SEIU), UNITE-HERE, the United Steelworkers, the Carpenters, and other unions are working overtime for Edwards in Iowa between now and the Caucus. And it’s not for nothing that Ralph Nader recently endorsed Edwards and rejected Obama in a fascinating MSNBC Hardball interview with Chris Mathews. "The key phrase" in Edwards’s message, Nader told Mathews, is "that he doesn't want to replace corporate Republicans with corporate Democrats." Nader says that Edwards' message of fighting corporate power is more stridently Left than anything he's seen from an electable Democratic politician in a very long time.

Mathews agreed and said that Edwards is raising issues of "structural change" that "haven't been heard since the Sixties."

"People in Iowa and New Hampshire have to ask themselves a question,” Nader said on MSNBC: "who's going to fight for you?"

At one point Mathews says, "you've excluded Obama from the progressive coalition." Nader observed that Obama has "excluded himself" with statements that "are very conciliatory to concentrated wealth and power” (24).

Beyond ideological differences, there's a practical concern regarding the possibility (favored by corporate election funders) that the Demcorats will run Hillary and/or Obama in 2008. Many on the Left will vote Democratic only if it’s Edwards. If it's Hillary or Barack, we'll vote Green or something else or not at all. That will tick some more moderate Democrats off – sorry! - but it's a fact of some relevance to Edwards’ (strong) electability argument.


I have this thing about serial liars with power. I can’t stand them (serial liars without power are harmless and sometimes entertaining). And while all mainstream United States politicians regularly purvey falsehoods big and small, Obama and his campaign lie and deceive with distinctively nauseating chutzpah again and again and again.

Don’t believe me? Read my recent article “Barack Obama and the Audacity of Deception” (, which reveals a pattern of deep and repeated dishonesty including the senator’s comments on his own biological conception (he claims that his parents "got together" across racial lines because of victories won by the Civil Rights Movement after he was born), the senator’s bizarre statement on why he asked his controversial (too Left) spiritual mentor (Rev. Jeremiah Wright) not to deliver the convocation before Obama announced his pursuit of the White House (the candidate falsely claims he was trying to “protect” Wright) and his deceptive claims to be an enemy of corporate power and a dedicated opponent of the Iraq invasion. After having repeatedly voted to fund the “war” and worked in numerous other ways to defend Bush’s petro-imperialist occupation, Obama has the base impudence to tell Iowa voters that they can “join the movement to end the war” by caucusing for him. He once warned congressional Democrats not to “play chicken with the troops” by daring to de-fund “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and campaigned for pro-war Dmocrats (including Lieberman) against antiwar progressives in congressional primaries in the spring of 2006 (25).

Now we have reports that Obama “has missed an astonishing number of hearings and meetings of the Senate Veterans committee.” His graphic dereliction on veteran services and health is disturbing in light of reports showing that Illinois’ disabled veterans are at “rock bottom” — “dead last” — in benefits and claims processing of applications for disability. It is doubly distressing since Obama has repeatedly trumpeted his supposed grand commitment to veterans as one his special strong points on the path to the presidency. A recent detailed investigation published in the online journal No Quarter (and titled “While Illinois’ and the Nation’s Veterans Suffer, Obama Campaigns”) notes that Obama “is nothing if not audacious in touting his veterans committee membership as contributing to his ‘foreign policy’ experience for the presidency, while his own state’s veterans suffer.” Further: “Obama claimed that the veterans committee was ‘one of my first priorities.’ He said, ‘One of my first priorities was obtaining a seat on the Veterans Committee...And the thing that I pledged when I was sworn in as the Senator was that if nothing else in the first couple of years in the Senate, I could make absolutely certain that there would have been a strong advocate in the United States Senate,’ at a Veterans Town Hall Meeting, May 23, 2005. But Obama has skipped 19 of 37 VA committee meetings in the 109th congress... Obama’s attendance record was the second worst of all Democrats on the committee. He attended just 18 of the committee’s 37 meetings in Washington D.C” (26).

And so it goes.


Hillary and Edwards seem content to be known as politicians, advocates, and someday (they hope) presidential policymakers. The notoriously narcissistic and boundlessly ambitious Obama (27) wishes for more. He wants all that but also needs to be considered one of the world’s great intellectuals. This great ambition is fed by his onetime celebrated position as the editor of the Harvard Law Review and his many years teaching Constitutional Law at the conservative University of Chicago’s elitist Law School.

Whatever its origins, his grand intellectual aspirations encourage him to make explicit a considerable amount of his power-worshipping essence in a large number of grandiose speeches and writings. The results are often quite grotesque, as I showed in a a detailed review (28) of his ponderous semi-autobiographical campaign volume The Audacity of Hope - his second book largely about himself. In that tedious volume and in numerous pontificating orations to such august ruling-class bodies as The Council on Foreign Relations, Obama has gone to elaborate lengths to demonstrate his profound fealty to dominant domestic and imperial hierarchies and doctrines.

If you are interested in reading some jaw-dropping reactionary reflections from the Hamiltonian Professor Obama (and some elementary Left deconstruction of his “progressive” formulations) see my following articles:

“Obama’s Audacious Deference to Power,” ZNet (January 24, 2007), read at; published also at Black Agenda Report,

“The Pale Reflection: Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Meaning of the Black Revolution,” ZNet (March 16, 2007), read at

“Obama’s Insults,” ZNet (October 3, 2007), read at

“Barack Obama and The Audacity of Deception: Reflections on the Manufacture of Progressive Illusion,” ZNet (December 6, 2007), read at

“Obama Speaks: ‘Oh Great White Masters, You Just Haven’t Been Asked to Help America,” ZNet (December 11, 2007), read at

Be careful not to read this material too late in the day. It may disturb sleeping patterns for those with genuinely progressive world views. And it is all very consistent with the following and supposedly (as far I could tell) flattering judgment from journalist Larissa MacFarquhar in The New Yorker last May: “In his view of history, in his respect for tradition, in his skepticism that the world can be changed any way but very, very slowly, Obama is deeply conservative” (29).

That’s no joke, Ms. MacFarquar.

Here’s my favorite quotation from chairman Barack in The Audacity of Hope:

“The Founders recognized that there were seeds of anarchy in the idea of individual freedom, an intoxicating danger in the idea of equality, for if everybody is truly free, without the constraints of birth or rank and an inherited social can we ever hope to form a society that coheres?” (Obama, The Audacity of Hope [New York, 2006, pp. 86-87)

How’s that for commitment to the democratic and egalitarian ideals to which the United States so often lays special claim?

Ms. MacFarquar’s interesting and accurate assessment, inserted within an Obama portrait titled “The Conciliator,” stands in curious relation to the senator’s recently insistent and repeated reference to the following phrase from his supposed hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “the fierce urgency of now.”

But that’s what Obama and, for that matter, U.S. political culture are all about: you quote the militant Left activist King on the need for immediate action even while you actually agree with Edmund Burke that change comes only slowly and from the top down.

For all its standard bearer’s claims to be a calm and detached reformer “above the fray” of America’s filthy imperial plutocracy, the Obama phenomenon epitomizes of what a still Left Christopher Hitchens once called (in his 1999 study of the Clintons) “the essence of American politics. This essence, when distilled,” Hitchens explained, “consists of the manipulation of populism by elitism” (30).

Veteran radical historian Paul L. Street is a writer, speaker and activist based in Iowa City, IA and Chicago, IL. He is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm); Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in Post-Civil Rights America (New York: Routledge, 2005); and “Working in the Yards: A History of Class Relations in Chicago’s Meatpacking Industry, 1886-1955” (Ph.D thesis, Binghamton University, 1993). Paul can be reached at paulstreet99 (at)


1. I have in fact focused to a disproportionate degree on Obama. See my following articles: “The Obama Illusion: The ‘Hopes of Slaves’ and the ‘Hamiltonian Ambitions’ of a Corporate-Imperial ‘Player,’” Z Magazine (February 2007); “Obama’s Audacious Deference to Power,” ZNet (January 24, 2007), read at;

“The Pale Reflection: Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Meaning of the Black Revolution,” ZNet (March 16, 2007), read at;

“Barack Obama’s Wonderful Wealth Primary,” ZNet (April 11, 2007), read at;

“Sitting Out the Obama Dance in Iowa City,” ZNet (April 28, 2007), available online at;

“Imperial Temptations: John Edwards, Barack Obama, and the Myth of Post-World War II U.S. Benevolence,” ZNet (May 28, 2007), read at;

“Barack Obama’s White Appeal and the Perverse Racial Politics of the Post-Civil Rights Era,” Black Agenda Report (June 20, 2007), read at; “Running Dog Obama,” ZNet (July 29, 2007), available online at;

“Obama’s Insults,” ZNet (October 3, 2007), read at; “What Would Obama Have Done? Vote for the War and Lied About It – Just Like Hillary,” ZNet (October 13, 2007), read at;

"Barack Obama and the Audacity of Deception: Reflections on the Manufacture of Progressive Illusion" (Dec.6); "The Obama Disease: Business Rule, 'Common Ground,' and P[l]aying the Fool"

(Dec.4); “ ‘ Angry John’ and KumbayObama: Reflections on Iowa, Business Rule, and The Democratic Party’s Democratic Disconnect,” ZNet (December 20, 2007) at;

2. See, for example, Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History (New York, NY: Rowman-Littlefield, 2007); Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005); Still Separate, Unequal: Race, Place, Policy and the State of Black Chicago (Chicago, IL: Chicago Urban League, 2005); The Color of Opportunity: Race, Place, Policy and Labor Market Inequality in the Chicago Metropolitan Area (Chicago, IL: Chicago Urban League, 2003), available online at, click on “Research Reports Available Online;” with Lee Ann Lodder, Scott McFarland, Diana White and Dennis Kass, Racial Preferences and Suburban Employment Opportunities (Chicago: Chicago Urban League, 2003), available online at, click on “Research Reports Available Online;” The Vicious Circle: Race, Prison, Jobs, and Community in Chicago, Illinois, and the Nation (Chicago, IL: Chicago Urban League, 2002), available online at, click on “Research Reports Available Online;” with Dennis Kass, The Color of Job and Prison Growth: Race, Geography, Labor Market Opportunity, Unattached Youth, and Mass Incarceration in Illinois. Chicago, IL: Chicago Urban League (Summer 2001); The Color of Power: African-American Representation in Decision-Making Positions in Chicago (Chicago: Chicago Urban League, March 2002), available online at, click on “Research Reports Available Online;” “The Full Blown Oprah Effect: Reflections on Color, Class, and New Age Racism,” Black Commentator (February 27, 2005), available online at; “Skipping Past Structural Racism: Center Trumps Left in Recent PBS Series in Race in America,” Black Commentator (April 8, 2004), available online at

3. Paul Street, “Barack Obama’s White Appeal and the Perverse Racial Politics of the Post-Civil Rights Era,” Black Agenda Report (2007), read at

4. How absolutely perfect that Oprah is now joining Obama on the campaign trail in 95 percent white Iowa. They help mildly liberal and moderate whites feel good about supporting “good” blacks and rejecting openly prejudiced “state- of-mind racism” while honoring hegemonic white-supremacist codes by staying away from serious confrontation with the deeper disparities that lay at the heart of the nation’s continuing “state-of-being racism.” For my perspective on the Oprah phenomenon, see Paul Street, “The Full Blown Oprah Effect: Reflections on Color, Class, and New Age Racism,” Black Commentator (February 27, 2005), available online at

5. Paul Street, “Democrats See Progress in Iraq: Reflections on Moral Failure and Progressive Naivete,"(Nov.27); “In a Time of War: On the Absurdities of Non-Impeachment,” ZNet Sustainer Commentary (November 18, 2007), read at; “Trapped By Their Own Militarism?” Democrats Bare Their Back for the American Right,” ZNet Magazine (November 15, 2007), read at; “Leading Democrats: ‘Expropriate the Expropriators’ (A Satire),” ZNet Magazine (November 10, 2007), read at; “Eric Alterman, the Democrats, and the ‘Stab in the Back,” ZNet Magazine (October 10, 2007), read at; “How Big Change Occurs: ‘Under the Threat of Revolt,” ZNet Sustainer Commentary (October 2, 2007), read at; “Democratic Iraq Betrayal: Treachery on the Campaign Trail,” ZNet Magazine (August 12, 2007), read at; “A Response to Tom Harkin et al.: No Congressional War Funding, No War,” ZNet Magazine (July 23, 2007), read at; “Rational Fears and Gut Feelings: U.S. Policy, the Middle East, and the Privileging of Survival Over Hegemony,” ZNet Magazine (July 21, 2007), read at; “The Courage Of Their Convictions: Confronting Criminal Trespass with the Iowa Occupation Project,” Znet Magazine (July 13, 2007), available online at; “Strategizing in the Face of Crimes: Reject the Democrats’ Call for Calm,” ZNet Magazine (May 4, 2007), read at; “ ‘We’ve Done Our Part’: The Democratic Party’s Line on the United States’ Commitment to Peace and Democracy Within and Beyond Iraq,” ZNet Magazine (March 27, 2007), read at; “Health Care Hokum and U.S. Political Culture,” Z Magazine (November 2007): 48-50; “We’ve Done a Lot More Than Talk,” ZNet Magazine (January 19, 2007), read at; “Vilsacking Iraq,” ZNet Magazine (December 22, 2006), read at; “Victory Without Vision,” ZNet Magazine (November 11, 2006), read at

And in case anyone thinks I am incapable of criticizing top Democrats other than

6. Street, “Obama’’s White Appeal.”

7. Ken Silverstein, “Obama, Inc.: The Birth of a Washington Machine,” Harpers, November 2006; Street, “The Obama Disease.”

8. Paul Krugman, “Played for a Sucker,” New York Times, 16 November, 2007.

9. Margaret Kimberly, “Obama and McClurkin,” Black Agenda Report (October 31, 2007), read at

10. Paul Krugman, “Mandates and Mudslinging,” New York Times, 30 November, 2007.

11. Paul Krugman, “State of the Unions,” New York Times, 24 December 2007.

12. Greg Sargent, “In an Interview With TPM, Paul Krugman Ramps Up the Case Against Obama,” December 19, 2007, read at

13. For ugly campaign finance details, see Street, “‘Angry John’ and KumbayObama,” and Street, “Sitting Out the Obama Dance in Iowa City.”

14. Paul Krugman, “Big Table Fantasies,” New York Times, 17 December 2007.

15. Paul Green is quoted in Mike Flannery, “Obama Makes Cover of Men’s Vogue,” CBS News Chicago (August 11, 2006), read at

16. Paul Street, “Imperial Temptations: John Edwards, Barack Obama, and the Myth of Post-World War II United States Benevolence,” ZNet Magazine (May 28, 2007), read at; A Very Narrow Spectrum: Even John Edwards is Too Far Left for the U.S. Plutocracy,” ZNet Sustainer Commentary (August 29, 2007), read at;

“ ‘We’ve Done a Lot More Than Talk,’” ZNet Magazine (January 19, 2007), read at

17. See for example the left-liberal Nation’s endorsement of all the Democrats - remarkably devoid of any reference to Edwards’ position to Hillary and Obama’s left: The Editors, “Election ’08,” The Nation (January 7, 2008), read at

18. Barack Obama. “Our Common Stake in America’s Prosperity,” Speech at NASDAQ, New York City (September 17, 2007), read at

19. See Street, “‘Angry John’ and KumbayObama” for sources and more details.

20. David Leonhardt, “Two Candidates, Two Fortunes, and Two Distinct Views of Wealth,” New York Times, 23 December 2007, sec.1, p.1.

21. Jesse Jackson, Sr. “Most Democratic Candidates Are Ignoring African Americans,” Chicago Sun Times, 27 November, 2007.

22. Paul Street, “John Edwards and Dominant Media’s Selective Skewering of Populist Hypocrisy,” ZNet (June 29, 2007), read at; Street, “Corporate Money on the Democrats: The Bad News,” Z Magazine (December 2007); Edwards S. Herman “How Market-Democracy Keeps the Public and ‘Populism’ At Bay,” ZNet Sustainer Commentary, 13 August 2007, available online at

23. Street, “Sitting Out the Obama Dance;” “Obama’s Wonderful Wealth Primary;” “Barack Obama and the The Audacity of Deception.”

24. MSNBC interview linked at

25. Street, “Running Dog Obama;” “Establishment Politics in ‘Rebel’s Clothing;’” “Barack Obama and the Audacity of Deception;” What Would Obama Have Done?”

26. Susan UnPC, “While Illinois’ and the Nation’s Veterans Suffer, Obama Campaigns,” No Quarter, December 20, 2007, read at

27. David Mendell, OBAMA: From Promise to Power(New York: HarperCollins, 2007), pp. 7, 217, 353-354; Janny Scott, “In 2000, a Streetwise Veteran Schooled a Bold Young Obama,” New York Times, 9 September, 2007.

28. Street, “Audacious Deference to Power.” See also Street, “‘Oh Great White Masters, You Just Haven’t Been Asked to Help America,’” ZNet (December 11, 2007), read at; Street, “The Pale Reflection.”

29. Larissa MacFarquhar, “The Conciliator: Where is Barack Obama Coming From?,” The New Yorker (May 7, 2007).

30. Christopher Hitchens, No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family (New York: Verso, 2000), pp. 17-18.
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