Part I: Nunn-Boren “Unity” Rears its Ugly Head on Behalf of Obama: With an Introduction to David L. Boren

UPDATE: Parts II and III to follow…

So, former Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren endorsed Obama today. It seemed like a convenient thing to do in light of Obama’s recent juvenile activities involving fingers. Both will now advise on national security. Nunn heads the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charitable organization, as Co-Chair and CEO. Boren served as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. More on the very scary background of Boren later.

Of course, Nunn and Boren are the the epitome of what Obamaphiles looking for “change” are thirsting for!

Let’s see, Nunn’s record in the Senate includes: being a member of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC); voting NO on deducting Social Security payments from income taxes; voting YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage; voting Yes on limiting death penalty appeals; voting YES on limiting product liability punitive damage awards; voting YES on abstinence education funding; and an unknown stance on abortion rights.

Boren’s record is even more conservative. And scary, especially with regard to foreign policy. Sourcewatch, A Project of the Center for Media and Democacy, quotes from a 2001 article entitled “CIA Support for Bin Laden: Who’s Responsible?”:

“The current crisis calls for Americans to investigate the records of all Congress members who approved of any legislation enabling U.S. support for the Afghan rebels during the 1980s. Those who supported this hideous adventure deserve severe judgment.

“As an Oklahoman, I am particularly interested in the record of former Senator David Boren, whose close tie to the CIA is well known. He was appointed to the Intelligence Committee in 1985, and later became its Chairman.

“Boren also has close ties to the extreme right. Political Research Associates, a group whose purpose is to expose the threat to democracy presented by right-wing groups, includes Boren as a member of one of the organizations which they have targeted for concern.

“Boren was co-chairman of the Congressional divison of the National Coalition for Peace through Strength (CPTS), a creature of the American Security Council (ASC). The CPTS believed that the USSR and communism were the greatest evils in the world. Other CPTS members included Ronald Reagan, Phyllis Schlafley, and Jesse Helms. Organizational members have included the American Conservative Union, the American Legion, Citizens for Reagan, Young Americans for Freedom, and Young Republicans. PRA also says that emigre groups with a history of association with Nazis were included in the CPTS membership.

“One of the more prominent ASC members was Major General Milnor Roberts, chairman of the Committee for a Free Afghanistan (CFA). During the 1980s proxy war the CFA promoted U.S. support for the Islamic militants whose successors are now being accused of the September 11 attack.

“Boren has also been a close political ally and Congressional puppet for Eddie Gaylord, the reactionary publisher of The Daily Oklahoman, described as ‘the worst daily newspaper in America’ by a January 1999 article in the Columbia Journalism Review. In the same article, the Review reported that Boren as a Senator had sponsored ‘a one-of-a-kind, multimillion-dollar’ tax break that would benefit only eight wealthy investors — one of whom was Gaylord.

“Additionally, Boren’s relationship with former CIA director Robert Gates deserves critical scrutiny. Robert Gates was essentially a liar used by Reagan to corrupt the CIA away from its mission of providing the government with accurate assessments of Soviet strength. Under Gates, the CIA’s mission came to be the exaggeration of Soviet strength and expansionist tendencies while sabotaging the goal of detente. David Boren was an enthusiastic supporter of Gates and helped push through his nomination as CIA director.

“In a speech available online at the CIA website, Gates boasted about CIA success in Afghanistan, where it supported the anti-Soviet Mujahhadin. He admits that the CIA funneled billions of dollars in supplies and weapons to the Mujahhadin. Oddly enough, he forgot to mention that Bin Laden was one of the beneficiaries.”

Sure does inspire confidence, doesn’t it? He’s going to advise Obama, the great agent of CHANGE?? The one who was a GENIUS in saying he was against the Iraq War but didn’t have to vote on the resolution (but MAY have if he had been in the Senate)? And the one who has continued to vote to fund this unholy mess? And the one who agrees with Condi Rice on the “unpredictability” of planes ramming into tall buildings? The one who knows squat about foreign policy?

Nunn and Boren, if you recall, headed the Oklahoma “unity” conference in January of this year. As reported by Katrina Vanden Heuvel at the time,

“a dozen leading Democrats and Republicans, including former Senators San Nunn, David Boren, Gary Hart. Senator Chuck Hagel, former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman, Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen and former GOP congressman Jim Leach also say they’ll attend. Boren, who’s hosting the meeting at the University of Oklahoma, says that if “we don’t see a refocusing of the campaign on a bipartisan approach, I would feel I would want to encourage an independent candidacy.”

Of course, Unity ’08 “scaled back” their operations and in their parting message opined:

Barack Obama, for example, has made the theme of unity and the necessity of bridging the partisan divide an absolutely central theme of his campaign. And just last week, a group of former and present national office holders – independents, Republicans and Democrats – met in Oklahoma for the sole purpose of stating their belief that at the present perilous moment, a unity government is the only hope of solving the nation’s mounting problems. When you have agreement among the likes of former RNC chairman Bill Brock and Gary Hart, you’re onto something.

So, it’s no surprise that Nunn and Boren have come out at this moment to deflect attention from Obama’s juvenile behavior and poor debate performance in Pennsylvania. As for being “onto something,” I would argue that this unity crew, including Obama, is onto NOTHING good.

Vanden Heuvel continued her comments by quoting Paul Krugman:

As NYT columnist Paul Krugman has argued effectively, “the real source of today’s partisanship is a Republican move to the right on economic issues.” Today’s GOP has overseen the shredding of our already frayed social contract, and currently obsesses about giving the super-rich more tax breaks. There may be some smart people gathering next week in Oklahoma. But they don’t get it if they think you can have national unity with one party waging class war politics.

But I have to say that I think the comment on the World Socialist Web Site really nails it.

The “unity” demanded by Messrs. Boren, Hagel & Co. is essentially unity of the corporate elite against the working class. The billionaire Bloomberg is, therefore, an entirely logical rallying point. Possessed of the wealth required to launch a 50-state independent campaign, at a cost estimated at $500 million to $1 billion, Bloomberg’s message to both parties is: Don’t stray too far from the consensus positions of the financial oligarchy, or I can single-handedly upset all your electoral calculations.

The rhetoric of bipartisanship has also played a major role in the corporate media’s embrace of Barack Obama. There has been a frenzied media campaign over the past two weeks to transform Obama into an unstoppable frontrunner, an effort that was at least temporarily stalled Tuesday by Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory in New Hampshire.

Obama is a conventional bourgeois politician, dependent, like his rivals, on lavish financial support from corporate interests and the wealthy. He is not the product of any sort of genuine movement from below in American society, but rather the latest in a long line of demagogues employed to foster illusions that the big business-controlled political system can serve the interests of ordinary people. …

The campaign for bipartisanship thus has a distinctly antidemocratic and sinister aspect. It is an effort to discipline the political squabbling within the US ruling elite in order to face a far greater danger: an eruption of social conflict produced by the increasingly desperate conditions facing the vast majority of the American people.

Of course, the WSWS doesn’t approve of Clinton, either. But at least she talks like Democrat and hasn’t morphed into the Obama “Unity” campaign.

The Nunn-Boren endorsement is another signal to run from Obama. Because it’s getting harder and harder to place ANY trust in him at all, because, obviously, the bipartisan pooh-bahs DO.

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