Saturday, July 5, 2008

Olbermann has sold out

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By Michael Kwiatkowski

I just got done reading Keith Olbermann's tortured excuse for not calling out Barack Obama on his FISA cave, and frankly, it's as lame as it can get. Sorry, Keith, but you've sold out to the far right without even realizing it. Here's why.

Throughout this campaign, you've been doing little or nothing but bash Hillary Clinton for all the wrong reasons. While the senator supposedly representing New York has undoubtedly made plenty of verbal gaffes and has a poor record of defending the Constitution against the shrub and his gargoyle, you focused your rage exclusively upon her, and for all the wrong things. One example is her suggestion that the bigot bloc might not vote for Obama, which is true: no matter how much he panders to the far right, no matter how often he bashes blacks to their faces, the bigots in this country simply are not going to vote for a black man for president; they'd sooner cast their ballots for a white woman. You, however, joined in with those who relentlessly attacked her for pointing out this fundamental truth.

The selling your soul to the Obama fan club isn't apparent only in your relentless attacks on Clinton; you've failed time and again to jump on your candidate of choice for things you would never have let others get away with. In a piece by Counterpunch's Gregory Kafoury, the writer reminds us that the senator supposedly representing Illinois has committed a slew of misdeeds on the campaign trail that include:

- Obama announced a new financial team of supply-side economists led by Jason Furman, famous for declaring that it would be "damaging to working people" if Wal-Mart were to raise its wages and benefits. Obama had recently criticized Clinton for serving on the Wal-Mart board, declaring, "I won't shop there." In the Audacity of Hope, he sympathized with “Wal-Mart associates who hold their breath every single month in the hope they’ll have enough money to support their children.”

-When questioned in a Fortune interview about his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to protect workers and the environment, Obama replied, "Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified."

- In a close congressional primary race in Georgia, Obama endorsed a troglodyte incumbent – a “Bush enabler” – over an exemplary progressive insurgent.

- In a speech to the Israeli lobby, he moved to the right of Israel’s government by ruling out negotiations with Hamas. A day earlier, Obama had told Cuban exile groups that he would only sit down with Raul Castro if the exiles had a seat at the table, a precondition that Cuba will never agree to.

- Obama refused to criticize recent Israeli war maneuvers and accompanying threats to launch massive air attacks on Iran. He failed to even urge restraint.

- Just as a move was growing in the Senate to strip the House-passed Telecom bill of its immunity provisions, Obama declared his support for the House version. Obama's opposition to immunity had been our best hope to learn whose phones and emails had been wiretapped by the Bush administration, and to punish those Telecom companies that assisted this massive criminal enterprise.

This last is especially relevant, because while you dismiss Glenn Greenwald's critique of you, the fact remains that you would have ripped into any other prominent politician for caving in to the shrub on FISA and telecomm immunity. That it happens to be Obama selling out to the far right in exchange for power changes nothing; it's still a craven capitulation to the shrub, no matter how one tries to spin it.

You've lost your impartiality, Keith, and for that you must apologize. Not only that, you must recognize that it is more important to tell the Truth than to get another corporate-conservative Democrat elected to office. You're an intelligent man, Keith. You know as well as anyone else that if Obama will not stand up and defend the Constitution and the rule of law as a senator running for president, he certainly won't do it as president. I expect to see you on the air from now on, ripping into Obama with all the passion and fury you reserved for the shrub and Hillary Clinton. The enemy is not confined to the ranks of the Republican Party: it is the entirety of the power structure, and this includes Obama.

You owe it to us, your viewers, to return to the standard you helped set by going after all the powerful, not just those you dislike.

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