|Mitt Romney & Barack Obama|
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney occupies the White House, corporate America wins the election
What Barack Obama Didn't Change: Corporate America's Power
U.S. election battle today pits major disappointment against scary alternative
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
By Bill Tieleman
"The country Obama inherited was indeed in shambles, but Obama took a bad situation and, in certain ways, made it worse."
One candidate for president of the United States supports privatized health care, extrajudicial killing of opponents in foreign countries, wiretapping without warrants, and big business bailouts.
This candidate's $1-billion campaign is heavily corporately funded, with Microsoft and Google among his largest contributors, and he has Wall Street economic advisors and the strong support of the former speechwriter for ex-right-wing presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
The other candidate is Republican Mitt Romney.
So whether Democrat Barack Obama or Romney occupies the White House, corporate America wins the election.
And while there are substantive and serious reasons for U.S. Democrats to work hard for their candidate, the political system is stacked against any president making what Obama himself called "Change we can believe in" before his 2008 victory.
That historic election fuelled the hopes of progressive Americans, not just as the country's first black president but because Obama represented an opportunity to dramatically shift the balance of power towards ordinary citizens.
Obama made big promises -- to help unions organize more workers and ban permanent replacements for strikers, to close the horrendous Guantanamo Bay detention camp for foreign prisoners in Cuba, to increase the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement, to reject wiretapping of Americans without warrants, to bring in a public health care system -- not boost private health insurers' profits, and much more.
Four years later, those promises remain unfulfilled.
Still waiting for change
Obama can't be blamed for all his failures -- certainly the Republican Party has done all it can to frustrate his agenda, especially after gaining a House majority in 2010.
But Republicans didn't force Obama to appoint Wall Street millionaires to key jobs in his administration or fail to jail a single banker from the 2008 sub-prime mortgage financial meltdown that rocked the world or at least try to reform the insanely expensive American political system.
Obama's disappointments have forced many progressive Americans to frantically plead with voters to ignore flaws in his record because a Romney presidency would be far, far worse -- true, but not the most appealing argument.
Faced with that choice, most Canadians would vote for Obama, even though on many issues he is significantly to the political right even of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Obama may be able, like Bill Clinton before him, to overcome Democrat voter discouragement and win a second term.
But those voters should be under no illusion that Obama will magically transform into a progressive president.
He's simply better than the alternative.