On the surface, Donald Trump and Barack Obama may seem like polar opposites but they are alike in one fundamental way: both promised to challenge a corrupt and brutal establishment but promptly caved in, writes Sam Husseini.
Donald Trump won the 2016 Republican nomination and the general election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and an anti-interventionist, an “America Firster.” Similarly, Barack Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised “hope and change” and because he had given a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.
Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we can’t know for certain if they planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change, but they both reversed themselves on their core messages, committing what you might call a massive political fraud. Yet, what is perhaps most striking is how quickly each of them backtracked on their winning messages, particularly since they were both proclaimed as representing “movements” seeking to shake up the system.
Even before taking office, Obama stacked his administration with pro-war people: He kept George W. Bush’s head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates; for Secretary of State he nominated Hillary Clinton, whom he beat largely because she voted for giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq; he surrounded himself with other prominent Iraq War backers including Vice President Joe Biden and senior foreign policy advisers Susan Rice and Richard Holbrooke. Even before he was sworn in, Obama had supported the 2008 Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. [See from 2008: “Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?“]
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