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Oh No, What is Obama Doing?

I am starting to feel my first real disillusionment with Obama. I knew it was going to come, but didn`t think it would happen quite so early and cumulatively.

I suppose my first real inkling that Obama may not be so different was when he said several months ago, that he still, supported the massive 2006 Israeli air bombing of Lebanon over the kidnapping of two soldiers; a thousand civilian deaths and one million anti -personnel bombs remaining in Lebanon, later. Well we all know the power of the AIPAC lobby. Hey, but he got Iraq right and on Afghanistan, even if he thinks the Bush administration "took it`s eye off of that conflict" practically everyone in mainstream political America is still `gung ho` about continuing that mission.

Then, this week it was Obama`s reversal of his once strong anti-warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty. Glenn Greenwald takes him to task for caving in and ill-advisedly supporting the House measure which though billed as a compromise, seems more a capitulation to Bush`s demands with precious few judicial safeguards.

And then there are some of his choices for the candidates he is personally endorsing. Yes, I know that Obama had backed Joe Lieberman, with a ringing endorsement for the Democratic Connecticut primary in 2006 against Ned Lamont, the anti-war challenger who eventually won the primary -no thanks to Obama-, but lost the race to Lieberman, who won as an independent. And we all know how Lieberman, who seems to have lost his senses, has rewarded Obama and other prominent Dems for their at the time, sound endorsements.

Obama`s rejection of public financing might be rationalized away since he never said he would unconditionally or uniequivocally accept, just "aggressively pursue that option".

But I`m starting to wonder at is all his new establishment advisors, most of them from the 'inevitable' Clinton campaign, such as Madeleine Albright and the self-proclaimed "Queen of Sheba", Solis Doyle, but perhaps the most worrying is his drift not so much to the moderate-center, but unbelievably to the right-of-center and those choices he is making over progressives.

Obama is now going out of his way to endorse someone who Greenwald has called `an enthusiastic Bush enabler`, pro-war John Barrow, in the Georgia Democratic primary. Matt Stoller of `Open Left` adds:

Barrow is one of the most reactionary members of Congress, and he's facing a progressive primary challenger in Regina Thomas. I could go into Barrow's voting record, but you can just watch this ad he ran for his campaign.

70% of the primary voters in GA-12 are African-American. Barrow is white and has $1.3 million, Thomas is a progressive African-American and a state legislator, and has very little money. I don't know what kind of game Obama is playing, but using his remarkable brand to protect conservative Democrats is a move reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi endorsing Al Wynn. If Barrow loses, Obama has a progressive ally in Thomas. If Barrow wins, a conservative House Democrat owes Obama a big favor. It's a no-lose proposition for him.

Is this really 'the change we can believe in` or just the same old tired Washington, risk-free politics of licking the boots of the incumbents and the system, at the expense of idealistic new talent and reform ideas ever taking hold in Beltway D.C.

Obama is going to have to start answering questions from the left progressive wing of the Democrats very soon, if these lurches to the center-right becomes more than just a campaign tactic to capture victory for the Democractic establishment.


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Rating: 3.1/5 (11 votes cast)


Comments (13)

Lee Ward:

I vaguely remember some criticism of Obama many months ago that he's not the far-left liberal many thought, and that he's much more of a centrist than his supporters argued, but I'm absolutely astounded to see you come to this conclusion at this point, Steve. The time to figure this out was months ago....

"Obama is going to have to start answering questions from the left progressive wing of the Democrats very soon..."

Or...?

epador:

None of the above. He's a poster boy who manipulated Chicago pol bosses and similar vested interests. At least with Hillary her supporters and agenda were fairly transparent.

Did you really think he's appoint Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorne to his cabinet?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I'd rather have those two then Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld was just plain incompetent, but in a lucky break for Rummy, George Bush is equally incompetent, so Rummy got a free ride.

Then you have the criminal in the VP office, hoping he can stay low and avoid a criminal indictment.

Yes siree, I'd rather have Abbott and Costello than the the average Republican.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee..No, I wasn`t born yesterday about my realization of what could happen.I still feel Obama, by nature or instinct, is much more progressive than Senator Clinton would have been..and this rightward drift of his may be seen as a move to shore up his `arsenal` Democratic support, win wavering independents or the Reagan Democrats but it is a little off-putting that he might be ready to cast aside at key moments in the campaign, the progressive wing who have got him this far. We will have to wait and see..With his strong polling numbers over McCain, it seems to be working and what can McCain attack him on...as being too close to the center?

Steve, you have to expect that any Democrat actually elected president will move a little to right once elected or that they will take a few tough stands while running for office to convince the more hawkish voters that they're cool. Kennedy actually ran to the right of Nixon in 1960 by running on the nonsense "missile gap" issue. Somehow Kennedy claimed that the U.S. just didn't have as many nuclear missiles as the Russians, even though both countries could overkill the populations of both nations by several times over.

I'm used to expecting some bluster by anyone who runs for office, but overall any Democrat should be a darn sight better than the mess in the White House right now. And certainly Obama's background as a constitutional law professor should put some good new judges on the Supreme Court and federal courts. Any more conservative Supreme Court justices at this point appointed by a McCain will flush a lot of civil liberties down the drain. Even relative freedom of speech on the Internet hangs by just one justice right now. One more conservative justice could tighten down and regulate free speech on the web almost like Communist China does and South Korea is inching towards.

Obama may not be the absolute second coming, but he still offers enough promise and hope as well as the will to change Washington that he's more than worth the effort to support.

BPG:

Paul,

Is there a specific case that you refer to with this quote? "Even relative freedom of speech on the Internet hangs by just one justice right now." I am curious - I don't recall anything of that sort being in front of the USSC.

GWB wanted to change the tone in Washington too, he said when he was running against Algore. Its not that I disbelieve Obama - I think he (and McCain, for that matter) need to provide a lot more specifics on HOW they're gonna do some of these things. A basic lesson on civics wouldn't hurt either - candidates for President promise far too many things, and involve themselves in far too many things, that they have absolutely ZERO control over.

For example, "Obama said he hopes to offer a $4,000 annual tax credit for low-income students or their parents in return for community service. He would pay for the tax credits by raising taxes for people who make more than $250,000."

All he can do is hope that Congress passes a law regarding that credit to reach the President's desk for signature. He can campaign for it, call in favors, beg, wheedle, intimidate, whatever persuasive capabilities he has can be brought to bear. BUT, He can't compel Congress to do that, nor can he (I believe) do that via Executive Order.

Source: http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080618/NEWS15/806180380

Food for thought.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"BUT, He can't compel Congress to do that, nor can he (I believe) do that via Executive Order."

It's been so long since there was a real leader in the White House it is easy to forget how a President can get things done without coercion -- or just plain lying.

A Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress will make things like Obama's tax credit proposal a cake walk.

BPG, there is a renewed effort by the Bush Administration to revive COPA(1998 Child Online Protection Act) which goes far beyond removing any obscene content from the Internet with heavy penalties. COPA was previously ruled as unconstitutional by a federal judge and the Supreme Court imposed an injunction on the use of COPA because it sets up sweeping and draconian measures to restrict Internet content down to a level only acceptable to the that of the average child, and doesn't allow adults to continue to post material that is legal and constitutionally protected, but not obscene in content.

COPA was written before YouTube, chat rooms and many interactive sales sites were established, and sets up fines of $50,000 a day and six months in prison for any website that posts material which is constitutionally protected for adult web viewers, but could possiby be construed as somehow being "harmful to minors".

The ACLU had to argue before the 3rd District Court on June 11, that the injunction against allowing the COPA law to take effect that the U.S. Supreme Court imposed should stay in effect and not be removed. Public health sites and others had joined together to urge a federal judge to find the law unconstitutional and the Supreme Court upheld this decision and the injunction against enforcement currently stands, but the Bush Administration is working to undermine as many civil liberties as possible on their way out of office.

All that stands in the way o freedom of speech on the Internet taking a serious hit is one more conservative judge on the Supreme Court who could allow the arrests of heavy fines for anyone who posts any material that may be constitutionally protected in nature, yet could be potentially viewed as somehow being "harmful to minors" in the mind of some federal regulator.

The Internet doesn't need an army of government censors looking at what people post on blogs, YouTube or web pages. There are currently eefective filters that parents can buy that filter out 95% or more of offensive words and images that may not be suitable for viewing by children, but fine for adult computer users.

BPG:

Paul,

Thank you - I forgot about COPA.

Lee,

Your response has absolutely no bearing on what I was talking about. "President" Obama could not compel even a Democratic congress to write a bill containing his proposed tax credit. If that congress does not send a bill to his desk containing the credit, then there is no credit. As far as I know, he could not make changes to tax laws via Executive Order. He can promise tax credits all he wants, but its entirely in the hands of congress to send him a bill containing them. That and that alone was the point I was making.

If it makes you feel better, McCain recently talked about his philosophy on judicial nominees. In a similar vein, "President" McCain can nominate whoever he feels is appropriate, but he cannot compel even a Republican senate to vote to confirm. If they won't confirm, he does not get his nominee. He can promise to nominate whoever he likes, but he will not get his nominee without consent of the senate.

Source: http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/News/Speeches/5385b2dd-fc8f-4bc9-9fb0-da2e2f1d9f98.htm

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

""President" Obama could not compel even a Democratic congress to write a bill containing his proposed tax credit."

Sure he can. Just because Bush failed to lead the country, and played partisan politics to the hilt, and Clinton was handcuffed by a Republican congressional majority - you think Obama will follow the same route.

Remember John Kennedy "compelling" the nation towards the moon? With a Democratically-controlled Congress and Obama in the White House, Obama can call for all kinds of legislative initiatives.

I think we're playing with semantics. Yes, a Republican-led Congress will not follow McCain - you're right there - but I'm confident that a Democratically-controlled Congress will follow Obama's lead -- just wait and see.

Lee Ward:

Adding... Here's John McCain offering a $300 million incentive for the development of new automotive battery technology.

Would "President" McCain write a personal check? No, he would call on Congress to write legislation.

Would "President" John McCain have as much success compelling a Democratically-controlled Congress to write legislation as Obama would?

Nope.

So Obama's claims carry more weight than McCain. Here's John McCain "offering" a $300M incentive that he has absolutely no power to actually deliver -- and he is counting on "compelling" Congress to back up his offer.

BPG:

Lee, ya proved my point! Thanks!

Lee Ward:

And you just proved mine.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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