2008 Flashback: Barack Obama Never Would Be the Savior Some Expected


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As we prepare for Election Day 2016, flashback to just before Election 2008. Look at eight lost election stories from 2008 to see what should have been expected.

In the final days running up to the 2008 election, the United States was deeply involved in multiple wars, threats of more terrorism, and just then the economy was free-falling with jobs and stocks hemorrhaging at historic rates. As bad as some think today appears, things were much worse then.

Into the turmoil came a relatively young and well-spoken man from the other party, promising hope and change against eight long years of tragedy and economic trauma — a kind of ‘anti-Bush.’

The man was Democratic Senator Barack Obama, the first black man to ever gain a serious chance of becoming president. In the dark atmosphere of those days, many saw Barack Obama as the savior against a wrong direction. Barack Obama was going to save us from the times and turn things around. Upon this promise and against an aging ideology and candidate on ‘the other side,’ Barack Obama won the election easily.

On Inauguration Day 2009, the relief from eight bad years was so great that people were literally crying in the streets and on the television screen. Hope and change had finally come. The dark days appeared over — but not really.

Today, there is an outsider and apparent billionaire exposing corruption and promising very directly to save us.

Before the 2008 election, in quiet places where nuanced thinking occurred, things did not look so bright. Somewhere between those who claimed ‘both parties were the same’ and those who demanded the savior, there were plenty of signs to indicate that the level of “hope and change” about to take place was nothing like the television show being aired.

Some were not surprised at what took place over the next eight years — the Barack Obama years. Some went to those places and read those articles that cast doubt upon overblown expectations. Some stories were from mainstream sources, some were not.

Here are eight lost stories from before the 2008 election that help to explain why the savior was never going to come.

BUSH ACCOUNTABILITY

1. Obama will let Bush’s Crimes Remain Buried For All Time (Keith Olbermann video)
On Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Jonathan Turley talks about Obama’s surrogate and adviser Cass Sunstein’s allegations that, if elected, Obama would not hold Bush to account for the last eight years of crimes.

THE DRUG WAR

2. Obama’s Biden Pick Signals ‘More of the Same’ Stupid Drug Policies (Alternet)
“Joe Biden authored the laws establishing the White House drug czar and random drug testing of public employees, among others. Voters who hoped that Barack Obama’s call for “change” would include revamping U.S. drug policy are finding themselves with reasons to be skeptical…”

EVANGELICAL ACCOMMODATION

3. Inside Obama’s Christian Crusade (The Nation)
“With little to lose and everything to gain, Obama has lifted high the cross. But are there invisible strings attached? …
“Obama convened a meeting in a law office in downtown Chicago with a wide array of about thirty evangelical leaders, in an unprecedented effort to win their support. Obama insisted that the meeting remain entirely off the record, forbidding participants from disclosing his statements to the press. His campaign has kept the names of attendees a closely guarded secret.”

PRIVACY AND NATIONAL SECURITY

4. Obama: Telecom Immunity Doesn’t Override National Security (MSNBC video)
This short video shows Obama’s flip-flop on telecom immunity, privacy, and the FISA court, claiming “the bill has changed.” He then moves to the need for extensive national security.

OBAMANOMICS

5. Beware the Chicago boys (The Guardian)
“Obama’s vow of love for free markets gives reason to fear a replay of Bill Clinton’s 1993 U-turn.
“Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC: ‘Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.’ Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed the 37-year-old Jason Furman, one of Wal-Mart’s most prominent defenders, to head his economic team …”

6. WalMart Defender To Direct Obama’s Economic Policy (New York Sun)
“Appointment of Jason Furman Immediately Meets With Skepticism.
“The appointment of Jason Furman, 37, a former Clinton administration official who is a visiting scholar at New York University, immediately met with skepticism from some who have faulted Wal-Mart for being stingy toward its workforce …
“In a debate on Slate.com in 2006, Mr. Furman took on the tactics of the anti-Wal-Mart movement, which include trying to block new stores in places like New York. ‘If I heard that Wal-Mart was coming to my neighborhood,… I wouldn’t kid myself into thinking that my opposition had anything to do with helping the poor. If anything, I would feel guilty that I was preventing moderate-income New Yorkers from enjoying the huge benefits that much of the rest of the country already knows so well,’ he wrote…”
Previously, Obama was critical of Wal-Mart.

TERRORISM AND WAR POLICIES

7. My Plan for Iraq (The New York Times editorial by Barack Obama)
While Barack Obama criticized the Iraq War, he said he would expand in Afghanistan.
“We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces…
“As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there…”

RACIAL REACTIONS

8. Obama’s possible election likely to make racism USA’s biggest problem ever (Pravda)
Unlike the others, this warning article from a Russian source did not claim that Obama would provide insufficient ‘hope and change,’ but rather that the election of a black man would itself inflame racial issues:
“About one-third of US citizens, both white and black, consider themselves racists, a recent opinion poll showed. A half of respondents said they racial issues still exist in the United States, The Washington Post wrote. Every sixth Afro-American believes that racism remains one of the biggest problems in the nation…
“Some specialists say that … Obama will either cast his lot with Lincoln or Kennedy, or become isolated in the White House, because the white America will explode in revanchist measures towards the black population. Racism in its open and extremely hostile form has all chances to become USA’s biggest problem…”
This obscure viewpoint proved true very quickly — racial tones in the Tea Party, the birth certificate scandal, black man in the presidency being used to say the post racial society has arrived or alternatively that black people are oppressing white people, etc. Looking back, this was all very predictable.
This is not to say by any measure that a black man should have been kept out of the White House fearing racial reactions. However, if more people would have taken a look at this phenomenon, then it could have been better counter-balanced.

In 2008, many of these stories were hidden or denied by those who supported Barack Obama. Today, we find similar indications about our current savior candidates for those who care to see.

Editor’s note: a YouTube video was taken down then removed from this article.