Democrats were united on one issue in the 2008 presidential election: the absolute disaster that a John McCain victory would have produced. And they were right. McCain as president would clearly have produced a long string of catastrophes: He would probably have approved a failed troop surge in Afghanistan, engaged in worldwide extrajudicial assassination and kidnapping, destabilized nuclear-armed Pakistan, failed to bring Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to the negotiating table, expanded prosecution of whistle-blowers, sought to expand executive branch power, failed to close Guantanamo, failed to act on climate change, pushed both nuclear energy and a “nuclear weapons renaissance,” opened new areas to domestic oil drilling, failed to reform the financial sector enough to prevent another financial catastrophe, supported an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, ignored the poor, and failed to lower the jobless rate.
Nothing reveals the true state of American politics today more, however, than the fact that Democratic President Barack Obama has undertaken all of these actions and, even more significantly, left the Democratic Party far weaker than it would have been had McCain been elected. Few issues are more important than seeing behind the screen of a myth-making mass media, and understanding what this demonstrates about how power in America really works—and what needs to be done to change it.