Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dismembering Obama

JESSE JACKSON CAUGHT OFF-COLOR. I guess we can scratch off another Obama surrogate. Wesley Clark decided he needed a break after attacking John McCain a little more harshly than the media expected. Now, Jesse Jackson has been caught on an open mic saying that he wanted to "cut Obama's nuts off" because of Obama's lectures on single fathers, support for faith-based charities, and remarks on late term abortions. Actually, I don't see the big problem. Jackson was angry at some of Obama's statements and used a colorful expression to characterize that anger when he thought the mic was off. Needless to say, Jackson apologized all over himself as soon as he could. But my opinion is that people who disagree with Obama's emerging position need to be able to vent their anger and disappointment. Of course, maybe they shouldn't be venting while they're being interviewed as Obama surrogates like Jackson.

PROGRESSIVES WITH LONG KNIVES. Jessie Jackson isn't the only person on the left who wants to lop off one or two of Obama's body parts. Over at the progressive web magazine, Salon, editor Joan Walsh characterizes Obama's flip-flop on the FISA bill as "unforgivable" and "craven." According to Salon uber-blogger Glenn Greenwald, Obama and the Democratic leadership are covering up the Bush administration's criminal behavior. Obama certain did flip-flop on FISA and the issue of telecom immunity. Last year, Obama clearly stated that he would filibuster any FISA bill that included immunity for telecom compnaies that had illegally participated in the Bush administration's surveillance program. Today, Obama just as clearly reversed himself.

But then a question arises concerning the point where Obama caved. Did he cave into the Democratic leadership and fear of Republican attacks in going along with telecom immunity? Or was did Obama's real "cave-in" come in his original statements stirring statements in opposition to the Bush administration surveillance program. In other words, is there a chance that Obama was originally caving into the left when he opposed Bush surveillance strategies and that he's now turning back to his "true" compromising, finding common ground, commitment. If that turns out to be true, there's going to be a lot of progressive venting about cutting off Obama's body parts.

OBAMA WINNING THE WAR FOR PROGRESSIVES. Obama and his campaign are either condescendingly telling progressives that he still agrees with them on most things or mocking them by asking them if they're going to vote for McCain. Needless to say, that's another reason for progressives to be angry. At the same time, there's reason to think progressives will have the last laugh. Thanks to the all-around repulsiveness of the Bush administration, public opinion has been shifting significantly to the left and Obama's victory over Hillary Clinton should be thought of as evidence of that shift. Much of the reason Obama won was because he was perceived as further left than Hillary as a result of his early opposition to the war and soaring rhetoric on issues like the Bush administration's surveillance program. As a result, an Obama victory over McCain would amount to locking in the progressive tilt in public opinion even if Obama didn't turn out to be much of a progressive himself. Perhaps President Obama would find himself on the conservative side of public opinion and forced to compromise with the left more than the right. I imagine a lot of progressives are looking forward to that possibility.


Scottye said...

Because of his back peddling on FISA and Iraq and his flip on public campaign financing I may not vote in this election. It's one thing to be just another politician, it is an entirely different thing to talk about hope and change and then engage in politics as usual.

I understand the arguments in favor of his actions. He's being pragmatic, he has to get elected to make change etc etc. Well he won the nomination by acting like a different kind of politician and letting Hillary paint herself as a neo-con. He could have used the same approach to let McCain shoot himself in the foot, but instead Obama is acting like "just another politician." When he gets elected he'll be "just another president" too.

Ric Caric said...

Of course, being "just another president" might not be a bad thing after eight years of Bush.

Anonymous said...

Message for Scottye.

I always appreciate your comments and have heard what you said about not voting from a number of people these days. Some feel that there are no choices for them due to their affiliation or political beliefs. A lot of us don't want just another "politician" in the oval office. But few people are willing to vote for non-politicians even when they run for office. Political parties run candidates on platforms ranging from ultra-conservative to socialist in every election. Because people just stay home and don't vote, the only people that win are politician types getting funded by the status quo. Non-politicians that run on other platforms are available. It seems that everyone wants to vote for a winner and third party candidates are badmouthed as nothing but a bunch of loser crackpots that have nothing important to say. To be honest, that may be true in some cases, but there are also 3rd party candidates that are real people with real ideas that are not politicians. Vote for a third party candidate and send a message that you don't like the two "politician" candidates. It is only when enough people like you actually vote a non-politician into office (most likely on a 3rd party) when things will change. Whatever you do, don't just sit home and make Phil Gramm look like a sage when he said we are just a nation of whiners. I don't think you are a whiner but I always find someone to vote for and wish more people would do the same.