Notes From The Margin

March 3, 2008

Why We DON’T Want Obama To Win (Or Clinton For That Matter)

This is one of the more difficult posts to write, difficult because we don’t want to be misunderstood, and difficult because it’s a difficult choice to make. As we write this the Primary season of the US presidential election is rolling forward. The Republican front runner John McCain appears to have his hand on the nomination (barring something quite unexpected happening) In the Democrats camp there is a heated battle for the nomination going on between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

In the Caribbean the popular sentiment is understandably for Obama, he’s personable, has an agenda for change in Washington and of course, he’s black. For the first time ever it would seem that an African American has a real chance of ending up in the White House. For a region that is mostly African in descent it’s heady stuff.


As cool as it is that the United States has reached the stage of maturity that they could seriously consider a black man for the post of Commander in Chief, we on the Margin have come to the conclusion that Mr. Obama’s race is (or should be) for us in the Caribbean irrelevant.

Why have we reached this conclusion?

We have to recall the Clinton presidency (That’s Bill if you are confused) Bill Clinton was one of the most “human” US Presidents in living memory. Former President Clinton was enormously popular in the Caribbean, mostly on his personal charisma. However when you look at the effects the Clinton presidency had on the Caribbean, Bill Clinton did more damage to us than any hurricane that has struck the island chain. Why do we say this?

1. Dole/Chiquita Bananas and the WTO.  This action destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of Caribbean farmers basically to repay a campaign contributor.

2. The Ship Rider Controversy. Remember the pressure that was brought to bear on Barbados when it resisted?

3. The OECD “Harmful Taxation” initiative.  Despite the BLP’s efforts to say that it fell apart because of Owen Arthur, we really know that it fell apart because when Bush came to power the US was no longer interested in backing the initiative.

This isn’t meant to be a US bashing post, but the fact is the Caribbean has ALWAYS done better under a Republican in the White House than a Democrat. We can see the echoes of similar policies in Mr. Obama’s current political career. With rhetoric against NAFTA (Ironically which was enacted by Clinton) and action in sponsoring the “Tax Haven Abuse Act”.

If we lived in the US we would probably vote for Mr. Obama, but the fact is that we don’t live in the US. Rather than get caught up in the euphoria that surrounds his campaign we are forced to apply the same logic that we do to our local politicians “Judge them not by what they say, but by what they do” and when judged on that scale (from a Caribbean perspective anyway) Mr. Obama is found to be less than an ideal candidate.



  1. At least somebody agrees with me.

    With friends like Democratic presidents who need enemies?

    Clinton was supposed to be the black man’s friend, yet they are more black people incaserated in American jails because of laws sponsored by him than ever. Remember the three strikes law?

    The Clinton administration brought great pressure to bear on Barbados because it refused to sign onto shiprider.

    African governments and black people around the world appealed to Clinton to send in US troops to stop the slaughter in Rwanda but he steadfastly refused. George Bush would have acted differently.

    I hope neither Clinton nor Obama is elected to the White House to serve as President. I don’t think that it will be for Black people.

    Comment by Anonymous — March 4, 2008 @ 12:34 am | Reply

  2. Wow. Marginal you right on the money. I live in the US and i will not be voting for Obama. There is nothing there.

    Comment by Adrian Hinds — March 4, 2008 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  3. Adrian, my old (or should that be young?) friend, when you said:”Wow. Marginal you right on the money. I live in the US and i will not be voting for Obama. There is nothing there.” I wondered what would be the colour of the money that you are talking about after it has been through the laundry. Spare a moment to ask yourself whether the very small countries of the Caribbean are not engaging in some form of money laundering, if like Barbados, they seem to be half-way sussessful. This is not withstanding efforts to appear to be compliant with FATF requirements.

    Comment by Linchh — March 6, 2008 @ 5:52 am | Reply

  4. I disagrees. But a well written post. Yeah obamas normal scapegoats are the corporate american and free trade agreements. But from a more world perspective an obama win would be historical.

    Comment by kasunh — March 20, 2008 @ 5:02 am | Reply

  5. Hi Kasunh,

    Welcome to the margin, we went to your site and read your post and we think that you overestimate the positive impact Obama would have outside of the US. We think that he will possibly improve things in the US at the expense of everyone else. If we lived in the US we would vote for him. As is we don’t want him to win. Experience in the Caribbean has shown that we do better under Republicans than Democrats and this year’s race is no exception.

    As you’ve posted a link to your blog we will ask that you extend the same favour to us.


    Comment by notesfromthemargin — March 20, 2008 @ 8:11 am | Reply

  6. It would seem that BFP suddenly woke up to this issue….. about a month later.


    Comment by notesfromthemargin — March 20, 2008 @ 8:12 am | Reply

  7. Marginal, a friend told me that I have taken a philosophical view about the campaign in the States. I see Obama as a mirror, held up to American society for them to make some sort of personal response. Not necessarily to vote for him as president but to take a long and hard look at the country which is their home.
    American foreign policy is set in concrete; it needs to change before I bother about whether a Republican or a Democrat is in the White House- (you have any problem with that name?)
    Whither the British Empire, Babylon, Greece, Rome? If America does not change, it is going to wither away, like other countries before it.

    Comment by Anonymous — March 24, 2008 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

  8. Obama 08

    Comment by jon snipes — June 1, 2008 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  9. I really hope Obama doesn’t become the next US president because I think he
    doesn’t have much experience. I think he’s a puppet for the Dems. McCain suffered for being an American as a POW. He has proved to me that he’s a Patriot with good reasons to run for President. McCain 08

    Comment by Liz Brooker — June 29, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  10. well 4 you airheads, when he is the next president, then what…… i’m voting 4 him, so that black people can have a chance!!!!!!

    Comment by black person — October 18, 2008 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  11. i think its time for change and if colour determines change, let it be.. yes!!!! he has no experince, where will he get one if he does not become a president?? If i were an American i was voting for Obama.n & i hope he becomes the next president!!!!!

    Comment by nthati — November 2, 2008 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  12. You guys its neither of the points you raised. Yes if I lived in the US I’d vote for him, but I don’t think his policies will be good for us here in the Caribbean.

    However I don’t think Palin being a heartbeat away from President is that great a deal either!!!!


    Comment by notesfromthemargin — November 2, 2008 @ 9:57 am | Reply

  13. my friend I agree with you they are all airheads..and he will be the next president of the United State of America…it’s being a long time coming, aint that good news,,,

    Comment by Bimlady — November 3, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  14. I think there are a lot of idiots who look at candidates and analyze their looks, ect. I have no idea how Obama got this far. He deserves a good job somewhere but not in the white house. It hurts me how most of us were taught about DrKing in schools “judge a man by the content of his character…not color of his skin. …..meanwhile so many people are voting for the man because of his skin color. THEY do not know about a lot of the issues at hand, they want a brother in….. } This is ridiculous. This made me look at America through a different lense.

    Comment by ISABEL LIN — November 3, 2008 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

  15. I hope Obama does NOT win. damn, i hope

    Comment by ISABEL LIN — November 3, 2008 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  16. hours away from a new president & black. we are already celebrating. im sorry but America is ready for the black president and so is the whole world.

    Comment by nthati — November 4, 2008 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  17. I dont want anything to do with OBAMA is certianly dont want his so called change

    Comment by Mad Bluebird — January 2, 2009 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

  18. Great idea, but will this work over the long run?

    Comment by Emilie-Serfaklar — August 23, 2009 @ 5:21 pm | Reply

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