Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama's the man for capital


I actually think that an Obama victory would be substantially better than any of the other main candidates. I do think his antiwar position on Iraq is important, even if I'm not convinced that he is a principled 'antiwar' candidate - one recalls his statements on Iran before the NIE, and notes his various pro-Israel statements, which are kind of obligatory. And actually, yes, of course it does matter that he is the only black candidate and the first one to have had a serious chance of winning. It counts, even if it doesn't count for all that much. And it counts that he isn't an outright neocon, whereas I think the neoconservative faction would actually do very well under both McCain and Clinton, who are the two other serious candidates. His campaign seems to be promising, though he will not deliver, an end to the nightmare. I personally hope Nader's campaign does something more than implode on the first few steps - if nothing else because by raising a serious radical campaign, it will drive the agenda further to the Left. If Democrats want to whinge about this, as they can always be relied upon to do, they have to be able to make a case to would-be Nader voters why should not vote for a radical left-wing campaign, and it should be something better than 'you're ruining it!' But Obama, while he doesn't differ on a lot of principle with Clinton and McCain, is different enough that it matters. A victory for him will be seen around the world as a defeat for the 'war on terror', and that counts.

Still, I think it's worth pointing out that one reason his campaign is in rude health is because capital actually rather likes him. The top campaign donations for Obama, Clinton and McCain are online, respectively here, here and here. It is noticeable that finance-capital, the dominant sector of the US ruling class, appears to be swinging hard behind both Democrats, although Hillary's largest donor is DLA Piper, a huge law firm and lobbyist for various corporate interests. Although both have a very different position on the justice of the invasion of Iraq (Hillary is trying to pose as an opponent, but is one of the most hardline supporters), both are broadly committed to devoting more to the occupation of Afghanistan and less to Iraq. One assumes that the US ruling class is sick and tired of the Bush clique's adventurism and wants to try and consolidate Central Asia.

Yet, Hillary is in bad shape financially and her campaign is losing momentum in a very serious way, which is why in the run up to the key states of Texas and Ohio, she is resorting to the Islamophobic card, just as she has played on racism throughout the campaign. Quite a ruthless team, the Clintons, and I for one am not ready to say they're out of the primaries - far from it. Although I agree with those who say that Clinton probably wouldn't win the presidential race against McCain (and the polls support this), she's tough enough and dirty enough to pull through this first round. And if that happens, you've probably got a an absolute militarist nutcase for President, albeit one given to wearing the humanitarian surplice (along with Bob Dole, if you can believe that). And then it'll be party time.