Who is on whose side?

The latest issue of Counterpunch (the newsletter that “Tells the Facts and Names the Names,” according to its masthead) includes some interesting bits.

Andrew Levine’s article about the ongoing disagreements between the governor and the public employee unions in the state of Wisconsin includes this description of Barack Obama:

a Nobel Peace laureate who wages multiple self-defeating wars of choice, a Constitutional Law professor who continues Bush era attacks on the rule of law (while protecting Bush era war criminals from being brought to justice), a community organizer who stifles efforts to relieve poverty (disingenuously, in the name of cutting budget deficits)

I can’t think of a more trenchant summary of the paradoxical Mr O that could be expressed in so few words.

Esam al-Amin’s article about the recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and other Arab countries quotes some authors not usually cited in leftist periodicals, among them Alexis de Tocqueville (“In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end”), Joseph de Maistre (“The counterrevolution will not be a reverse revolution, but the reverse of a revolution”,) and Andrew Jackson (“In his farewell address in 1837, President Andrew Jackson said it best
when he reminded his people that ‘eternal vigilance by the people is the price of
liberty,’ and that one ‘must pay the price’ in order ‘to secure the blessing.'”)

I would never have voted for Jackson for any office, not only because my wife is a Cherokee but also because I am at heart a Whig who leaves a place open at the table in case Henry Clay should return to earth.  I would happily have voted for the liberal Tocqueville, though I’ve never succeeded in reading more than two pages of any of his writings at a time before drowsiness forced me to stop.  As for Joseph de Maistre, as an adherent of the republican tradition I disagree with his views on every level.   Still, I find it as difficult to put his books down as it is to wade through Tocqueville’s, so I’m glad I’m not the only person who both wants to see government by the people and to read books by Joseph de Maistre.

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