Reading Obama As A Conventional Pol

I find it interesting that Cole endorses the Obama as conventional pol interpretation offered by Daniel Larison:

Having finally recognized that Obama is a savvy political operator who is interested in effective government to pursue what are still broadly progressive goals, and having started to grasp that Obama is not a neo-McGovernite radical dove but is actually rather hawkish and establishmentarian in his instincts . . . People have a hard time making sense of a politician who can appear as the friend of the Hyde Park Independents and the Daley machine when each connection suits him, because it isnít supposed to work that way.

I am not at all sure why it is not supposed to work that way (FDR worked with Tammany and reformers) - but I do find it amusing that this interpretation of Obama as conventional pol is now considered singularly insightful, when it was once considered an affront (I know this because this has always been my interpretation of Obama and I affronted most Obama supporters with it).

Speaking for me only

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    You can never be forgiven (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Salo on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:31:16 PM EST
    For getting things right, first law of bureacracy

    You can also never be forgiven (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by sj on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:39:16 PM EST
    if I've wronged you.  BTD is being hit with a double whammy.

    An "aristocratic" politician (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jacob Freeze on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 07:59:51 PM EST
    It's bizarre to see Barack Obama described as a "conventional politician." Apparently in this context a "conventional politician" would be a politician who is transformed from nothing to something in two years by an unlimited influx of some of the dirtiest money in Chicago, where there's a lot of very dirty money.

    A "conventional politician" would be a politician whose most fanatical supporters have absolutely no idea what their candidate stands for, if anything, except himself.

    A "conventional politician" would be a lawyer who never tried a case in court, or a professor who never wrote a scholarly article.

    Obama is a "conventional politician" about as much as "The Aristocrats" is a "conventional vaudeville act."  


    well, there IS that... n/t (none / 0) (#57)
    by sj on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 08:55:53 PM EST
    Wow, (none / 0) (#58)
    by shoulin4 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 09:01:55 PM EST
    but tell us how you really feel.

    There are many lawyers (none / 0) (#69)
    by starsandstripes on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:08:22 AM EST
    who never try a case in court. They're called "corporate lawyers".

    I am on the way to becoming a lawyer and hope to never step into a courtroom :P


    So what was Obama doing? (none / 0) (#89)
    by Jacob Freeze on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 01:15:54 PM EST
    Maybe your law school can provide some useful statistics about the number of lawyers who never tried a case in court, and their specialties.

    For some branches, staying out of court is obviously more of a recommendation than a fault: A lawyer who writes wills and trusts never never never wants to see a judge, much less a jury.

    But for a lawyer practicing in the field of Constitutional law, like Obama, it isn't obvious exactly what he was doing out of court all those years.

    He didn't file any briefs. He wasn't listed as counsel by any defendants. He didn't write any articles in legal journals.

    What was he doing?

    Likewise it would be useful to have a list of all the professors at the University of Chicago who never published a scholarly article of any kind anywhere.


    Hmm, I thought that was (none / 0) (#20)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:59:05 PM EST
    a rule of married life.

    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by andgarden on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:34:53 PM EST
    (Incidentally, FDR worked with Tammany and LaGuardia.)

    I'm finding Obama supporters to be (5.00 / 9) (#4)
    by nycstray on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:41:42 PM EST
    rather amusing these days  {grin}

    They are as amusing (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:17:45 PM EST
    as they ever were.  They are just less confident now.  Before their faith was strong.  Now they are more tentative.

    I am even more confident then before (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 07:12:58 PM EST
    Inspiring individual + desire to use intelligent succesful people to get the job done= a great start.  

    I find most Obama supporters are like me in their support, hopes and and sense of realism.  The loud people on the internet, in my mind, do not represent the average and by the fact they are faceless (like me typing this now) disqualifies them from broad representation.  


    Unfortunately (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Fabian on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 04:12:12 AM EST
    The loudest and most obnoxious get the attention.  Those over the top, annoying advertisements are effective at getting attention.  Don't know how effective they are at selling the product, but they succeed at the most important step.

    During the primary, during the GE, no one bothered to try to control the Shouters.  So the Shouters came to represent a great many people who were not loud or reactionary or thoughtless.  Instead it was like a Jerry Springer show where the guests and audience are constantly encouraged to be as biased and confrontational as possible.  Spectacle sells!

    (And the viewership/listenership of NPR and PBS is up at a time that the rest of the traditional media is losing audience and money.  Spectacle may sell, but not to everyone.)


    Amen, Sam (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:10:54 AM EST
    I read descriptions here sometimes of 'Obama supporters' and they're unrecognizable to me and my experience of my own support for Obama or that of the people I know who support him.

    Admittedly, I'm working at a disadvantage here in that I'm thinking of the people I know in my day to day life and not the anonymous yahoos one often encounters online, who worshipfully rhapsodize about their candidate while gleefully savaging their candidate's opponents. They're a predictably knee-jerk crowd I learned to ignore during the primaries.


    No (3.50 / 2) (#96)
    by Salo on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 05:36:35 PM EST
    I've seen them b*tch about Clinton in wierd ways and excuse all sorts of failings in Obama and still think Obama is right on and radical.

    The cartoon of the average supporter is spot on in many ways.


    Im not sure... (4.50 / 6) (#43)
    by Thanin on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:33:19 PM EST
    what Obama supporter means at this point.  

    Does it mean someone who hopes the next democratic president succeeds is officially an Obama supporter?  And if youre not an Obama supporter, does that mean you want the next incoming administration to fail?


    I find it odd that you don't understand (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by nycstray on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 07:13:00 PM EST
    and you broke it down so cleanly into 2 camps. . .

    Ok then... (none / 0) (#55)
    by Thanin on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 08:18:23 PM EST
    so explain it to me.

    Yeah, Right (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:23:56 AM EST
    One of the best things I experienced here at TL after the primaries was watching and listening to many staunch HRC supporters get behind Obama's candidacy against McCain.

    They (like BTD) didn't hold their fire when they saw something they didn't like about Obama or his campaign--and they're not doing that now in this pre-inaugeral period either.

    But now they (and I) seem to have more common ground to stand on because I (as an Obama supporter from Iowa on) am only behind him as long as I see him working to deliver on the agenda he campaigned on, the one I expect him to work his butt off making reality. But I've got his back as he does so. And so do many (most?) of the HRC supporters around here that I see.

    It gets to a point where it's not a campaign any more. It's our wellbeing as citizens and as a nation. But you hit the nail on the head above. There will always be people who are happier fighting the old fights. Against Obama or Hillary or whomever.


    Willful ignorance ... (none / 0) (#61)
    by cymro on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 11:47:36 PM EST
    ... does not win friends and influence people.

    I agree... (none / 0) (#65)
    by Thanin on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 03:19:08 AM EST
    so its too bad your response doesnt relate to my post.

    There are none so blind ... (none / 0) (#95)
    by cymro on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 04:10:38 PM EST
    ... as those who will not see, as your response demonstrates. So I'm certainly not going to try to help you to understand the connection between my comment and your post, when you are already refusing to recognize it.

    Instead of trying to sound impressive... (none / 0) (#100)
    by Thanin on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:20:22 PM EST
    why dont you actually defend your position?... or maybe try having one?

    Not insightful (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Baal on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:45:16 PM EST
    and partly wrong IMHO. I really do not believe he has hawkish instincts.  He is obviously not a radical dove.  There really is a middle, and he will be more dovish than hawkish.  I suspect time will prove me right.  One thing for sure, he is really smart, and he will be guided by facts, not ideology, and he doesn't believe his own BS.  I could be wrong, but so might everyone else who makes a comment about this.  I believe his goals are solidly progressive in crucial areas, especially with respect to constitutional issues, climate change, environment, and the need to eschew unilateral bullying.  The building of coalitions to accomplish worthy objectives is the definition of progressive.

    The definition of progressive (5.00 / 19) (#6)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:46:53 PM EST
    ...is whatever Obama does.  I learned this in the primaries!

    Sounds like Bill Clinton to me. (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by oldpro on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 07:07:18 PM EST
    Constitutional Issues? (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by starsandstripes on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:11:48 AM EST
    Uhm - heard of FISA?

    A friend recently said ... (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:48:53 PM EST
    I should get T-shirt that reads "I Told You So" and wear it every day.

    BTD, I think you need one as well.  

    So you are arguing what precisely? (none / 0) (#22)
    by beachmom on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:01:53 PM EST
    I hate to say it, guys, but liberals and Democrats are very pleased with the President Elect.  

    All of them? ;) (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by nycstray on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:11:06 PM EST
    Most of Them (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by daring grace on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:31:53 PM EST
    According to this LA Times/Bloomberg poll.

    You have to follow the link under the graph in the article to get to the breakdown by political identification. When you do, you'll see, among other things, that 97% of Dems approve (78% strongly approve) the way Obama is 'handling the transition'.


    Of course, that would not include (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:40:25 PM EST
    former Democrats now.

    Reminds me of the opinion surveys reported in my local Catholic paper.  Massive approval levels for the anti-reproductive choice, excommunicate-the-pols and the like mindset.  Never measures the disapproval level of all of the fallen-away former Catholics, by church definition, although they still call themselves Catholic.

    And the unthinking media (sorry for the redundancy) report the two disparate groups as one and the same.


    Except there are more people who describe (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by beachmom on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:55:05 PM EST
    themselves as Democrats than there were 4 years ago.  

    As of November, yeh (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:59:52 PM EST
    but I've been through this for enough decade now to say . . . let's see what they say in, say, March.

    Hey, Even Though I'm an Obama Supporter (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by daring grace on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:20:25 PM EST
    see what I say in March...

    Actually, I too have been through enough decades of this I might give him his first year--but I'll be griping right away when I don't like something.

    My support for politicians is never unquestioning.


    Bechmom...there are more PEOPLE (none / 0) (#51)
    by oldpro on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 07:09:59 PM EST
    than there were 4 years ago...so, more people of every stripe.

    Approval Across All Groups (none / 0) (#39)
    by daring grace on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:09:47 PM EST
    that they delineate in this poll--self identified Dems, Repubs and Indies.

    But you're right, I guess. They offer no category for those who left the party in disgust during the primaries and have never approved of Obama's actions and likely will never do so. i would assume if this is a sizable group then some of their disapproval would show up in the indie category (10% d/approval, or the Repubs with 30 % d/ approval) or maybe in the 11% who aren't sure they approve or not.

    It also doesn't include many of us (me, and perhaps you?) or have never been called and asked their opinion for one of these things.


    Thankfully, not in a swing state anymore (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:51:39 PM EST
    here, so I'm rarely called anymore.  But being in the closest state in 2004 made most of 2008 a nonstop hell here for those of us who work at home a lot, constantly called by pollsters.  It was a relief when they finally realized that my state was not going to be close this time.

    And it was a relief as well when the nonstop tv ads by candidates finally slowed down . . . although, as my spouse owns stock in our local media, it was too bad to see the ad revenues come in much lower than in 2004.  

    Being in what usually is a swing state, and one that will be again soon, I think -- as well as a state where we are not required to declare our party affiliation to vote, which I always think is the weirdest thing and would have me marching in the streets if it was tried here . . . well, being in a land of people who swing from party to party like chimps on trees in a jungle, I never trust a lot of those polls with people's party affiliations.  Here, a Repub today is a Dem tomorrow and maybe a Socialist the day after.


    In Washington state we had to declare a party (none / 0) (#60)
    by Don in Seattle on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 09:59:02 PM EST
    affiliation during the primaries. Not that the Legislature wanted that -- but the parties forced their hands, via the courts.

    We're now stuck with a bad system, where only the top 2 vote-getters in the primary -- regardless of party -- advance to the general. Theoretically, the general election could have only two Libertarians, or two Greens, but in practice minor parties are effectively kept off the GE ballot.


    The problem isn't keeping (none / 0) (#64)
    by andgarden on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:07:49 AM EST
    minor parties off of the November ballot. They are, frankly, a nuisance, so the biggest benefit of this system is to essentially eliminate spoilers. The problem is that the parties can no longer effectively choose their own nominees.

    that the parties can no longer effectively choose their own nominees."

    That, of course, is exactly what the party apparatuses (both D and R) argued in court -- notwithstanding the fact that polls showed strong majorities within each party preferred our state's traditional open primary.

    Speaking as a voter who has occasionally voted a split ticket in the primaries, I am not happy with a system that takes away my power to do that, and that totally disenfranchises declared Independents from the nominating process.

    If you think the dedicated party members should have complete control of that process, then why not scrap the primaries altogether?


    Bingo. (none / 0) (#68)
    by Cream City on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:07:27 AM EST
    I'm sorry to hear that the state of my forebears has gone to this system.  And let us remember that if new third parties had been kept off the ballot in 1860, Abraham Lincoln would not have been president.

    (Well, canny Illinois politician that he was, too, I guess he simply would have continued his years of reluctance to leave the Whigs for the newfangled notion of a party and would have refrained from allowing Republicans to put him on the ballot.:-)


    Like it or not, (none / 0) (#80)
    by andgarden on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:21:47 AM EST
    the two major parties are basic units of government, and fairly official ones, at that. Only in Nebraska is there a non-partisan legislature, and that's frankly in name only: anyone who cares to know can find out who the Republicans and the Democrats are.

    But the point is this: if parties are denied a state-sanctioned closed primary, the only way they will be able to designate their official nominees is by holding some kind of caucus. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what the problem with caucuses is.


    You forget, as a raging Obamabot, I have an (none / 0) (#87)
    by Don in Seattle on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:28:52 PM EST
    entirely irrational liking of the (Presidential) caucus system. Unfortunately, I agree the country has outgrown this quaintly anachronistic throwback to the days of town hall meetings, and there will probably be primaries in every state by 2012.

    Be that as it may, the nomination process is much too fundamental to entire political process, to let me be happy with an outcome that officially disenfranchises Independent voters from it.

    In practice, of course, many Independent voters will simply pick a "party du jour," depending on which party has thr more interesting nomination battles going on. So they are not excluded. But many other Independents are too literal-mindedly honest to say they belong to a party when they don't really feel that. It makes little sense to me to exclude people from the nominating process, solely because they have too much integrity to be willing to fib on this issue.


    My opinion is that if Indys (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by andgarden on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 01:10:23 PM EST
    want to vote in my primary, they've got to join my party.

    The thing that you guys used to do: allow people to vote in BOTH PRIMARIES AT THE SAME TIME just baffles me. But I come from a good, old fashioned, closed primary state.


    Speaking As An Indie (none / 0) (#90)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 01:20:03 PM EST
    who has had to register as a Dem to vote in the primaries in my also old fashioned closed system state, I would relish the chance to vote in both primaries at once. That would approximate my dream of a national system where voters get to choose the best candidate no matter which of the monopolistic two parties fields her/him.

    You might say this would lead to nefarious acts like, for example, Dems voting for the weakest/most buffoonish Repub candidate or vice versa, but I gotta tell you in my town in upstate New York where the system is closed it happens now with the third parties. A wheeler/dealer Dem turned Repub regularly fields bogus candidates in the Working Party primaries to beat the Dems off the line on the ballot in the Fall. His picks are completely flimsy with no chance of winning in the GE anyway, but they certainly serve his political ends.


    Well, that's an argument against 3rd parties (none / 0) (#91)
    by andgarden on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 01:24:35 PM EST
    As a Democratic partisan, I'm not going to bend on closed primaries. The next best thing is probably a top two system.

    To Be Honest (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 01:36:42 PM EST
    I'm squishy on opening up the process to more equitable systems involving more parties at this stage in my life.

    In my passionate youth, yeah open it all up! Chaos is cleansing.

    Now I see how much trouble we have running this system efficiently and I shudder to imagine how it would be if we introduce any more variables into it.


    I Sympathize (none / 0) (#73)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:33:01 AM EST
    Living in New York, I've never experienced that at the POTUS level of elections, but man oh man do I get that sometimes on the congressional or local hot races.

    This Fall, a local race featured the most expensive congressional campaigns in the country. This was Gillibrand/Treadwell, and I was pummeled with their increasingly snipey ads from dawn till dusk even though I'm not even in that district.

    Is it any wonder my tv remote gave up the ghost by election night? All that furious clicking away from those repetitive ads only to find them playing on every channel at once...

    SO glad elections are over for a while...


    We even got preemptive 2012 ads (none / 0) (#79)
    by Cream City on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:01:52 AM EST
    by a Congressman representing a district in my state but far from my city.  The Repubs are positioning him to take back a Dem Senate seat when one of our Dem Senators retires soon.

    I coulda stood, as we say here, to see those ads now only if with a promise that there would be none by him in 2012. :-)


    For me, it's not about whether I approve (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by otherlisa on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:02:15 PM EST
    of him now or not. I'm not unhappy with some of his appointments and stated policy positions (e.g., green infrastructure) since becoming President elect. It was the response of some of my Obama-supporting progressive friends, who simply would not believe me (and in fact got angry) when I told them that Obama is not a progressive. I was wrong, they had friends who were better informed than I who supported Obama, etc., etc., etc. (I won't even get into the reactions when I told them that HRC held more progressive policy positions for the most part).

    Now? Crickets.


    Me too! (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:17:36 PM EST
    BTD hardly sounds displeased either.

    It's amazing what people will ... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:03:12 PM EST
    read into a lightly humorous post.

    Displeasure wasn't even tangentially referred to.


    I want one (none / 0) (#63)
    by zyx on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:04:58 AM EST
    to go with the three that I want to print up. I saw a girl wearing a t-shirt that said "sarcasm is the body's natural response to stupid".

    It's almost the same thing, sometimes, right?


    Depends on the day (or the thread) (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by david mizner on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:57:06 PM EST
    First he's filled his admin with centrists cause he's a shrewed-as-hell pragmatic establishment-friendly pol with a Machievelian streak (and who the hell ever suggested otherwise?)

    A minute later he's filled his admin with centrists cause HE MAKES THE DECISIONS and is singlehandedly co-opting the establishment, getting all these centrist and conservatives to buy into a deeply progressive anti-establishment program.

    I think BTD was absolutely correct (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by hairspray on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 03:58:02 PM EST
    when he said the media darling status would help him to win. Reading all sorts of people like E.J.Dionne Jr., Eugene Robinson, Robert Scheer and others of that group find ways to explain Obama's new found "progressiveness" is interesting.  It usually starts with, "I may be wrong, but I think Obama is...."  During the primaries there were other statements of this sort to explain WARM statements.  Now if Hillary were doing exactly what Obama is doing, the media and the blogger community would be apoplectic. It would have been awful.

    I partly agree (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by miguelito on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:05:35 PM EST
    It would be absolutely awful having to witness the media's Clinton hatred if Hillary had been the nom or pres elect given that I can barely stand the amount that is currently on display daily.  However, as we all know, regardless of media darling status, Obama was tied and even losing to McCain in some polls before the economic crises of a lifetime unfolded in mid-Sept.  

    When (5.00 / 13) (#12)
    by nemo52 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:13:29 PM EST
    Obama does it, it's pragmatism;  when (any) Clinton does it, it's evil triangulation.

    That's brilliant & effective pragmatism (5.00 / 7) (#14)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:19:14 PM EST
    and of course WRT the Clintons it's evil & spineless triangulation.

    Yup (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by kempis on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:00:48 PM EST
    For a current illustration of that double standard, y'all keep an eye out for reactions to reports this past week that Obama is promising Israel a "nuclear umbrella."

    There's great contrast between the "progressive" bloggers' reactions when Hillary proposed it last Spring (much wailing and gnashing of teeth--except for BTD) and the essential non-reaction now that Obama has reportedly endorsed the idea.

    It's fascinating--in a schadenfreudish kinda way. .


    Priceless. (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by hitchhiker on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:04:20 PM EST
    having started to grasp that Obama is not a neo-McGovernite radical dove but is actually rather hawkish and establishmentarian in his instincts

    It's the qualifiers I'm admiring:

    started to grasp
    rather hawkish
    in his instincts

    My friends, this is the language of one who is floundering for a toehold in the solid ground of rational thought.  Keep at it, Cole.  You're almost there.

    Bejabbers, a pol with instincts? (none / 0) (#33)
    by wurman on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:49:11 PM EST
    2nd draft re-write: "Having grasped that Obama is not a radical dove, but is instinctively establishmentarian and hawkish . . . ." does seem soooooo definitive, ayenh?

    Great fields of flopping flounders flapping about flim-flammery, etc.


    The hawkish characterization (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by lilburro on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:39:50 PM EST
    is pretty remarkable.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, those interested in activism don't reinvent their goals every week.  Those interested in punditry do.

    Appreciating Obama's conventionality is okay but I hope that means the Obama halo will fade.  Because obviously some goals are going to have to be achieved against him, not just following his lead.

    I have to say that the last year has h (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:41:43 PM EST
    increased my opinion of BTD a lot.
    His track record in political analysis has been great. I think he called the Palin situation wrong, but that's small change.
    With such a record of good predictions, BTD is obviously not going to be a major player on TV though :)

    Not this Obama supporter (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by beachmom on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:55:49 PM EST
    Anyone who read the New Yorker article on Obama understood how he ticked.  

    I had no illusions as to his cautiousness and consensus building centrism which did in the end tilt left.  Case in point:  Obama voted against the Kerry/Feingold amendment in June 2006, then embraced its main tenants 6 months later (Clinton also voted against K/F).  Why did he switch?  Because the Iraq Study Group embraced K/F in early December 2006 in its recommendations.  

    My point in bringing this up is that progressives like Kerry and Feingold did the heavy lifting, built consensus, and then Obama came on board.  That is not a bad strategy for his presidency.  All we need are courageous progressives ready to go out on a limb and take a few hits.  Once it gains support, then the President can get it done.  Meanwhile, it hasn't cost him much in the way of political capital.

    I would prefer a true progressive... (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by smott on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:06:34 PM EST
    WHo had the courage of his convictions.

    Who Wouldn't? (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by daring grace on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:37:51 PM EST
    But if he gets the job done in his cautious and pragmatic fashion, that matters more to me.

    if if if (none / 0) (#36)
    by miguelito on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:56:44 PM EST
    When When When (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by daring grace on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:16:42 PM EST
    Obama falls short of my expectations, (after January 20)I might might might join your if if if chorus.

    But until then calling him out for what he isn't doing as president is a projection of divine powers on him even I don't have.


    When? (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by smott on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:19:46 PM EST
    FISA, FAvreau, just to name a couple recent examples...

    I've Criticized Him On FISA (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:38:43 AM EST
    and if he continues rather than dismantles Bush's stealth assault on the constitution, I'll do it some more and more vigorously in fact because now he will be POTUS.

    As to when...I already told you: on January 20, 2009, the moment after he takes the oath of office.


    So whats your solution? (none / 0) (#44)
    by Thanin on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:39:29 PM EST
    If it goes bad, just grin and bear it (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by Cream City on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:57:01 PM EST
    for another four years.  After the last eight years, we've had a lot of practice. :-)

    Unless and until it goes bad, the hope I hold for politicians these days is that they do as little damage as possible -- to the Constitution, to the economy, to the American people, to our children's future.  

    It would be more than welcome to see Obama begin to repair the damage done in the last eight years, and I recall his vow to reverse FISA, for one -- after he reversed from his vow to filibuster and vote against it.  Haven't heard a peep about it from him since, but I'm hoping.  And watching.


    If It Goes Bad, Fight It (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:45:16 AM EST
    That's what I intend to do--as hard or even harder than I did with Bush/Cheney because supposedly these are 'our people' in the WH and Congress.

    Yeah, right, look how well it went post 2006. Well, now there are no excuses 60 votes in the senate or not.

    Like you I'm waiting and hoping. And, believe it or not, like you (as a tired veteran of dashed electoral expectations for decades) I'll believe it when I see it.

    But I'm giving him and his people a chance to actually take office before I call him out for what's wrong or what's not getting done.


    courage smourage (none / 0) (#26)
    by miguelito on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:13:48 PM EST
    we just need courageous progressives to take the hits for Obama, don't you see?  ;)

    None ran in 2008 who had a chance of winning. (none / 0) (#35)
    by beachmom on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:56:18 PM EST
    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#49)
    by lilburro on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 07:05:49 PM EST
    other Democrats - like Reyes - are willing to go out on a limb to lead him in the other direction.

    Damm..i'm kinda surprised (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by ai002h on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 06:52:03 PM EST
    by the lukewarm comments towards Obama, and the constant reference to "Obama supporters", as if they're a different entity supporting a candidate from a different party.. You guys dont see the irony in claiming to hate CDS while you suffer from ODS. And this is coming from an Edwards supporter who only really supported Obama in July, and I still have my doubts.

    Btw this is only directed at those to whom it applies.

    This isn't the Obama Fan Club. (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 07:05:24 PM EST
    "I'm kinda surprised" that you didn't realize that.

    Not The Obama Fan Club (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:47:53 AM EST
    No, but sometimes it reads like the Primaries That Never Ended 12 step meeting...

    What can I say? (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Fabian on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:59:19 AM EST
    It was quite the crowd that howled like banshees over every little thing.  Their sudden meekness and silence is very predictable and amusing.

    It's not the primaries.

    The Politics of Personality
    Issues Based Politics

    The politics of personality swings like a weather vane.  The amusing part is that the devout followers of PoP insist they are as steady as a rock.


    Maybe That's Why These Conversations Seem So Alien (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:44:03 AM EST
    to me.

    I voted for and supported Obama based on issues.

    His 'charisma' and eloquence? Eh, okay. Duly noted that he utilized the media's infatuation with him and with the 'historic nature' of his candidacy to his advantage. I was thrilled to see that swing in a Dem direction for a change.

    Likewise, if he cultivated some supporters who were more follower-like and fan-oriented, fine with me as long as they mobilized to bring in contributions and in GOTV efforts. Howard Dean's army of similar support certainly fell flat.

    But for me and everyone I know who supported him those kinds of superficial touches were just that and were not (and are not) at the heart of why we wanted to see him as POTUS.


    This is something I don't understand (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by otherlisa on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 12:07:10 PM EST
    And an honest question - on what issues? Obama's nebulous stand on issues and lack of clearly articulated policy positions (particularly at the beginning of the campaign) were the main reason I didn'tsupport him. I'm curious, other than the famous anti-Iraq invasion speech, just what positions he took on what issues that drew people to him? Because I've never been able to figure that out.

    I'm seeing more from him now that he's President Elect than I ever did during the campaign. In part because his Cabinet choices tell me something about what he might do as president.


    Oh, What Drew Me To Him (none / 0) (#92)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 01:32:41 PM EST
    at first was the professionalism of his campaign and how he achieved victory in a way I've seen no Dem do in a long time, building a staggering grassroots resource of support along the way.

    His policy proposals to me are more or less boiler plate Dem dogma which I've more or less supported all my voting life (with some exceptions) and when I wanted to acquaint myself with them further I went here.


    But here's the thing... (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by otherlisa on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 07:48:23 PM EST
    His policy positions were not clearly articulated by him and shifted in a way that I found alarming. For example, at the beginning of the campaign, he supposedly supported "clean coal" and corn-based ethanol - his environmental platform was weak. Then someone from the policy shop apparently realized that this was not going to attract environmentally oriented voters, and a month or two into the primaries, the positions changed. Plus many of his economic advisors had that Chicago School neoliberalism thing going on. Then there was healthcare...

    Of course, positions need to change with the circumstance; I get that and I approve of that. Now that we are in the Mother of All Economic Crises, I think he's forced into adopting more Keynesian positions than he otherwise would have. But there's more to it than flexibility, in his case. What I picked up was a lack of interest in the nuts and bolts of policy and no real passion for most issues.

    This still worries me.


    Yes The Thing (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:39:21 PM EST
    Then someone from the policy shop apparently realized that this was not going to attract environmentally oriented voters, and a month or two into the primaries, the positions changed.

    I am quite happy with the change you speak of.  If it is such a big change, as you imagine,  it means that Obama is pandering to the likes of me, that is a great thing. His cabinet picks on energy and the environment are looking really good.

    If only he, and the majority of the Dems, to get off the war beat, and bring all the troops home. That does not mean move them to Afghanistan, it means bring them home.


    after he reisgned his seat... (none / 0) (#97)
    by Salo on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 05:38:58 PM EST
    ...I started  to see things in focus.

    He's able to avoid hard votes AGAIN.


    Other way 'round (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by lentinel on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:40:48 AM EST
    To me, now that Obama is the Pres-Elect, it is obvious that the primaries and the election are over.

    That is why is baffling to me that it is still not possible on some "liberal" websites to be critical of Obama without being accused of being sympathetic to McCain by Obamabots who believe that he walketh on watereth.

    Those of us who were interested in Obama to the extent that he appeared to be open to extending olive branches instead of missiles have every right to be nervous about picks such as Gates...

    It will only be a matter of time before anybody criticizing Obama will be called "unpatriotic" by the new Washington crowd.


    I Will Never Ever Ever (none / 0) (#84)
    by daring grace on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:54:49 AM EST
    presume to tell anyone they should not speak up on issues that matter to them.

    And, of course, as far as I'm concerned, Obama deserves to be held accountable, period.

    What I referred to with the comment about the primaries related to the repetitive critique-lite quality of some comments, especially those that relate to the wounds of the primary and not those that relate to current events, like retaining Gates.

    I don't visit other political blogs any more except to get news and I never look at the comments sections, because I found out during the primaries there was nothing there expressed by either side I wanted to waste my time reading when the vituperative nonsense started revving up.


    What can I say? (none / 0) (#78)
    by Fabian on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 09:59:30 AM EST
    It was quite the crowd that howled like banshees over every little thing.  Their sudden meekness and silence is very predictable and amusing.

    It's not the primaries.

    The Politics of Personality
    Issues Based Politics

    The politics of personality swings like a weather vane.  The amusing part is that the devout followers of PoP insist they are as steady as a rock.


    lukewarm is not ods, n/t (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by sallywally on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 02:09:27 PM EST
    Obama's funders and establishment backers (5.00 / 7) (#59)
    by esmense on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 09:32:50 PM EST
    told you who he was. I don't know how anyone could have thought that a man with so much moderate, mainstream, Democratic support -- from the wealthiest Wall Street funders to the most cautious and compromising members of the congressional leadership to the mushiest midwestern moderates to the oldest, most powerful members of the Northeastern Democratic establishment, was anything other than a very conventional and centrist Democrat. In the primary, Obama WAS the establishment candidate -- encouraged to run, despite his inexperience, in order to challenge the two unacceptably risky (in the view of powerful members of the Democratic establishment) candidates who were nonetheless shaping up to be the strongest competitors in the field; a Southern populist and a woman. If there had been a strong, brand name white male candidate (moderate, not progressive or populist) in the running, these same establishment supporters would have been advising Obama to wait, or to settle for the Vice Presidency.

    Thanks for fitting the pieces (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by hairspray on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 11:48:23 PM EST
    together so neatly.  I knew it was something like that. It was so obvious the establishment was against Hillary and John from the beginning. A two year senator with no experience and few accomplishments should have been a tip off.  The caucuses were fraudulent, but they did the job. That is probably why the media didn't scream bloody murder at how they disenfranchised voters.  Now if you could please put a few names to the faces esmense, I'd be much obliged.

    Things are a little cooler, but (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by lentinel on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:31:23 AM EST
    it is still not possible to be critical of Obama in many corners without being called a Palin lover, or a McCain guy. The pejorative, "Clintonista" is no longer in vogue since she is now safely in the Obama fold. (Although, with the caveat that she not be allowed to use her own brains for the duration.)

    Today Gates, one of Obama's more unsavory and retro choices in my opinion, got up and said (in essence), "OK. You terrorist m.f.s' We're takin' over this territory. You better not try anything in our neighborhood or me and my boys will f-ck you up!".

    This sort of stuff really makes my stomach tighten up.

    Do we really think Obama's progressive? (none / 0) (#17)
    by smott on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:51:23 PM EST
    I've always thought that his moves are calculated to improve his own standing in any given area or situation.

    Not to actually progress or improve the lives of people...

    Have no fear (5.00 / 6) (#18)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 04:52:44 PM EST
    he has a new plan to improve the lives of cardboard facsimiles.

    Well (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by squeaky on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:09:57 PM EST
    At least his domestic cabinet picks are not industry reps. They are public advocates.  THat is a huge change from the last 8 years.

    His energy guy is not from big oil but a Nobel physics laureate Steven Chu, and his FDA short list pick is Joshua Sharfstein a consumer advocate who has taken on big pharma.

    Seems pretty progressive to me.


    Well... (none / 0) (#27)
    by smott on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:13:54 PM EST
    Dunno about progressive.

    But certainly a move towards stopping the regression.


    Certainly (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 05:23:23 PM EST
    Those two picks are progressive. Daschle according to reuters:

    The high-profile selection signals that the push to extend health coverage to the 46 million uninsured Americans will be a high priority for Obama.

    Progress I can live with, and most definitely change.

    I am most concerned with the war plans. Unfortunately neither of the frontrunner Dem choices offered much other that another long war in Afghanistan. Not progressive at all in that dept.


    No one reads you for your (none / 0) (#56)
    by Compound F on Fri Dec 12, 2008 at 08:34:46 PM EST
    charm offensives, so it must be something else.