By Press TV
By Colin S. Cavell
Former US Presidential candidate and one-term Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the US Congress today as an invited guest to voice his opinion before a hearing dubbed as “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs.”
Roemer lambasted the role of corporate money which now controls the US presidential campaign process in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a landmark case decided two years ago in 2010 in which “the Court held that the First Amendment [to the US Constitution] prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions.” Commenting on the electoral system in light of this court ruling, Roemer declared: “It’s bought!”
Senator Dick Durban (D-Ill.) said that the court case now allows for “super-secret PACs” set up by billionaires to “control our political agenda” thus disenfranchising the average American voter. This sentiment was echoed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who stated that the Citizens United ruling is turning the US back into an oligarchic system putting all power into the hands of a few millionaires and billionaires.
The Citizens United (2010) ruling is only one of many tactics being utilized by the Republican Party opposition to try and unseat the country’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, in his bid for reelection to a second term in office this coming November. Trying not to appear too radical, Obama has temporarily salvaged the US capitalist economy from a near total economic meltdown, restored a sense of sanity to the Executive Branch of government which former President George W. Bush had almost totally shredded, and provided the US with a cover for its historical record of slavery and discrimination against Blacks and other ethnic minorities.
However, his supporters are upset with him for not following through on his promises to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, bring any of the Bush gang to justice for waging illegal wars, breaking international and national laws forbidding torture, addressing climate change dangers, etc.
Nonetheless, the ouster in 2008 of perhaps the most criminal US regime in American history, the George W. Bush Administration, and his replacement by an avowed liberal and relatively dynamic highly-educated Black man, has infuriated a section of the US ruling class which seeks to maintain a white-dominated political system in order to preserve its asymmetrical control over property, profits, and privileges accumulated over the previous two and a half plus centuries of white European domination on the North America continent.
Not only have death threats against Obama increased by a reported 400% from his predecessor but, as well, the number of white supremacist militia groups in the US has grown by 35% since 2000. The rise of the so-called “Tea Party” movement-funded mostly by the billionaire Koch brothers and the like-initiated a faux populist movement which labeled Obama a socialist, a communist, a Marxist-Leninist, an atheist, a Muslim, a left-winger, an anti-capitalist, un-American, etc., etc., etc. in an attempt to discredit him and his policies. Indeed, this billionaire-funded revanchist movement continues to this day to maintain that Obama was not born in the United States and, legally, therefore, is not eligible to be the president of the United States.
In states across the country, the reactionary agenda of these billionaires includes a push to defund public school systems and institute in their place a system designed to either home-school children with allegedly “Christian” values or publicly subsidize privately-run schools, redesign school textbooks to discredit evolutionary theory, downplay the value of the Civil Rights movement to the nation’s development, highlight a more subordinate role for women, edit out any negative references to capitalism and the so-called “free market” system, cut out Thomas Jefferson and his thoughts on revolution replacing his writings with more religiously-oriented conservative propaganda more amenable to a retrogressive agenda, etc.
Ensuring that Barack Obama is only a one-term President, a goal stated by the top Republican leader in the US Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is the mantra of this billionaire-funded counter-revolution against the nation’s first Black president. To accomplish this task, the billionaires and millionaires have put forward one of their own to challenge Obama, former Massachusetts governor Willard Mitt Romney, a multi-millionaire who inherited money, influence, and privilege from his father, and who then earned many more millions through his hedge-fund company Bain Capital. To guarantee a Romney victory in November, the Koch brother billionaires and some 250 other wealthy individuals have pledged to spend over $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 election. Insiders believe the 2012 presidential campaign will see well over a billion dollars spent to oust the president. Since May of 2012, candidate Mitt Romney has continued to bring in record amounts of campaign money each month outraising the Obama campaign in a reversal of the 2008 presidential campaign when then-candidate Obama raised double the amount of his then-Republican rival, Senator John McCain.
So what role do the travails and tribulations of Barack Obama’s reelection campaign have to do with the seemingly erratic and very dangerous US actions in Syria? Surely the two are not related…are they? The answer is: “plenty”.
What is at stake in the upcoming November election is a fight for nothing less than furthering the reestablishment of some degree of legitimacy to the American claim to be a democratic nation, a claim that had largely become lost between the ascendancy of the Reagan Administration back in the 1980s through to the wreckage of the junior Bush years. With the rise of newly industrialized countries slowly chafing away US market dominance around the world by the 1980s and with the Soviet sphere of influence further constricting the expansion of US capital and exacerbated by the increasingly expensive Cold War, American capitalists under Reagan fought to reclaim legal, political, and financial privileges which had slowly been conceded to the US working class since the end of WWII. Emboldened by their success, a section of the American capitalist class vowed to continue its fight against American workers and rewrite US laws in their favor while redesigning US culture to reflect the racist, wealthy white-male society which allegedly “made America great” and launching new expanded wars of imperial predation in order to eradicate any new domestic calls for greater democracy on the home front in the US.
This retrenchment on the part of America’s reactionary wealthy elite played itself out until the disastrous policies of George W. Bush brought the nation to its knees by 2008. Recognizing that the next logical step would be a total scrapping of the US Constitution and most probably the implementation of marshal law, a section of the US ruling class abandoned the Republican candidate McCain in 2008-who promised more of the same of what Bush had offered-and they backed the candidacy of Obama. And though some wealthy capitalists like Warren Buffet, George Soros, Steven Spielberg, et al. will continue to support a second term for Obama, the resulting contest promises to be quite nasty and quite costly.
Many critics will allege that it does not matter who wins the US presidency in November, for the same imperialistic policies abroad will result whether it is the Democrat Obama or the Republican Romney who wins. Such critics are either too jaded by the seeming banality of the presidential contest every four years or they simply do not understand the American democratic system, believing that there is a unity amongst US elites on all major policies and that the election contest is merely for show.
Assuming, at least for the sake of argument, that this contest is indeed real, as this author maintains, that substantial policy differences will be displayed and enacted depending on which candidate is elected, and that such alternative approaches spell the difference between the survival of some semblance of democracy or rather its eradication from the US, then one can begin to see a logic to Obama’s policies both domestic and foreign.
Specifically, with regards to Syria, opportunistic efforts to replace the Assad regime with a new US-client regime would be advantage for the US, though not worth the price it would require, viz. a third world war. As such, the US is supplying relatively low-cost command and control and intelligence guidance for the effort but not troops, nor weaponry, nor direct financing. Instead, the Persian Gulf monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Qatar along with their lesser autocratic appendages are tasked with financing the weapons, supplying the mercenary fighters, and paying the salaries of this adventurous policy which surely will backfire once the world community becomes aware of just exactly who is fighting this war and who is paying for it and why.
As seen from the Obama camp, the adventure into Syria is a “win win” policy, as it lessens the charge from his Republican opponents that he is not pushing hard enough to advance US hegemony in the Middle East, undermines Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to launch a preemptive strike against Iran, helps to drain the treasuries of the Persian Gulf monarchs thus setting the stage for the second act of the Arab Spring following Obama’s reelection, and-should the Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Russians and others not wake up to counter this outright naked imperialistic aggression, as happened with Libya, then-Obama will add one more country to the US-controlled Arab legion without much effort, save for the saber-rattling tongue of his Secretary of State and the activation of his diplomatic corps.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the United States, Colin S. Cavell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Louisiana State University in 1982, his Masters of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of New Orleans in 1987, and his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts in February 2001. In addition to teaching political science with the Junior Statesmen Foundation Summer Program at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, Dr. Cavell has taught at the University of New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusett. He is the author of Exporting ‘Made in America’ Democracy.