* Richard C. Cook: 2008 Presidential Election: A Revolution or A Bust?


Richard Moore

"According to polls, three-fourths of Americans say the country is headed in the
wrong direction. This is an astounding statistic. At other times and in other 
places, revolution would be in the air."

The 2008 Presidential Election: A Revolution or A Bust?
By Richard C. Cook

Global Research, March 15, 2008

What should be the real issue of the 2008 presidential election is being lost in
the noise of the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama fracas. According to polls, 
three-fourths of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction. 
This is an astounding statistic. At other times and in other places, revolution 
would be in the air.

But is there any indication that something truly substantial might change 
starting with the election of a new president eight months from now? Something 
that would take the U.S. in a radically new direction?

Of course Obama has taken the word ³change² as a mantra. Hillary Clinton still 
promotes herself as the candidate of ³experience,² though after seeing her 
status as front-runner collapse in the face of Obama¹s string of primary 
victories after Super Tuesday, she has also recast herself as the one who will 
fight for the livelihoods of workers and the middle class.

What often happens is that when faced with a problem, politicians immediately 
jump to solutions that would seem to garner votes without having conducted a 
thorough analysis of what the causes of the problem really are. The voters today
know that much is wrong. The Democratic Party candidates say they can fix it. 
But let¹s focus a bit on what really might be the matter.

The nightmare administration of President George W. Bush and Vice-President 
Richard Cheney began with the electoral coup of November-December 2000. Four 
factors, three involving the state of Florida, cost Democrat Al Gore the 
election despite a national plurality of popular votes.

One was the simple fact of the archaic and anti-democratic institution of the 
Electoral College. The second was the disenfranchisement of substantial numbers 
of African-American voters by Florida election officials. The third was the 
presence on the ballot of third-party candidate Ralph Nader who siphoned off 
voters in Florida that might have supported Gore and given him the state¹s 
electoral votes without a recount. The fourth came when the Supreme Court 
blocked a recount and declared Bush the winner.

Once Bush assumed power, two crimes on a historic scale ensued.

One was the invasion of Iraq. Bush lied about the reasons the U.S. went to war, 
though it was obvious the invasion was a step in a pre-existing plan for 
military conquest of the Middle East. While the plan reflected the historic 
ambitions of the Anglo-American imperium, this latest phase stemmed from the 
epochal decision made during the Nixon/Kissinger years to tie America¹s fate 
irrevocably to control of Middle Eastern oil.

The second crime was the housing bubble which was deliberately created by the 
financial industry, the Federal Reserve, and agencies of the U.S. 
government‹certainly with White House approval‹to float the U.S. economy 
following the stock market crash of 2000-2001.

The political objective of the housing bubble was to buoy an economy whose 
productive capacity had been stripped since the time of the ³Reagan Revolution² 
by export of American jobs, closure of factories, sale of U.S. companies to 
overseas investors, and deterioration of public infrastructure.

How the bubble came about was simple. Once George W. Bush became president, 
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan went to work through interest rate cuts 
that would encourage a huge inflation of housing costs. The federal government 
looked the other way as fraud became routine in enticing consumers to overspend 
their income. Also playing a part in getting consumer buy-in was the federal 
mortgage interest tax deduction.

The windfalls from the inflation of home prices resulted only from borrowed 
money, not any productive enhancement of the economy. The largesse enriched 
financial institutions and the stock market and gave a temporary boost to 
consumer spending which propped up the economy for a few years. That bubble has 
burst, and a recession is hitting whose destructive effects are just starting. 
Housing values are plummeting with nothing to replace the ephemeral ³wealth² now
being lost by tens of millions of homeowners. Despite repeated Federal Reserve 
bailouts of the large financial institutions, the impact on the consumer economy
is starting to be devastating.

The Iraq War, whose multi-trillion dollar price tag threatens the federal 
government with bankruptcy, and the collapsing housing bubble, which threatens 
the rest of the economy with the same, are sufficient in their ramifications to 
delineate the current crisis.

What, however, are the causes, and are Clinton and Obama identifying those 

Hillary Clinton has pointed to U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil as a cause 
of the war and predatory lending as a cause of the housing crisis, and she is 
correct as far as she goes. She sees the cause of the recession primarily in the
disappearance of decent jobs. Obama¹s diagnosis is similar, though he adds that 
it was a strategic error to invade Iraq while the real terrorists supposedly 
responsible for 9-11 are still loose in Afghanistan. He also advocates a 
substantial extension of the social safety net to protect Americans whose jobs 
are vulnerable and who are losing their homes to foreclosure.

But neither Clinton nor Obama nor their respective armies of policy advisers 
have dug deep enough to get to the next layer of causality. And neither has 
addressed the philosophical issue of whether the solution is really a list of 
new government ³programs² along with the elimination of the Bush tax cuts for 
the rich.

So let¹s reflect on the possibility that maybe the George W. Bush presidency 
wasn¹t just an unpleasant accident from which the country needs to rebound but 
that it may reflect a deeper malaise that suggests the world¹s ³only remaining 
superpower² has entered a steep decline.

This malaise might be defined as the condition whereby the power of a great 
nation no longer works from the bottom up, through the character, work, and 
creativity of its people, but from the top down via: a) an increasingly 
all-powerful oligarchy of the rich; and b) bureaucracies that have so stifled 
people with taxes, laws, rules, and regulations that the average person can 
scarcely breathe without being written up, fined, investigated, spied on, or 

Life in these United States is increasingly becoming a purgatory where the 
average person pays almost half his or her income in federal, state, or local 
taxes; is swamped at his job or profession by government rules and paperwork, 
especially if he works in such fields as health care or education; has seen the 
costs of housing, gasoline, insurance, medical treatment, and now even food, 
skyrocket; must borrow huge amounts of money to educate his children, buy a 
home, or even pay for necessities like groceries; and where families must work 
at several jobs just to break even. And all this was before the recession with 
home foreclosures and more job loss picking up steam.

But again, why is it happening and could either Clinton or Obama‹or any 
president‹do anything about it?

The times are reminiscent of the run-up to the Great Depression, where buying of
stocks on margin was rampant, there were real estate bubbles similar to the one 
today, and the financial oligarchy, holding onto power through its association 
with the Republican Party, was the dominant force in society.

Today it¹s again the financial oligarchy which rules.

During recent decades, particularly since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, it¹s 
been these oligarchs, presiding from a financial industry that was drastically 
deregulated, who have wrecked America¹s manufacturing economy, exported millions
of our best jobs, and ruined small business and family farming by turning over 
huge segments of the economy to the globalist corporations they control, even as
our own domestic economy continues to crumble.

The oligarchs are in charge of the large oil companies and have influenced the 
mortgaging of our nation¹s foreign policy to a permanent alliance with the 
nation of Israel and to the monumentally destructive and expensive attempt to 
conquer the Middle East by force of arms.

The oligarchs make fabulous sums of money through control of the military 
industrial complex, by encouraging war as the chief instrument of foreign 
policy, and by acting as the world¹s leading weapons developer and exporter.

Meanwhile they dodge taxes and ignore their own financial responsibilities for 
the welfare of the nation while prevailing on the Bush administration to send 
the sons and daughters of the poor abroad to die for their profits.

The oligarchs are in charge of the big banks. They act through the system of 
lending overseen by the Federal Reserve and control our lending-based monetary 
system which has plunged the nation into debt to the tune of almost fifty 
trillion dollars.

It¹s been these same oligarchs who have abused the privilege of fractional 
reserve banking by creating such huge credit fiascos as the housing bubble, and 
by funding asset inflation and speculation through leveraging of equity, hedge, 
and derivative funds. The destructive nature of this speculation was shown in 
recent days by the insolvency of Carlyle Capital. J.P. Morgan and other huge 
banks created loans ³out of thin air² to allow Carlyle to buy up businesses. Now
that Carlyle has defaulted the banks have become the owners of these businesses.
It¹s theft on a grand scale with the victims being the people who work for the 
companies which are the pawns in the financiers¹ game.

Finally, since World War II it¹s been the oligarchs, acting through such 
institutions as the International Monetary Fund or through currency speculation,
who have subverted the economies of a legion of other nations in order to 
generate profits for themselves.

The rule of the oligarchs has relied on a string of weak presidents. Every 
president since John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, has acquiesced in
his own way. Johnson and Nixon appeased the investment bankers who were behind 
the military-industrial complex by waging the Vietnam War. Jimmy Carter was 
hand-picked by the Rockefeller-backed Trilateral Commission and began the 
deregulation of the financial industry which Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton carried
forward. While Reagan was allowed to enjoy his movie star persona, he slashed 
taxes for the rich, ran up the largest federal deficits in history, and 
eliminated the government¹s regulatory restraints on business consolidation and 
monopoly. Clinton, the pro-business Democrat, signed on to NAFTA and gave the 
financiers free rein while keeping the federal budget under control through 
reducing the government payroll. Today, George W. Bush, while priding himself on
his determination and toughness as a ³war president,² has been a total nonentity
in the face of the lobbyists, corporate magnates, and bankers who have completed
their takeover of the economy in a manner reminiscent of the division of rackets
among Mafia crime families.

The question of whether anything can be done to avert the drift leaves us with 
the question of exactly where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama now stand.

Certainly the fact that the two leading contenders for the Democratic Party 
nomination are a woman and an African-American is something historic in American
politics. No one can doubt that. But is this relevant to the real issues?

While Obama leads in the delegate count, Clinton seems to be doing all she can 
to drag him down through what is appearing to be almost a ³smear-and-fear² 
campaign. Still, supposing for a moment that the Clinton-Obama stalemate will 
not negate what should be the Democrats¹ golden opportunity to retake the White 
House, let us ask how much of a difference would the election of either of them 

Would we see just tinkering around the edges where the oligarchs continue to 
rule while a slightly more compassionate government tries a little harder to 
ease the plight of the common man?

Or would we see a fundamental difference that would move the nation back in the 
direction of its democratic roots?

Would we see a transformation on the order, say, of Franklin D. Roosevelt¹s New 

Anything like Abraham Lincoln¹s determination to preserve government ³by, of, 
and for the people²?

Something similar to what was called the ³Revolution of 1800,² when Thomas 
Jefferson took the government back from the Federalists who had compromised the 
ideals of 1776 by turning over so much power to the financiers who were working 
behind the scenes to control economic matters through Alexander Hamilton¹s First
Bank of the United States?

Or even an upheaval like the American Revolution itself where a new nation was 
created in the face of oppression by a London-based financial, economic, 
military, and political tyranny which today¹s oligarchs who work out of the 
gigantic banking conglomerates and Wall Street investment houses are coming to 
resemble more and more all the time?

Anyone who runs for president and actually wishes to accomplish something must 
realize that under our constitutional system of government, the only individual 
who can bring about change is a strong president acting on behalf of ³We the 
People.² The enemy of such a president would be the oligarchs, elitists, and 
³Robber Barons² who have subverted democracy repeatedly throughout American 
history but particularly over the past quarter century.

Of course in recent years the oligarchs, acting as what President Martin Van 
Buren once called the Money Power, have become more deeply entrenched than ever 
before, with many layers and complexities added since the times of Jefferson, 
Lincoln, and Roosevelt. The problem today is exponentially worse as the power of
the oligarchs touches every aspect of life. This has everything to do with the 
initiating of the Federal Reserve in 1913 which was the oligarchs¹ pathway to 

The waters today are far murkier than ever. The complexity mirrors and in large 
part is a result of the debt-based monetary system which the oligarchs not only 
run but own. So the big question is will any president be able to disentangle 
him/herself from the myriad of tentacles that have grown over the years and that
have the effect of binding the president to the oligarchy's system. This system 
since 1913 has gained momentum and absolute power and credibility even in the 
face of its fatal design flaws.

The next president will be defined by whether she or he is willing to bite the 
hand that has fed her/him by taking on the oligarchy and acting on behalf of the
people. The two candidates who most emphatically would have done this‹Ron Paul 
for the Republicans and Dennis Kucinich for the Democrats, both members of the 
House of Representatives, not the more elitist Senate‹are out of the picture. 
Ralph Nader is back on the scene but is so late in arriving that his impact will
likely be negligible. Of course we know where John McCain stands in making 
himself increasingly a clone of George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has seriously compromised herself by accepting 
donations from so many members of the financial oligarchy and corporate elite. 
Obama has been the more populist of the two in raising funds from over a million
individual donors. Whether this is indicative of the likelihood that he would 
govern in a more independent fashion is far from clear.

What is clear is that from this point on, the voters in the remaining Democratic
primaries, as well as the super-delegates, should have only one question in 
mind. Not whether Clinton or Obama has the more persuasive slogans or slings the
most mud or is the most ³ready² to lead. Not the side-issue of whether history 
will be made by the election of a woman or an African-American.

Instead we should be asking whether either will fight against the oligarchs on 
behalf of the people.

Given the rush of events, 2008 should be a major turning point in American 
history. If three-fourths of the population believes the country is moving in 
the wrong direction, can we count on a new president genuinely to represent this
majority? Or will we simply get another version of "more of the same"?

Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career 
included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug 
Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. 
His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous 
websites. His book on monetary reform entitled We Hold These Truths: The Promise
of Monetary Reform is in preparation. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: 
An Insider¹s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest 
Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, ³the most important 
spaceflight book of the last twenty years.² His website is at 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of 
the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on 

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