Theories Of Change

The terrific Mark Schmitt writes a great piece on what is clearly the central issue of the Democratic campaign - the competing theories of change the three top tier candidates are offering. I am on record as disagreeing with Obama's theory of change. Schmitt here mounts an articulate defense of the Obama theory:

let's take a slightly different angle on the charge that Obama is "naïve" about power and partisanship. Suppose you were as non-naïve about it as I am -- but your job wasn't writing about politics, it was running for president? What should you do? In that case, your responsibility is not merely to describe the situation exactly, but to find a way to subvert it. In other words, perhaps we are being too literal in believing that "hope" and bipartisanship are things that Obama naively believes are present and possible, when in fact they are a tactic, a method of subverting and breaking the unified conservative power structure. Claiming the mantle of bipartisanship and national unity, and defining the problem to be solved (e.g. universal health care) puts one in a position of strength, and Republicans would defect from that position at their own risk. The public, and younger voters in particular, seem to want an end to partisanship and conflictual politics, and an administration that came in with that premise (an option not available to Senator Clinton), would have a tremendous advantage, at least for a moment.

As I have written ad nauseum, I believe it fails as a tactic. But Schmitt's argument is well worth reading. On the flip a bit more from Schmitt.

So how might the Obama theory of change work? I'll give two answers, one entirely mundane and one a little cosmic. The mundane answer is just congressional math. The most important fact about the next administration is nothing about the president's character or policies, but simply how many Democratic Senators there are. To get health care passed in 2009, we'll need 60 votes in the Senate. There won't be 60 Democrats. So a Democratic president will need to, first, get within range by bringing in Democratic senators from Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, and several other red-trending-purple states. And then, subtract the total number of Democrats from 60, and that's the number of Republicans you'll need. If that number is two or three, almost anything is possible. If it's five, it will be much harder. If it's eight, impossible.

This is the math of bipartisanship. It's not a matter of sitting down with thugs like John Boehner and splitting the difference, but winning over just a few Senate Republicans from outside the South. And if the number is small enough, that's entirely possible. . . . Obama's approach is better positioned to take advantage of this math. . . . [A]fter the inauguration, I think that opposition to Hillary Clinton will remain a galvanizing theme for Republicans, whereas a new face and will make it harder to recreate the familiar unity-in-opposition.

Now for the cosmic explanation: What I find most interesting about Obama's approach to bipartisanship is how seriously he takes conservatism. As Michael Tomasky describes it in his review of The Audacity of Hope, "The chapters boil down to a pattern: here's what the right believes about subject X, and here's what the left believes; and while I basically side with the left, I think the right has a point or two that we should consider, and the left can sometimes get a little carried away." What I find fascinating about his language about unity and cross-partisanship is that it is not premised on finding Republicans who agree with him, but on taking in good faith the language and positions of actual conservatism -- people who don't agree with him. That's very different from the longed-for consensus of the Washington Post editorial page.

Sounds beautiful doesn't it? Obama is for taking the GOP seriously and winning the argument! Except we all know in real life that does not work. Politics is NOT a debating society.

To accept this theory of politics is to ignore EVERYTHING we know about politics and the Republican Party of today.

It simply sounds naive. Frankly, I imagine Obama, if he becomes President, will soon learn this and will learn that he is not the singular figure in the history of the nation who can abolish politics.

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    Two way streets (1.00 / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 12:34:09 PM EST
    The public, and younger voters in particular, seem to want an end to partisanship and conflictual politics, and an administration that came in with that premise (an option not available to Senator Clinton), would have a tremendous advantage, at least for a moment.

    The problem is, and this is what most will not face, is that "change" has two sides. Good and bad. Running merely "on change" is meaningless unless the change is connected to a definite statement of what is to be changed and a stated plan on how the change the candidate wants is to be accomplished. In that OHB appears to be sorely lacking in these details, it is not possible to evaluate him. This is made much worse because of his inexperience and exposure.

    So it may be that his "change" would be unacceptable to a majority of the electorate, or it may be that he just doesn't know, preferring to use it only as an election tool.

    Either answer should scare any serious person, Demo, Repub or Independent.

    That younger voters are not bothered by these reflects the fact that younger people are usually more naive and idealistic. Perhaps they should be told about the "Children's Crusade."

    Rolls off the tongue, kind of poetic. (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:28:55 AM EST
    Didn't work on getting out of Iraq now.  Why would it work on health care?  

    To me, Hillary Clinton displays the grit necessary to accomplish something with Congress and Obama doesn't.  But I'm fearful of just what she might strive to accomplish, as I may not agree with her.

    Well (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jgarza on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 01:09:13 PM EST
    her grit approached failed in the 90's, and she is part of the problem on Iraq.

    Outsiders v insiders (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 01:26:54 PM EST
    The record of outsiders coming in and shaking things up is not good. Either they learn quickly after a poor start or not all. See Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

    The former never learned and had a single term. The Clinton's made some crucial early mistakes, but were smart enough to figure things out and get a 2nd term.

    The GOP is not going to roll over and they don't give a d@mn about  bipartisanship or the good of the country.

    The only way out of this box, no matter who is elected is to send more progressives to congress.


    Don't you feel the need to cut (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 03:01:54 PM EST
    Carter a little slack.  His relationship with Congress didn't cause the Iranian hostage crisis.  isn't that what made him a one-term President?

    Carter would not have faced a liberal challenge (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 04:10:22 PM EST
    (Yes PPJ, JC is NOT a liberal) had  he had a better relationship with Congress.

     It is true he might have been re-elected anyway, but for the hostage crises and the treasonous meddling by Reagan, Bush and Casey. A united Democratic party may very well have made a difference. FWIW I blame Ted too (and I supported Ted at the time so I share some of the blame).

    President Carter, to his credit, did get the hostages released. Without breaking the law.  Unlike  Reagan.


    Carter was the daddy rabbit (1.00 / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 07:52:12 PM EST
    of the current mess we have.

    By his display of weakness we showed the terrorists that we would not take action. Everything stems from there.

    And now, in his dotage, he is anti-Jewish colors are shining through for all to see.


    Maybe you should read up on the US in the ME some. (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 08:33:49 PM EST
    But go ahead keep your hyper partisan fantasy if it makes you feel better. No need to let reality intrude

    Inflation, Recession (none / 0) (#19)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 06:29:47 PM EST
    While the economy didn't get really bad until early in Reagan's first term, as I recall, we had double-digit interest rates for mortgages with inflation and other lousy economic news under Carter.  It wasn't just the hostage crisis causing this country's malaise.

    I got a mortage in '79 (1.00 / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 07:56:11 PM EST
    12.5%..... and I remember the oil shortage and Jimmy C telling us we could fix it by wearing a sweater..

    That was his foreign policy. Turn down the thermostat and whine....


    All true. But the hostage crisis sticks (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 06:42:01 PM EST
    in my mind.

    hehe (none / 0) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:13:51 AM EST
    President Carter, to his credit, did get the hostages released.

    So he is like a man who, after doing something wrong, tries to fix it.

    The problem is, his act of "fixing" caused the problem to be worse/.


    No (1.00 / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 03:23:22 PM EST
    It was his weak lily livered response to the crisis he caused by his lack of support for the Shaw of Iran that did the good deed.

    While we are at it (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 04:32:08 PM EST
    Was Reagan's  trading arms for hostages "weak lily livered response"?

    I look at it like this (1.00 / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 07:49:02 PM EST
    If it wasn't for Carter's mess, we wouldn't have been there.

    Not to mention the Left Wing Demos and their "Boland" amendment.


    Yeh, I confess we held a gun to Reagan's head (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 09:25:49 PM EST
    and forced him to violate the law and trade arms for hostages.

    Can't bring yourself to criticize Ronnie, can you? Your partisanship is showing.


    Glad to see (1.00 / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:11:37 AM EST
    that you understand the result of the Left's actions.

    That the first step towards change.


    Poor poor Little Ronnie (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:32:45 AM EST
    No backbone, couldn't say no. Could stand up for himself. Didn't listen to his mommy when she said "if little Johhnie is going to jump off a bridge, you going to do it too?" And so, naturally Ron couldn't escape trading arms for hostages and violating the law. The "left" made him do it.

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility Jim?

    Can't bring yourself to critisize Ron can you? Your partisanship is showing.


    Were you willing to occupy Iran in 1979 to keep (none / 0) (#16)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 04:11:07 PM EST
    the shah on the throne?

    We wouldn't have had to. (1.00 / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 07:34:46 PM EST
    Just a simple show of strong support, and  keeping Kohammi Cut'em Headoff out of the country would have done the job.

    For an alleged military guy (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 09:22:55 PM EST
    you are offly simplistic and show complete ignorance on our history in the ME and the history in general.

    The Shah left the country "on vacation" January 16, 1979 never to return. Khomeini returned to Iran two weeks later. His faction overthrew the interim government two months later.

    Once  the Khomeini faction took over, the country passed a  referendum to replace the monarchy with an Islamic Republic by 98%. There wasn't much we could do short of invasion. Keep in mind the Shah's military wasn't exactly supportive of the Shah.

    So I return to my original question- where you willing to occupy Iran in 1979?  

    What happened next?

    It was those notorious liberals Henry Kissinger and Rockefeller who pressured President Carter to allow the Shah into the US for cancer treatment against the advice of the State Department.  On October 22, 1979, President Carter reluctantly allowed the Shah in the US. Radical students allied with the Khomeini faction used that move to justify their claims that the former monarch was an American puppet and led to the storming of the American embassy on November 4, 1979.

    In short arguably the hostage crises was as much the fault of your boy Henry Kissinger as Jimmy Carter.

    You have to go back even further though to Mossadeq's nationalization of the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (now known as BP Products). The profit sharing agreement was 85% British-15% Iran and the company refused to divulge its financial records.  
    [sidebar: Leo was once retained by a condominium association and among its problems was a laundry lease whereby the company's contract allowed stated the split was 50/50, unless the association demanded to be present for the monthly accounting (of laundromat quarters), in which case the split, per the contract was 60/40. Nice job by former counsel].

    Anyway, this led to  Operation Ajax and the Shah was reinstalled on the Iranian throne. The shah installed himself as an absolute monarch and began to repress the Iranian people. If I am not mistaken, the Shah's father had been installed on the throne around 1921 by the Brits. His father was also a repressive monarch.

    To be sure, the Carter administration had pressured the Shah to allow more  freedom of speech and to allow more freedom for political dissidents.

    A move, Jim, that I am sure you disapproved of- come to think of it you have always taken the monarchist view of Dubya and the US Presidency. I am seeing a pattern here.


    jim also (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Warren Terrer on Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 10:42:25 AM EST
    conveniently leaves out the existence of a key player on the 1979 stage - the Soviet Union, which wouldn't have sat idly by while the US invaded Iran.

    And you leave out (1.00 / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 04:06:00 PM EST
    that both sides more or less stayed out of the other's "sphere of influence."

    I reference eastern Europe and the various incursions by the Soviets, and our support of Greece and Turkey (among others).

    So I don't think the Soviets would have done anything.

    Especially since all we would had to have done is NOT let the world think we didn't support the Shaw.

    The problem was that Carter LET the problem occur.

    Jimmy "Can't we all just get a long" Carter was so concerned over throwing out the evileeeeeee Shaw he let in the evil seed we see today.

    I repeat. Carter's lack of action is the nexus of where we are today.


    And the previous assassination attempts? (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 05:51:19 PM EST
    after President Carter read the riot act to those pesky (and included a majority) of Iranians who wanted the shah out and they flipped us the bird, then what? How long should we have occupied Iraq

    Iraq?? (1.00 / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:26:33 AM EST
    I thought we were speaking of Iran.

    Assuming that you are.... it is really difficult to follow you sometimes because your points are so out of the world.....

    If we had not been sending a message to the world, and that includes the Shaw and the radical Moslems, that we would no longer support the Shaw.... are you ready????

    Nothing would have happened.

    We wouldn't have had to occupy. We wouldn't have had to invade.

    And, of course, our Embassy wouldn't have been seized and the terrorists as we know them would have been set back, if not still born.

    Carter is a perfect example of what can, and usually does, happen when you take Christian values and try to apply them to situations in which the other side respects only power. I call this false morality. By not taking actions at the earliest point to contain "evil" you cause the deaths of many more in the future. The world is awash with such things from Chamberlain's "Peace in our time," to France not immediately responding to Germany to the US not immediately bombing Hanoi to Carter's actions placing the radical moslems in power to his failure to take strong action after he had done so and they seized the embassy.


    You only have a hammer (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:36:04 AM EST
    everything is a nail. Everything is Munich. Every leader is Churchill or Chamberlain.

    Magically, the Iranians never tried to assissinate the shah to overthrow him. You really are Bill Kristol.


    And your point is?? (1.00 / 0) (#43)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 06:36:34 PM EST
    The issue isn't what the IRANIANS didn't do. It is what Jimmy "The Sweater" Carter didn't do.

    Nice reframe, no cigar (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:19:33 PM EST
    The issue is whether or not our telling the Iranian people YOU will submit to the despotic rule of the shah was all that was needed as you postulate. I say no. The historical evidence was there were 2 assassination attempts against the Shah before the revolution. The dissidents were not going away.

    You must deal with the facts as they are, not as you wish be.

    Ultimately we would have had to undertake some sort of military operation.

    You and Kristol must be a fans of magical realism.


    Hilarious Echochamber Nonsense (5.00 / 0) (#47)
    by squeaky on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:30:59 PM EST
    YOU will submit to the despotic rule of the shah was all that was needed

    Because America rules the world. Check out the new Iranian-Russian Women Friendship Association


    Well duh and I trust you enjoyed (1.00 / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 03:52:48 PM EST
    your exercise in rewriting history... but the facts remain that the Shaw left because we were indicating our lack of support. The Ally Cut'em Heads off showed up because he, and the whole world, knew that Jimmy "I love Palestine" Carter wouldn't raise a finger to support the Shaw.

    BTW - I don't care about BP and your bleeding over the previous ruler. Our concern was to keep the Soviets from obtaining a warm water port.

    And yes, geopolitics do get bare knuckled from time to time. You just have to decide if you want to win, or lose. Jimmy "I wear sweaters but am not afraid of killer rabbits" made his choice.

    And the world has suffered greatly.

    He was absolutely the worst President in the history of the country.

    And I, to my continuing shame and disgust voted for him.


    Its SHAH not SHAW (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 05:27:55 PM EST
    You are not going to convince anyone of anything, when you cannot get basic facts straight.

    You are also showing a rather ugly strain of bigotry with your "Ally Cut'em Heads off " and your "Jimmy 'I Love Palestine' Carter" statements.

    And why should we have kept the Shah on the throne? Because we like despots and actually are anti-democracy? (I expect your answer to be post hoc ergo prompter hoc). Does it occur to you that propping up a dictator since the 1950's is the root of the hostage crises?  

    All I can figure from your response Jim, is you really do hate democracy and human rights.

    Finally, Jimmy Carter will never rank in the top 10 presidents, but George W. Bush has won the title of worst president. Not even close.


    You twist and turn but always end up (1.00 / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:10:30 AM EST
    at the same place. America at fault.

    And I plead guilty to  a serious spelling error.

    Now. Since you, and anyone who read the comment, knew what I meant I think "communication" was accomplished. I reference your:

    How long should we have occupied Iraq
    at 04:51:19 PM CST

    Pot meet kettle. And read my gracious response.

    Latin sayings aside...Yes, Carter's actions allowed and emboldened the radical moslems to take over the country. Without that, the future would have been changed.

    The cause of the embassy take over was the radical moslems. They could have seized the country and thrown us out. They did not. They wanted to embarrass and tweak the nose of "The Great Satan."

    And they rightly judged that Carter was weak and would do nothing.

    At that time we were engaged in a great struggle called "The Cold War." There was no clear indication that we would win. So yes, we did prop up some dictators. Including the greatest of them all, Stalin and the USSR.

    Why? Because we needed their help. And that is the reason we propped up the Soviets at the very start of WWII with the Lend Lease Act.


    We could have stood on the principles you espouse and let Germany have them. We judged that using them to help fight Germany would save American lives.

    An enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    The Left has a long history of attacking our support of "friends" who did not meet "democratic" standards. But they never attacked our support of the Soviets.

    As for "bigotry...." No. Snarky, yes. And if you think condemning radical moslem terrorists is bigotry I question your values.

    As for Jimmy and George.... Jimmy is looking worse and worse as time goes by. His writings and sayings raise serious questions about his ME views and you have to start wondering if his "Christian views" influenced his decisions in the ME.

    George is looking better. In the end the winners write history.

    BTW - If you had read my comment to kdog you would understand that I do not "like" Bush.


    Up is down (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:28:37 AM EST
    Your logic (such as it is) is because I pointed out that proping up a dicatator was a bad move long term, I am saying America is at fault. By this logic, stating the obvious, invading Iraq was a strategic blunder is saying America is at fault. In both cases American leaders made strategic blunders. To the extent we elected those leaders I suppose you may have a point, but its a very tenuous one.

    However, following your logic, you allege we made blunders in Iran in 1978-79. Well! How DARE you say America is at fault!

    Do you comprehend how foolish your argument is?

    As for JC, tell me, do you find the Egyptian and Israeli peace accords at Camp David to be objectionable? Why?

    As for your insane logic regarding lend lease and the Soviet Union, the situation was a wee bit different. Everything is not Munich, every leader isn't either Chuchill or Chamberlain. The old saying if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail is so appropo to you.


    BTW - I guess (1.00 / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 22, 2007 at 03:54:45 PM EST
    if I am an alleged military guy, I guess that makes you an alleged lawyer.

    Obama's Approach (none / 0) (#5)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 01:17:52 PM EST
    isn't exactly bringing the troops home either.  Unless you think usng phrases like "playing chicken with the troops" is helpful to getting war funding cut.

    Neither Clinton nor Obama have been leaders on Iraq in the Senate.  Obama was right about Iraq initially, to his credit, but he hasn't done any more to end the debacle than Clinton has.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a mark against both of them, although they are hardly alone in this area.  

    And before anyone mentions Edwards, his votes on Iraq were worse than Clinton's.  Not only did he vote to authorize the war, but he voted against amendments that would've reigned in some of Bush's authority.  It's great that he's seen the light and all, but I don't want to hear about how if he were in the Senate he'd be some great, shining leader.  He was in the Senate and he wasn't.  


    Best Case for Obama (none / 0) (#2)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 12:32:52 PM EST
    I do think Schmitt makes the best case for Obama.  It's certainly much better than the idea that his face will change things or that he can get the Republicans to roll over by the force of his personality.  It presents Obama's spiel as a tactical decision, rather than a cult-of-personality appeal.  

    I don't happen to believe it will work.  I blame that more on the Republicans than on Obama, but I do think it's the most appealing argument for the Obama approach.

    Examples of Schmitt's theory in practice (none / 0) (#7)
    by joejoejoe on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 01:40:00 PM EST
    Obama-Coburn, S.2590:
    The Senate passed legislation Thursday night that would create a massive, Google-like searchable database to track federal spending.

    The legislation (S 2590), which aims to create more transparency in exactly who gets how much federal money, passed by a voice vote after both Republican and Democratic senators dropped their objections to it.

    Passed from the minority during the Bush presidency.

    Lugar-Obama, S.2566:

    The first part of the Lugar-Obama legislation would energize the U.S. program against unsecured lightweight anti-aircraft missiles and other conventional weapons. There may be as many as 750,000 man-portable air defense systems in arsenals worldwide, and the State Department estimates that more than 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by such weapons since the 1970s. In addition, loose stocks of small arms and other weapons help fuel civil wars in Africa and elsewhere and provide the means for attacks on peacekeepers and aid workers seeking to stabilize war-torn societies. In Iraq, unsecured stockpiles of artillery shells and ammunition have been reconfigured into improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that have become the insurgents' most effective weapon.

    The second part of Lugar-Obama would strengthen the ability of America's allies to detect and interdict illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction. U.S. security depends not just on the willingness of other nations to help; it depends on whether they have the capabilities to be effective. The State Department engages in several related anti-terrorism and export control assistance programs. But these programs are focused on other stages of the threat, not on detection and interdiction, and create a gap in our defenses that needs to be filled.

    Died in committee but would pass in an Obama presidency.

    Obama-Brownback, S.2125, A bill concerning the DR Congo:

    Nicholas Kristoff, NYT: "On this ''win a trip'' journey through central Africa with a teacher and a student, we're visiting the forgotten war inside Congo. The death toll has already reached four million, making this the most lethal conflict since World War II.[...]

    This war staggers on in part because the suffering here hasn't registered on the international conscience, and because it has been allowed to fester and continue. Barack Obama and Sam Brownback are among the few prominent American politicians who have focused on the war here.

    Passed in the Senate and signed by President Bush.

    There are new alliances and governing coalitons possible. I believe Sens. Lugar and Snowe were both elected with with a majority of Democratic votes cast in their elections. It's the GOP leadership that is intransigent. Obama's rhetoric and style allows coalitions to build outside the hardened structure of the GOP leadership. It's not pie in the sky goo goo thinking to believe it either. It's in Obama's record.

    And these are not contentious issues (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 01:45:02 PM EST
    You actually evidence the limits of such an approach.

    On the big issues it simply will not work.


    Small Issues Is Still an Open Question (none / 0) (#9)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 02:25:49 PM EST
    As Matt Stoller noted at Openleft, the Bush Administration is undermining it by refusing to put federal spending on intelligence agencies, even unclassified information in the database.

    Wow, who would have guessed that?  The Republicans agree to something and then don't live up to the agreement.  Shocking!

    I bet Obama is really pissed off and ready to hold folks accountable.  Well, maybe.  If I were the Bush Administration, this wouldn't exactly have me quaking in my boots:

    Barack Obama expects full compliance with the law that he and Senator Coburn authored, and that includes a requirement that all agencies, including intelligence and defense agencies, post unclassified contracts on USAspending.gov in a timely manner.  As president, Obama will push for additional reforms to make the federal government more open and transparent to the American people.

    Now, I'm basing this on Stoller's information, so maybe I've gotten something wrong, but this seems pretty typical of Republican and Bushie behavior for the last seven years. Sign law that sounds great, ignore law, pay little if any price.  

    That's not a slam just on Obama, he's behaving like a lot of Democrats.  But it doesn't exactly make me want to vote for the candidate who wants to work with these people.  You can't work with these people.


    "It" (none / 0) (#10)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 02:26:50 PM EST
    D'oh, the "it" being undermined is the Obama-Coburn transparency bill.

    Unions Are Real People, Barack (none / 0) (#11)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 02:41:48 PM EST
    I don't know what it says about a candidate who wants to work with Republicans, but attacks unions and groups like Emily's List.  Because they're so hostile to Democrats, unlike Republicans.

    Via Mark Halperin, a recent Obama Campaign Memo states:

    Right now groups supporting Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are flooding Iowa and the other early states with millions of dollars in paid ads, phone calls, and mailings.

    Some of it is negative and even deceptive, and a lot of it is paid for by huge, unregulated contributions from special interests.

    Taking on these groups isn't just a matter of setting the record straight about me or my positions.

    It's about proving that a new kind of campaign -- funded by ordinary people who want something better for all of us -- can defeat the same tired, old political textbook that so many Americans just don't trust anymore.

    According to Halperin, here are the awful groups undermining democracy in Iowa:

    For Hillary Clinton
    AFSCME: $907,177.24
    AFT: $635,822.19
    Emily's List: $297,806.69

    Total: $1,840,426.12

    For John Edwards

    Working for Working Americans/Carpenters: $516,216.51
    Alliance for a New America (SEIU): $760,801.00
    Total: $1,277,017.51

    Wrong, wrong and wrong again (none / 0) (#12)
    by koshembos on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 02:54:56 PM EST
    Who said that change is the important issue in this campaign. If Bush is gone, even a moronic Republican president will not repeat most of Bush's mistakes. So, change is a given. The real question is how would the new president go about the country's business.

    Bipartisanship is a stillborn idea devoid of context, ignoring the last 30 years and forgetting the right wing. You want to vote for it - be my guest, but don't pretend that it's going to work.

    Hope is a beautiful word, but again it's taken out of context. The election for president are not about hope, they are about choosing a candidate who can stick with the constitution, have enough courage to face tough issues (not just be present when they happen) and the leadership to start on new ways. Hope is about "I hope to get there on time." It's not about "if I vote for Obama I hope he'll finally stop voting present."

    What we need now is not a voting calculus. We need a candidate that tells us what he thinks about certain issues. We don't need someone that is a closet progressive, we someone who is progressive.

    Actually, I am alarmed at how misguided we are at selecting a candidate, how gullible we are and how badly we intend to do it.

    Obama thought the war was over in 2003 (none / 0) (#18)
    by MarkL on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 05:04:27 PM EST
    Thats' all you need to know about his politics.
    He took down his anti-war speech from his campaign web-site in 2003 because "the formal phase of the war was over".
    There's nothing more than needs to be said about Obama except "NEXT!"


    obama's whole campaign has (none / 0) (#28)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 11:33:40 PM EST
    been exhibit "A" for naive. that naive young people support him comes as no great surprise; who else would?

    the entire republican party marches in lock-step, going wherever the leadership takes it. to think otherwise is merely another display of naivete'. again, this has been evident, since the newt gingrich days in congress. nothing that happens in 2008 will change that.

    had sen. obama come out and said "well, i want to work together with my republican colleagues. i believe there are many issues we can agree on, and solve in a bipartisan manner. however, should they refuse, i'll not be averse to running over them, to accomplish my party's goals.", then by golly, he might have had me there. he didn't.

    really, that says almost all there needs to be said, about sen. obama's readiness for the oval office.

    What's the alternative? (none / 0) (#40)
    by DaveFox on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 10:30:51 AM EST
    You seriously think Edwards' approach of shoving it down people's throats will work any better?

    You forget that this is how Bush was elected in 2000, and how Reagan won 2 terms.  Act nice, but don't really give the other side anything.  The goal is to get the biggest coalition possible to pass needed legislation.  Obama's approach is a much more proven vote winner, especially since America has not elected a populist firebrand since Andrew Jackson.  Even FDR in 1932 ran an Obama-esque campaign.  It wasn't until 1936, when he had supermajorities, that his real populist, partisan style became his standard.

    History doesn't happen in a vacuum (none / 0) (#45)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:12:07 PM EST
    You desperately want to make Carter the goat, so you ignore Ike's role. We would not have been in the position we were in Iraq, but for Ike's administration. Carter had a very bad hand dealt by the Eisenhower administration, exacerbated by your boy Kissinger.

    If you are going to properly analyze this you must understand and deal with the historical perspective. Refusing to deal with the obvious, doesn't help your argument. It just shows it to be weak.

    Following the logic of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it would make more sense for Saddam to decide WE were his friends. Of course that didn't happen, any more then the evidence lacking theory you espouse.

    I hate to say it, but you are as looney as Bill Kristol. This is not a good thing.

    Again, Carter was a conservative. Not a leftist. Remember he was opposed by the liberal left. Again, some knowledge of history helps. It also helps to be able to compare and contrast. That way one understand how situations are like and how they differ. That way you would you have a basis for determining what is a Munich, and who is a Churchill.

    As it is you are just mouthing off (and repeating over and over) a lot of incoherent illogical blather. Repeating a bogus fact does not make it true. Repeating facts out of context makes you intellectually dishonest, not correct.  Repetition is for propagandists not historians.

    Finally, I expect the Israeli's think one less country shooting at them is a good thing, but you apparently feel otherwise.

    Should be (none / 0) (#48)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 09:58:48 PM EST
    We would not have been in the position we were in Iran, but for Ike's administration.