From most of Obama’s fans there’s been a deafening silence — the sound of people feeling stunned — rather than a real response to his handling of the Mohammed rendition lawsuit: his green lighting of the CIA’s continuing authority to carry out secret abductions to certain Washington-selected countries. But the fact that he has chosen to go along with this hideous Bush program surely must feel like a slap in the face to the vast majority of his supporters. Strangest of all is that he didn’t even request a delay, as many expected, to at least go through the motions of reconsidering the policy. Instead he bowed to the tenured spooks, who insist that rendition is the second most effective way to “take terrorists [sic: the nomenclature suggests that all, or most, or even any, of those apprehended are proven violent criminals; the evidence suggests otherwise] off the streets”. The very best way, they claim, is missile strikes.
Morality aside, what a tone-deaf move for Obama to make right now. Even in the cynical terms of PR, if a guy’s going to break a campaign promise, why break one this charged, and why do it this early? Similarly shocking-and-appalling was his decision a couple of weeks ago to retain Bush’s civilian wiretapping program.
For Obama to disappoint his base with these two retrogressive decisions was a one-two punch. It is having the effect in some circles of raising to the fore other disturbing policies which might otherwise have stayed underneath the radar; such as the fact that despite his stated intention to slash “billions of dollars in wasteful spending” at the Pentagon, his team is now demanding a $40 billion dollar increase in the defense budget. With moves like these, the door of the Obamafest is being opened to doubt. Will more critical challenges arise to crash the party? Will there will be, for example, a challenge from the Left of his support for more bank bailouts?
One senses that the millions of deservedly-exultant Obamaphiles out there are still too victory-drunk to be paying much attention to what’s going on; too giddy as yet to come up with a unified response. But this poses a problem not only from an ethical point of view but from a tactical one. It means that the only criticism our man is getting at the moment is from the idiot Right, and for the wrong reasons.
In the psychology of one-to-one relationships there exists a particularly poignant type of pain that is felt by lovers when the object of their infatuation betrays expectations that were too high in the first place. Herein lies the danger that Obama faces, a danger that is particularly acute during his first critical weeks, when he needs to (read: we need him to) hang onto every shred of his political capitol to make changes in the recalcitrant Washington establishment.
The Neptune/Chiron/Jupiter conjunction (see the Skywatches for February and upcoming, on MotherSky.com) will conjoin the USA’s Moon this Spring, indicating utopian visions borne aloft by a collective yearning to believe. These are the ingredients of savior projection (Neptune), one that is triggering a set of needs that originate in a very personal (Moon) part of the national soul — a part characterized not by logical thinking but by blind faith, and its shadow side, disillusion. The transit describes a populace-disempowering potential more alarming than that of the straight-up bullying by a tyrant.