(ICE, just like the UFT, has not formally endorsed a candidate for President. Unlike the UFT we have not been working, as a group, for a candidate without an endorsement. It appears that since Hillary is out of contention it may be time to begin the discussion of whether we should endorse someone and if so who we should endorse. Michael Fiorillo has started the discussion. We welcome further comments and blog pieces)
While it's impossible to underestimate the Clinton's compulsive will to power - which has a hint of the pathological to it - I find the idea of Hillary destroying Obama's chances of defeating McCain, so that she can be a viable candidate in 2012, a bit of a stretch. She already has a immovable bedrock core of people who intensely dislike her, for reasons valid and invalid, and a determined campaign to destroy Obama would send her negatives among Democrats and Independents off the charts. It's not that she, and certainly Bill, aren't capable of doing such a thing; it's that I think they are still sufficiently reality-based to see that it would likely forever poison the well against them. An honest cost-benefit analysis on their part would show that it would have only a remote chance of succeeding, while hampering their marketability as spokepersons for neoliberal trade policies, which seems to have been Bill's bread and butter in recent years.
As for Obama, appealing as he is on many levels, don't expect his election alone to successfully push forward a progressive, let alone radical agenda. Please keep in mind that since his election to the senate, he has:
- campaigned for Lieberman against Ned Lamont in Connecticut.
- voted for all funding for war in Iraq.
- voted to renew the Patriot Act.
- voted for the 2005 bankruptcy bill that was virtually written by the banks and credit card companies.
- voted to limit the ability to file class action lawsuits. (Hillary voted against this bill.)
- supported merit pay for teachers and the expansion of charter schools. I raise these points not to imply that we should refuse to work and vote for him.
I voted for him in the primary with - considering the political history of the past 35+ years - a fair degree of enthusiasm; I'll do so again in November if given the chance .However, don't think that a lot will happen unless he is pushed hard from, I hesitate to say it, the left.
Wall Street, and especially Hedgistan, is investing heavily in Obama's campaign, no doubt seeing it as venture capital investment to establish an equity stake in a possible Obama administration. Unless there is a surge of activism on many fronts, these people will continue to set the terms of debate.
As teachers, we've borne some of this, as Wall Street, corporate and foundation money has flooded into education, buying research and policies that undermine public education and teacher's unions in the "marketplace of ideas."
Fortunately, there's evidence that perhaps the tectonic plates are shifting somewhat. The May First ILWU strike explicitly protesting the war in Iraq on the West Coast docks was a profound event, underreported as it was. UAW members have been on strike against American Axle since February, fighting a two-tier wage system. There have been protests on Wall Street against the predatory nature of the credit system. Here in NYC, we may be seeing some cracks appearing in BloomKlein's PR fortress.By all means, let drive a stake through the Clinton's hearts - politically speaking, of course - and vote for Obama in November. Let's not just leave it up to him after that.
(Chapter Leader, Newcommers' High School)