July 01, 2008
Obama is Bothering Me
So just to go on the record about it, of late I'm annoyed by the senator from Illinois (since I know some people, like my younger brother, sometimes accuse us of never saying negative things about leading Democrats). I'm annoyed he disassociated himself from Gen. Clark's completely reasonable comments about Sen. McCain. I find it disappointing he's not backing primary challengers who were loyal to him, and who are opposing Democrats who are nothing to write home about (in some cases that's putting it mildly). I'm troubled by his support for increasing funding for faith-based innitiatives (while it's possible that wouldn't be funding proselytizing, I have my doubts about that). Now it should be said that I think most every move he's made has been the right political move if his goal is to not only win this fall, but to win big. He seems to have his finger on a specific pulse that'll get him and a lot of other Democrats elected this fall - and with margins and a message that'll allow for a productive legislative Spring in 2009. But personally, I'm not thrilled by the ideological consequences of these moves.
That said, I still think he'll make a better president, and be more liberal, that Hillary Clinton would have been.
Posted by armand at July 1, 2008 10:31 AM
| Posted to Politics
i'm with you 100% on this, except perhaps with respect to the legislative races, which i don't follow closely enough to have an opinion on. his knee-jerk disavowal of clark, like a marionette with all strings in the hands of the media and pollsters, and the odd choice of the phrasing, "of course senator obama rejects" rubbed me wrong, and has been upsetting more the more i think about it. it's one thing for mccain to play the POW card to try and put his foreign policy credentials above reproach. it's something else entirely to accede to it.
Well, I can see why he'd want to back Barrow - he is the incumbent, and that's hardly a slam-dunk district for a Democrat, so if he wants to protect incumbents who've managed to win relatively difficult districts ...
But at the same time a lot of Democratic partisans have a lot to disagree with in Barrow's voting record. And taking sides here, especially against someone who'd backed him when Barrow hadn't - that quite rightly is going to annoy a lot of Democrats.
As to Ed Towns, he's been regularly challenged in primaries for being too close to various corporate interests (most notably "Big Tobacco"). So if an Obama fan bounces him, presuming the Obama fan is generally alight, I'm fine with that.
Also his terrible support of the FISA compromise needs to be included in this list. That compromise does nothing but immunizes lawbreakers and facilitate lawbreaking. He specifically said that he opposed the warrantless wiretapping when seeking the nomination and now he suddenly supports it because President Obama may be exercising those powers. I am not religious but I was bothered by the fact that he renounced his church after attending it for over 20 years. I understand the cynical political argument behind this move "Obama had to distance himself from the nuts who attend that church", but he attended the church for 20 years. He should have stood up and said that it does not matter what is said in his church. Since when did that become a criterion for being a good President. But no, he caved to the political cynicism. Also the pandering before the AIPAC was very disgusting as well. That is not change I can believe in.
He of course is still better than McCain obviously, but I believe that his strategic drift to the center is a bad move in this election. Obama needs to mobilize his voters and supporters. These moves in no way mobilize the left(where I believe the main strength of his support lies) but instead will anger many on that side. The right and those delusioned by Fox News will vote against him no matter what happens. This move assumes that those who are angered by his moves have nowhere else to go and must back Obama against McCain. That is a flawed assumption to me. Why vote for a candidate who has proven that he will literally change any position and say anything to be elected President. That is no better than McCain. Of course we can say that once he is elected all of that will change, but I would not bet on it. Obama isn't change, just the same old tired song. Start preparing yourself for President McCain and more endless wars.
Why vote for a candidate who has proven that he will literally change any position and say anything to be elected President
That pretty much describes all of 'em.
Obama isn't change? Oh puh-leeze. On the whole his policy positions are quite far to the left of the current president's, and certainly his picks for both the judiciary and his foreign policy will look quite different than Bush's (or McCain's).
While his recent stances might annoy me I think pretty much every one of his moves puts him closer to the White House. And considering the unmitigated disaster that turning over the White House to McCain would be when the 3 most liberal Supreme Court justices are soon to retire, and when we care mired in Iraq, I'll take the good option (Obama) over the perfect option (who doesn't exist).
I wish I shared your confidence, Armand. While I don't agree with Ho that Obama will be more of the same if he wins the White House, I am leery of him making the same mistake Kerry and Gore made, racing to the center in a quixotic effort to win independents and liberal republicans. Winning their minds doesn't get them out on election day, and irritating your more liberal base, while it might not drive them into the arms of McCain, will reduce voter turnout.
This whole thing has been built on the hunger of unconventional voters for something exciting, and it's captured middle of the road democrats as well, or at least has the potential to. And of course, if he manages the same pattern of turnout, he can end up with a far more refreshed and compliant congress than if he makes the same mistakes Kerry and Gore did.
While I don't assume that's what he intends to do, it is safer, and some of his recent decisions and comments, particular vis-a-vis Clark, send a disturbing message.
Well, I am not a specialist in American electoral politics, but I think on the whole "running to the center" tends to be how you win national elections. I say "tends" as there are exceptions (Al Gore won by a half million votes with arguably the most "liberal" proposals of any candidate in memory; Reagan won in 1980 though his policy proposals weren't particularly popular), but many, many books have been written on the topic. And since Obama's hold over his base is stronger than McCain's hold over his base, and since most seem to think the election will turn on "independents", running to the center seems a sensible move to make to me. It also puts him in a stronger position to actually accomplish some things in '09, if he enters office with a bigger win and higher approval numbers. Basically it looks to me like he's coopting policies, cutting the legs out from under potential opponents, and giving them a reason to work with him. And I don't see anything in this year's numbers to suggest that Democrats are unlikely to turnout in droves, even if they don't like everything he does.
And it's probably worth noting that he's walked back or limited his criticism of Clark, and in some areas religious organizations may well be in a better position to assist the disadvantaged than state-run organizations.