President Obama spoke at a Walmart Store in Mountain View, California, on Thursday. I was shocked, as was Chris Hayes, who wondered why Obama chose to embrace Walmart for its environmental leadership, even though Walmart is not among the leaders in this field. Why should Barack Obama choose to give a speech at a Walmart, whose owners are charter members of the one percent.
I forgot my Obama rule: If you don't understand why Obama has made a political move, it's only because Obama understands politics better than you do. If Obama chose to give a speech at a Walmart store in Silicon Valley in California, rest assured he has a reason for so doing. He is one of the most subtle and perceptive politicians of our time.
My suggestion is that Obama has tipped his hand. He is looking forward to the presidential race of 2016, when he will support Hillary Clinton. If Clinton has a challenger from the left, such as Elizabeth Warren or Ed Markey, she will need to win the California primary. So Obama went to California to give her campaign a boost. If Clinton runs in California, she will have to face charges that she was once on the board of Walmart, and thus is a stooge for the one percent. No one is more a member of the one percent than a member of the Walton family, billionaires all.
So Obama has struck a blow against any challengers in 2016. Walmart, apparently, is a leader in the environmental movement. Obama has said it, so it must be so, no matter what Chris Hayes or I might argue against it. He said it in California, too, so California voters will recall his verdict well.
Hayes and other pundits have wondered why Obama would take such a step. After all, they say, he is not going to run for another office. He doesn't need to take controversial positions. But Obama is also concerned about the Democratic Party, more than his own candidacy or lack of it. He is concerned that everything he has worked for in the environmental field, in health care, or in the area of equal rights for all, may be reversed by the President that succeeds him, if that president is a Republican.
Obama is right to be concerned. The Republicans and the one per centers who back them would love to reverse the achievements of the Obama presidency. They can't do it, though, as long as a Democrat occupies the White House. Obama cares about that, as should we all.
The one per centers--yes, David Koch and Sheldon Adelson, you know who you are--wish to impose their will on the 99 percent (the rest of us) by spending their millions to lie to us and persuade us that the worse argument is the better. These are perilous times. We must not let them win.