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Pascal Robert: Obama as Wall Street’s Manchurian Candidate

by Pascal Robert

Apr 17, 2013 | Economy, Politics


In 2006, Barack Obama, less than two years in Congress as a pure neophyte, was the only U.S. Senator to attend the first meeting of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s meeting of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute.

In the video above, Obama talks about the new economic order. Watch Obama heap praise on the Wall Street elites who engineered the economic crash. Furthermore, listen to what he says about these antiquated “programs” from the 1930′s that people on the left “wrongly cling to” — by which he means Social Security.

All the economic growth Obama praises from the 1990s was caused by the dot com bubble, a sham that collapsed and led to another recession. Notice Obama’s agreement with Robert Rubin on “markets.” This is before the market totally crashed in 2008 causing the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. The irony is that the 2008 crash was caused by the same Clinton-era policies that Obama is cheerleading in this video.

“What we see here is Obama speaking to his true base”

This speech took place before Obama declared his candidacy for president in 2007, and after just two years in the Senate. It was important for him speak at this meeting, because these same Wall Street types would later bankroll his 2008 presidential bid. Hence what we see here is Obama speaking to his true base. The tone of his speech illustrates that he and those in the audience knew that his plan to implement their ideas was not limited to his freshman term in the U.S. Senate. Clearly, they knew what larger job Obama was meant to do for them.

And what a job indeed.

President Obama protected the banks from prosecution from the sub-prime meltdown for their allegedly fraudulent activity, and his economic policies have insured record Wall Street profits while the rest of America faces austerity. While black America continues to applaud its “first black president,” the first black president serves the interests of those that have always ground the poor and black living on the margins into dust. Such is the price for our “politics of redemption.” I hope we feel better when the dream is over and the discovery of the nightmare begins.

Fortunately not all of us were so easily duped. Adolph Reed, Jr., a political scientists at the University of Pennsylvania was the first person to realize what Obama was way back in 1996 shortly after Obama won his first Illinois state senate race. In Class Notes: Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene, Reed wrote:

In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program — the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics.

Martin Luther King Jr. warned us against the deceptions of a black politician who does not arise on the shoulders of mass support, but we have not heeded his counsel. The Reverend explained that these opportunists are:

selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources and inevitably subjected to white control. The mass of Negroes nurtures a healthy suspicion toward this manufactured leader, who spends little time in persuading them that he embodies personal integrity, commitment and ability and offers few programs and less service. Tragically, he is in too many respects not a fighter for a new life but a figurehead of the old one.

Who would have thought a black man would be Wall Street’s Manchurian Candidate? Truly, a brilliant masterstroke.

Well played, sir.

Indeed, well played.


Pascal Robert is a lawyer, blogger, and activist. His essays and commentary have appeared in The Black Commentator, the Black Agenda Report and The Huffington Post. Follow him @probert06 and @WashSpec.

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