Candidates have no solutions

Last weeks Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina, which erupted into a series of bitter personal exchanges between the two frontrunners, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, underscored central aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign. First, the volatile economic and social crisis of world capitalism is exacerbating political tensions in the United States and creating conditions for a political explosion. Second, the bourgeois politicians of the two main big business parties, the Democrats no less than the Republicans, have nothing to offer the vast majority of the American peoplethe working class. The first question posed to Hillary Clinton was how much money her proposed stimulus plan would put in the pockets of the American people. Neither the CNN journalists who hosted the debate, nor the three candidatesClinton, Obama and former senator John Edwardstook note of the huge disparity between the vast scale of the crisis and the pathetically small countermeasures being discussed in Washington... The Clinton-Obama spat broke out after Clinton attacked Obama from the right for allegedly failing to specify a funding source for his proposed $50 billion in new programs. Obama, clearly regarding such a charge as politically damaging to his image as a responsible fiscal conservative, retorted that Clinton and her husband, the former president, had made a series of assertions that are not factually accurate, which he called the same typical politics that weve seen in Washington... There is certainly plenty of ammunition for such mutual mudslinging. Clinton, Obama and Edwards, like all the capitalist politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties, are representatives of the corporate elite. They have worked for big business, advocated policies favored by big business, and, from time to time, served as direct shills for big business... While claiming in this debate to advocate a more ambitious political program than Clinton, including the achievement of a 60 percent majority, Obama clearly does not want to do so by making an appeal to the vast majority of the American people who support an immediate end to the war. He does not want to be the antiwar candidate, not because this would be damaging in the election, but because it could arouse popular expectations that no administration could actually satisfy. Patrick Martin

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