The Dialectic of the Heartland, or “What hath Iowa wrought?”

One of the most interesting things about the result of the Iowa caucuses has been the way that result has been played in the MSM. This offering in the NYT is typical of the coverage. Clearly, Hillary was the favourite of the corporate / political classes and she received a stunning defeat, especially considering the amount of money her organisation has spent, and the big media endorsement she received.

Hillary has always been the candidate of the neoliberal establishment – she’s corporate friendly, has been a reliable soft-core supporter of Bush’s imperial war, and a staunch, uncritical supporter of Israel.

What I found interesting in the immediate aftermath of the caucuses, was both the way that Hillary’s defeat was being treated as essentially not really a defeat, and the way Edwards’ second place showing was either dismissed or downplayed. Indeed, early on Friday morning, the AP was running two contradictory wire reports – one claiming second place for Clinton, and another giving the correct result.

In any case, when it comes to Edwards, it seems that even salutary criticism of corporate greed from the perspective of enlightened self-interest cannot be tolerated. Yet, Edwards is clearly the best choice for Democratic liberals and progressives. He is the only candidate that is seriously addressing the issues of corporate power and the gap between haves and have-nots in the US. Moreover, he has actually admitted his mistake in voting for the Iraq war, and – as Norman Soloman writes – is the most “improved” Democratic candidate.

The biggest shocker for me, though, was hearing on Wednesday that Kucinich had instructed his people to throw their support to Obama as their second choice. “And not Edwards?” I asked incredulously, as my brother read this off of the CNN news ticker. Kucinich, it would seem, is not the progressive many thought he was. By contrast, Ralph Nader, to his credit, is supporting Edwards.

Clearly, though, Obama is not all sweetness and light – the anti-Hillary, as it were. Yet, even the usually sensible Philip Weiss is now climbing aboard the Obama bandwagon. I’m not going to go into an analysis of Obama’s candidacy here, but I would point readers to two recent analyses:

The Nation’s Bob Moser had a good piece on Obama last week, looking at issues of electability and the abivalence about him among black voters. See Inside the Black Primary. Also, an excellent summary of Obama’s shortcomings has been compiled by Spinwatch researcher and University of Strathclyde lecturer Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, on his blog The Fanonite. Check it out.

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