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Honeymoans from the left side of it

Honeymoans from the left side of it

A month after he won the White House, Barack Obama is drawing a chorus of approval from conservatives who spent most of this year denouncing him as a man of the extreme left. “Reassuring,” says Karl Rove of Obama’s cabinet selections. Max

Boot, a rabid right-wing commentator, confesses, “I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain.” In Murdoch’s Weekly Standard, mouthpiece of the neocons, Michael Goldfarb reviewed Obama’s appointments and declared that he sees “nothing that represents a drastic change in how Washington does business. The expectation is that Obama is set to continue the course set by Bush in his second term.” But on the liberal-left end of the spectrum, where Obama kindled extraordinary levels of enthusiasm throughout his campaign, the mood is swiftly swinging to dismay and bitterness. “How… to explain that not a single top member of Obama’s foreign policy/national security team opposed the war?” Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, asked last Monday. She went on, “For Obama, who’s said he wants to be challenged by his advisers, wouldn’t it have made sense to include at least one person on the foreign policy/national security team who would challenge him with some new and fresh thinking about security in the 21 st century?” “How nice, how marvelously nice it would be,” wrote the left-wing historian William Blum sarcastically here on the CounterPunch site last week, “to have an American president who was infused with progressive values and political courage.”

Blum speedily made it clear that in his estimation, Obama is not endowed with these desirable qualities: “He’s not really against the war. Not like you and I are. During Obama’s first four years in the White House, the United States will not leave Iraq. I doubt that he’d allow a complete withdrawal even in a second term.” Similar sentiments came from another popular left-wing reporter, Jeremy Scahill, who wrote here on Tuesday, “The assembly of Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Susan Rice and Joe Biden is a kettle of hawks with a proven track record of support for the Iraq war, militaristic interventionism, neoliberal economic policies and a worldview consistent with the foreign policy arch that stretches from George HW Bush’s time in office to the present.” Suddenly, a familiar specter is shuffling back under the spotlights. A long piece on Obama’s foreign policy advisers recently carried the headline, “Are key Obama advisers in tune with neocon hawks who wants to attack in Iran?” The author is Robert Dreyfuss, a level-headed leftish commentator. He sketched in the political backgrounds of advisers to Obama and concluded that “Tony Lake, UN Ambassadordesignate Susan Rice, Tom Daschle, and Dennis Ross, along with leading

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