By Paul Street
For some of us in possession of such dark appreciation of the politician and his context, Obama was understood early on to be a distinctly possible if not probable next president - despite or even because of his race. We felt that he offered the U.S. power elite and its authoritarian business and military order and global empire a much needed re-packaging - a symbolic overhaul and "re-branding" - that none of the other serious presidential contenders in the mix could safely provide to the same degree required in the wake of the Cheney-Bush nightmare. For me and a few other lefties I knew/know, there was little all that unlikely or surprising or remarkable about Obama's rapid climb to the top of the American Empire. It all made perfect sense. The same goes for Obama's performance as U.S. president so far.
Since the inauguration, Obama as president has governed as predicted - well to the corporate, imperial, and racially neutral center-right. Heralded by Advertising Age for giving "tainted brand America" an "instant overhaul" (as open, progressive, egalitarian, and democratic) Obama has if anything out-done my "cynical" expectations (dating to the origins of the largely media-created "Obama phenomenon") on the extent to which he would betray his many progressive supporters (some deluded and some not) and his more progressive-sounding campaign promises. Washington under Democratic rule and the Obama administration (since January 20, 2009) provides potent evidence for left-liberal political scientist Sheldon Wolin's take last year ( before the election) on the chances for progressive change under the United States "corporate-managed democracy" and "one-and-a-half party system."