We had some sparks on the blog whenever I would criticize the empty rhetoric of the Obama campaign. It made me very unhappy for a moderate Democrat to use the soaring rhetoric of Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez to promote what we all knew would end in the utilitarian politics of compromise. And it made readers very unhappy to hear any criticism of a candidate who was being so vilified by truly hateful right wing groups. My criticisms of the Obama administration have been my least read and most criticized articles.
So I was not at all surprised to discover Obama’s chief of staff for the 2008 campaign and his campaign manager for 2012 has hired himself out to the other side. Jim Messina says that he has long admired David Cameron, England’s conservative Prime Minister. While Cameron is socially progressive on some issues his central economic strategy is to slash social spending and privatize whatever does not move. This week the former Obama campaign manager has agreed to work for the British Conservative Party.
My purpose in pointing all this out is not to criticize Messina, nor was my original intent to criticize Obama. They were just doing what it took to get elected in this country, and then to hold onto power. We in the States are so bombarded with advertising that we have fallen asleep in images. The Obama campaign was a media driven simulation of a grass roots social movement. That does not make Obama bad. It does not mean that he was not the lesser of evils.
So what is the lesson to be gained from the “Got Hope” manager switching sides like a professional wrestler? It is to stop believing in national heroes and begin to trust in universal principles . No politician can replace the hard work of a grass roots social movements. Blaming Obama would miss the point I am trying to make; which is, no politician can replace an active and informed citizenship.