With no more Democratic Primaries for another month, the spotlight has gone off politics and shifted over to the worldwide financial turmoil. But it us gives a bit of space to reflect on the character of Barack Obama, because at last his bluff has been called. Lynn wrote about this story last week.
What happened was that a video was released of the pastor of Obama’s home church, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, saying the following regarding 9/11:
“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back in our own front yards.”
Obama responded in the Huffington Post:
"Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.
With Rev. Wright's retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good. And while Rev. Wright's statements have pained and angered me, I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.”
So there we have it. The man who voted against invading Iraq because he does not believe in “dumb wars”, at the same time seems to believe that prior to Iraq the USA never did anything dumb, and that to say so “degrades individuals.” Of course, to stay in the Presidential race he had to denounce what Wright said. But it also shows us that he is prepared for political reasons to denounce in the strongest terms a statement that any reasonable person can see contains an important and self-evident truth, and in so doing to also betray a close personal relationship.
I was disappointed by Obama’s action, because it reveals that he is essentially a politician, and that when push comes to shove, his political position is far more important than the ideals he claims to espouse or his personal relationships. I had hoped that his idealism had more substance than this. At the same time I am relieved, because it begins to burst the huge bubble of projection that has been surrounding him - the ‘Obamania’, the new dawn for America, the talk of Destiny and all that. It may have been fun to indulge in for a while, but things are now getting more real.
This does not mean that Obama might not on balance make a good President. Kennedy had all sorts of murky stuff about him, but he still managed to get the Civil Rights laws underway before he died.
Venus is the planet of relationship, how we reach out to and attract – or repel – others. In a politician it therefore has to do with popular appeal. And with Obama we find that he has an unaspected Venus at 1.29 Cancer (conjunct the US Venus). This suggests to me that his ability to appeal to people is not necessarily tied in very well with the rest of his personality: at worst it could mean that he will do or say anything to get elected. And remarkably he may be unaware that he is being inconsistent, because his Venus is autonomous. (cf Eliot Spitzer with his unaspected Gemini Sun: he was the scourge of prostitution in New York State, while at the same time availing himself of its services). So as far as he is concerned, he remains Obama the articulate idealist. His Sun in Leo square to Neptune, with its capacity for self-deception, lends support to this possibility. And with his Venus conjunct the US Venus, he knows very well how to appeal to the US electorate.
Some time ago I wrote a piece on conviction politicians, and the main point I wanted to make was that these people are able to be passionate and total in their conviction – which is very appealing to an electorate – because they are good at deceiving themselves, they see no awkward inconsistencies to take into account. With a lot of politicians, we know and they know that they are playing a game, not a very satisfactory one, but at least we all know the rules, and when they say x they really mean y and we all know that.
With a conviction politician, the game changes, and it becomes far more dangerous, because these people really do believe their own spin. Tony Blair is like this. With his unaspected Venus and Sun square to Neptune, it is quite possible that Obama, in his own articulate and considered way, will also prove to be this type of politician. With that challenging Neptune, he is not what he seems, though what he actually is, is not yet clear. In the case of the hugely popular Tony Blair in the UK, it was not until the Iraq War that we began to see who he really was. So I think Obama needs watching. Pluto is opposing his Venus this year (and next), so the electorate should be able to take a good look at this side of him before deciding who to vote for in November (assuming he is the Democratic candidate). Unfortunately, electorates tend to be too fond of this sort of politician.
This Pluto-Venus transit also reflects his betrayal of his relationship with the Rev Wright - though no doubt he sees the betrayal as the other way round, which to some extent it was.